Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Future...

For centuries, Western thinkers assumed that religion would decline throughout the world as scientific ideas spread and replace "superstition" with modern, rational, secular ways of life.

In recent decades, however, that assumption has faded. Across the globe, religion remains an influential force, one that impacts how we view ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

The opening lines for a series called "The Future of Religion" at Patheos.com
There are several knowledgeable writers involved...it could make for some very interesting reading this summer:


We use the internet to find a plumber, a mechanic, or a date. Not only that but you can post your opinion of their services. So why am I surprised that you can now go online and "Rate a church"? Does the preacher say amen too many times? Is it true to God's Word? Tell us what you think...


In a tech savvy world, it was only a matter of time.

Monday, June 28, 2010


100 years after his birth, the world remembers Jacques Cousteau...he was a French Naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher.

Growing up I literally spent hours watching his television specials. His shared his love of the oceans and the creatures who dwell there with the world. I daresay he is the reason that one of THE most breathtaking experiences I have ever had was watching a mother whale and her calf from the bow of a ship off the coast of Massachusetts.

Merci Monsieur Cousteau...

By the way, for those who may not know...the name of his ship was Calypso...(a sea nymph from Homer's Odyssey)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another speaks out...

The very first time I heard Andrea Bocelli sing his vocals took my breath away. I closed my eyes and spent the next few moments enveloped in that beautiful sound.

In case you haven't seen him before, he is blind. He has congenital glaucoma and lost his vision completely at age 12 after getting hit in the head during a soccer game.

No pun intended but they say hindsight is "20/20". It is evident that even considering his loss, he still cherishes his mother's faith, courage and love...

Friday, June 25, 2010

A "little light" in Basketball

...That's a term used by the writer of this article. But at 7'7", "little" is not a term most would associate with Manute Bol. However, it was much more than height that made his life shine. Take a moment and meet a professional basketball player you've probably never heard of...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Australian Angel...

Although some may not see this "job" as a blessing. I can understand his position. If you think of it, in the course of our lives how many of us get to see tangible results of helping others?

Working with the youth, sometimes it's hard to see the affect I've had on their lives. Most do not have an "Emmaus" road experience. They grow into their faith. While I do recognize that I serve as a guide in their growth and take great satisfaction and joy from it, and I can see the results of time spent in Youth and Church and Sunday School...there are times that I question, and worry, and doubt. But I recognize that I am blessed to have the opportunity and the gift to work with these young people. And besides, all the questions and worries and doubts are because I love.

One thing I do know, without being told, they give back as much or more than I and that makes it worth all the effort!

No more BFF?

New York Times

How sad...it's a fact of life that children are forced into more and more mature situations at younger and younger ages. Must we take away their friends too?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Off to college...

This article shows the scary part that all parents must face. How can you know if you've prepared your child? When do you "let them go and let them grow"?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today it opens!!!

June 18th is opening day for "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter". While I know there are children everywhere who are beyond excited at the prospect of visiting... there are bound to be loads of "older" children (like me) who are also excited. No, I don't have tickets yet but it's just one more reason to visit Universal...and the best one I know of to date.

From what I've read there are only a few rides and most of them are roller coasters but hey, that's right up my alley! After all the time I have spent reading the books and watching the movies, it will be fun to see it all laid out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


As everyone knows, China is the most populous country on earth. In an effort to control the population, in 1979 a law was passed limiting each couple to one child in urban areas.

Given the Chinese culture, males are preferable to females because of their ability to carry the family name, earn more money and care for their parents when they are elderly. As a result many daughters have "not been born"...whether through abortion or euthanization, if they can only have one, most do not want a female child. It's called selective breeding.

The law provides fines, pressures to abort or even forced sterilization for second or subsequent pregnancies. Imagine if you will, your ability to reproduce being dictated by the government.

I'm not sure those who passed the law saw all the consequences of their actions:

Chinese Population

By the way, this law is applied firmly in urban settings. If you live in a rural area, you might be allowed a second child...5 years after the first one...if the first one was a girl.

Me, oh my, they may eventually breed themselves out of existence. Any way you look at it, this is a sobering thought.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Be Beautiful

1 Peter 3:4 tells us, "Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God."

As per usual, this verse goes against everything society teaches us today. It seems no one cares if you have a beautiful heart. What about the face and body? We are constantly reminded that unless we are rich, young, thin and beautiful...we don't count for much.

