The Abortion Wars: Abortion Worker Conversions and Modeling Christ

Some of the most committed pro lifers are former abortion workers.

Only people who have walked the other way can really know how horrific abortion is. That makes their dedication stronger and their testimony more compelling. They are among the most effective pro life warriors that we have.

Most pro life people are familiar with Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood Director who just got up from her desk at Planned Parenthood one day, went to the 40 Days for Life headquarters and sobbed, “I want out!”

What many of us don’t know is that in the past five years at least 70 abortion workers have experienced similar conversions. That may not sound like a lot of people, but each one of them is a miracle of God’s grace; a Saul on the Road to Damascus reversal of life direction. These people gave up their jobs, friends, maybe their family, because, in Abby Johnson’s words they “want out.”

What drives them to step out and take the risks involved in this huge reversal of the trajectory of their lives? I believe that it is the Holy Spirit, Who does not want any of God’s children to be lost. But I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is acting on the abortion workers alone. I think that pro life people are responding to grace and changing their tactics, as well. This combination is what is leading to these conversions.

In a Catholic World Report article, Shawn Carney, Campaign Director of 40 Days for life, says

In recent years, however, the exodus from the abortion industry has increased. Over the past five years alone, at least 70 abortion workers have had a change of heart and mind and left the industry.

“That is one statistic we wouldn’t have predicted,” said Shawn Carney, campaign director for 40 Days for Life, which has kept track of the abortion-industry departures.

“We hoped that mothers would choose life and that abortion businesses would close, but the abortion workers were another story,” said Carney. “They’re the ones who, on paper, are supposed to be our enemies, and yet the difference has been that the prayer and the peacefulness of our campaigns really wears on the workers.”

We have come a distance from the bad old days when pro-life people competed with one another in insulting and attacking pro choice, or pro abortion people. Somewhere along the line, the Holy Spirit helped pro life people figure out that they couldn’t convert people by slandering them.

There is still plenty of that type of pro-lifer around. I encounter some of them right here on this blog; people who denounce me because I distinguish between those who are genuinely (if confusedly) pro choice in their thinking and those who are just plain pro abortion. But better ways are taking hold within the movement, and they are bearing fruit.

I doubt if Abby Johnson would have left her office that day if she hadn’t felt there was a chance that the people at 40 Days for Life would welcome her. If she had felt that by leaving Planned Parenthood she was jumping directly into a volcano of hate, I daresay she would have toughened up and stifled her reservations until callouses formed around her heart and the opportunity to save her had passed.

I think that this change in us is part of the reason why we’ve begun, after all these decades, to see a rise in the number of abortion worker defections to the pro life camp. We have changed, and for the better. We’ve begun to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and model Christ for them.

There is a lesson in this for the Year of Faith for all of us. Faith is doing what God wants, using God’s tactics, not our own.

I’ve said that you can’t fight the devil with the devil’s weapons. That is true in all arenas, including this one.

“Legitimate Rape” Senate Candidate Arrested in 1980s Pro Life Protest

Mr Foot-In-Mouth, Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin, just rose in my opinion. 

Remember Todd Akin? He was the senatorial candidate who basically affronted the dignity of everyone with two X chromosomes by making a statement to the effect that if a rape was “legitimate” the woman’s body would protect itself and not allow her to get pregnant. Aside from the garbled way he expressed himself and the fantasy biology he seemed to believe, his apparent attitude toward rape victims was … well … horrible.

His own political party pressured him to withdraw from the race but Akins refused and doggedly campaigned on. He must be doing surprisingly well. The reason I say this is that opposition groups, including People for the American Way have “researched” his past, looking for an embarrassment or two. In my opinion, they might have left well enough alone.

It turns out that Todd Akins was arrested a number of times back in the 1980s for criminal trespass and resisting arrest in front of a St Louis abortion clinic.

According to the St Louis Post-Dispatch archives,

a 37-year-old William Akin from Creve Coeur — whose name and address matches other information about the future lawmaker — was among a group of protesters arrested on March 15, 1985. The newspapers account said: “Nineteen anti-abortion demonstrators who refused to leave the waiting room of an abortion clinic in the Central West End were carried out by St. Louis police officers.”

Three weeks later, another six protesters, including Akin, were arrested at another St. Louis demonstration. “Police had to carry Akin into an elevator,” the story said.
On April 5, 1985, Akin was arrested again as one of 10 protesters who were “attempting to block entrances” at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Ill., according to the paper. One clinic employee told the paper that the protesters caused minor damage and leveled “verbal abuse” at women entering the clinic.

Akins has confirmed that he was arrested 25-years ago, but won’t give out further details. “We’re not talking about that at all,” Akin told the AP. “It was 25 years ago, and I think it underlines the fact that I stand up for the things I believe and I’m pro-life, and we’re just leaving it there.”

I think these opposition researchers would have done better to have stayed with the outrage over Akin’s earlier comments. The arrest they discovered seems more like confirmation of his dedicated pro-life stand than a scandal. It sounds as if he was practicing the time-honored tradition of non-violent civil disobedience as a form of protest. It confirms that no matter how bad he is at expressing himself — and he deserves some kind of prize for that — he has a life-time dedicated pro-life stance.

Bad Boss Contest: Fired for Escaping an Armed Robber

Arby’s just went off my list of places to buy lunch.

No one can accuse Maria Archer of being a job hopper. She has worked for Arby’s for 23 years. The Fairborn Ohio Arby’s where she worked has been robbed three times in the last six months, and she didn’t quit.

Arby’s did not install alarms, security cameras or hire protection for their much-robbed location. They did, however, seek to enforce a “safety” rule that no employee should be in the building alone. Evidently Maria Archer broke that rule by staying late to close the restaurant last Friday. About 1 am the doorbell rang. She thought it was her co-worker who has just left and answered the door.

Instead of her co-worker, she was confronted by a man with a knife who tried to push her into a corner. She somehow managed to push the man away and escape through the drive-through window. Her thought: “I’m not going to die at Arby’s tonight. I’m just not.”

Arby’s response to all this? When Ms Archer returned for work, they fired her for violating their “safety rule.”

“I just never thought this would happen to me. Especially since my life was a stake.” Ms Archer told a local reporter.

