How to Tell the World that You Love Jesus

Photo courtesy of Nancy Ward

Photo courtesy of Nancy Ward

Evangelization is not only awkward to say, most of us find it awkward to do.

It’s all very well to talk about converting this culture. But how do we do that? Is there a roadmap somewhere to help us on our way to this worthy goal?

Most Catholics are considerate of others. We don’t go door to door on Saturday mornings, rousting people out of bed to ask them where they think they will go when they die. Neither do we dominate dinner parties and family gatherings with demands that our friends and family call the local parish and sign up for RCIA.

We do our best to live and let live. We carry this to the point that we often let internet bullies defame both us and our Church without arguing back.

So, given all that, how are ordinary pew-sitting Catholics going to convert this culture? That’s an important question because, if this culture gets converted, it will be by ordinary pew-sitting Catholics. Priests are preoccupied with running parishes, editing magazines, running universities and dealing with Church administration. Not only that, but they clearly don’t have any better idea how to convert people out there in the hustings than we do.

I see the priests’ role as empowering and equipping the laity to do the work of converting the culture. I see our role as the laity as living our faith in the world, taking the brickbats that go with that, staying faithful and, yes, converting the culture, one step, one person, at a time. No one of us is going to convert this culture. But if we each do our part and we do it every day, we can get there.

The question underneath this remains. How do we convert the world, one person at a time?

I’m talking about a kind of relational conversion that Catholics have pretty much left out of their spiritual kit bag. What has happened is that the laity thinks that conversion is the priest’s job, and the priest thinks that his job is running the parish 24/7.

Let’s cut to the chase here and acknowledge that we, the laity, have the job of converting the culture.

That’s number one.

Next, let’s go about the business of figuring out how to actually do that. By that I mean, let’s start the work of brainstorming for ideas about how we can go about this eternity work that has been given to us.

My fellow Catholic writer, Nancy Ward, has authored a CD which starts the ball rolling in that direction. It’s a three-parter titled Sharing Your Faith Story that begins with Nancy’s own faith story and ends with ideas for how to share your faith story. I think that’s a great place to start the work of converting the culture because each one of us has a faith story, and that faith story is our personal witness to the truth of Christ. For almost all of us, our faith story is a love story, and that makes it even more powerful.

We need to learn how to tell this powerful story of love between us and our Jesus. That’s the first step toward leading others to a love story of their own.

Nancy is running a contest in which you can win a free copy of her CD. Go here for details. To learn more about the CD, check out an interview Nancy gave here. Or, you can buy the CD on Amazon.

Evangelization may be an awkward word to say, but it doesn’t have to feel awkward to do. We just need to put our heads together and figure out how to do it well. The first step is to learn how to tell our faith stories. Our individual faith story is our personal witness of what we believe and why we believe it. Nancy’s CD can help us learn to tell our faith stories, and that is the beginning of converting this culture.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Studies Show Porn and Abortion are Allies

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Lim https://www.flickr.com/photos/cats-eye-view/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Lim https://www.flickr.com/photos/cats-eye-view/

I was there when most of the tracks that led us to where we are now were laid down. By “there” I mean I was often in the room when the discussion were had and the decisions were made. On those occasions when I wasn’t part of the initial discussion, I was usually one of the first to know what was coming down.

If hindsight really is 22, then I have a clear view of how we got here, or at least the beginnings of it.

I wrote a bit about that in a post for CatholicVote. The post discussed a new study which revealed the old truth that abortion and porn are, in fact, allies.

Here’s part of what I said.

Well, duh.

A new study by the Journal of Sex Research indicates that users of porn may also be “useful allies” of the abortion industry.

This is news?

I was an active part of the feminist movement back in the 1970s. I was also the Oklahoma Director for NARAL. I remember when we (meaning those who advocated for legal abortion) partnered with the Playboy Foundation. Prior to that, the feminist movement had been, rightfully, against pornography because of its penchant for reducing women and children to objects. Porn is degrading to those who are depicted in it. Oftentimes it is violently degrading.

