Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jeron e-mailed this to me

1. Were you named after anyone?
My parents named me after both of my grandfathers. In my mom's case, that would be her step-father. I met my biological grandfather when I was 13 or 14 and discovered what I knew to be true already: Woodrow, my step-grandfather, is my real grandfather.

2. When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago, in the confessional.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
No, but I'm unwilling to put in the effort to change it.

4. What is your favorite lunchmeat?
Hillshire Farm ™ Deli Select Brown Sugar Baked Ham.

5. Do you have kids?
No, but I do have certain anatomical features which are necessary in begetting them. Alas! I'm uninterested in the necessary-to-procreate anatomical features of the female of the species, and will therefore never have children.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Since I don't know this hypothetical alter-ego, I can't really answer that question.

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
I don't think so.

8. Do you still have your tonsils?
As far as I know, I still have all my parts!

9. Would you bungee jump?
That depends—am I under pain of death if I don't bungee jump?

10. What is your favorite cereal?
Basic 4™. Either that or Fruity Pebbles™ with Nestle Strawberry Milk™. Or Cookie Crisp™ with half-and-half.

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
No, my shoes are into bondage.

12. Do you think you are strong?
To quote the Princess Buttercup (I love that movie!): "Only compared to some."

13. What is your favorite ice cream?
What indeed?

14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Guys—hair (probably because I'm balding). Girls—face.

15. Favorite US city?
Have to say the Detroit metro area because this is the only place I've lived, and is therefore the only place I'm familiar with.

16. What do you like least about yourself?
The stretch marks on my belly.

17. Who do you miss the most?
That super-hottie Dean Cain. Never met him, but boy do I miss him! No, really, in all seriousness, I miss my friends Matt B. and Steve F. the most.

18. Do you want everyone to send this back to you?
Since I'm posting this on my blog, this question is irrelevant.

19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing?
I'm not wearing clothes, heh heh!*

20. What was the last thing you ate?
A sugar cookie with blue frosting and "patriotic" sprinkles.

21. What are you listening to right now?
A cricket chirping in the driveway.

22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I would like to be some cheerful, heart-warming color. Suggestions, anyone?

23. Favorite smells?
An acre of lilacs in full bloom in the early morning. Fresh cedar chips. Vanilla.

24. Who was the last person you talked with on the phone?
My friend Marty.

25. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
I don't know him very well, but so far I do.

26. Favorite sports to watch?
Male swimming and gymnastics competitions. And real wrestling. And men's beach volleyball. And Aussie Rules Football.

27. Hair color?
Light brown, just a few shades away from blonde.

28. Eye color?

29. Do you wear contacts?

30. Favorite food?
Hmm. Don’t know. I like the shrimp chips at Thai restaurants. Lentil soup, hummus, and fattoush from Mediterranean places. Chinese: crab Rangoon. Mexican: tacos. Soul: black-eye peas with ham hocks and corn bread. "Whitey" food: Orange glazed salmon with rice pilaf and asparagus.

31. Scary movies or happy endings?
If by scary you mean slasher flicks, you can keep them! They're so cliché, they drive me crazy. And they leave nothing to the imagination. Give me the old black-and-whites of, say, Village of the Damned or Psycho—something that keeps my sub-conscious at work, making me feel eerie and suspenseful. Comedies are good, too.

32. Last movie you watched?
The Mostly Unfabulous Life of Ethan Green. Or maybe it was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

33. What color shirt are you wearing?
See the answer to question 19.

34. Summer or winter?
Spring and fall.

35. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs because I'm not supposed to do that kind of kissing, what with the chastity thing and all.

