A New Welcome Mat for the Year of Mercy

Pope Francis just gave me an idea:  I need a new Welcome Mat to kick off the Year of Mercy, which begins December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.Granted, I already have a mat, but it's seen quite a few sneakers and sandals and sling-backs and stilletos. What once greeted guests with a cherry "Welcome!" has lost its "Come On In and Make Yourself at Home" luster. See what I mean? Ugh!But Pope Francis has just reminded us to make our churches, and similarly the "domestic … [Read more...]

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Five Years in Heaven: A Young Man’s Unlikely Friendship with an Elderly Nun

When I first saw the title of John Schlimm's new book, Five Years in Heaven, I thought I'd be reading another in a long chain of near-death experiences:Don Piper, a pastor, was in a serious car accident. Paramedics at the scene declared him dead and laid a tarp over the window of his car, after his heart stopped beating and he was without a pulse for ninety minutes. Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, was afflicted with a deadly E. coli bacterial infection, and lay comatose for seven … [Read more...]

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No, Your Friend Can’t Sleep On My Couch: A Facebook Manifesto

I have a liberal policy toward Facebook friend requests.  Priests from Santa Clara, college kids from Boston, teens from Poughkeepsie, moms from Atlanta, fashion models from Paris, missionaries from Libya:  I accept them all. That doesn’t mean I read everything they write.  I block games and applications, for example—so if you’re cleaning my fish tank every week, God bless you, but don’t expect me to reciprocate by feeding your black phantom tetras.  If you’re reaching new levels in Mafia Wars, … [Read more...]

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