Look at the celebrities we are expected to imitate...many are beautiful and meet all of the above criteria. But how many have a beautiful heart? Some would ask, how many have a heart at all? In their world it is all about me, me, me. Now before you start about the money donated (it's a wonderful gesture but if I commanded the fees they do per movie, I could give a million also and never miss a beat), countries visited (how many have they truly left a better place) or the children adopted (let's not even go there)let us look at what is not done for publicity.

If they truly were giving money and time for charitable purposes, you wouldn't know about it. They would perform these acts in secret. And what have they done to perpetuate the cult of celebrity? If you met face to face would they look you in the eye and hold a conversation? Would they care about what you had to say?

I'm not trying to condemn them all. As with every group, there are those who do try and I say...Bravo! But when you're watching a movie or reading an article or listening to an interview...don't let them make you feel inferior...remember 1 Peter 3:4...because your beautiful heart is precious to God...isn't that worth so much more than the praise of man?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hyundai aired a commercial during the World Cup Soccer match between the USA and England that has cause a major uproar...understandably so. I would show it to you but the video is no longer available. The main premise was "All over the world, soccer is almost a religion... but for the members of one church in Argentina, it actually is."

The ad depicts the ceremony of a “church” called "Iglesia Maradoniana" founded in Rosario, Argentina. The “church” was established in the spirit of both honoring Diego Armando Maradona -Argentina's top soccer player and current coach of its national team- as well as mocking the Catholic Church.

“We got enough of an outcry that we think we missed the mark,” a Hyundai spokesman told the Daily Finance. “So we're going to do the right thing and pull it down.”
In a statement, the Korean company said: “The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate this feedback and sincerely apologize to those we've offended.”

Did you notice those two words? “Though unintentional”...I cannot profess to know the heart of another but even to those who do not follow the Catholic faith, this is pushing the limits. I've always been told that God has big shoulders and He can take criticism...but I cannot help but believe He wants us to step up and question those who feel they have the right to criticise.

I am always trying to find new and different ways to teach our young people about the “idols” in our lives. While they do grasp the concept, I just couldn't let this opportunity pass...If we take a sport this seriously, it is an IDOL just as much as any carved statute in biblical times.

Watch and enjoy the games but remember they are just that...games. How do they improve the world?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Anonymity again...

Back in April, I wrote this piece about the subject of anonymity. Although the April posting was actually directed toward those who add "comments" while choosing to remain anonymous, it prompted me to consider why I write on this blog the same way.

There are a number of people who know me and know that I am the main contributor to this site. In that sense, I am not "invisible". So why do I choose to write as if I am?

Why do I hide from people I don't even know? Does it give me a false sense of courage to speak out against what I perceive to be injustice? If I don't sign my name, can I convince myself that it's acceptable to "rant" without explaining my reasons or backing them up with documentation? Would I put more time and effort into the process of researching and writing if I were held responsible?

Or am I afraid that someone out there might disagree with me? In person, I love a good debate. I have no problem facing off in a discussion and it is rare that it ever escalates into anything more than that. I can have a healthy meeting of the minds with my friends and remain just that, friends. Why would you be any different?

There's one final question. Does it hurt my credibility because I do not reveal my identity to you? Would you trust me more if I posted name, address and picture? Does it even matter to you? Or does it just matter to me?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jesus and the Church

If the church is following Jesus, why do people think we're nothing like Him? Is it faulty perception on their part? Or faulty witness on ours?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Leave it to Asbo Jesus to hit the nail on the head...

and he's right. I once heard it put another way...We are to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable". No one said it was meant to be easy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The definition of reslient..

...the ability to overcome, correct or to become better than before.

Not that they needed to become better...

I spent Sunday afternoon in the company of some of my favorite people. It is always a joy to be with those you love but on my way home I realized yet another reason they deserve my love and admiration.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law live in a town just outside of Nashville. As you may have heard there were flood waters in that area recently. There was so much water that they too were to be evacuated by boat. The roads were impassable. I can't imagine what it must feel like to watch the water move closer and closer to your home and family and being unable to stop it. You know, forces of nature stuff. But there they were. I saw the water via pictures from the cell phone and couldn't believe what I saw. In the end they were safe and in the grand scheme of things, the damages to their home were minimal. But still, to be there and not to know when and if it would stop. It had to be a nightmare.

In the midst of the fun and fellowship of a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Tennessee, we spoke about what had happened in the area. True to form, their main concern was for those who had been affected to a greater degree. Those who had lost loved ones, those who had lost homes, those who had lost jobs.