Just type a series of xxxs in your search engine and sit back and watch the porn depicting violence against and degradation of women roll down your screen. Or, type “rape” or “rape victim” in your search engine and see how many hits you get for pornography depicting violent gang rapes and snuff films — all with women and children as the victims. This is not to say that pornography only victimizes women and children. Gay porn is just as degrading and often as violent as that aimed at women.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I realize that this compromise with the devil of pornography on behalf of the demon of abortion was, in many ways, the unraveling of the feminist movement.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

PP Says They Will Stop Taking Money for Aborted Baby Body Parts. Do You Believe Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by  Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, published a letter yesterday stating that Big Pink won’t take direct monies for selling the body parts of babies it has killed during abortions. Do you believe them?

I talk about this, from the viewpoint of someone who once allied with Planned Parenthood as a pro choice advocate in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, posted a letter yesterday. She announced that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept money for supplying the body parts of aborted babies to researchers, research facilities and their middlemen.

Personally, I’m not convinced. The reason I’m not convinced is my personal experience with Planned Parenthood and the impressions I formed of them during the time I was their political ally run counter to this action.

The truth is, Planned Parenthood cares about money. Planned Parenthood really cares about money.

I was a naive, true-believing 22-year-old from the wrong side of the river when I first encountered Planned Parenthood’s leadership. My piece of the situation was an ardent belief that (and I’m explaining this beyond what I would have said at that time) the sexual double standard and misogyny were such that abortion was absolutely necessary to save women’s lives and allow them to function as full human beings. I had a friend who almost died from an illegal abortion. I well remember the terror of this situation and how hard it was to get medical care to save her life.

That was a watershed event for me. The horror of it trumped every other consideration in my thinking about abortion for a long, long time. That’s how I came to advocate for legal abortion, how I came to be the Oklahoma Director for NARAL, and how I came to sit across the table with Planned Parenthood muckety-mucks from around the country at various banquets, seminars and such. Without exception, the first thing a member of Planned Parenthood’s governing boards would ask me was “How are you funded?” Meaning, how was Oklahoma NARAL funded.

This wasn’t something that came up casually, later in the conversation, and it didn’t happen once in a while. Every single conversation I ever remember having with them began with an introduction, followed by the question “How are you funded?”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/planned-parenthood-really-really-cares-about-its-money/#ixzz3oZHaRcDB

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Synod Leaders are “Log Rolling” Say Cardinals

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

A group of Synod Fathers, including Cardinal Dolan, have written a letter to Pope Francis expressing concern about the way the Synod is progressing.

I wrote about that for National Catholic Register today.

Here is part of what I said:

“You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
—Jesus Christ

The German Catholic Church has a long and ignoble history of playing fool for its government. During the murderous reign of the Third Reich, there were isolated bishops who stood against Hitler. But many of them joined their Lutheran brothers in allowing themselves to be coopted by the pagan cult we call the Nazis.

The Nazis created an economic system in which the government and the economic powers coalesce into one unit working for their mutual benefit. We call that fascism. They also created a mythology or a quasi-religion to go along with it. This quasi-religion was mostly a deliberate return to Germany’s pagan past with a mix of astrology and other whatnots.

At the same time that they were privately voicing contempt for Christianity and implementing plans to destroy it, the Nazi leaders pandered to the churches in their public statements. They sought — and were able — to silence the prophetic and moral voice of the churches by means of coopting them.

Christian churches in much of the world, and certainly in Germany, were already following the false god of nationalism long before Hitler and the Nazis were born. They had given moral gravitas to the abuses of colonialism and the insanity of World War I.

This made them easy prey for the claims of extreme nationalism that came from the Nazis. However, I believe that the thing that pushed German churches down the rat hole to acquiescence with (and even support of) the Nazis was not primarily nationalism. I think they were following another master. It was the “master” that Jesus specifically singled out as one that Christians could not follow if they would follow Him. It was money.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/synod-leaders-are-log-rolling-say-cardinals/#ixzz3oNaAnR30

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Men: Your Women and Children Need You

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Yvette T, who wrote, I love my father as the stars, he is a bright, shining light. https://www.flickr.com/photos/12327292@N00/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Yvette T, who wrote, I love my father as the stars, he is a bright, shining light. https://www.flickr.com/photos/12327292@N00/

Bishop Olmsted has written a powerful call for Catholic men to step up and be men. I am particularly impressed because he did this without attacking women. A couple of his brother bishops might take a page from him in this.

