A Potluck Is Better if We Don’t ALL Bring Jell-o Salad: Why I Maybe Didn’t Write About an Important Topic That’s Important to You

by | Jun 10, 2020 | Catholic Living | 100 comments

Every few months, I will get a message or two like one I received today, from someone who says she has followed me for many years but can no longer do so because I haven’t publicly supported a particular issue in the way that she thinks would be appropriate. I’ve mentally composed half a dozen blog posts over the last couple weeks, in response to current (and historical) events, but none have felt right to actually share. So, instead, I figured I’d share what I wrote for her with you guys.

I always encourage people to only follow accounts that they find helpful, and none that disturb their peace. So I support your decision! But I’m sorry to see you go. 

Two considerations come to mind in response to your message. First, one of my favorite things about liturgical living in the home is that it’s a way to grow in our Catholic faith that can be practiced by people on different ends of the political spectrum, and by people on various places on the guitar-Mass-to-Gregorian-Chant continuum. It can be a resource to people at all points in their faith journey. This apostolate of sharing things I’ve learned about Catholicism with others is the reason my blog and social media accounts exist. It has been a significant part of many conversions, which is just so SO amazing to me.

Especially in the past few years, as my readership has increased, I have mindfully tried to stay away from divisive issues except where there is a clear connection to the Mass and the sacraments or liturgical living in the home. This is to give people permission to learn about the saints and the history and tradition of the Church without feeling that they have to be in lockstep with my personal beliefs in other areas.

In real life, issues are complex and multifaceted. In real life, there are plenty of social/political issues upon which good Catholics are allowed to disagree. Even when we agree on a problem, we don’t always agree on solutions. Real change for the better comes from individual growth in personal holiness. But social media often prefers coercion tactics and virtue signaling. 

So much of the internet is purposefully divisive. A couple years ago during the #metoo movement—which was purportedly against the sexual harassment and assault of women especially in professional environments, but which was conflated with the pro-abortion movement—a prominent pelvic floor exercise program took to social media to make sure their followers knew that anyone who didn’t support a woman’s right to have an abortion could show themselves the virtual door. There’s a huge knitting forum that wouldn’t let you talk about knitting unless you also aligned yourself with their views on various political and social issues. Exercise and hobbies have always been things that could bring us together despite important political and social divides. How sad if that kind of friendship isn’t possible anymore.

Of course I have views on current events and opinions on policies. But it limits the people who would be able to hear the message of my apostolate if I make my platform also about the issue of the moment. Today it’s police brutality and anti-racism, but a few minutes ago it was masks and staying home, and before that it was sexual harassment with a side of Netflix, and before that immigration, and before that was Cecil the lion.* There will never not be an issue dividing the internet. I want to be a place of respite from some of that stuff, even when it’s important stuff. I want you to be able to learn about the saints whether you’re charismatic or sspx or protestant or orthodox or syro-malabar or lds, and about the traditions of the Catholic Church even if you are a pagan pro-abortion segregationist. I believe that this is what God is asking of me in this moment.

And that brings me to the second consideration. I get messages like yours each time there is a new social media movement, insisting that I must use my platform to champion the issue about which you feel very strongly. But here’s the thing. Eight years ago, God put it on my heart to want to know more about the saints and Catholic traditions, and to desire that others would know more about them too. I didn’t reach out to existing Catholic bloggers to say I was disappointed in them for not sharing this message that I thought was important. I reached out to them to ask if they had any advice for starting a blog and social media platform of my own. Because if God put it on my heart, I figured it was my job to do it.

St. Paul told the Corinthians that we are all the Body of Christ, in different parts and with different gifts and responsibilities. (1 Cor 12) In other words: It’s a potluck. It’s better if we don’t ALL bring jell-o salad. Is your thing more important than mine? Probably so! All the more reason for you to get to work on what you’re bringing to the table.

There are plenty of good Catholic takes on current events. My favorites recently have been by my good friend (and fellow Fiat Conference planning committee member) Karianna Frey. You can find her on Instagram @kariannafrey.

*These issues are not all equal in importance. But all have prompted people to write to me to share their disappointment.

p.s. The Catholic Marriage Summit starts tomorrow! The talk Jim and I are contributing is: We Don’t Know How Many Kids We’re Going to Have. Here’s the official tease . . .

We are Jim and Kendra Tierney, married for almost nineteen years, and the parents of ten kids aged eight months to eighteen years. Yes . . . TEN KIDS! Don’t worry, it seems crazy to us too. Our journey to openness to life has been a bumpy one with twists and turns and tears and method failures and operator error and ultimately . . . understanding. But very little cavorting in fields of wildflowers (despite what the nfp brochures seemed to indicate on that front). 

One of those twists has been a twelve year battle with serious illness. But looking back, our decision as an engaged couple not to use artificial contraception—that one gigantic leap of faith—is the moment we look back on as the single most important in our marriage. It is the decision from which strength and joy and so much grace has flowed into our marriage. It’s extraordinarily countercultural, but we think it’s really what the Catholic understanding of sex and marriage requires that we wrap our heads around somehow: We don’t know how many kids we’re going to have. Come, hang out with us for a few minutes and see if we can convince you to not know too.

Click here to sign up at no cost.


  1. Lindsey Gustad

    Thank you! I have been struggling with this as well because although I very much care about what’s going on, I should not be speaking about it with the same authority as I speak about finance since it’s not my area of expertise. We need people to care about all different things. The people saving the panda bears can’t drop what they’re doing to deal with other issues – they have polar bears to save. It’s ok for us to have different causes.