36. Favorite dessert?
Don't have one.

37. Most likely to respond?
See question-and-answer 18.

38. Least likely to respond?
See question-and-answer 18.

39. What book are you reading right now?
1. The book of Sirach. (Second time reading it)
2. Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach – Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Third time reading it)
4. How to Read a Book – Mortimer Adler
5. The Iliad
6. The Consequences of IdeasDr. R.C. Sproul
7. Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America – Mike Yankoski (Second time)
8. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
9. The book of First Samuel (at least the sixth time)
10. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: An Ordinary Christian – Maria Di Lorenzo
11. The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-) Therapy for Homosexuality – Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D.
12. Poirot Investigates – Agatha Christie (fourth time)
13. Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-year-old American – His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age TribeBruce Olson (Third time)
14. A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning – James V. Schall (Fifth time)
15. Finding God at Harvard - Kell Monroe Kullberg, editor

40. What is on your mouse pad?
I don't have a mousepad.

41. What did you watch on TV last night?
I don't own a TV.

42. Favorite sound?
Some of my favorite sounds: flowing water, the cries of mourning doves, babies laughing, Gregorian chant

43. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Enya, Moby, Charlie Peacock, Bach, Mozart, R.E.M., Twila Paris

44. Where is the furthest you have been from home?
Haiti, from August 7-14, 1995. My friend Dan and I went to work with a mission there.

45. Do you have a special talent?
Not that I'm aware. Well, maybe. When I was four years old it took me all of fifteen minutes to learn how to read at a second grade level.

46. Where were you born?
Wyandotte General Hospital, Wyandotte, MI

47. Who's answers are you looking forward to?
Now that I've reached the end, I've decided to tag Steve and David. Anyone else who wishes to consider him- or herself tagged may do so.

*Just got out of the shower.

Not a Meme

Found this over at Leave Your Head at the Door. I'm ripping off most of his post, even his title!

Grab the book that is closest to you.

Open it to page 161.

Find the fifth full sentence.

Post the text of the sentence.

Don't search around for the coolest or most impressive book you have: use the one that really is closest to you.

"In other words, there was a split between external and internal piety."

from Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. ISBN 978-0-8308-3433-4

I'm reading it, and you should too!

Friday, August 24, 2007


...I love it! Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, etc. It's almost cliche to say it by now, but the Star Wars prequels suck! All Star Trek is okay, with the exception of Enterprise. Enterprise is okay only if one thinks of it as Star Trek in an alternate universe. Like the old Doctor Who series, but the bew Doctor Who series kicks ass! They've done some great stuff with new DW. The Empty Child from the 2005 season was the eeriest Doctor Who ever: people turning into gas mask monsters, a typewriter typing by itself, a strange child always asking "Are you my mummy?", and the TARDIS phone ringing when it's not connected to anything. Spooky! And then comes 2006 with The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. This one was Doctor Who turns horror movie--great concept! The set, the story, the special fx, the soundtrack, it was more like a movie than a Doctor Who episode. But my favorite part of the new series is when the Cybermen and the Daleks meet for the first time ever in any Doctor Who. Video following (the relevant part ends at about 2:47):

The arrogance of both sides! (Of course, I realize this is only interesting to Doctor Who fans, but I'm going to blab some more about it anyway.) If the Daleks had the abilities in the old series that they do in the new series, they would have won the Time War looong ago! When the Daleks said they would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek, it was not an idle boast. These new ones could do it. The battle scenes were just awesome! I've always liked both villains (Cybers and Daleks) but the Daleks are the best!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sometimes I worry...

NOTE: I had a posting in this spot earlier, which began with the following parable and ended with some questions I have; questions to which parts of this parable speak. I have removed the post for heavy editing (will re-post it later), but have kept the parable here because "All Scripture is profitable..."

And one of the Pharisees desired Him (Jesus) that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house and sat down to meat. And behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and began to wash His feet with tears and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had bidden Him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying, "This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is who toucheth him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said unto him, "Simon, I have something to say unto thee." And he said, "Master, say on." "There was a certain creditor that had two debtors. The one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, "Thou hast rightly judged." And He turned to the woman and said unto Simon, "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house: Thou gavest Me no water for My feet, but she hath washed My feet with tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss, but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." And He said unto her, "Thy sins are forgiven." And those who sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, "Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" And He said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee. Go in peace." (Luke 7:36-50 TMB)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Random Ipod Shuffle (Modified)

Modified because the closest I come to an Ipod is Windows Media Player. Don't laugh! I plan to buy an Ipod. Until then...

