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Posts Tagged ‘Catholics’

Taking his cue from The Screwtape Letters (don’t tell me you haven’t read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis?!!), Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a senior tempter instructing junior tempters on how useful pop culture and political leaders can be. Despite himself, just like the more-candid-and-revealing-than-he-knows Screwtape, Slubgrip says a lot about the delusions that are necessary to keep a person from repairing his relationship with God. Or, for that matter, that keep him from being able to live with his neighbor without hatred and bloodshed.

Priceless.

Satirical and flavored with somewhat vile humor, yes. But priceless.

(If that doesn’t get you to check out the link, I guess I don’t know what might… 😉 )

hat tip: The Anchoress

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I haven’t participated in Conversion Diary’s 7 Quick Takes Friday in while. But here goes:

1. While hanging around a Catholic hospital’s emergency room earlier this week, I saw on the wall a cross with Jesus on it, but Jesus was oversized for the cross, was fully robed, and wasn’t nailed to the cross. His hands were held out, in consolation and victory. I love the symbolism: the risen, living, loving, triumphant Lord with the cross behind him. But I have no idea what to call such a thing. Surely it’s not called a crucifix? (That would be confusing.) Help me out, here. This sort of cross with Jesus in front of it is called a… what?

2. A loved one was due to go in for heart tests next Monday (yes, Valentine’s Day – that’s when they had an opening), and was expected to get a stent at the same time, if not open heart surgery.  But this last Tuesday, as it happened, a number of diseased or damaged hearts all said phooey on schedules at the same time – including my loved one’s diseased heart – and the hospital to which my loved one got transferred was swamped with heart patients. Triage was necessary. My loved one wound up getting a stent in a late-in-the-day battle (his very hard, 99.9-percent-blocked artery gave the doctor a difficult time of it). He is already home, doing surprisingly well. Amazing. Praise God.

3. I would like to thank Subway for having a store inside the hospital. More specifically, I’d like to thank them for having a $2 English muffin egg and cheese melt available all day.

4. Although I have much good to say about the three (count them, three) Catholic hospitals I have been in during the past week, the one in which we wound up for The Mighty Stent Battle has something called an Interfaith Reflection Room (I think that’s right), for people to use for prayer and meditation – and on the sign outside the door, it asks people to respect this “sacred space.” I feel it incumbent upon myself to suggest that a room that violates the First Commandment cannot be sacred space. What would it be sacred to? Not the God Who has gone to a great deal of bother over the last few thousand years to teach us that ‘thou shalt not hedge your bets.’ As in, ‘thou shall have no other gods beside me.’ Sigh. If they provided a ‘Quiet Room’ for worried people to use, that at least would leave the matter between the individual and God, instead of officially seeming to recognize no difference between prayers to God and prayers not to God.

5. I am reading in a Kindle edition of The Godly Man’s Picture, by Thomas Watson, a 17th century Puritan preacher. Nearly everything I had understood about Puritans in my younger days was wrong, by the way.

6. The snow is nearly gone. There has been plenty of it in the right places this year. It’s looking good for farmers around here who have to irrigate to get a crop in.

7. We don’t usually have elk around here, but this winter we did, off and on for weeks, which has caused a regional sensation. And so, when people have heard where I live, they have been asking me, “Have you seen the elk!?” To which I have said, “I can watch them out my kitchen window, sometimes more than a hundred at once,” which has been good fodder for small talk. Shortly before the elk showed up, we had a herd of more than a hundred pronghorn antelope pass through (also unusual, that was). I haven’t seen the elk in days, though. I suspect they’ve moved upland, as the snow has melted. I can only hope they are gone for now. The hay fields are muddy. Elk could do much damage to them, in their present condition.

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From Mark P. Shea, answering a question on how he’d deal with a couple that aborted a baby diagnosed with severe deformity (which certainly would have been fatal, if the diagnosis was correct):

Part of the difficulty here is that such questions usually involve several parts. What does God think? What would I do? What should I make of what those people over there did? And then we start feeling torn between obeying God when He says “Don’t kill” and obeying God when He says “Don’t judge.” And in our culture, “Don’t judge” has much the louder voice because of the great terror of “imposing our values.”