    • Lindsey Gustad

      Panda bears, polar bears…save all the bears lol

      • Tammy

        I’ve always found it interesting how others can be upset or annoyed that you haven’t taken a side or stand on an issue. Just because you blog doesn’t mean you have to discuss every top world event, give the pros/cons and your stance on it. ‍♀️ It’s your blog, and you have to do what feels right for you. There are plenty of other blogs out there that have taken a side that those followers can read if they choose to.

        I had been reading your blog for awhile and then lost it. So glad I found you again!

        • Fiona Carolan

          Thank you Kendra, be assured of our family’s prayers for your family. I enjoy your posts & have always found them to inspire & encourage me. I also have lately been praying about the ‘many parts of the one body’. It is so true, that when we are living the way God has called us, each in our own unique vocation, we are more peace-filled. May God bless you as you continue to serve him through your life.

        • Alysha Olson Sanchez

          Thank you for addressing this issue. I find the idea that we can only support those that are backing the latest political or social ideal trend awkward to say the least, the us vs them mentality isn’t how I want to operate as a writer.

        • Tess

          A fellow Catholic’s skin color should not be an ‘issue’. Even the early Christians were persecuted, but for the faith of their choosing. Skin is not a choice, but is God given. Many of us would love to ignore the bad things, to reduce it to a picnic/potluck. We do not create the horror. It is thrust upon us for merely insisting. Please don’t turn away. I wonder how many diverted their eyes from Jesus’ plight? We are literally your neighbors…and the least of these. xx

      • Laura M

        LOL yes, save all the bears 🙂

      • Tess

        A fellow Catholic’s skin color should not be an ‘issue’. Even the early Christians were persecuted, but for the faith of their choosing. Skin is not a choice, but is God given. Many of us would love to ignore the bad things, to reduce it to a picnic/potluck. We do not create the horror. It is thrust upon us for merely insisting. Please don’t turn away. I wonder how many diverted their eyes from Jesus’ plight? We are literally your neighbors…and the least of these. xx

    • Merissa Zielinski

      Here here! Well said, Kendra. You’re a gift in my Catholicy Mom life.

  2. Cheryl Adamek

    Thank you for not commenting!!! I’m so over the anxiety I feel at the suggestion that silence=racism. There are many of us who simply need a minute to process how we move forward without the knee-jerk hashtag comments that so many are compelled to share right now, including many Catholic influencers. By no means do I wish to downplay the seriousness of what’s facing our country/society with my comments.

    • Jasmin

      You once said that we don’t all have to agree with everything on the internet (or IRL) to hang out and it’s still true.

    • Jennifer

      Thank you thank you!! This is so refreshing and so are the comments! 🙂

      • Laura

        Beautifully written as usual. You should write a book or something.

    • Jennifer S

      Please don’t buy into the lie that silence=racism!!! It’s a bully tactic the radical left is using to get the world to bow to their platform. A person’s “silence” in the online (read: fake) “world” is simply the statement: “I don’t choose to talk about _____ right now.” A person has every right to post about whatever they want and to not post about what they don’t want to, without the rest of the internet making a judgment call on their beliefs.

  3. Victoria

    AntiRacism and police brutality aren’t an “issue of the moment.” Unless you consider 50+ years (police brutality) and 400+ years (racism in the United States) to be just a moment.

    • Kendra

      Racism and being against racism aren’t new. But they are the thing about which social media is newly disappointed in people who aren’t processing them in an approved way. Last month it was something else. In a few months it will be something else again.

      • Cami

        Just a note about the current climate regarding the near harassment over racism… My husband is an educator and recently attended an online professional development event. The speaker added a message about silence = racism which came on unnecessarily strong, particularly for the purpose of the event. I told my husband, “if anybody ever asks you what you’re doing to fight racism, tell them you’re raising your children to know that every single life is precious. Your activism is in your home, raising your five children to love others.” I think making a difference beginning with your family is often overlooked or considered perhaps to not be enough. But the family of origin is where seeds are planted.

        • Beth

          I love what you do eloquently said!!

      • Sheila

        Because it’s been ongoing, the most embarrassing thing about people rushing to blog against racism is that so many people never mentioned it till now.

        None of us should feel the need to “come out” against racism, because we should already be out and proud. Racism is a sin. There’s no reason for you not to have mentioned it before, still less to specifically exempt this sin from mention for fear of turning off those who commit it.

        I guarantee you, if you evangelize the racist by convincing them they’re welcome in the church without changing, you’re watering down the message of Christ.

        • Kendra

          Yes, thank you. I certainly hope it isn’t unclear to anyone that I and the Church are against racism.

          • Judy

            Kendra, with respect, that’s the problem. It’s not clear the church is against racism. I love that you shared the #rendyourhearts campaign, and wish, rather than discussing here why you don’t want to discuss this issue on the blog (which I think failed to walk a tight line you set for yourself of not equating George Floyd to a lion), you worked to make sure to represent diverse, culturally rich liturgical living, including highlighting Black saints, and all saints who have fought against racism in a particular way.

          • Andrea

            Sadly, I think Judy is right. We are living in a time when many practicing Catholics espouse racist beliefs and are failing to see how this is contrary to the faith of the Church. Not condemning racism in a loud voice from all corners of the Catholic world only adds to the confusion and allows the sin of racism to continue.