Frankly, I can’t imagine returning to work after what she went through last Friday. This lady’s loyalty to Arby’s is way beyond anything I would have felt. But then, the first of the three previous robberies would probably have been enough for me.

As I said, Arby’s is off my sandwich for lunch list. This is just one more incentive to go to Chick-Fil-A for my fast food.

 

For Your Shopping Convenience: Five Christian Companies That Bring Their Faith to Work

Boycotts work best when you can narrow it down to one or two businesses. It’s impractical to boycott the whole wide world of commerce.

That’s a problem for Christians who want to their dollars to walk the talk of their beliefs. The amoral, anti-Christian ethos penetrates our corporate/entertainment industries to such an extent that it’s almost impossible to pick just one.

The logical thing for us to do is to turn the whole question on its head. Instead of boycotting the bad, we need to go out of our way to support the good. That’s why I was so glad when I found the following article which described five companies that bring their Christian faith to work.

I know Tyson Foods, Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. I’m going to check in to the others. If there’s anything the sell that’s on my “buy” list, they’ll get my trade. If you know of other companies that deserve a mention, let me know.

I’m going to reproduce the article completely. If you want to read more great articles like it, check out the Blaze.  Here it is:

Chick-fil-A isn’t the only company willing to share its Christian faith with the world. While attaching a specific religious view to a product or service holds the potential to turn a portion of consumers off, some business leaders and companies stick to their values and intentionally include them in their packaging and messaging. Some of these brands include: Forever 21, Interstate Battery, Tyson Foods, In-N-Out Burger and Hobby Lobby.

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

Forever 21:  Forever 21 is a clothing store that was founded by Don and Jin Chang, devout Christians who moved to America from Korea in 1981. The small store they opened in Los Angeles in 1984 has grown into a mass business comprised of hundreds of locations across the globe.

On the bottom of each bag, shoppers will find “John 3:16,” the popular Bible verse that reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

Image Credit: Los Angeles Times

Interstate Battery: Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, a company that sells — you guessed it, batteries — is also a believer who discusses his faith and salvation publicly. In fact, he even takes to the company’s web site to invite customers and visitors to write to him for prayer advice.

“Norm Miller is also a believer in God’s power to change lives, because it was that power that turned his own life around after years of drinking as hard as he worked,” reads Miller’s personal testimony on Interstate Batteries’ web site.

Click here to find out more!

 

But, the company goes well beyond merely mentioning God. Miller encourages everyone to accept Jesus Christ as personal savior — a central tenet of the Christian faith. Here’s more from the site:

You can accept Him right now, just like I did, by repeating this prayer and making it the commitment of your heart. Just pray…

“Dear God, I want freedom from the slavery of my sin. I believe Jesus is the Truth, and I accept Him now as my Lord and Savior. I ask you for forgiveness of my sins, because He paid for them for me. Please give me the power to live a life pleasing to You. Thank you for this gift of new and eternal life in Christ! In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

If you prayed this prayer, I’d like to send you some additional information that will help you grow in your understanding of Christianity and in your faith in God. Write to: Norm Miller, “Growth,” 12770 Merit Dr. Suite 1000, Dallas, Texas 75251.

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

Tyson Foods: Tyson, yet another company that refuses to hide its faith, offers employees chaplain services at plants across America. If people are saddened after the loss of a loved one or coping with a family emergency, these individuals are brought in to pray and assist those in need with coping.

John H. Tyson, the current chairman of the company, is a born-again Christian who believes his values shouldn’t be pushed to the side when he enters Tyson’s doors.

“My faith is just an ongoing evolution, trying to understand what faith in the marketplace looks like, giving people permission to live their faith seven days a week,” Tyson said back in 2010. “If people can talk about the football game on Monday, why can’t they talk about their faith?”

Tyson Foods is also known for donating mass amounts of food to America’s poor.

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

In-N-Out Burger: Much like Forever 21, In-N-Out Burger, a fast-food chain based in California, uses John 3:16 as a way to advertise its faith. In fact, the company places the popular verse on the bottom of cups. Here’s what 11Alive.com reports about the popular business:

Western U.S. burger chain In-N-Out has printed citations of Bible passages on cups, wrappers and other pieces of packaging since at least the late 1980s. For instance, “John 3:16″ appears on the bottom of soft drink cups, a reference to the Bible passage…

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

Image Credit: In-N-Out.com

Hobby Lobby: Last, but not least, is Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma City-based crafts store chain that very-openly embraces Christianity. Like Chick-fil-A, the company closes its more than 500 stories on Sundays and vocally mentions God on its web site. Here are just a few of the proclamations presented Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose:

Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. [...]

Providing a return on the owners’ investment, sharing the Lord’s blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.

We believe that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.

As TheBlaze recently reported, Hobby Lobby’s owners are also preparing to build a Bible museum in Washington, D.C., just blocks away from the National Mall. The museum, which is currently being organized, planned and designed, will provide visitors with thousands of Biblical artifacts along with a better understanding of the Old and New Testaments.

5 Companies Like Chick fil A That Share Their Christian Faith

While these certainly aren’t the only Christian companies out there, they are some of the most notable. Do you know of any other faith-based businesses that operate at the national level? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section and we may include them in a future edition of “5 Christian Companies That Publicly-Proclaim Their Christian Faith.”

 

Reverend Katharine Marple at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally

Reverend Katharine Marple blogs at Keep Life Legal. She is one of Public Catholic’s most stalwart supporters and a dear sister in Christ. I am going to reproduce her testimony, There is Beauty for Ashes below the YouTube video. The video is her speech at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom rally in her state.

Reverend Katharine Marple: My Story, There is Beauty for Ashes

I was on my way to the abortion clinic with my mom. It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember the day of the week or what month it was; but I do remember that is was 1978.

Isaiah 61:3 says, …..‘To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.’

When I found out I was pregnant, my mother told me that under no uncertain terms was I going to have a baby and live in her house. My grandmother (who lived with us) wouldn’t look at me. You’re smarter than this, they said. So I left. There’s not a lot of places a pregnant 17 year old girl can go who doesn’t have a job or a car. I ended up at my aunt’s house. I knew she would be empathetic because she loved children and had many of them. She might be able to talk my mother out of the abortion. Actually, she stayed strangely neutral. I didn’t know I needed a savior, not a way out.