Let’s start with the loudest voice: “Don’t judge.” We are bound to obey that command of Our Lord, but we are also bound to understand what it means. It does not mean, as our culture takes it to mean, “Remain agnostic about the possibility of ever knowing what is right and wrong.” It means, “Don’t play God. Don’t imagine you know the souls of others and what motivated their choices, how culpable they are, etc.” The funny thing is, our culture is ready to play God all the time, while remaining unable to say if there is such a thing as right and wrong. So let’s set aside the people in the story, whom it is not ours to judge, and simply consider the act in abstract: the deliberate taking of innocent human life. Is it wrong always?

The answer is: Yes. Always. That’s what “You shall not murder” means.

That’s the other command we have to deal with here. I think, pastorally speaking, the best thing we can do with this situation is not adjudicate the souls of people we don’t know anything about concerning a choice they have already made (since that is way too much of a temptation to judge them, especially in cyberspace where judgment and condemnation flow like wine), but to first ask ourselves how we might respond rightly in a similar situation.

In talking to my wife (the actual baby carrier in this family), she points out the following: First, ultrasounds have been wrong. Second, miracles happen sometimes. Third, and most salient here: Every baby she has had is dying. The question is, simply, when?

When we put it that way, we suddenly realize something: Knowing that the baby is going to die sooner rather than later is no reason to kill the baby. It is, says my wife, a reason to love the baby for as long as you can while it’s here. That’s very painful, but that is the risk we take every time we choose to love, because everything we love in this world is mortal.

It may be objected that a headless baby cannot appreciate our love. I would reply that a healthy baby cannot appreciate our love either, because a healthy baby has no more mind than a headless one. The whole point of parenthood, especially in its earliest stages, is radical self-giving (like Christ) to a being who is wholly incapable of giving anything back besides a sucking reflex and a poopy diaper. It’s an analogy of the grace of God, the great wake-up call enfleshed, that It’s Not About Me and What I Get From It — a short course in the life of the Blessed Trinity.

Read the whole article.

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Samuel Gregg over at the Acton Institute thinks that, in the new book Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI shows that he’s a Christian radical. That may not mean what you think it means. Read on to find out.

Even if you’re not interested in anything to do with this Pope, the article addresses core aspects of Christianity in a thoughtful way, and is therefore worth a read.

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In Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street & the Media (released today), Carl A. Anderson argues that Americans are far more in agreement on social issues than pundits, the media, and politicians like to think. Book website here.

Anderson is supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, and a New York Times bestselling author.

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In a post titled Nicholas Sparks: The Safe Haven of Commitment, Tony Rossi writes:

“Love doesn’t mean anything if you’re not willing to make a commitment.”

Though that line is spoken by one of the characters in Nicholas Sparks’ new novel Safe Haven, it’s a viewpoint the best-selling author shares.

With the success of books and movies like The Notebook and Dear John, Sparks has a well-founded reputation for being able to craft romantic stories that touch people’s hearts. But romance alone isn’t enough to create a meaningful, lasting relationship like he’s had with his wife Cathy for over twenty years.

In a recent interview with Christopher Closeup, Sparks explained that he once had a debate with his brother Micah about this very topic. Micah suggested that communication is most important in a relationship. That led Nicholas to ask, “What does communication matter if you’re not committed to each other? People who’ve been married a long time or been in any relationship — whether it’s with your parents or with your children — you know that emotionally, it’s going to go up and down. Love is not a straight line. If you’re committed, you know you’ll work through whatever’s keeping you down, that you’ll come out on the other side, and it will get better again.”

Amen to that. Read the whole piece. It’s got more good observations, and food for thought.

hat tip: The Anchoress

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Sometimes an atheist will find a beacon in the darkness (whether the beacon knows it or not).

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