            Kendra, you have a special gift in sharing ideas for liturgical living. As Judy suggested, it would be such a blessing for you to use your unique background and skill sets to center the experiences of Black saints and saints who fought racism in an even deeper and stronger way during this important time. You can use your gift from God to do his work to stop racism.

          • Veronica

            I’m super new to your blog (found you just today looking for Catholic homeschooling resources), but this was the first post I’ve read. And while I get your point and it is your blog/platform to do with as you are called to…. Minimizing racism and committing to being anti-racist to a social media fad of the week seems wrong. Paralleling the outrage to the loss of George Floyd’s life to the poaching of an animal seems wrong. 1) Racism is not a recent issue; it’s a centuries old issue that we have yet to rectify because white people like to ignore it. 2) police brutality is most definitely a issue of life; if one is pro-life, one should also be against police brutality and 3) The Church being against racism hasn’t be clear from a historical perspective in the US. As a Catholic living in the South, the church was definitely silent and complicit in racial inequality and segregation. I am a white woman and I attend a historically Black Catholic Church in a small town that is minutes away from the affluent ginormous white Catholic church in the same town. And while the racial lines are not spoken or enforced these days, they are most definitely alive. So the Catholic Church and its faithful need to be reminded (or hollered at) that living liturgically and living the Catholic faith most definitely means that we are called to be anti-racist. Maybe hollering that from your blog isn’t your jam. But there are lots of ways to walk the walk and talk the talk of being anti-racist — committing to highlight saints and theologians of color, sharing music from the Black Catholic tradition, etc. And perhaps you’ve done that and I haven’t delved deep enough into your website (and I apologize if that’s the case). There are just so many ways to be anti-racist and Catholic and we need those examples.

          • Kendra

            I think you misspelled “Thanks for the countless hours you spent creating resources for homeschoolers and paying to have a blog in order to provide them for free to strangers on the internet.” 😛 Forgive my snark. You’ve expressed yourself politely. I’m just tired. I took weeks away from social media to try to avoid the criticism of strangers, because it just adds up and hurts my heart. I reply individually to dozens of people struggling to wrap their heads around homeschooling, so I decide I’ll jump back into the Facebook fray and direct people to my homeschool archives. And here we are again. I’m being told by you how I am to use my gifts and time and how I am to correspond to the tasks God has given me in this life. I am against racism. I am not racist. I will continue to live that out in the way that feels right to me. God help me, I’m not sure if it can be on the internet any more. Please pray for me and my ministry.

      • Andrea

        Kendra, I hope you are wrong that “in a few months it will be something else again.” I hope this is the beginning of a new and powerful movement to fight racism. And I wish you would stand up and be a part of it. Adding your voice would be a small way to contribute to us all *not* moving on and forgetting about this while more of our Black brothers and sisters are brutalized and killed.

    • Stephanie

      I think you’re making a parts of speech error/erroneous oratorical inference.

      “Racism is the issue of the moment” does not mean “racism has become an issue in this moment”. It means “At the moment, it is the issue that people generally are most concerned about”.

  4. Brenda Serrano

    Reading your blog is a shot in the arm! Thank you for all that you do, and be assured of my prayers for you and your beautiful family!

  5. Amy V.

    Side bar- Are you working on a blog post that describes the 12 points on the guitar-Mass-to-Gregorian-Chant continuum spectrum? Or perhaps what your Myers-Briggs type says about you and what type of mass you should attend?

  6. Jane

    I’m from England and I have never heard of a “jello salad” !!

    • Kendra

      What we call “jell-o” is what Brits call jelly. Jell-o salad these days usually means a jell-o mold with fruit in it, and even that’s not very common now, but in post-war America there was a whole genre of complicated savory jell-o salads featuring fish and olives and whatnot. My mom still has a fish-shaped jell-o mold intended for this purpose, but I only ever remember having the fruit type of jell-o salad in a fish shape. Anyway, it’s a whole fascinating/horrifying history. A Social History of Jell-O Salad: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon And you can watch a YouTuber hilariously try it here: We Made Tuna Jello From 1955

  7. Stephanie

    I usually feel with of-the-moment-issue posts that once I have read the title and first three sentences I can write the rest of the post in my head so needn’t go on to read it in full.

    What I do appreciate hearing from bloggers is about when they either changed their mind on a serious issue, or didn’t have an opinion on a good-people/Catholics-can-disagree issue and suddenly needed one. I like to hear what event or person in their life caused them to think about it, how they researched it, and how they came to their (new) conclusions. It’s interesting to me to hear about different people’s thought processes, and particularly to hear about how people weigh up different authorities in making decisions which aren’t universally clear-cut.

    For example, I think I recall an article once from a woman who was stridently pro-breastfeeding (and therefore anti-formula) and thought anyone who didn’t breastfeed was lazy and basically didn’t love their baby. Then she had a baby who wouldn’t feed, and it was pretty much formula or die. Then she found out about all sorts of different women who couldn’t or just didn’t want to breastfeed and concluded she had been a bit of a jerk and formula is actually fine. Vague recollections, but it was a fascinating journey through her psyche!

    In a similar boat, I would put the many accounts I have read of people who started out with children in school and are now committed homeschoolers despite never thinking they would. Particularly former teachers!

    I can be quite black-and-white, so it is helpful to me to read about people changing their mind and ending up in various different places of grey.