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I felt like I was in a bunker waiting out the enemy. But my back was against the wall and it was only a matter of time that I would cave and go home to tell the enemy that I would go to the clinic.

‘And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me….’*

Two years prior, my mother confessed to me that she had an abortion. She had been in a relationship with a married man that was her high school sweetheart. I never liked the guy for the way he used my mother up without waiting around long enough to see the results. She would come home from one of their weekends and I could see the dried tears on her face when he would once again tell her he can’t leave his wife yet. Yet another man that talked a woman out of motherhood – she aborted their child just like he aborted her from his real life.

Maybe that’s why Mom wanted me to get rid of my baby – because she was cheated out of hers? I’ll never know the answer. I can’t make myself ask her.

‘The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.’**

You know, I have thanked God for many, MANY things but I am especially thankful that I really don’t remember much about the procedure. I was a basket case and scared out of my mind. I mean, how does a doctor suck a baby out of the womb? I knew nothing about what was going to happen. Abortion wasn’t talked about much so I didn’t understand what was really going on. I had no idea that there was a viable life inside of me. Everyone said it wasn’t a baby YET.

When my mom made the appointment, I remember the woman at the clinic told her that we needed to go into a back door so we wouldn’t be ‘assaulted’ by the pro-life protesters. There wasn’t very many of them as I recall. And honestly, I don’t remember anything after that. THANK YOU GOD.

‘….and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’***

I wish I could say I learned something from that experience and I lived a chaste life with the knowledge of the world that I desired no more, but the truth is that I was too drunk for too long to care. Abortion kills everyone – it killed me. While most other women I knew had at least one abortion apiece, I was the one that took it hardest. They said I was too young to get so maudlin about such a small thing. But what they didn’t realize is that their drug and alcohol abuse was why their abortion(s) didn’t matter.

How do I end this story? It really doesn’t end. Every Post Abortive Woman remembers that day every day of her life. I spent the next 23 years after the abortion in on and off drinking binges and two lousy marriages. But one December day in 2001 I met Jesus and in 2005 I married the man God set aside just for me. Now I have beauty for ashes and joy unspeakable! The missing piece of the puzzle had finally been put in place; now I am complete. Do I still think about the abortion every day? YES – because God has a plan for me and my ministry to help women that have gone through the horror of abortion.

‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matthew 28:19-20, KJV)

*Psalm 27:6 (KJV); **Psalm 103:6 (ESV); ***Hebrews 8:12 (KJV)

St Kateri, First Native American Saint, Canonized Today

Archibishop Lopez Quintano, the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, holds a basket made by Mohawk basketmaker Sheila Ransom that will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI by the Mohawk delegation to the canonization of Kateri Takakwith. To his right in the photo are Alma and Orlo Ransom; to his left are tribal police Detective Matt Rourke and former St. Regis Mohawk Tribe  Chief Wally Oaks.
Indian Country, Gale Courey Toensing

Most people in Oklahoma have Indian blood. 

I know that politically correct types are going to chide me because I didn’t say “Native American,” but I’ve called the Cherokee that flows in my veins Indian blood all my life. There’s also some Potawatomi mixed in there, but I’m not quite sure how. All I know for certain is that I have relatives who are elected officeholders in the Potawatomi tribal government.

My personal family history doesn’t matter except that it explains why I feel proprietary toward one of the new saints that was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI today.

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha is now Saint Kateri Tekawitha. Saint Kateri was a member of the Canadian Mohawk tribe. She suffered greatly for her conversion and faith in Christ, particularly because she refused to marry and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Considering the sexual mores that are foisted on young girls today, St Kateri’s insistence that her sexuality was her own, and that she could chose to NOT have sex seems especially apt.

As you might expect, the Mohawks came out in numbers to celebrate the canonization of their sister. According to an Indian Country article, almost 2,000 Mohawks made the journey to the Vatican for the celebration.

I share their joy. St Kateri, pray for us.

The Indian Country article says in part:

What is likely to be the largest delegation of Mohawk Indians ever to assemble in Rome will take place this weekend, October 20–21, for the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th-century Mohawk woman.

Almost 2,000 people from Akwesasne and Kahnawake will flock to the Vatican for the ceremony that will grant sainthood to Kateri Tekakwitha, the first indigenous woman of Turtle Island to be canonized by the Catholic Church. The canonization will take place on Sunday.

About 150 people—three busloads—left for the airport a week ago, and others, like Alma and Orlo Ransom and three members of their family, were leaving on Thursday, October 18, for the ancient city.

“The Vatican is topping off what we feel by making her a saint,” Alma Ransom told Indian Country Today Media Network. She has played a critical role in the canonization effort over the years.

“In Indian words she’s been a saint all along to us. When we refer to Kateri [pronounced Ga-da-li in the Mohawk language] we call her a holy person, and I think saints are holy people. We’re very proud and happy,” Ransom said, then added with a laugh, “We’re proud for her because she was so humble and timid—and we’re not!”

She and her husband were in the final stages of preparation for their trip when they were reached at their Akwesasne home.

“Oh, yes, we’re ready!” she said. “Last December when the pope declared that Kateri would be canonized, that was it. And the preparations, of course. We had travel agencies that wouldn’t take us because we didn’t have an exact date, but we have an Indian-owned, Mohawk-owned travel agency that cut to the chase and said it’s going to be this much no matter what, and we’re still with him.”

Read more here.

Christian Persecution: We Must Fight Persecution With Knowledge, Prayer, Courage and Unity

Standing Against Christian Persecution

Joanna Bogle is an author, journalist, and broadcaster living in London. She served for some years as a London Borough councillor and has also worked as a research assistant for Members of Parliament. She writes for various newspapers and magazines in Britain, America, and Australia, including Britain’s Catholic Times, and America’s National Catholic Register.

She is, in short, well-informed and well-spoken; a person that serious people take seriously. She has her finger on the pulse of European Christianity, particularly in the UK. When she says that persecution of Christians is in our near future, the statement carries weight.

That makes her recent article A Frightening Chat With a French Colleague an important read for all of us. Ms Bogle and her French colleague agree that the legal and social discrimination against Christians in Western Europe are growing. They also agree that the situation will probably worsen in the future.