The rules, for bloggers who want to play:

Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel!

I was hoping to link to places where one could download the songs, but decided to link to the CD on Amazon, instedad.

Got this idea from Father Jim Tucker at his blog Dappled Things.

1) Holy, Holy, Holy – Hymnstyles Praise Ensemble
2) Shepherd Moons – Enya, Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya
3) What Did He Die For? – Twila Paris, Where I Stand
4) L'elisir d'amore, opera Act II: Una furtiva lagrima – The World's Greatest Arias
5) Enter In – Twila Paris, He Is Exalted, Live Worship
6) Into the West – Annie Lennox, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Limited Edition
7) The Good Way of the People – Instant Zen, Ambient Amazon
8) A'machair – Iona, The River Flows Anthology, Volume One (Disc One)
9) Milonga De Mis Amores – Tango Lorca, World 2004 (Disc One)
10) Do I Trust You Medley – Twila Paris, A Heart That Knows You

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This posting's title is Risk... because I'm taking one with this blog. I had another blog of which I made my family aware, and I'm not sure any of them ever read it. However, there are some things I want to write about that I don't want my family to know about. Therefore, I started this blog. In a way, I feel "safe" with this one, even though my name is all over it, because my family don't really read any blogs. It is highly unlikely that they'll find this one. But, there's still that risk.

One of the things I don't want my family to know about is my sexual activity. They all still think I'm a virgin. Would that that were true! Unfortunately, my first sexual encounter happened when I was 19, and I've had many since then (I'll be 33 in about a month). Indeed, I've been rather a slut, lately. I don't know how else to put it. It's true. My most recent one was the day before I left for the National COURAGE Conference! And, in spite of all the priests at the conference who were available to hear a confession at the drop of a hat, any hat, I didn't make a confession through the entire conference (neither did I receive Holy Communion at any of the daily Masses). This was partly due to the fact that I was planning on having sex with a guy I met online when I returned home. Happily I can say, by the grace of God, I've determined to not have sex with "Mr. Internet". I "cemented" that resolve in the confessional this past Saturday.

Chastity is difficult to maintain, especially when one doesn't have a chaste mind to begin with. How does one develop a chaste mind? I don't know. I'm trying to learn how, though. And if anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears! The comment boxes are open, or you can e-mail me (from the profile page). In a way, I think I've had some measure of success because lately, by the grace of God (isn't everything?), I've been able to stop sexual fantasies when they begin, "objectify" them, and re-route my thoughts onto other subjects. May this, by the grace of God, continue. One of the steps I'm taking is to pray the two following prayers every day, along with the Angelus. A few weeks ago, before I prayed these things, I'd say to God, "God, I don't really mean these prayers, right now, but I want to mean them. Please make them true of me."

First prayer:

Daily Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
From the Raccolta #97.

Lord Jesus Christ, in union with that divine intention wherewith on earth Thou didst offer to God Thy praises through Thy Most Sacred Heart, and dost now offer them in the Sacrament of the Eucharist everywhere on earth even to the end of time, I most gladly offer Thee throughout this entire day, all my thoughts and intentions, all my affections and desires, all my words and deeds, in imitation of the most sacred Heart of the blessed and ever Virgin Mary Immaculate. Amen.

Second prayer:

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Purity
Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph, TAN Books and Publishing

O Guardian of virgins and holy Father Saint Joseph, into whose faithful keeping were entrusted Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, I pray and beseech thee by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that, being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart, and chaste body ever serve Jesus and Mary most chastely all the days of my life. Amen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Angelus

This is a centuries-old prayer traditionally recited at 6am, 12 noon, and 6pm. I love the use of the Scriptures* in this prayer.