    Kendra, this post reminded me of your multiple posts on NFP. What made you decide that was an issue that you wanted to post about when you have obviously passed many others by? Was it that you felt you were saying something different rather than just repeating the general status quo?

    • Sarah

      Stephanie, I agree; I like to learn people’s thought processes and evolutions. I have certainly changed my mind or evolved my opinions on complex issues and can always improve at appreciating “gray” areas.”

    • Kendra

      It’s a fair point. I have posted quite a bit about nfp, and did so a bit even in this very post. And I also write about homeschooling and parenting and family and TV shows. All of which is occasionally controversial, if not to the extent of the movement type issues. I guess I’d say it comes down to your earlier point. NFP is an issue about which I have personal experience, it’s something that has been transformative in my life and marriage and family. It’s definitely something about which I have changed my mind, more than once! So I think I have a unique perspective on that to share. On the issue of racism, and some of these other topics, I don’t feel that I have a unique perspective to share, but other people do. In this instance, on social media I directed folks toward people who had something good to say, shared the position of the Church, stepped back from posting for a while, and that that was the appropriate approach for me.

  8. Emily

    It’s not that people want you to offer your opinion. They want to check you off as posting the “approved” opinion. So kudos for not falling into that trap.

  9. Regina DeSpain

    Thank you for being my go to place, where I know I will always find peace and quiet. Only Faith is spoken here. I am so blessed with the offerings of just how richly I can live as a Catholic all day, all month, all year.

  10. Elle

    This is disappointing, and so are some of the responses. Would it be so contrary to this apostolate to post a list of saints who encountered racism? As someone else pointed out, this isn’t a new issue.

    • Kendra

      Every month I share about the lives of the saints, and they always include saints of color. Meg Hunter-Kilmer has been doing a series of posts exactly as you suggest on Facebook. But it’s hard to please even with that. Be a Heart shared an illustration and caption about St. Katherine Drexel, who spent her life and fortune to promote racial justice, and comments were critical of St. Katherine Drexel as a patroness of racial justice because she is white.

      • Kate

        So many others have said this well and wisely, but racism is not an issue of the moment even if we discuss it on social media. As a white person, deeply learning about racism has changed the way I do my work, what I read, who I follow on social media, and where I choose to live with my family. As a Catholic, it has profoundly increased my awareness of human sin and how much I depend on God’s grace every day. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe God is constantly calling us to learn more and to care more deeply for one another.

        If you feel like people are demanding some kind of virtue-signaling from you, it may be that they genuinely aren’t able to read your stance from the material you make available. Perhaps you will come in time to be grateful for the encouragement to do things differently.

        • Jennifer S

          Why would you imply that Kendra (or any blogger you read) should “do things differently”? This is Kendra’s blog, not yours. If you don’t like a certain blog – for whatever reason – then stop following it! No one has the right to ask a blogger to write about anything. Seek out the blogs that you like and don’t visit the ones you don’t. It’s not rocket science. But it’s very prideful to suggest that someone will “do things differently” because you want them to.

    • Stephanie

      Quite – it isn’t a new issue. But tomorrow the headlines (and social media) will be full of something else. Will everyone be obliged then to post their own “take” on whatever the hot button issue is tomorrow? I think it’s OK to draw the line and say you don’t have anything new to add to a news story (because ultimately, this is what this is) and therefore don’t need to comment on it.

      • Sarah

        Of all the things on the internet and social media (Instagram!!!) there are so so so many other accounts to complain about or demand something other than what they are promoting from racisms to materialism to sexualization of girls to just over the top negativity and rudeness. Kendra is doing good- and has been for so many years. She is not or never has done anything but good. Take a look around and fight the battle of whatever you feel called to elsewhere-instead of criticism or demands from someone who is using the little energy she has after raising really really nice kids.

  11. Mary Ann

    Thank you – so beautifully written. Please keep your blog a “place of respite”. Be assured of my continued prayers for your family! And by the way, I lean in the direction of Gregorian Chant!

  12. Laura

    Thank you for writing this! Its been hard to stay focused on God and what he’s calling my family and I to do. I think social media and our cultural can distract me from staying centered on God, It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one feeling that pull.

  13. Amy

    Very well said. As a fellow blogger in another niche, I’ve struggled with how approach controversial but meaningful issues in an authentic way that corresponds to my faith. I think you’ve managed to do it! Keeping with the mission we feel God is calling us to puts all things in perspective. Thanks for this post.

    • Betsy

      I think racism is much bigger than an “issue of the moment.”

    • Cassie

      This is such a refreshing post. Thank you, Kendra!

  14. Bobbie Holland

    Thank you, Kendra for your work!

  15. Amanda

    I’m a newer follower (a few months now) and I just want to say that this post is so refreshing to read! Thank your for being consistent with your messaging and also for providing a space that does not blur the lines of all of the other issues our world is facing. I have already learned SO much from you and I am so grateful for your virtual guidance as I navigate raising Catholic kids in a world that is doing everything to demolish the ideals of the nuclear family and Christianity. I will pray for you and your family that you may continue to be a source of inspiration for those who come to your site for precisely that reason. God Bless.

  16. Vanessa

    Thank you for sharing your words. I’m a “nobody” in that I don’t have my social media profiles set to public or have a blog, but was feeling a lot of pressure to say something addressing racism and police brutality just so that others knew I’m not racist. I quickly deleted my social media apps and it’s been a blessing. I came to a similar conclusion with my husband and we’ve both been off of social media for a while now. We discuss racism and police brutality often after reading news articles and have found that the only thing we can really do right now is to help our children understand the beauty of God’s people, teach them to respect life, and work on our own personal faith life. I respect your view and appreciate your approach right now. God bless.