Her fear that many Christians will fall away when the trials come are, I believe, accurate. I agree with her conclusion that, if we are to stand, we will need “a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity” with other Christians.

We must start standing up for our faith and we must stand together while we do it. I also think that we should pray for ourselves and for one another that we will each have the courage to stand for Jesus today and in the future.

I can think of no better time for us to begin this than now, in the second week of the Year of Faith.

Her article says in part:

A frightening chat with a French colleague.

We last met, very agreeably, in 2010 during the Pope’s visit to Britain which he was covering for a French Catholic newspaper. Late at night, after that glorious vigil in Hyde Park, we gathered at the house of friends, over glasses of wine and bowls of soup and slices of buttered toast, with lots of talk and a sense of rejoicing as the Papal visit was going so well and writing a memorable chapter in British history.

Today, still much talk and still a rejoicing in our shared faith and all that it means…but a gloomy sense of foreboding. Back in 2010, we knew full well that things were getting bad for Christians generally – that was why it was so good and necessary that the Pope’s visit lifted all our hearts and encouraged us – and now, two years on, things are measurably worse. Jean was in London to report on anti-Christian discrimination in Britain (problems over wearing a cross at work, nurses told they must take part in abortions, and the whole same-sex “marriage” horror, and so on). I had no good news to tell him, and he had none to tell me.

In France, as in Britain, the drive for same-sex “marriage” is going fiercely forward. Evangelicals and Catholics are united in opposition but face lethargy, confusion (“Surely if two people love each other, it doesn’t matter what sex they are…” etc), ignorance (“I can’t see there’ll be any problems!”) and prejudice. People who, ten years ago, would not have accepted that marriage could mean anything other than the union of a man and a woman now feel obliged to say that they think same-sex unions are really quite normal and right. It is harder and harder to achieve an open discussion as many people feel intimidated: a teacher, a social worker, a public official, can face sudden unemployment and possibly social disgrace for saying something deemed to be unacceptable and incorrect on this issue.
The conversation turned, as it so often does these days, to the future persecution of the Church. Nothing meriting the word “persecution” at the moment, we agreed, but young Catholics in their twenties assume it will arrive in their lifetime. It’s as if the New Movements and things like World Youth Day are boosting and helping them, urging them to get trained and ready and spiritually alert for tough times to come.
It will not be fun for any of us – those who talk eagerly about “a bit of suffering doing us good” or imagine fighting gloriously for noble traditions under a splendid banner may well be the first to succumb to pressure to abandon the Church…tough times call for real faith and love, and not for grand-standing. The need is for a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity.(Read more here.)

Miracle Story: Sometimes You Don’t Have to Ask, Redux

I published a post a few weeks ago telling the story of a young girl who saw a vision of Jesus while she was trapped in a sex-trafficking brothel in India.

The post said in part:

… taken as she was walking to school when she was around 7 and put in a brothel. She suffered terrible things which I will not go into here. She was confined in a tiny room and forced to have sex with many men each day. Her life was mostly that room and her tormentors. She had never heard of Jesus Christ in her young life.

She was alone in the room at one point, and she said that she saw a spot of glowing light in front of her. Then, she saw a man in the light who told her “I am Jesus and I will take care of you.” She did not know who this Jesus was, but she did understand that she was in the presence of God. In the face of every objective criteria to the contrary she believed Him when He said “I will take care of you.” Through a series of incredible events, she ended up here in Oklahoma, free from her captors, and living a new life.

When she talks about this experience, her face glows. Her life, even more than her words, are a testimony to the redemptive power of God’s love. She is going to school, and plans to be a missionary to the trafficked girls in her native India. (Read more here.)

Several readers told me that Jesus is coming to Muslims in visions all over the world. I did a small bit of on-line searching and found numerous links to stories of Muslims who have been converted by a personal visit from Our Lord.

I think many of these stories are true. When a person who says that Jesus has come to him or her, converts and then is willing to face prison, torture and death rather than recant, I accept that at the very least, they believe what they are saying is true.

People will lie for attention, for money, for a competitive or social advantage. Some people even lie for recreation. People will certainly lie to avoid torture and death. But very few people will stand up to imprisonment, torture and death to defend one of their lies. This willingness to die for Christ has been one of His strongest witnesses for 2,000 years.

I’m going to chose one article out of the many I found, primarily because I found it in an August 24 issue of Christianity Today, which is a reliable publication. The article says in part:

… Tom Doyle has spent the last 11 years working as a missionary in the Middle East. He was initially skeptical about reports that God was speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways.

But his mindset changed when his friend told him: “God showed me that my theology does not determine his action.”

He’s made dozens of trips out to the region as director of e3 Partners’ work there, and heard many stories from Muslims about how they came to faith as a result of seeing Jesus in a dreams or vision…

…In one amazing story, a Muslim kidnaps a Christian in Cairo, one of the most dangerous places in the world to spread the Gospel, and takes him at gunpoint to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, he meets a group of 10 imams, who tell him they have been having dreams about Jesus and ask him to teach them about the Bible.

Dreams and visions have become common among Muslims in the Middle East who have embraced the Christian faith. Doyle says the dreams open the door for Muslims to hear about Jesus in countries where spreading the Gospel is forbidden.

While the West associates Islam with terrorism, Doyle believes the majority of Muslims are peace-loving.

“I believe Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the Gospel message away from Muslims,” he writes.

But Tom knows that even Satan can’t stop the Gospel from spreading.

“More Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before,” Doyle writes. “In fact, we believe more Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last ten years than in the last 14 centuries of Islam.” (Read the rest here.)

The article runs parallel to discussions about the New Evangelization which took place at the Synod in Rome this past week. I am a strong supporter of the New Evangelization. These miracles serve to remind us that all evangelization of any era must begin with prayer and hearts that are yielded to the Holy Spirit.

God is not just the object of our desire. He is also the source of our strength and the guide for our actions. We have been timid for a long time about evangelizing anybody, particularly in areas of the world where such work is greeted with violence. I think it’s interesting that these places are the precise ones where Jesus is taking things into His own hands and beginning the work for us.