I wrote about this pastoral letter from a woman’s viewpoint for CatholicVote. Women need manly men in their lives, as do children and the whole of our society. Men and women together are the foundation of all human civilization.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

John White wrote an article for CatholicVote a few days ago about a pastoral letter to men from Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted called this pastoral letter “Into the Breach.”

I want to thank the bishop for writing a letter that calls men to be men, but does it without attacking women. That alone was a breath of fresh air. This powerful letter is important to women, as well as men. Because we need you.

Women need the strength and power of manly men. So many women, and even more children, lead blighted lives because they do not have the strong male presence of a husband and father to uphold them.

Men, take note. Your women and your children need you. We need your presence in our lives. Look around you. Look at the messed up people who grew up in messed up homes with no fathers. Look at the gender-confused, feral young people who are so damaged that they can’t marry, form their own families, and raise their own children.

What have we done?

By “we” I mean all of us, men and women, the great we that is the human race. What have we done that we have created this mess? How can we heal it?

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/man-woman-designed-to-need-each-other/#sthash.lV3QMaQf.dpuf

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

History Repeats in USA, But Evil Will Never Triumph

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

What happens when evil appears to triumph?

I wrote about that for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. King Solomon

“Today’s families face challenges that previous generations did not face.”

We recite that cliché in somber tones, as if we were saying something profound. But King Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun.

A society run amok with sexual depravity? Look no further than Sodom and Gomorrah, or most of the ancient pagan world, for that matter.

Killing our children to free us to achieve for the corporate empires that rule our world? Change “career” to “good harvest” and “abortion” to “putting your children through the fires,” and you are right back in the pagan world, standing before Moloch.

Poison our elderly, disabled, sick, weak and frail in an act of “mercy?” Go back 70 years to the “useless eaters” of the Third Reich, being driven around in trucks with hoses piping the exhaust in on them. If that seems too pertinent, look at pagan societies that left their helpless members out, where the animals could kill them.

Sex selected abortion? Think of exposing baby girls by throwing them in the dump and leaving them to die.

What about drugs and the reign of terror exacted on families today by the drug addicts in their midst? What about incest? Or polygamy or Christian persecution?

There’s nothing new, not under the star we call Sol. It’s all been done before.

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/history-repeats-in-usa-but-evil-will-never-triumph/#sthash.NhluMqGh.dpuf

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Here’s Why Euthanasia is Wrong: You Do Not Kill Innocent People.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

The post I wrote for the National Catholic Register about California’s new euthanasia law attracted a few “death with dignity” trolls. As these people always do, they quickly descended to the non-argument of attacking me personally.

Frankly,  I have no big problem with that. It’s an honor to be drubbed for standing against the murder of innocents. They can bring it on.

However, it seemed that other readers were having trouble finding a response to these bullies. That happens a lot. Christians are overawed by the sheer emotional violence of those who want to legalize killing. There’s no surprise in that. People who support these things are often crazy mean, and dealing with them, even on the internet, can be a bit of a shock.

So, I wrote a second post. I wrote it for the specific purpose of sharpening the abilities of my Catholic Register readers to respond to these trolls. It’s important that we do not allow them to stun us into silence in our own houses, and the National Catholic Register is definitely an internet home for those who believe in the sanctity of human life.

The specific combox snipe I chose to respond to was one that sniped at me over my misspent and sinful past. I chose it because it struck at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, which is to say that it struck at the heart of the meaning of the cross.

Here’s part of what I said:

Here is the reason why euthanasia is wrong:

You do not kill innocent people.

Notice what I put at the end of that statement? I put a period, as in complete thought, finished, over and through.

You. Do. Not. Kill. Innocent. People.