  17. Angela

    Thank you! While I have strong thoughts on what is going on in our country right now, I choose to be silent on social media. I applaud you for staying true to your mission.

  18. Joanna M.

    Yes, Kendra! Thank you for this post! We are many parts, but all one body and we should not be made to feel guilty or shamed for not publicly speaking about the issue of the moment. What’s important is the work we do on the inside, the work of our hearts. That’s what God sees and that’s the only thing that matters. We will have to answer to God and give an account to Him and only Him when our time comes, not to the mass public. If we truly do the work needed to transform our hearts, it will naturally spill out into all areas of our life thus impacting humanity in the best way that we possibly can – by our own witness to our family, friends, and complete strangers.

  19. Rebecca H.

    Yes thank you! I had to deactivate my Facebook account temporarily and maybe permanently because of Catholic friends who were so forceful that every white person was vehemently racist no matter what I said or did and i should apologize for being alive as a white person. I was getting angry every time I logged on. So grateful for your response!

  20. Ann Selzer

    It seems like this could be the perfect teachable moment for you. Many saints stood up against injustice and oppression. It is often hard to really understand how powerful their faith must have been when we don’t fully understand the moment they were living in. But we are now living in a time when we are being called to stand up against injustice ourselves. Perhaps using the life of a saint could help us find the faith, hope and love that is needed in this time-not to mention tons of courage! Perhaps God could use your call to teach about the saints to help us not just learn their names and stories but to be more like them in our daily lives today.

    • Kendra

      I’m not sure I understand the difference. In my own life and in my family, I’ve found that learning the names and stories of saints definitely inspires us to be more like them.

  21. Mary Fulfer

    I appreciate your commentary on this- especially in reference to the use of social media/internet to increase the divisiveness in our society. Whether purposeful or not, this is the result- unless one is purposeful in NOT making it so. And I’m thankful you are purposeful in this area! I recently dis-enrolled in a catholic mom’s prayer forum because people were so often name calling about things- “liberal progressive catholic”, “bullying conservative Catholic “ etc…. it was very sad because if any of these folks saw each other face to face- they would most likely never say the things they feel free to say behind a screen.

    Let’s all just knit and pray and drink coffee… k? Haha!

  22. Lina

    Agreed with your response 100%. Silence on something doesn’t mean approval nor disapproval. And I love your suggestion that if someone has someone has a Holy discontent about something, it’s usually something the Holy Spirit is asking of THAT person rather than you! Please continue to be a place of sanity and respite from the rest of the internet. I appreciate that you don’t cover every topic under the sun since I come here to read about living out our Catholic life at home all year long! Peace be with you!

  23. Kristi

    So well said. Thank you!

  24. Eileen

    I love a good Venn diagram. . Thanks for always getting to the heart of the matter.

  25. Paige

    I agree so much. I’ve been taking all of current events to prayer and doing very real things in my real life (study, adding kids books to our collection, listening, having conversations with family and friends, donating money, etc.) but I’m not posting about it anywhere. The world doesn’t need my voice to be added virtually to the chorus of anti-racism cries: it needs to be added literally and incarnationally in my home and community and in the people/places I encounter in reality. We all have a role to play – and for most of us “nobodies”, that’s in our real life, not our virtual one.

  26. Bernadette

    Amen! I so appreciate this stance you have (I also have the same stance on my catholic fashion insta blog, which is why I haven’t posted about anything going on right now!), and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way!

  27. Jessica

    I’m curious: How do abortion, gay rights, and spanking — all controversial topics that you’ve posted about — fit into your definition of the blog’s focus on “Mass, the Sacraments, and liturgical living”?

  28. Tayleigh

    Hi Kendra. I’m a long-time non-Catholic reader of your blog, but I’ve never commented. I don’t always agree with everything you post, but I do always appreciate your thoughtful take. Plus, I simply can’t tell you how much I have relied on your parenting advice with my own small children. Most recently, I’ve had “Is there a question you’d like to ask?” on repeat with my 4-year old, and I’m gearing up to reread your sleep training post, as well as Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (purchased on your recommendation with my first) in preparation for sleep training my 7-month-old. Anyway, I just want to say I have also been troubled lately by the social pressure to respond in the One Right Way to current issues, and I’m concerned with how so many of the conversations I see lack nuance and the space for individual difference. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

  29. Jaime

    Thanks Kendra for a very reasoned and fresh response to everything right now. I love your Catholic compendium and use it regularly to help us live more liturgically. Best to you and your family!

  30. Terri

    Thank you for so eloquently stating what I could not put into words!

  31. Joan Taylor

    Wonderful post. Thanks so much!

  32. Katie

    Kendra, I think the difference here is that racism undoubtedly exist and it is categorized by the Church as a sin. I don’t think you had to use this exact moment to talk about it (there are a million times in the liturgical year to celebrate the universality of the Church and denounce racism). But using this moment to talk about how you’re not going to talk about it, says a lot about where you stand on the issue. I would never expect someone to agree with me on policy and politics. BUT, denouncing racism is not political, it is love.