In this Year of Faith we would do well to remember that nothing we do is of or for ourselves. We the instruments of His grace in this fallen world, and the doorway to that grace is prayer and a humble heart.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Historic Soviet Posters Exhibited at Protect Freedom of Religion Event

A woman throws away icons in a propaganda poster which states The Bright Light of Science Has Proven That There Is No God CNA 10/17/12

Is this poster a relic from a distant past that has no meaning for us today, or is it a reminder of what can happen to anyone who takes their freedoms lightly?

Given the rancor and aggressiveness of today’s militant secularists, that is a question all Christians should ask themselves.

This poster and 39 others like it were exhibited at the Protect Freedom of Religion event at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver this weekend. According to an interivew Father Doug Grandon, the priest who first discovered the posters, gave to CNA, the posters

” … remind us that societies can turn very deadly when you have a kind of radical secularism which manifests in an anti-Christian attitude … you see it in all its ugliness through the lens of these posters.”

Father Grandon “believes the posters are important for Coloradans to see because they “give us a warning that this could happen again. Where you have a disrespect for the freedom of religion, a rampant kind of secularism, this could happen again.”

“If we forget these horrific historical examples, and if we become lethargic in our political involvement, our prayers, in our practice of religion, our culture could be lost. It could happen even here.”

The CNA article says in part:

The October 1917 revolution in Russia led to the atheistic, communist government of the Soviet Union which hoped to eradicate religion, and in particular the Catholic Church, from its empire.

To do this, the government produced thousands of different propaganda posters which denigrated Christianity and which the Soviet Central Committee described in 1931 as “a powerful tool in the reconstruction of the individual, his ideology, his way of life, his economic activity.”

Between 1919 and 1922, 7.5 million of these posters were distributed in the Soviet Union. As many as 250,000 copies of a given poster could be made in the 1930s. The propaganda posters continued to be made through 1983.

The posters showing the Bolshevik worldview fall into three basic categories: icons of the worker, women, and the enemy. The Soviet government also produced anti-religious cartoons and postcards.

The posters contain such imagery as Lenin sweeping clergy from the earth, hypocritical priests, and Christians as sheep being fleeced by their priests. (Read more here.)

HHS Mandate: It’s That Simple

The strum und drang surrounding the HHS Mandate complicates the issue beyond comprehension for a lot of people.

The mandate attacks religious freedom. I think it’s a bellwether of government enforced religious discrimination to come. As such, it as serious as any issue can be. It puts the government of the United States in the position of attacking the first freedom guaranteed to the people of the United States, the freedom to practice their religious faith without government interference.

In addition to those high-flying arguments against the HHS Mandate, we also have common sense. That is what a new ad by the Catholic Archdiocese of St Louis brings to the discussion about the mandate: Common sense.

The ad, which is called It’s That Simple, begins by saying, “You wouldn’t force an atheist to buy a Bible,” and goes on to “You wouldn’t force a vegetarian to buy a hamburger, then why would you force a Catholic employer to buy your birth control?” Each question is punctuated by the statement “It’s that simple.”

And it is. That simple, I mean.

It’s That Simple is well worth watching. Have a look below.

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Less of Me: The Diet, Week Three

Gimpy the Foot

I skipped posting about The Diet last week. The only thing I could’ve said was “Ouch!”

I took a fall about a week ago. Broke my foot. Had surgery. Now, I’m wheelchair-bound for 8 or 9 weeks and then back to surgery. After that, it’s rehab for me and my gimpy foot. The doc says it will be about 5 months before my battered foot and I are healed and fully well again.

Nothing I had planned in terms of bettering my health — except, possibly, getting 8 hours sleep — seems do-able right now.

I never knew how much I liked my feet until I lost the use of one of them. They were just sort of there, at the end of my legs, doing their job. I didn’t think they were beautiful, but now I know that two uncomplaining feet are among the most beautiful things in the world.  I am a newly minted feet fan. Two of them. In working order. That’s better than chocolate.

I honestly think that if I wasn’t so overweight I might not have injured myself so badly. That’s my theory at least. My husband said, “How did you smash it like that?” and I told him, “I guess I dropped my whole weight on it.”

The nurse at the hospital told me to stop doing that to myself, that things just happen. Said it as they were wheeling me into surgery, “Honey you stop doin’ that to yourself. Things just happen. Don’t tell yourself stuff like that.”

That was nice of her, but I still think that the amount of weight your bring down on your bones is bound to affect how much torque you put them through. Just guessing. But it does seem logical.

I’m not talking about beating myself up here. If my love affair with junk food and the resulting heft I brought to the fall made the injury worse, then I’m the one who’s paying the price. My overeating. My injury. My payment.

But I have come to the conclusion that this is a price I don’t want to pay again. There’s no doubt that my weight has made things tougher on my husband and kids as they’ve had to shove my wheelchair around. I also know that it makes it harder for me to paddle along with the wheelchair myself.

All this gives seeing Less of Me a whole other level of incentive.

There are real limits to what I can do now. My first job is to take care of my sore baby and get well enough to be more active. But I’m already thinking ahead to the days when I’m quasi mobile and can at least do some things.

We have a women’s health spa/workout place not far from our house called Mademoiselle Ladies Fitness. They have the full set up of weight machines, ellipticals, bikes and pool. But what I’m aiming for at first are the passive work-out tables. I have a friend who used these a few years ago because her condition wouldn’t allow her to do the more strenuous things and she says they actually do work.

The set up looks like this:

The exercises you can do with them look like this:

 

Whaddaya think? Would this work with Gimpy the Foot?

I also cracked my hip bone. Even though it is going to heal on its own with no intervention, it’s still sore. Maybe I should say, Gimpy the Leg. I dunno. All I know is that this little event has made me realize what a wonderful thing a healthy, pain-free body is. It’s also brought home how very fortunate I am that I don’t have diabetes to complicate all this, and how much I don’t want to spend any more days at the hospital being a patient.

How do I work toward the goal of a healthier me from this wheelchair? 

Ideas? Thoughts? And a little encouragement, please. Tell me what you think. 

 

Christian Persecution: 10,000 Egyptian Christians Stand for Jesus at One Thing

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An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide face arrest, interrogation and even death for their faith in Christ. Many millions more face discrimination and alienation.

