Some of the best Christians aren’t

Has anybody ever said this to you: “Some of the best Christians aren’t!” Someone said that to me a couple of days ago. I was telling him about a wonderful CD I’d heard (Annie Lennox’s) and remarked that it might just be the best Christmas CD I’ve ever heard from a popular artist. And, I said, she’s not even a Christian. That’s when he said, “Some of the best ones aren’t!” Now my point was that she made this great album of Christmas carols and it’s really beautiful. And I just thought it was a little ironic that she didn’t really mean it. I mean, she means it in a way but not in a Christian way, since she’s not a Christian. Continue reading “Some of the best Christians aren’t”

Inalienable, Unalienable, does it really matter

Rats! Mom told me they'd stick this way someday!I had to read this sentence (below or read it on the web, scroll down to perception’s oh-so-perceptive remark) twice before commenting on it: once to stare and shake my head and once to snort. The statement appears on a forum in a discussion about the difference between “inalienable” and unalienable” rights. Yes, there is a difference. A big difference. And one that is slipping out of our awareness and many of our dictionaries. An Orwellian slippage, as our “educators” and others educate the intelligence, will to learn and even the ability to learn right out of us. Dictionaries do not always show us the best or right way to define something, they often reveal to us mere common usage of terms. They do not often point out how errant such usage may be. I learned that lesson long ago and tend to take published “facts” with a large grain of salt. (Scroll down for more on this difference.) Continue reading “Inalienable, Unalienable, does it really matter”

Religiosity, who needs it?

I guess I’m going to have to start a new category for the blog. The “things I hear people say that blow me away” category. The other day the thing that blew me away was having a Christian tell me that, not only was the Bible just a book written by men, but it is also based on dreams. :O Today I was listening to Catholic radio and I heard a gentleman caller tell the hosts of the show that he doesn’t understand why his wife, who is not Catholic, cannot receive Holy Communion at Mass (which I will address in a separate post), and (it gets worse) now he doesn’t think he needs “religiosity” (or the Church or anything else) based upon the words of the Lord Himself in His conversation with the centurion. Continue reading “Religiosity, who needs it?”

EWTN Family Celebration, continued, Of Rafts, 3-Legged Stools, and Hope

Fr. Wade Menezes delivered a memorable catechetical instruction disguised as an entertaining talk on Saturday during EWTN’s Family Celebration. And the disguise succeeded. The crowd was certainly entertained and we came away from the concert hall with words of wisdom and light on walking the Catholic path. For all those who think that we have no part to play in our salvation, I’d like to share one of my favorite lines from his talk. Fr. Wade is fond of white water rafting and he quoted his rafting leader as saying: Continue reading “EWTN Family Celebration, continued, Of Rafts, 3-Legged Stools, and Hope”

So this re-defining thing, run it by me again

So we’re re-defining words these days. Who started that, huh? And are we re-defining all the words or just some of them? Is there a Re-defining Words Clearinghouse or are we permitted to re-define at will? Is there a form we should fill out and are we free to proceed and re-define various and sundry or any and every word as we please? Continue reading “So this re-defining thing, run it by me again”

Just an encyclical?

I’m sponsoring a friend in the RCIA these days and we went to session two this past Sunday. This Sunday’s topic was the authority of the Church. I expected to hear some of the same old objections and thought I might even hear something surprising. And I did.

From the one teaching the class! Continue reading “Just an encyclical?”

Grace versus works?

Once again someone has attempted to confront me with the old issue of grace versus works, implying that her religion is biblical and that mine is not. The phrasing of the issue itself is misleading because it mistakenly sets grace and works against each other. as if grace and works were unconnected, even opposed to each other. Now it is true that we cannot earn grace by works or else grace would not be grace. Grace is gratuitous, freely given and not compelled by any means. God gives us grace freely in that He is not compelled, He is free to act and to bestow His blessings on us as He pleases. He is not required to give us anything, not grace or anything. Continue reading “Grace versus works?”

Ecumenism, not pluralism

The word ecumenism is used everywhere these days. And most often it is used absolutely incorrectly. Ecumenism does not mean, “I’m okay, you’re okay, there’s no reason to bother ourselves about our differences, no need to examine what we teach or what we mean when we teach it…” Ecumenism, properly considered, is not pluralism. Continue reading “Ecumenism, not pluralism”

Trees have standing and other roots of madness

I think that I shall never see a person so lovely as a tree. That’s right, you heard me. A tree can be accorded legal standing as a person according to our very own beloved Supreme Court. But children in the womb are not have no such claim to personhood as decided by that very same court. Don’t believe me? Read about this Supreme Court case, the Sierra Club vs. Morton, in which Justice Wm. O. Douglas wrote the following:

The ordinary corporation is a “person” for purposes of the adjudicatory processes, whether it represents proprietary, spiritual, aesthetic, or charitable causes…So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern lifeContinue reading “Trees have standing and other roots of madness”

Conversion as change of heart

Since conversion is one of the main topics of this site, I thought I’d spend some time reflecting on what that that process or journey really means. As Scott Hahn says, conversion cannot be reduced to merely changing religions or denominations, but refers, rather, to change of heart. (I believe it was in his series on the Gospel According to Saint Paul. The link takes you to the audio files and some PDF’s at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.) Jesus begins His public ministry echoing the words of John the Baptist: Continue reading “Conversion as change of heart”

Beauties, Beasts and Bible Battles

As I said in the last post, I was switching back and forth this morning between Bible Battles on the History Channel and Beauty and the Beast on Chiller. Now you might wonder what in the world these two shows might have in common. Well, I’ll tell you. First, I’ll have to tell you about the episode of Beauty and the Beast (BATB). It was Fever (Season One, Episode 18), the one where Mouse finds a sunken ship under the city under the city. (I know that’s clumsy, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of a better way to say that. It was under the underworld which is under the city.) Well, Mouse finds treasure in the wreckage of the shipwreck and, since he’s such a nice fellow, the first thing he wants to do with it is share it with his friends.

And that’s when all hell breaks loose in the underworld. So to speak. Friend turns against friend as more and more of the community find out about the treasure and each one sees lifelong dreams coming at long last within reach. Most want to share the treasure equally, but one among them has dreams that do not include such generosity. Mouse found the treasure and revealed its whereabouts to two of his friends. (Actually, they may have followed him to it; I saw that part long ago and I missed it this morning.) One of these friends wants to share the riches with all the others, but one of them (Cullen) wants to take his share (his third!) and cash it in. Needless to say, cashing in relics from a sunken treasure chest proves to be a bit problematic. Where does one take heaps of gold to exchange for large sums of money, keeping the source of said gold shrouded in secrecy?

Continue reading “Beauties, Beasts and Bible Battles”

Freedom, slavery and the difference between them

This morning I was watching television before getting ready to head out for Good Friday services at my parish. I was channel surfing and flipping back and forth between “Bible Battles” on the History Channel and “Beauty and the Beast” on Chiller. The battle that caught my attention was the battle between Moses and Pharaoh in the Exodus (though for some reason I’d never really thought of it as a battle before). Now it so happens that I have the audio of Tim Gray’s excellent study, Adventures in Exodus on my MP3 player and I’ve listened to it many times. So my little ears perked right up when a military historian on that show began speaking about Pharaoh making the Hebrew people into slaves and loading them down with hard labor. And my ears really perked up when he said, to paraphrase,

There’s only one problem; historically speaking, it’s entirely false.

Continue reading “Freedom, slavery and the difference between them”