    • Kendra

      I appreciate your perspective, but it’s not fair to say that you know better than I do where I stand on the issue. This issue has been so volatile on social media not because people disagree about it, but because of the unreasonable criticizing of how individuals are choosing to publicly respond. In my own case, I shared on social media the position of the Church (and my own position) with a specifically anti-racism quote by Pope St. Paul VI on his feast day, I shared a campaign of prayer and reparation against the sin of racism created by women of color (in which I am also personally participating), I shared the platform of women of color who are speaking out with a Catholic perspective, I refrained from posting on social media myself for about two weeks to allow other voices to be heard. And the moment I posted photos from my son’s high school graduation, I got the disappointed unfollow message. I’m denouncing racism, but I think it’s reasonable to criticize the unreasonableness and uncharity going around on social media.

  33. Victoria

    Kendra, I love everything that you do, but the grave sin of racism and violation of human rights is not a “trendy topic of the week” or political (there’s not one side that’s pro-human rights and the other doesn’t care) or a topic where there’s room to agree or disagree. Treating someone as inferior due to their race is wrong and it’s not bad to say so. I appreciate that you don’t want to add your statement if you don’t have the experience, but you could feature more saints of color and liturgical traditions from different ethnicities in this great universal faith of ours. Catholics need to stand together to defend the dignity of all human lives.

    • Kendra

      Thank you. I agree with you that the sin of racism is a Catholic issue. But the social media phenomenon of going from one outrage to the next has been building for the past few years, and has reached a new apex first with covid19 and now with anti-racism. This has been so volatile on social media not because people disagree about it, but because of the unreasonable criticizing of how individuals are choosing to publicly respond. There are saints of color throughout my book, and I share those and more on social media and through my printables every month. I shared on social media the position of the Church (and my own position) with a specifically anti-racism quote by Pope St. Paul VI on his feast day, I shared a campaign of prayer and reparation against the sin of racism created by women of color (in which I am also personally participating), I shared the platform of women of color who are speaking out with a Catholic perspective, I refrained from posting on social media myself for about two weeks to allow other voices to be heard. And the moment I posted photos from my son’s high school graduation, I got the disappointed unfollow message. I’m denouncing racism, and so should we all, but I think it’s also good to criticize the unreasonableness and uncharity going around on social media.

      • Caroline

        My goodness, reading just a few of these opinions here, or on your FB makes my head spin, my stomach churn, and regret having read ANY of the comments. I don’t know how you do it, Kendra- or any person with a blog. Makes me think of an obituary when it says “in lieu of flowers…” I would just turn off comments or say “in lieu of your opinion, please say a prayer” – or, ask people to only comment with a prayer. If only we spent a third of the time saying a prayer instead of giving our opinion on what the blogger should or shouldn’t say.

      • Courtney

        Ok you’ve said those things in the past but now it’s time to not just say but DO more. Someone as wealthy and privileged as you surely can do a little more for the black community now than you have before. That’s what this “issue of the moment” is asking from you. Money. Time. And to say the words “black lives matter”. Because they do. And as many people need to hear and say this message as possible.

        Any catholic black focused charities you can highlight and donate to?

        What books are you using to discuss anti-racism in your homeschool?

        What is your precious high school doing to ensure their expensive tuition isn’t excluding BIPOC students?

        And of course the elephant in the room: Why are there so few black Catholics? Perhaps you could get a black priest to share their thoughts.

        Any black people you can give a guest post to?

        These are just a few ideas from the top of my head on what your blog and platform could do to support black lives at this moment.

        As a self proclaimed trump supporter i think it’s safe to say that you have a long way to go with racial prejudice. If that’s not the case than please do prove otherwise.

        • Kendra

          I have to say you are confounding my efforts to always assume the best of comments and commenters. You’ll have to show me where I’ve proclaimed myself a supporter of any politician, because I certainly don’t remember doing so. And why the utterly unfounded dig at my children’s school?

          Setting that aside, why is it not possible that we could both be against racism, and that we might, as people of good will who have considered the issue, disagree about the best ways to make things better?

          If after prayerful discernment, these are the ways you think racism would best be conquered, I would certainly encourage you to pursue them. I do not begrudge others addressing the situation in the way that they see fit. To me, a lot of this would feel disingenuous and reactionary.

          I stand by my track record of promoting and celebrating saints of color and traditions from cultures all over the world for many years. My book features black saints. The clipart calendar I released for June, before any of this went down, highlights the Ugandan martyrs. And none of it was reactionary. I’m not going to criticize people who are just now discovering the beauty of diversity, because if they are discovering it, that’s a good thing. But it has always been part of my ministry and people who use my books as part of their liturgical living in the home know that.

          I plan to continue loving my black friends, and my black family members. I plan to continue to open my home to people without regard for their race or nationality. I plan to continue to promote traditions and celebrations from all over the world. I plan to continue to be led by what I discern as God’s will for me rather than social media’s. I hope to grow in personal holiness and encourage others to do the same.

  34. Laura M

    Yes, thank you. People want to dictate how other people use their platforms, even if they don’t have anything to do with the particular cause (i.e. public instagrams about dogs)

  35. Ashleen Bagnulo

    But you can bring something to this potluck that won’t be redundant. Put the spotlight on POC saints or saints who have taken stands against racialized brutality. Put up a litany for racial healing to those saints (if you cannot find one, write one!). Draw attention to Father Josh’s novena for racial healing. You have a huge following. People depend on you and learn from you and you can do that concerning race in a way that fits YOUR charism.