Yet they do no recant their faith. In the face of violent persecution, Christians the world over continue to stand for Christ.

This was particularly apparent when 10,000 Egyptian Christians recently gathered in the desert for a three-day praise and worship service. According to Open Doors World Watch, Egypt is ranked 15 out of the 50 countries that are the worse persecutors of Christians.

The three-day service was called “One Thing” after Psalm 27:4: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

The Open Doors article about the One Thing reads in part:

Increased persecution, the election of a Muslim Brotherhood president, and the death of the Coptic Church pope has led to thousands

fleeing Egypt in fear of the future.

But there have been rays of the light of Jesus breaking through the gloom.

Earlier this month about 10,000 Christian young people came from all across Egypt for three days to worship the Lord and to seek God’s blessing for their country. The worshippers, mostly ranging from ages 13 to 30, gathered from 10 o’clock in the morning until 8 each evening. Many traveled hundreds of miles to the worship site in the middle of the desert north of Cairo.

“To sit among over 10,000 young people, worship with them in a roaring holy noise, listen to powerful and challenging messages and pray for God’s powerful presence in our lives; really, it is hard to describe in words,” says a Christian leader. “Sitting at the very back of the small soccer stadium gave me a good view of the scene. Thousands were sitting to my right, thousands to my left and thousands more in the middle. Hardly any empty gaps!

“The wonderful fact is that these young people came from all over Egypt. About 3,000 of them came all the way from many cities located in southern Egypt. They were accommodated in conference facilities available nearby. As for the remaining 7,000, they had to come all the way, every day, riding in the morning from Cairo and Alexandria in about 130 big buses, and then ride back home every evening for the night.”

According to the church leader, another 2 million followed the event on Internet and live satellite transmission.(Read more here.)

Christian Persecution: Christians Attacked, Forced to Worship Idols in India

“When his 12-year-old daughter asked the extremists why they were attacking her father, they began to beat her too.” Sadly, this kind of brutality directed at Christians is commonplace in India. The pastor and his daughter were later forced to worship Hindu idols.


08/07/2012 India (MNN) – While believers were gathered at his home singing worship songs, a mob of Hindu extremists brutally attacked Raju*, a church leader trained by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.

Mission India’s Dave Stravers said about 20 men broke into Raju’s home wielding clubs. Radicals destroyed things in the home and then turned their rage to Raju. When his 12-year old daughter asked the extremists why they were attacking her father, they began to beat her too.

“Persecution is a growing reality in India,” said Stravers. After violently attacking Raju and his family, extremists proceeded to drag the believer and his wife to a nearby Hindu temple.

“They smeared vermillion, which is like a finger-paint, on their foreheads and pushed their heads down…and forced them to worship the idols in the temple,” Stravers explained.

“This is a pretty typical thing; it happens quite often in India.”

Last month, the Evangelical Fellowship of India observed weekly attacks on Christians. Hindu extremists throughout India threatened and beat believers, often accusing them of ‘forcible conversions’. (Read more here.

Christian Persecution: Muslim Trafficking Networks Target Coptic Christian Women

This is a such a tragic story.  As you watch this news package from CBN News, please pray for Mary and all of the Christian girls who are being targeted by Muslims.  

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Patheos Election Month Coverage: Faith Matters, Yours and Mine

The cogent question about any candidate for elective office is always What will he or she do with the power if they get it?

We’ve come a long way since the days that candidates shook hands, kissed babies and stood on the backs of flat-bed trucks to make their pitch for office at the State Fair. Nowadays, it’s not only possible but highly likely that you will go through an entire campaign season and never meet any of the people who are asking for your vote.

You will see their faces and hear their voices on television and in radio ads, see them perform in debate circuses and hear their friends asking you to vote for them on robo calls. But the candidate his or herself will be as hermetically sealed away from you as the ebola virus at the cdc.

Sifting through the slick advertising and carefully-coached debate responses to get to an answer to the all-important What will he or she do with the power if I give to them question is daunting. Unless you’re a little bit psychic or a whole lot familiar with politics, it’s downright impossible. How does anyone judge which lies are total lies and which are partial truths when they’re trying to discern the facts about someone they’ve never met and who is being branded, packaged and sold to them like a can of corn?

That makes the question of faith even more important than it would normally be. Faith, for all its tricky points, is still a tough one to completely fake. Oh it can be done, but the doing of it almost requires a willing compliance on the part of those who are getting faked out.

For instance, (I’m painting a bulls-eye on my back by saying this and I know it) does anyone really think that Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich are nice people? Is there anyone out there who thinks that when Vice President Biden says he (1) knows abortion murders a child, (2) is opposed to abortion personally, (3) wouldn’t have one himself (whatever that means), but won’t tamper with the law, that he’s making any kind of sense?

We pretend we do. We pretend that the vicious things some pundits say don’t count against their Christian witness, that the logical hash politicians make of their Christianity in order to say they are Christian and total party loyalists both at once makes as much sense to us as they hope it will.

But do we really? Do we really believe this? There’s a kind of complicity in these political lies that lives in the no-thought land of those who lie and those who chose to believe them. It seems to fall along the lines of I’ll pretend to believe your lies if you tell me what I want to hear.

So if a Rush Limbaugh or a Newt Gingrich is saying ugly things about someone we don’t like for reasons we agree with, we pretend that they are not behaving like callous demagogues, but are demonstrating stalwart Christian fealty. If the Vice President wants to save medicare, we will let him get by with his claims to be going in two directions at once on a core moral issue. We pretend that he’s stumbled on some heretofore lost jewel of logic that protects religious freedom rather than privatizing and limiting the applications of faith in public life.

For politicians and their acolytes to successfully lie to us about faith, we’ve got to be their willing accomplices. We must, in short, chose to believe them in the face of every objective criteria to the contrary.

And that, my friends, is where faith comes in. Not their faith. Ours.

The question isn’t should politicians be allowed to reference their faith in public discussion and debate. Of course they should. It is also not a question of whether we are free to consider our religiously-based values in picking who we will vote for. Of course we can.

The question is, will we put our faith ahead of our party loyalties and our feel-good, my-guy-against-your-guy tribal togetherness and hold these people accountable? It isn’t our job to make them tell us the truth. Our job is to stop being so eager to believe them when they lie.

