Mercy and Long Time Horizons

We Christians seem to spend a lot of time telling folks what not to do.  You mustn’t do this, you mustn’t do that, we say, or else you’re going to be a greasy spot on the pavement after the lightning strikes you.  At least, that’s the popular conception.  God is an angry God, and He’s just looking for the proper moment to strike you down, and we Christians are all down with that.There’s a kernel of truth to this perception—though just a kernel, or there’d be greasy spots in many surprising pl … [Read more...]

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His Bright Materials: the Saints and the Forge of God

Recently my eldest son left home for good, so we thought, on his way to Air Force boot camp.  Physically he wasn’t a likely specimen for military service, being not at all athletic, and skinnier than a rail with it—in the weeks before he left we had to fatten him up so that he’d meet the minimum weight for basic training—but it was his own idea, something he wanted to do, and so we took him down to the airport and saw him off with many a tear.  He held it together for a month but the physical asp … [Read more...]

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Knowing is Not Enough; and the Doing is Hard

Continuing through Cam’s comment on my post about suffering in Heaven, he asks, Your first argument seems to revolve around knowledge, yes? You're saying we won't have suffering in heaven because we will have perfect knowledge. This knowledge is somehow caused by something God is or does, and the exact mechanics of that probably won't matter for my comment….Secondly, your first argument seems to rest on an assumption often used by Christians in the service of theological issues (such as div … [Read more...]

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What He’s Researching, I’m Studying

Commenter Cam left a long and thoughtful comment on a recent post of mine about suffering on earth vs. Joy in heaven.  There's a lot to talk about in it, but I want to start with a point about rational argument.  Cam says, …it might be worth noting a difference between some Christians and some atheists here. An atheist might approach an argument by saying: 'there may be some gaps in my argument, and these gaps may or may not be fatal'. A Christian however, who holds their belief on faith, will n … [Read more...]

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A Collection of Mindfulness-ness (Updated!)

Recently I’ve been hearing quite a bit about mindfulness, most recently at Weight Watchers where we are encouraged to be mindful about the food we are eating.  A couple of weeks ago they gave us a “mindfulness exercise”, to wit, spending two minutes counting our breaths.  From what I've gathered, mindfulness involves quieting your thoughts and being aware and alert to your body and your environment.  As such, it’s a way of being present, of living in the moment; and apparently the goal is to star … [Read more...]

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My New Friend: A Rugged Rosary

I've got a new friend; he lives in my car.  That's him, over there to the right.I often pray the Rosary on the way to work in the morning.  In my old car, which had an automatic transmission, I used a little teeny finger rosary that I would hang on one of the vent knobs between uses.  I had to be careful doing that, because if I dropped it, it was gone: under the seat or into a crevice or into another dimension or somewhere; at least, I very seldom found them again.  But it was fun … [Read more...]

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The Evil Catholic Hierarchy?

A commenter on my post about why I remain Catholic asked, Have you considered the possibility that you can still believe what the Catholic Church teaches but leave the organization itself in protest against its history of protecting abusers? I responded: The Church is the Body of Christ. Its members are all sinners, and sometimes they do horrible things. But I will not willingly cut myself off from it.To amplify: I believe what the Church teaches about itself.  It is not simply a human … [Read more...]

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Seven Lies Christians Tell

Tony Kriz had a piece in Christianity Today some while ago about the lies Christians tell when they evangelize, or, as he puts, about “How to talk about your faith without being a total jerk.”  He’s writing from an evangelical point of view; but I thought his points were worth talking about from a Catholic point of view.  You’ll want to read his piece first (it’s short) to get his descriptions of the “seven lies”.1. We lie when we claim we are more confident than we really are.  I admit I do … [Read more...]

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My Road to Catholic Belief

Last week I explained why there is no magic bullet for belief, no simple, straightforward argument that will compel belief in the Christian God.  This raises some questions: how do believers come to believe in Christianity?  And how can Christian belief be rational absent such proofs?First, most Christians come to belief experientially.  Some are taught as children, and later reach out to accept what God has for them: they "taste and see that the Lord is good," as scripture has it.  Others co … [Read more...]

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