The Angelus

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;

R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord:

R. "Be it unto me according to thy word."

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. And the Word was made flesh:

R. And dwelt among us.

(One should bow deeply for a few seconds when saying the words "And the Word was made flesh." The bow should be maintained for a few seconds before saying the words "And dwelt among us." This is done to honor the fact that "Jesus who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness." Philippians 2:5b-11 NRSV)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

*Scripture verses not marked are from the Third Millennium Bible. Verses marked NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The Story of My Faith, Part One: Childhood Years

My parents became dedicated Christians shortly before I was born, my mom from a nominal Christian home (you know the type: "Of course we're Christians; we believe in God and we're Americans!") and my dad from a nominal Catholic home (his catechesis at the parish was deplorable to non-existent). They attended a small, Fundamental Baptist church which split not too long after they started going there. For a very short time, they went to another small, Fundamental Baptist church, and then left that one, as well, for reasons of which I am not aware. They settled at yet a third small, Fundamental Baptist church, and, while I don't remember the first two, I do remember this one. It was called Tri-City Baptist Church, and it was small enough that we felt like family there. My dad headed up the children's church (we called it Junior Church), and both my parents were Sunday School teachers. I have nothing but good memories of that church. We had great friends there. My dad and some of the teens used puppets in Junior Church, and, while my sister and I were not allowed to play with them at home, we did get to listen to the tapes of the sketches whenever we wanted. On a few occasions (it may have been every weekend in the summer, now that I think about it), some of the adults and teenagers would go door-to-door, inviting people to church and telling them about Christ. My sister, a few other kids, and I would go sometimes too. Not only were we taught the importance of following Christ in our own lives, we were taught how important it is to tell other people about Him.

When I was old enough for school, my parents sent me to public school for Kindergarten, but private Christian schools up through my high school graduation. I attended one school for first grade through the first half of my sixth grade year, then, because I wasn't doing very well in that particular school system (which was organized like a public school), I went to another school (which used the A.C.E. or School of Tomorrow system*) for the second half of sixth grade through tenth grade. These two schools were, you guessed it, Fundamental Baptist. The school I graduated from was administered by a Pentecostal church (Church of God, Cleveland). Back to my childhood…

My parents sacrificed to send my sister and me to private schools. It was very important to them to give us a Christian-based education. This background laid a good foundation for my life. My home, my churches, and my schools all encouraged me to live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ. I was familiar with most Bible stories from my earliest years, learned massive amounts of Scripture by heart, knew all the books of the Bible (imagine how confused I sometimes get when going through the list and trying to remember to put in their proper spots the seven books Protestants removed from the canon!), memorized a small Baptist catechism, and was generally very well instructed about the Christian life and faith from a Baptist perspective. With all this advantage, I loved Jesus from the time I was a small child.

One day, when I was four years old, I was playing with my toys (plastic animals, if I remember correctly) and thinking about God, Jesus, sin, and the Bible. I decided I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart, so I went and knocked on the bathroom door because my dad was in there and I knew he could help me out with this. I told him, "Daddy, I want to ask Jesus into my heart." To which he replied, "Right now?" "Yes," I said. So he opened the door, asked me some questions to make sure I understood what I was doing, and lead me in a sinner's prayer (age appropriate, of course) right there on the toilet! And now, anyone who knew me in school in my teen years will understand one of the reason's I was so intense back then. My dad taught me by example that no matter what you're doing, if the Holy Spirit is working in someone's life and that person wants your help in committing him- or herself to Christ, you don't put it off for a moment!

As a child I loved church. Sunday school was my favorite time of the week, but I didn't keep my religion to myself or limit it to Sundays. I'd talk to people about Jesus, either my friends down the block or even complete strangers. I have vivid memories of swinging on our backyard play set one day, singing Sunday school songs at the top of my voice when a man who happened to be walking down the alley joined in my song. I talked to the man for a minute or two, assured myself he was a real Christian, then went running to tell my dad about this great fellow-Believer I'd just met. It turns out my dad knew the guy, so I got to meet him on a few more occasions. And once, I was playing at the neighbor's a few doors down when one of the girls got mad at something and said, "G*ddammit!" I was horrified! Not that this was a child swearing, but that she had taken the Lord's Name in vain! Sometimes I wish I still felt that horror when I hear people misusing God's Name today. And I really wish curses using His Name weren't so difficult to prevent from forming on my own tongue and passing through my own lips! (Perhaps you would be so kind, gentle-reader, as to offer a pray for me at this point.)