Our job, as Christians, is to put Jesus ahead of our political parties. We need to follow Him, not them. And we need to stop letting them get by with facile lies that we know very well are facile lies about their faith commitments.

Let’s take the issue of abortion for a moment. I don’t think for one minute that we have a choice between a pro abortion candidate and a pro life candidate in this election. We don’t have the option of voting pro life. Our choice is between one candidate who promises us abortions. And another candidate who promises us lots of abortions. That’s it. Pro Life doesn’t get in there.

Take the issue of waging war to generate corporate profits and build empire. We don’t have a candidate on the ballot in this presidential race who we can trust to absolutely not commit American troops for any reason other than the protection of the people of this country. What we do have is a choice between a candidate who is partly sold out to corporate interests and corporate desire to make war for money, and another candidate who is totally sold out to corporate interests and the plan to make war for profit.

I could do this on almost ever issue. I could go on all day taking one issue after the next and explaining how both parties and their candidates are not representing you and me.

But the point here is not that the political parties are shills for special interests. The point is that when you are a Christian you have to stand clear of this and demand better of them.

We live in a Democracy. Involvement in our political process is both our right and our duty. As Christians, we have a job of work in front of us to bring the Kingdom. We are here in this life to be Kingdom Builders.

If we are going to do that in the political process, we need to start taking a clear stand for Gospel principles at the precinct, state political party and ballot box levels. When one of our political pundits we agree with starts sounding like hate-filled brass, we need to send them an email telling them we are switching the channel and then actually switch the channel. When one of our politicians raises moral reasoning to an oxymoronic level, we need to let both him and our party officials know that we know the he’s lying.

If we start doing this consistently, they’ll get the message in a surprisingly short time. The only reason they’ve sunk this low in their behavior is because we have rewarded them for doing it.

Does faith matter in this election? Absolutely. But the only faith that really matters is the one that empowers you and me to walk our talk of Christian faith in all aspects of our lives, including the political.

That, and not more gummy rhetoric, is what can save this country.

Thousands Call Planned Parenthood Asking for Imaginary Mammograms

According to Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director and one of the organizers of “Call Planned Parenthood for an Imaginary Mammogram” thousands of pro-life people called to Planned Parenthood yesterday to ask for the mammograms.

The day before the calls were scheduled to begin, Planned Parenthood issued a statement admitting that it does not offer mammograms. President Obama stated incorrectly in this week’s Presidential Debate that they did offer mammograms. He was repeating claims made by the President of Planned Parenthood in television interviews earlier. (See here.)

An article from LifeSiteNews detailing the story says in part:

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The day before hundreds of pro-life activists prepared to flood Planned Parenthood’s offices with requests to schedule a mammogram, the organization issued a statement admitting that they do not offer the cancer screening procedure at any of their facilities.

The calls were placed today as part of “Call Planned Parenthood to Schedule Your Imaginary Mammogram Day” – an event organized by pro-life activists in response to President Obama’s statement during the presidential debate Tuesday that the abortion organization offers mammograms.

“There are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings,” the president had said, repeating a claim he had made earlier this summer in an interview with Glamour magazine.

But Obama isn’t the only one.

The notion that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms is one of the most enduring myths about the abortion giant. The claim is regularly trotted out by pro-abortion politicians eager to defend taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, but wary of invoking its controversial status as the country’s leading provider of abortions.

And it’s no wonder the myth persists. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards herself sowed confusion by citing “mammograms” among her organization’s services in February last year.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist, and one of the organizers of the “Call Planned Parenthood” day, told LifeSiteNews.com that she and other organizers estimate that more than 1,000 calls have been placed today to schedule mammograms. More than 1,800 people replied to a Facebook event page saying that they would participate in the event, with another 150 responding “maybe.”

Johnson described the event as “extremely successful,” pointing to Planned Parenthood’s statement as a major victory.

Pro-life groups have been hot to expose the false mammogram claim ever since Richards’ “mammogram” remark, which was made in response to a proposed bill to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding in February 2011. In reaction the pro-life organization Live Action called dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics to schedule a mammogram, only to discover that not one of the clinics offered the procedure.(Read more here.)

Today is Call Planned Parenthood, Schedule an Imaginary Mammogram Day

Live Action News has declared today, October 18, 2012 “Call Planned Parenthood and Schedule an Imaginary Mammogram Day.”

This is in response to Planned Parenthood’s inaccurate claims that it does mammograms. President Obama made similar claims in the Presidential Debate this week.

These false claims of medical care that Planned Parenthood does not usually offer go hand in hand with Planned Parenthood’s claim to be America’s “Number One Women’s Health Care Provider.” That particular claim can only be true if you limit your definition of “women’s health care” to abortion.

In truth, Planned Parenthood is an international population control organization with a history of involvement in eugenics. It has pushed birth control methods on women such as the IUD, Depo Provera and the morning after pill, which are much more dangerous for women than less invasive forms of contraception.

Planned Parenthood has a history of attacking anyone who tries to reduce its funding. Foremost among it’s method of attack is to label any attempt to limit funding of Planned Parenthood as a sexist attack on “women’s health.” The most recent example of this is the way that Planned Parenthood attacked Komen Breast Institute when Komen tried to shift grants they’d been giving to Planned Parenthood to other providers.

Claims that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms appear to be an attempt to cast the nation’s number one abortion provider as a full-scale women’s health outlet. The reasons behind this have very little to do with the facts, and quite a bit to do with Planned Parenthood’s constant push for more government funding.

The Live Action News article says in part:

Call Planned Parenthood and Get a FREE Imaginary Mammogram!
by Kate Bryan October 17, 2012 29 Comments

If you were watching the 2nd presidential debate last night, you probably remember President Obama’s claim that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. (Aww, bless his heart. Obama actually thinks that his buddies at the abortion-giant Planned Parenthood do mammograms.)

Mr. President, I’d like to welcome you to the real world – where Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms.

Just over a year ago, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards was caught in the middle of a massive lie, when she said on national television that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. Well – Live Action was watching (or as Planned Parenthood says, Live Action “women were watching”) and decided to investigate her claims. (See the YouTube video below to view what Live Action found.)