If you are a lawmaker, you do not pass or sign laws that kill innocent people. Because if you do, that makes you a murderer. I know all about this, up close and personal. As one commenter on my post concerning Governor Jerry Brown and his mighty death-dealing gubernatorial pen somewhat inaccurately noted, I am the former director of the Oklahoma chapter of NARAL.

Not only that, but I helped open the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and I referred women for abortions. Then, during my first years in elected office, I used my abilities and the powers granted to me by the people of my district to kill pro life legislation. I also set up the system whereby pro life bills continued to be killed long after I left office.

So. Does that disqualify me to take the gubernator to task? If you think it does, then you should stop reading this post right now, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Again.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/euthanasia-is-always-wrong-you-do-not-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3o55AHLIq

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent  http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

I know more about the Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument story than my sense of responsibility to the people I worked with will allow me to say.

I’ve put off writing about it because, to be honest, I get angry every time I think about it.

But I finally chased myself around my house a few times and wrestled myself into my chair and wrote a post for Catholic Vote. I didn’t tell all. Not even close. But I think I told more than you’ll find elsewhere.

I. Am. So. Glad. I’m. Not. In. Office.

Here, from Catholic Vote, is part of what I said:

Ten Commandments monuments stand outside courthouses and statehouses all across the USA. They go back to the beginning of our country. This is fitting, since the legal structure of the Western world is built on those ten commandments.

For the first two hundred years of our republic, the only controversy was an occasional argument about whether the monument would be made of marble or granite. But for the past 30 years pressure groups have been working to drive religious expression from the public sphere.

The United States Supreme Court stopped them from acting as an American Taliban, blowing up historic monuments and statues because they had religious meaning attached to them. Otherwise, I suppose they would have kept going until they demanded that we burn the Declaration of Independence for its allusion to “Our Creator.”

Federal courts have upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in states such as Texas. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze assumed that a Ten Commandments monument that was identical to one that passed court muster in Texas would be allowed in Oklahoma.

Rep Ritz is the primary author of the legislation authorizing the monument. Rep Ritz was passionate about this bill. He was so committed to it that he even paid for the monument with his own money and donated it to the state as a gift.

I was a member of the Oklahoma House when we voted on it. Rep Ryan Kiesel, who is now the executive director of the Oklahoma ACLU, led the debate against the bill.

Without Rep Kiesel, I don’t think there would have been any debate at all. But he successfully convinced a number of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus that this bill was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America. They followed him in opposing the monument, and several of them were defeated because of it in the next election. Rep Kiesel did not run for re-election.

It turned out that Rep Kiesel was wrong. The monument was not unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America.

That’s why the same Rep Kiesel chose another line of attack in his new position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma ACLU.

Read the rest here.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Two Priests In Trouble for Having Boyfriends. Is There a Difference Between Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Quinn Dombrowski https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

This is a post about two prominent priests.

The first prominent priest held a powerful Vatican position and taught theology to priests. He told the world — in a press conference, no less — that he’s gay, sexually active and proud of it. He denounced the “homophobic” Catholic Church and departed with a book deal and his boyfriend.

The second prominent priest is from Chicago. He attended Pope Francis’ address to Congress last month. It turns out that he also has a boyfriend. His archbishop removed him from his parish assignment.

The Chicago priest, Father Marco Mercado, is asking for prayer, and says that his priority is the Gospel. He says he’s sorry if his actions have scandalized anyone.

Scandalized? Us?

After the past 15 years, this barely causes a blip on the Church scandal meter. Those of us in the pews are just relieved it was between adults and something is being done about it. After all, the pope himself told us that there was a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican, and just about every Catholic over the age of 12 knows that many of our priests are gay.

What we have here is a tale of two priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and says he’s sorry for what he did. The other denounced the Church for calling his sin a sin.

This situation illustrates a big issue for the Church. How are we going to go forward in this onslaught of satanic evil that is coming down on us if our priests bunt instead of swing away?