I'm sure you've heard the old saying that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I am blessed to have family that I would want as friends even if we weren't related. Love you guys!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Phrases you know...

While I would like to take credit for compiling the following list, I did not...(may I also mention I would love to have the time to compile such a list...perhaps someday when I have less than two jobs, no children to raise, no housework or garden, come to think of it, I like things just the way they are so I'll continue to post other peoples work from time to time..but promise to give them the credit!)...

The following commonly used phrases are thought to be originally coined by William Shakespeare (many say these combinations of words did not appear in print before Shakespeare’s works):

All that glitters is not gold
All’s well that ends well
Bated breath
Dead as a doornail
Fool’s paradise
For goodness’ sake
Good riddance
Heart of gold
In a pickle
Knock knock! Who’s there?
Laughing stock
Love is blind
Naked truth
Neither rhyme nor reason
One fell swoop
Star-crossed lovers
Pomp and circumstance
Pound of flesh
Primrose path
Too much of a good thing
Wear my heart upon my sleeve
What’s in a name?
Wild goose chase
The world’s my oyster

I was quite amazed at the number...but for such a prolific and eloquent writer it should be no surprise. By the way, the Pioneer Woman published the list...she has a really fun blog!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Perfect Game

In baseball a "Perfect" game is defined as:
A game in which the pitcher pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of 9 innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. The Pitcher cannot allow any hits, walks or hit batsmen." Basically it's "27 up and 27 down" (3 batters per inning x 9 innings)...In the over 100 years of Major League Baseball there have been 20. If you consider 30 teams playing an average of 162 games that means there are approximately 4,860 games in each season. A "Perfect" game is something to behold (if you're a baseball fan).

On Wednesday night Jim Joyce missed a call at first base. It was the bottom of the 9th inning, there were two outs and he called the short stop safe. Ending a perfect game...instant replay showed that the player was actually "out". Jim Joyce realized his mistake but it was too late...this is the human element to baseball, there is no instant replay. He apologized but that was all he could do. The game was over and done.

It was heartbreaking for Armando Galarraga...he was oh, so close. On Thursday he met the man who dashed his hopes face to face...at home plate...you can see the results

I applaud both men for the way they behaved...Joyce for standing up and admitting his mistake...Galarraga for accepting that it was not intentional, nor was it personal, it just happened. In today's world where so many professional sports figures are absolutely the wrong kind of role model for our children, it's refreshing to see.

Friday, June 4, 2010


For those of you who understand cyber-speak, you know that BFF means Best Friends Forever...I think I just found the definition.

Outreach vs. Numbers...

There's a thought provoking article in the "Methoblog" (sidebar on the left hand side) from "Hacking Christianity"...or you can link here. Which are we?


Many would argue that this is a wonderful invention, but not a miracle. Man created the Cochlear Implants they would say...man thought of it, built it, implanted it...God had nothing to do with it.

I would have to ask for the source of our knowledge. God endowed us with intelligence and curiosity. Man's hands did build and implant the device but God is omniscient, without Him we are nothing.

Those who doubt have only to watch 8 month old Jonathan respond to his mother's voice for the first time. God had nothing to do with it???? Be sure and turn your speakers on...

This video is actually a couple of years old but I just ran across it today and needed to share it with you...this picture made my day...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ipad Magic

I'm not an Apple person...I'm a PC...but I can applaud entertainment when I see it! Although I did actually hold an Ipad last weekend, it was only to look at my brother-in-laws pictures. Any more than that and I am totally lost!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Food for thought from David Mills at "First Things"...are you religious or merely spiritual?

Spirituality Without Spirits
May 28, 2010
David Mills

It’s a great and self-serving mess, this claim to be “spiritual but not religious,” which we hear from almost anyone who talks about religion in public, outside those the worldlings define as fundamentalist (me, probably you, Joseph Bottum, David Goldman, Benedict XVI, Hassidic Jews, devout Muslims, religious families with more than four children).

It’s one of those easily remembered phrases that work like a “get out of jail free” card for anyone who feels he has to explain his lack of religious practice, and as a claim to superiority for those who care about being superior to those who practice an established religion. It’s the religious equivalent of “I gave at the office” or “There’s a call on the other line” or “I don’t eat meat.”

So we find Lady Gaga, the pornographic songstress, telling a reporter for The Times that she has a new spirituality just before taking her out for a night at a Berlin sex club. Asked by the reporter, “You were raised a Catholic — so when you say ‘God,’ do you mean the Catholic God, or a different, perhaps more spiritual sense of God?”, she responded, “More spiritual. . . . There’s really no religion that doesn’t hate or condemn a certain kind of people, and I totally believe in all love and forgiveness, and excluding no one.”