Last night during the debate, President Barack Obama gave a shout-out to his girl Cecile Richards and her pro-abortion posse at Planned Parenthood, and he repeated Cecile’s false claim that Planned Parenthood does mammograms.

It’s time for the president of the United States, Planned Parenthood, Hollywood starlets, and everyone else who has spouted this ridiculous claim to snap out of their fairy-tale world and back into reality, where Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms.

Now – here’s where it get’s fun!

Our friends at And Then There Were None came up with a creative and hilarious idea to help expose the truth even more — and launched the official “Call Planned Parenthood to schedule your imaginary mammogram” day!

Tomorrow is “Call Planned Parenthood to schedule your imaginary mammogram” day, and this is your opportunity to call Planned Parenthood and their comrades out on the false claim that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms.

Planned Parenthood, the president, and countless celebrities have spouted this fallacious claim, and they refuse to admit that they are wrong. So – we’re going to expose the truth (again), and we need your help!

What to do:

TOMORROW, Thursday October 18, 2012

Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) to get your local Planned Parenthood center.

Then – tell Planned Parenthood you would like to schedule a mammogram. (Read more here.)

Here is what Live Action found when it investigated

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The Existential Reality of Unbelief and Atheist Anomie

“This is My Body.”

The priest says this, then holds the wafer aloft. The bells ring and the church falls silent.

This is My body.” This bread, that, in the words St Faustina gave us, is the body and blood, soul and divinity” of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is My body … the body He spoke of when He said, “he who eats of my flesh … shall never die.”

If this is true, then nothing else matters.

If it’s a lie, nothing matters at all.

A few years ago, an atheist friend of mine leaned over the lasagna on the dinner table between us and said, “Life is nothing, really. You’re born. You live. You die. None of it matters.”

That is the existential reality of unbelief. That simple statement represents our ultimate reality if we are nothing but animated matter. Unbelief is not the liberating viewpoint its proponents like to claim. After those who fall prey to it get past the ‘freedom” to use and be used, to break all the rules and kick over all the barriers of passé Christian morality, they inevitably arrive at the great alone where life without meaning, living without hope defines their reality.

The question of whether or not the priest’s words are true when he proclaims “This is my Body” and elevates that wafer involves a lot more than whether or not there is more to us than they can take apart in an autopsy. It is more than the gift of life after death. What it represents is life, not just after death, but before it, as well.

I lived about 17 years of my life in rebellion against God. I had my reasons. Even now I think they were rather good ones. During those years, I lived as my own god. I decided what was right and wrong. I made my own rules. And I lived by them.

I did many of the things that people who attack Christianity do today. I made fun of churches when talking to my friends. I was ardently pro-choice, and that led me into an active dislike of Christianity and the power of Christian witness. I joined Americans United for Separation of Church and State and I looked forward to the day when churches would lose their tax status. My reason was simple: I wanted the voice of faith to go silent so that I could do what I wanted without anyone trying to tell me no. I was perfectly free to walk my own path, but I didn’t like the constant push back from people of faith about what I was doing.

It was as simple, and as selfish, as that.

What I didn’t reckon with was that being your own god has a peculiar price attached to it that no posturing unbeliever ever mentions. Not only can you be your own petty god, but you must be your own god. Not only can you set your own rules and define your own morality, but you must set your own rules and define your own morality. And when you do harm to others, as you will, the remorse you feel is as cold and pitiless as the philosophy that brought you here.

I never got to the point my friend described in the restaurant that night. I was still young and healthy, with my own eventual death a long way off in a future I couldn’t imagine, much less see. There wasn’t any emotional head-butting against the hard wall of my own mortality. I just failed at being a good person.

Without the “rules” I so despised, I tripped over the edge of what I knew was right and tumbled soul-first into the world of doing what I knew was wrong. The obfuscations worked for years. They tamped down the unease, silenced the questions and made me feel just fine about myself. But there came a day when the truth broke through and I found myself face to face with the fact that I had hurt other people.

Being your own god means that you will come to a day when you either have to face the harm you have done and are doing to other people and change your ways, or you will chose to ignore it and give yourself away to a life of indifference about the pain you cause. If you go the first direction, you will plunge into the pain of remorse and grief. If you go in the second, you sentence yourself to the dry living and lonely dying of life as your own useless god.

I took the first course. It was while I was on that path of remorse and grief that I reached out to the God I had pushed away for so long. I discovered that He was right there, He was real and He loved me with a love like nothing I had ever experienced before.

As usual, there were a lot of things I didn’t reckon with in that turning to God. One of the most important was that the experience of knowing Him re-oriented my view of myself and life. When you look at the world through godless glasses, what you see is what my friend described to me. “Life is nothing. You’re born. You live. You die. None of it matters.”

That is the atheist life view. It is the inevitable and unavoidable conclusion to the belief that reality has no spiritual dimension and that there is nothing to existence but the material universe. Life is nothing. We are nothing. None of it matters.

There comes a point in the life of every person I’ve known who holds this life view when bitterness and anger seem to overwhelm them. The self-portrait atheists peddle to others of themselves as urbane philosophers with a cogent and rational grip on reality doesn’t hold up when you spend much time with them. I lived 17 important years of my adult life with unbelievers as their fellow unbeliever. I know a lot of people who are atheists. I’ve seen them go through all sorts of life situations.

One of the things that is most jarring when I watch them is how their bitterness increases with time. These are tormented people who are trapped in an arid view of life that offers no hope or meaning.

Christianity, on the other hand, provides meaning and symmetry to all of life, including some of its worst happenings. Life matters when you are a Christian, all of life, every life. What you do matters. You matter.

Life for a Christian is more than eternal. Living life forever with a worldview as arid and hopeless as that of the atheist would be a sentence, not a gift. But life when it is viewed through the lens of faith, is rich with meaning and purpose.

Bad things happen to all people. But Christians can see meaning in them. We can know that God will ultimately use even the worst bad thing for good. Nothing, not even death, is the end of our story, and seen through the lens of eternity, the things that overwhelm the atheist do not overwhelm us.

“This is my Body,” the priest says and lifts the wafer, the Host, for us to see, that what he says is true. It is the Bread of Life Abundant.


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