  36. Kate

    I just feel like this is yet another way you make people feel unwelcome. I would tell you articles by Fr. Martin, but I know how your portion of Catholicism feels about him. Jesus took up the side of the oppressed, and wanted a welcoming religion. I fail to see where Opus Dei allows that-

  37. Becky Stone

    Thanks Kendra. I’ve been reading your blog for probably 8 years, and bought your book. I’m a divorced atheist raised orthodox jew, from the UK. I love learning about different culture and religion. I love your blog and your family and respect your outlook and traditions enormously. Thanks for your inclusion and openness.

  38. Lauren

    I don’t think discussing racism is a social media trend. I’ve been discussing it and posting about it on my own social media for many, many years now. It’s a topic that I see regularly, too, from my friend, acquaintances and influences I follow.

    I also don’t think it’s not a pressing Catholic issue, but here in the US it’s not as discussed as much as it should be by major church leaders. Pope Francis has even commented on this, pointing out that is as much a pro-life issue as abortion and end of life decisions.

    I think discourse on race needs to be something discussed regularly and if one has not been doing it by now, then now is the time to start. If one is not reflecting and commenting regularly on it, then that should needs to change going forward. If you are not seeing it regularly, and only think social media will discuss this for a bit, now is the time to start looking for ways to keep abreast of what’s going on more often.

    Otherwise, by remaining inactive to positive change, we are passively participating in the sin of racism, and all the attendant sins that come along with it.

  39. Kristine

    The movement isn’t really about race. It’s about police and the public. The BLM people even go after officers of color, support the suspect no matter the details. If they were somewhat thoughtful over which interactions they got involved it I would take them to be more sincere. The politicians and media were going after ICE not too long ago. In days we went from hero worship the first responder, heath and retail workers forced to be within 6 feet of people next they are ambushing law enforcement and arresting them for arresting a suspect in the way they were taught to do so. Don’t make it an offense to sell loose cigarettes if you don’t want an officer to arrest a person doing so. If Congress were to quadruple the VISAs from this hemisphere the border and holding/deporting would be greatly reduced and people would be here working without fear. I can’t watch Disney jr with my child for more than an hour without being told to wash my hands, get dressed (really Mickey tells the audience to get dressed), worry about climate change, BLM, and celebrate PRIDE month. Nothing about not taking things, not setting things of fire, follow the rules, feeding the hungry, comfort the hurting. They stopped telling people to stay inside. Even outside the commercials the characters on the programs are preaching to people.

  40. Lindsay

    Kendra, I went to the last Fiat conference and greatly enjoyed it. I also enjoy keeping up with your blog from time to time, in large part because you offer a perspective different from mine though we are fellow Catholic women. Still, I found your take here not just disappointing but hurtful. To be sure, I don’t think you need to blog about everything. You should write about what moves your heart. But that’s why posting about why you’re *not* going to write about racial inequality feels particularly harmful.

    As a white mother of a black son, I want to–with love and charity–put a question to you and to everyone on this thread who found this post “refreshing:” Why is it that in your heart of hearts, you find it refreshing to not have to grapple with this issue here? To not have to think about why our black brothers and sisters are crying out for justice? And to not ask yourself how you might have been complicit?

    Because as the mother of a black son I don’t have the luxury of not thinking about it (Can my son wear a hoody at night? Where should he put his hands if he’s pulled over by the police?). The luxury of not thinking about it is what many people today refer to as “white privilege.” Even if you do not understand or like that term, as Christians, we are called specifically not to forget about those who are being left behind. This isn’t a social media trend. This isn’t a hashtag campaign. This is Christ saying, you’re here now in front of what’s happening. It’s time to engage.

    • Kendra

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to insist that each person would engage with a particular important issue in the same way, or to think that whether or not someone makes a facebook post of the currently approved wording about listening and learning means anything about what’s in that person’s heart. I stand by my track record of promoting and celebrating saints of color and traditions from cultures all over the world for many years. My book features black saints. The clipart calendar I released for June, before any of this went down, highlights the Ugandan martyrs. And none of it was reactionary. I’m not going to criticize people who are just now discovering the beauty of diversity, because if they are discovering it, that’s a good thing. But it has always been part of my ministry and people who use my books as part of their liturgical living in the home know that.

  41. Linda Martin

    SO thankful for your perspective, thank you for what you do!!

    • Bibiana

      You are an inspiration! Thank you for being firmly yourself.

  42. Hilary Cable

    I agree, sister! The dog adoption group I work with does a lot of its communication on Facebook, and it ha become stomach twisting torture to visit every 10 days or so to get caught up with them. People don’t seem to realize how much harm this Internet phenomenon of drawing lines in the virtual sand causes. You are eloquent and compassionate. Love your blog. Thank you for focusing on your topic.

  43. Hannah

    Black Lives Matter isn’t new, and this isn’t a fad or of the moment. It is becoming pretty clear that this is the civil rights issue of our time, and is actually becoming less divisive and less of a marginalized issue by the day . Many of us with white, conservative family and friends are watching them reckon with privilege and inequity in policing in real time- which is amazing.

    To say that you are not engaging with this on your blog because it’s « divisive » and you simply blog about rEaL cAThOliC iSsUeS sounds disingenuous. You have made plenty of posts that could be called divisive, and have certainly made your political preferences known. This is not a political issue, it is a pro-life issue, an urgent issue of human dignity. It seems you simply don’t engage with it because you believe it doesn’t have to do with you or your family, and yet wrote this whole post trying to justify that.