*It is too difficult to explain here how the A.C.E. school system works.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Story of My Faith, Intro.

On April 10, 2004, I was received into the Roman Catholic Church. I've tried many times to write out the story of why I converted, but have never been successful at doing so. I think I now know why: I was trying to tell the story of why I became Catholic, but this story cannot be told alone—it's part of the larger story of why I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Because of all the skepticism in the world and because of my interest in philosophy and logic and epistemology, I would like to give a carefully reasoned, step-by-step account of both my initial belief in Jesus and my "conversion" to the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, I can't. Not only did I not keep a journal for most of this time, but I now realize that I didn’t base my decision upon purely rational grounds. In real life, we believe most things more out of "intuition" than by careful reasoning. That is not to say that one's intuitions are not and cannot be supported by rational facts. As the great G.K. Chesterton wrote in his book Orthodoxy:

…I am a rationalist. I like to have some intellectual justification for my intuitions.

Also, as Jimmy Akin pointed out in his blog entry of February 26, 2007

We thus see that there are two ways in which a provable truth can be believed: On the part of those who have thoroughly studied the matter, it can be believed on the basis of having studied the demonstration of the truth. On the part of those who have not thoroughly studied the matter, it can be taken on faith on the word of the experts.

I initially believed in God and the Bible because the "experts" (my parents) told me it was true. We believe many believable and true things using this principle. (See the rest of Jimmy's post for further discussion on believing the experts' word.) And here's another quote by Chesterton:

If I am asked, as a purely intellectual question, why I believe in Christianity, I can only answer, "For the same reason that an intelligent agnostic disbelieves in Christianity." I believe in it quite rationally upon the evidence. But the evidence in my case, as in that of the intelligent agnostic, is not really in this or that alleged demonstration; it is in an enormous accumulation of small but unanimous facts. The secularist is not to be blamed because his objections to Christianity are miscellaneous and even scrappy; it is precisely such scrappy evidence that does convince the mind. I mean that a man may well be less convinced of a philosophy from four books, than from one book, one battle, one landscape, and one old friend. The very fact that the things are of different kinds increases the importance of the fact that they all point to one conclusion. Now, the non-Christianity of the average educated man to-day is almost always, to do him justice, made up of these loose but living experiences. I can only say that my evidences for Christianity are of the same vivid but varied kind as his evidences against it.

By now I think you might be realizing that the best part of my blog is all the stuff I quote from other people!

I'll write more of my personal story later.

A Fourth...and the Final One of the Day

You Are Incredibly Logical

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic
You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.
A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

Yet another Blogthing...

You Are 24% Politically Radical

You've got a few unusual political ideas, but overall you're a pretty mainstream person. Chances are that you're turned off by both the radical right and looney left.

Blogthings says I'm 10% homophobic!

You Are 10% Homophobic

You're open minded, tolerant, and accepting.
And you're not homophobic in the least :-)

It must be because I strongly agreed with question number 3. Gay people should not be allowed to get married. End of story. "Not be allowed to get married" doesn't say it very well. It would be more accurate to say "A marriage cannot exist between two persons of the same sex because a marriage is ontologically a covenant bewteen one man and one woman."

Blogthings says I'm a Tortured Genius!

You Are 71% Tortured Genius

You are smart. Brilliant in fact. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse.
Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst.