It’s not a question of whether or not we should have priests who are homosexual. We do have priests who are homosexual and everybody knows it. The question is, which column does the priest fall into? Is he a priest, who happens to be homosexual? Or is he a homosexual, who happens to be a priest?

I don’t care if a priest happens to be homosexual. I care if he is an authentic follower of Christ. The day is past when we could get by with priests who went to seminary so that they wouldn’t have to tell their mamas they were gay. We need holy priests who will lead us through these times.

It doesn’t bother me to learn that a priest has fallen flat on his face and done something stupid and sinful. Intimate involvement between two adults is definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever heard of a person doing. People long for other people.

As one of life’s all-time sinners whose only hope was and is the love of God, I do not have the qualifications to be anything but understanding about other people’s sins. I have been forgiven too much to draw a line on forgiveness to others.

But forgiveness presupposes that the person acknowledges their sin and asks to be forgiven. We all sin, repent, get cleaned up and try again. That’s life.

The priest in Chicago says he’s sorry. I don’t know the situation, and I leave its resolution in his bishop’s hands, but I’m assuming that his relationship with an adult man did not involve someone who was vulnerable, such as a parish employee or a counseling situation. All I know is that he says he did wrong and that he’s sorry for it.

The priest in Rome wants the Church to stop telling him his sin is a sin. He’s self-righteous and accusatory toward the Church that trusted him, educated him, promoted him and gave him enormous power.

The fact is, he was ripping off the priesthood and it sounds as if he was doing it deliberately. Given his attitude, he had no business wearing a collar, much less being that close to the seat of power within the Church.

Linda LaScola is an atheist blogger here at Patheos who writes in support of Christian clergy who become atheist. She has made comments that I think accurately describe the impact of fallen clergy. Here’s part of what she says.

… There are clergy who are purposely or inadvertently discouraging their parishioners from holding some of the foundational beliefs of their religion. 

… Liberal clergy will continue to lead the move away from biblical religion. They are humanists’ natural allies … We predict they will keep discarding bits of Christian doctrine until it’s gone. 

This is a post about two prominent priests. One fell off the chastity wagon and seeks forgiveness. The other condemns the Church for saying his sin is a sin.

One affirms Christian doctrine and wants to be forgiven for his human weakness. The other demands that Christianity discard 2,000 years of teaching concerning human sexuality and condemns the Church for adhering to it.

Which of these two priests would Ms LaScola consider “a natural ally?”

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Over 100 Prominent Catholic Converts Send Letter to Synod Fathers in Support of Marriage

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Over 100 converts to the Church have sent an open letter to the Synod Fathers, asking them to “uphold Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.”

From Aleteia:

Addressed to the pope and the synod fathers, the just released “Open Letter to the Synod from over 100 Converts” calls them “to uphold Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage with the same fidelity, the same joyful and courageous witness the Catholic Church has displayed throughout her entire history.” The signers explain that the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, now so widely criticized even within the Church, helped draw them to the Church, especially as she held to these truths when society began to reject them.

In the letter, sent to the Synod fathers in mid-September and just released publicly, the signers oppose proposals to loosen the Church’s discipline for the divorce and remarried, including the “way of penance” some Synod fathers have pushed. These proposals, they argue, do not address “the real crisis of the family” that underlies the problem of divorce and other problems like contraception, cohabitation, and same-sex attraction. It closes with the hope that the signers’ witness to the power of the Church’s teaching will strengthen the Synod fathers’.

Asked about the origin of the Letter, the organizer, Margaret McCarthy of the Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, said that she’d realized how important the question of marriage and divorce was to Christianity at its beginning. Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage scandalized even the disciples, who said “It would be better not to marry!”

But Jesus’ teaching makes marriage an attractive “token of eternity,” she said, because it helps us meet God. The same applies to the early Christians’ desire for children and to Christianity’s high view of women and of creation, both signaling a belief and practice very different from the pagans’. “For many converts, we were attracted the Catholic Church’s steadfastness on questions concerning embodied human existence, not simply because we wanted it to be morally rigorous, but above all because this was an expression of the attractiveness of Christ, the Word made flesh.”

Read the rest here.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X