    Not all of us live walled off in mansions in Altadena, insulated among lilywhite family, school and church communities, able to ignore the presence of racial bias and violence against our Black and brown brothers and sisters. But even those like you who do have this opportunity to hear the way Black folks are crying out for justice and listen and respond!

    • Kendra

      I don’t remember making political posts. It’s true that I’ve written on other potentially divisive issues, mostly regarding entertainment or specifically Catholic issues. That’s why I preferred to address this issue by sharing long established Catholic teaching against racism, and sharing about saints of color . . . stuff I have always done, rather than post a black square or some sort of false confession. What it comes down to for me is that I genuinely do not believe that the tear down statues and shame people on social media approach is one that will ultimately result in a better life for people of color in our country. I live in an awesome, and diverse neighborhood. I have black family members. I have friends of color. My apostolate has always been to celebrate the rich diversity of cultural influences in Catholic tradition. I think that’s a better way. That’s what God has put on my heart. So that’s what I’m going to keep doing.

      • Sarah Wilson

        And we do have such a diverse Catholic community! If being Catholic has taught be anything, it’s that God can move any heart. He doesn’t look at how rich or poor we are… He looks at us all with love. He wants us all to act in love.

  44. L

    We are all called to stand up for injustice. That is part of our faith and, simply, being a decent human. And in her constant proclamation of the Gospel, Kendra does this constantly — in all that her blog stands for.

    To be frank, writing some “official” social media post or blog post in solidarity with the shouting internet is not, in any way, the most effective (and certainly not necessary) way to fight the incredible injustice of racism. To me, it can even be an easy way to feel like you’re doing something important — a way to align oneself by internet social alliances — not a statement at all about the way one actually lives daily life.

    What is much more impressive to me than a blog post from Kendra regarding this matter is the entire breadth of her work, which does nothing BUT stand up for doing what is right and fighting for human dignity. Kendra, by the very essence of her blog, is encouraging holiness within families — a far deeper and more transcendent way to fight injustice than a simple token blog post.

    Keep up the great work, Kendra. If anything, I think this blog post was unnecessary. You have no reason to write a defense. You are encouraging truth, goodness and beauty in all that you write — we don’t need *everyone* we read or hear *everywhere* to say everything in the same way at the same time.

    Let’s take a note from Mother Teresa who was a woman of few words and much action: “You want to promote peace in our world? Go home and love your family.” Thank you for your work.

  45. Martha

    I am late to this party, and have brought nothing but mushy mashed potatoes in a junky-looking container. But I have to say I am happy you’re still in business, if you get my meaning. I used to reference your blog before I started up on my low-information diet five years ago (which has done wonders to my emotional health), kinda stumbled on here looking for Ember Days resources, and I really appreciate all your efforts and resources.

    All this talk about opinions, and whether to share them, reminded me of a story of Big Sis Therese. She was approached by a novice who wished so much to influence her vain and worldly (biological) sister into religious life. “Let’s write her a letter!” said the novice. “No,” responded Therese, “We can do much more by prayers and sacrifices.” They sacrificed all Lent, and, miracle! This sister, by Easter, had given up all her worldly ways, and was petitioning to enter Carmel. Sister Therese knows what’s up.

    St. Therese, pray for us!

    • Jessica

      Beautiful wisdom- wise words indeed.
      I agree with your entire post.
      So glad I stumbled upon your blog today. I needed these posts I’m reading!

  46. Leah

    A late (and long – this got me thinking!) comment from the “not Catholic” part of the Venn diagram

    I completely agree that pressure to post x y or z often leads to virtue signaling that is more harmful than helpful. But I think it’s a fallacy to imply that just because something isn’t our specialty, we can avoid publicly addressing a real moral issue when we are leaders in a particular space.

    You’re not the expert on this, but rightly or wrongly people do look to you on whether to care/how to form their approach to a topic, and from reading the comments, I think what you wrote gave a lot of people permission to avoid considering how they can help end the sin of racism because it’s not their charism.

    What if we encouraged people to find their own way to work against racism within their calling, and modeled that in ours? E.g. ending abortion isn’t your specific calling, liturgical living is – but you still take your family to pray the rosary outside clinics and share that on IG because it’s a way to instill that core church teaching that fits your calling and speaks to your audience.

    Why not just do that with racism? Write up a post that shares what you’ve already written about church teaching and Rend Your Hearts on IG (most of which I missed, thanks algorithm ), points people to resources where you’ve already highlighted saints of color (which I also didn’t know about, and I bet more people would like to know about that!), and directs folks to people like Karianna who have more experience on the topic? Like you might always bring jello, but you can also rave about Karianna’s expert brisket to everyone else at the potluck, right?

    As is, your focus on whether you should weigh in on every hot topic far outweighed the message that racism is a sin, and one worth working towards ending. It’s clearly a church teaching you believe in and care about, even if you’re not the expert, so why not help amplify it in ways that respect the integrity of your calling – and given what you’ve already put together on IG and here, without much more effort than it takes to write a post like this?

  47. Leah

    Sorry, I left hanging the parallel to praying to end abortion as part of your home life – meant to add that I for one would be interested to see what teaching your children about racism looks like, how you deal with it when it comes up in classic literature or movies, what resources you rely on from experts, etc. I think a lot of us are trying to figure out how to do this with our kids!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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