You see what I mean. To be truly spiritual—on a scale on which “the Catholic God” seems stuck in the middle—apparently means indifferently inclusive or (what is another way of saying the same thing) undogmatic.

I don’t think Ms. Gaga or anyone else who talks like this has really thought it through. That God who forgives everyone and excludes no one doesn’t object to debauches in Berlin sex clubs. A point in his favor, from one point of view. But then he doesn’t object to murderers and torturers and corrupt bankers either. A point in his favor from no one’s point of view.

Even academics don’t see the problem. A few years ago a much-reported study of college students’ religious practice found that they become more “spiritual” as their observance of their childhood faith declined. The researchers defined “spiritual” as “growth in self-understanding, caring about others, becoming more of a global citizen and accepting others of different faiths.” They simply dressed up their favored attitudes by calling them “spiritual.” That kind of spirituality, detached from anything specifically religious, is just materialism in a tuxedo.

The word “spiritual” has no useful meaning if it does not refer to a relation to a real spirit, something from a world not our own, something supernatural, something that or someone who tells us things we do not know, judges us for our failures, and gives us ideals to strive for and maybe help in reaching them. It’s not a useful word if it means a general inclination or shape of mind or emotional pattern or set of attitudes or collection of values. There is no reason to call any of these spiritual.

Unless, of course, you like that little sense of importance and that comforting sense of social approval that our society still gives to “spiritual things,” though not to religious things. It’s a warm and fuzzy word. It’s a cute cuddly bunny word. It’s not like “religion.” That’s a cold and forbidding word. It’s a screeching preacher with bad breath word.

A better definition is not, however, wanted. The moment you acknowledge a real spirit to whom your spirituality is oriented and by whom it is guided, however distant and unengaged that spirit may be, you have a religion. You are bound by something. You have marching orders. You have to ask what the spirit wants and what he requires and what he says.

As the writer Malcolm Muggeridge, himself a convert from a vaporous kind of religion, put it, we crave “a Christianity without tears; . . . an idyll rather than a drama, with a happy ending instead of that gaunt Cross rising so inexorably into the sky.” The spirit might turn out to be a Puritan. He might say something about taking up a cross. Better to be “spiritual” without the spirit, and hope no one notices.

But why bother to be “spiritual” at all? Why not be at least agnostic? Being “spiritual” is a kind of natural default position. “Spiritual but not religious” provides a comfortable compromise between the two sides of our natures, our desire for God and our desire to be God ourselves.

We want the spiritual-ish, because God made us to want him yet we do not want to want him, and we do not want him on his terms. If our hearts are restless without God, as St. Augustine argued, they can be tranquillized with substitutes, of which “spirituality” is easier to find and much less costly than the alternatives. Drugs and drink are bad for you, and wealth and sex are hard to get, and achievement takes work.

“We live in an unbelieving age but one which is markedly and lopsidedly spiritual,” observed the Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor. “There is something in us. . . that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.” The modern man “looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration.”

“At its worst,” O’Connor concluded, ours is “an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.” Very often, I think, the distinction of “spiritual” from “religious” with the first emptied of meaning is the ideology, the justification, of domesticated despair. It is a way of feeling better about being alone in the universe by claiming some relation with something beyond us, though we know not what.

Marxism is dead as a source of human hope, but the attempt to find hope in an abstraction safely distant from our lives remains with us. The libertine who claims to be “spiritual” reminds me of the academics who used to be called “Gucci Marxists,” who preached revolution, and felt very good about themselves for their radicalism, but lived the most sybaritic and luxurious of lives, feeling justified in doing so because the Revolution had not come.

Being “spiritual” does not do us any good. As I recently wrote elsewhere, it works fairly well when you are healthy and have enough money to enjoy life, and just want from your spirituality the feeling that all is well with the universe, particularly your corner of it. But it doesn’t help you much when things go from good to bad.

The man wasting away from pancreatic cancer will get no help nor comfort from the “spiritual,” which will seem a lot less friendly and comforting when he feels pain morphine won’t suppress. He has no one to beg for help, no one to ask for comfort, no one to be with him, no one to meet when he crosses from this world to the next. He wants what religion promises.

And he is right to do so. The dying man is the true man, in the sense of being the one who reveals to us what we essentially are. We are on our death bed from the day we are born. To paraphrase Pascal, dying men want not the God of spirituality, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.