Hope in Darkness

Sometimes I look at the world and get scared. The situation for Christianity in the modern world often looks bleak, especially in the West. But Jesus promised the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. There have been many times in Church history when the truth was obscured by widespread heresy. Arianism had nearly taken over the Church in the fourth century, and it took until about 100 years after the Council of Nicea for it to be rooted out. Christ's mystical body is divided, huge segments of certain denominations have apostatized, African and Asian Christians battle spiritism and animism, Western Christians battle relativism and materialism, but in the end, God will put everything right. To quote Saint Julian of Norwich: "…all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." In the meantime, let us pray for "cafeteria" and dissenting Catholics, our separated brethren, and those who make fun of us. May we humbly serve them, and may God bring them into the fullness of His Truth! And let us not forget that there are millions of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Catholic, Coptic, Armenian, Orthodox, Protestant, etc., who suffer terribly for their faith in Jesus Christ. More Christians died as martyrs in the twentieth century that in the previous nineteen centuries combined! The persecution hasn't lessened any in the twenty-first century. Let us pray that we will be faithful, and let us pray for the persecuted:

Alia Oratio ad Sanctum Michael
Pope Leo XIII, from the Roman Ritual, Rite of Exorcism

O glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.

But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety, and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.

Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that with the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock.

Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate Satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we by the authority of Holy Mother Church, do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.

R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, root of David, has conquered.

V. Let Thy mercy be upon us Lord.

R. As much as we hope in Thee.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come unto Thee.


Reflections based on the previous blog entry

Jimmy Akin's reader seems to be willing to go wherever the truth takes him or her. Although I fault the Fundamental Baptist church and schools I attended as a child and teenager for encouraging me to be legalistic and arrogant, they did perform a great service in that they taught me 1) there is Truth, 2) Truth can be known, 3) Truth should be followed wherever it leads, and 4) Truth should be obeyed, let it cost what it may. Although I could not articulate this as a teenager, these lessons penetrated my heart and mind, and I lived them. When I dedicated my life to Christ at sixteen (re-dedicated, actually, because my parents dedicated me to the Lord when I was a baby), a desire to really know Him started growing in me. This led me to study Christian doctrine, read Christian biographies, and become interested in world missions,* and these things raised questions in my mind like: What is the church? Why are many of our (modern Evangelical) beliefs different from the beliefs of the Reformers? Why do so many Evangelicals now accept doctrines the earliest Christians considered heretical (e.g., man is essentially** body, soul, and spirit; modalism, which is found among the "Jesus Only" Pentecostals)? Why and when did we stop believing the Church could settle doctrinal matters through Councils? With all the divisions among Christians, how can we ever hope to reach the unity of faith Paul spoke so often about (see Ephesians 3:13; Philippians 2:2; I Corinthians 1:10, et al)? My search for the answers to these questions eventually brought me to the Catholic Church. I'm working on a post that will contain my testimony and better explain why I became Catholic. But that's not why I'm posting this blog entry.

I'm happy the person who wrote to Jimmy Akin is doing his or her best to follow the truth. I'll be very happy if this person becomes a Christian in any tradition, but I hope he or she comes into full communion with the Catholic Church. I have this same hope for every human being in the world. Having said all that, we now get to the main reason I'm writing this entry. I just don't get people who are members of churches in spite of the fact that they disagree with much, most, or all of what their church teaches. And many of these people consider themselves to be loyal members in good standing, even! What is the point of being a member of a Baptist church if you're not really Baptist? Why call oneself Catholic if one only believes the teachings one likes? Do these people not recognize the inherent dishonesty in their position? While I was still an Evangelical, years before I ever dreamed I'd actually become Catholic, I toyed around with the idea of joining the Church. My reasoning was this: Catholics are not true Christians; someone needs to tell them about Christ; I will have more credibility with Catholics if I am a member of their Church. At that time I didn't join because, as I thought about it, I knew the Church would require me to make a profession of faith I didn't truly believe; I would have been a liar if I joined the Church at that time. It's one of God's ironies that He would lead me along a path that would ultimately make it possible for me to join the Church because I actually believe what She teaches! Unfortunately, some people have no problem with being untruthful. I was listening to a gentleman on NPR sometime last year, who calls himself an Episcopal priest and a good Christian, and yet, he disagrees with the most essential beliefs of Christianity! Many American Episcopalians are in this same boat. If only they would quit repeating the lie: "I am a Christian"! A few months ago, my parish priest was on vacation so we had a guest priest say Mass for us. In his homily, the guest priest encouraged us to follow the example of a Bishop who was removed from his office for being in serious dissent with Church teaching on sexual and contraceptive issues and publicly teaching his contrary views. Frankly, I was disgusted with this priest for having the audacity to think it's okay to tell us to follow a Bishop who broke his oath to guard, defend, promote, and proclaim Catholic teaching! Not only that, but every time he leads a congregation in reciting the creed, he lies when he says "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." Thank God*** this guy is retired! I wish he'd quit volunteering to cover for vacationing priests! Anyway, our parish will never have him back again.

I've done a fair amount of church hopping in my time, but each time I changed churches, it was because I was going where Truth was leading me. I was raised as a Fundamental, independent, King-James-Only, second-degree-separationist, cessationist, pre-millennial, pre-tribulational, dispensational Baptist, but realized in my second Junior year (yes, I was in the 11th grade twice. I chose to graduate a year late. I will address the reasons for that in another post) that something was terribly wrong with some of these doctrinal stances. (Of course, as a Catholic, I realize there's something terribly with ALL of these doctrines.) My church viewed Jerry Falwell as a liberal, for goodness' sake! Cessationism was the first of my beliefs to go, followed almost immediately by separationism. I had to find a new church to attend because I could not in good conscience remain in the Baptist church. My weekly attendance would have been a lie. Anyway, I have forgotten where I'm going with this, so let me just say the following, and I'll close:

It's very easy for me to feel superior to the people who consider themselves faithful members of the Church or Christianity in general, but really aren't even Christians. The truth is, however, that while they may be dishonest about their beliefs (more likely, apathetic) I have too many sins to cast stones at them. Sure, they drive me crazy, but the best thing to do is to humbly pray for them and serve them. Prayer without service just makes me more arrogant, but serving others is humbling. May God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to the Full Knowledge of the Truth in heaven! God be with you all.

*Speaking of world missions, there is an excellent calendar put out as a joint effort of several Evangelical Christian organizations that guides you through praying for the world country by country. You can pray online here: Follow the link that says "Pray for today's country."

**"Essentially" being the important word here.

***I am not taking the Lord's Name in vain. I literally mean I am thankful to God that this priest is retired!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Very Thoughtful Question and Response

Jimmy Akin is a Catholic apologist, and one of his readers, a truth-seeker, sent him a message on faith and reason to which he gives a great response.

Ruth A. Tucker, a Christian from the Reformed-Calvinist tradition wrote a book a few years ago called Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief. It was one of the first books I read that "allowed" me as a Christian to acknowledge that I sometimes have difficulty believing the Christian message or the fact that God exists at all. These doubts are probably common to all of us, but we rarely seem to acknowledge them. I always come back to my faith in God, but I do experience intense episodes of doubt and skepticism. I wonder about what faith actually is, ontologically speaking, and if I have it or at least enough of it. I worry sometimes when I read the stories of people who are former believers or life-long atheists or agnostics who can give logical reasons for their rejection of Christianity or theism. Sometimes my doubts are due to my lack of understanding epistemology and sometimes they're due to the fact that, while I do believe deep down inside, I can't articulate my faith in way that intelligently counters the beliefs of the doubters. I'm learning to live with the tension between doubt and belief, however, and this tension does cause me to continue to learn more about reason, belief, and knowing. Also, it actually helps me become more sure in my faith. I appreciate Jimmy Akin's discussion of the various ways we believe. This brief summary is the best explanation I have read about the issue. And now, to quote Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that..." for now, anyway.

On the Anniversary of My Grandmother's Death

Originally posted on Monday, July 31, 2006

My grandmother died one year ago last night at 11:30. She was young - only 64 years old. "Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." I love you Grandma. Pray for us.

First entry on my new blog

I've had a blog for about a year and a half, but, since my family reads it, I cannot talk about some of the things I'd like to. Therefore, I'm starting a blog on blogger. My first few postings will be "re-postings" of my former blog. That is, I'm going to post the entries from my earlier blog, slightly editing them, and sometimes noting the original posting date, if it's relevant. I don't know if anyone will find my life very interesting, but that's okay, sometimes I don't either!