"An Israelite Without Guile"

It has always seemed somehow fitting to me that the apostle Jesus called "An Israelite Without Guile" would suffer a martyrdom that involved being skinned alive. Whether one resolves to live without guile or is simply gifted with its absence, going through life without a bit of craftiness suggests walking around with a degree of naked self-revelation that can go beyond skin deep.So, it's not really surprising that Max Lindenman has chosen to call his new weekly column at Patheos, "An … [Read more...]

Challenges, Rewards of Teaching Deaf Children

Catechist extraordinaire Lisa Mladinich, whose weekly column "Be an Amazing Catechist" has become a first-stop resource for RCIA facilitators and CCD teachers, has for the last two weeks been focusing on the challenges and rewards of serving the Deaf community of faith. Last week, she looked at the great needs within the church - what they are, and how well we are addressing them:In November 2009, Pope Benedict met with 400 deaf and hearing Catholic clergy and lay people, from sixty-five … [Read more...]

Deacon Greg Kandra, Columnist

As if he doesn't have enough to do, Deacon Greg has decided to take on a weekly column, and today we launch him - check out All Things New:In a movie chock full of startling moments, this was one of the most startling of all.Toward the end of The Passion of the Christ, Jesus—bloodied, battered, defiled Jesus, struggling under the weight of his cross as he slouches toward Calvary—this Jesus stumbles, falls, and recovers, and then looks up to see the anguished face of his mother.And he man … [Read more...]

Why Tyranny Fears Art – UPDATED

About ten years ago, maybe longer, I read an interview with U2's Bono, and he said (paraphrasing from memory) "art and lovemaking are the ways to touch God."I think he meant that art and lovemaking were transcendent because they are both activities are a means of self-revelation - that they take us out of ourselves and make us vulnerable in an act of creation, or co-creation, and there is tremendous power in that.Well, I happen to think - if that's what he meant - that Bono was correct. The … [Read more...]

Departures & the Lord of Our Trys

The other day, I posted a bit of gorgeous music from a film soundtrack.I'd been turned on to the music by Joseph Susanka, the excellent writer who also blogs at Inside Catholic (see his moving post about Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez and a suffering little boy here).Joseph--the young father of six little boys--also writes a weekly column, Through a Lens Darkly, where he finds the dark side of grace, even in lighter films, and also manages to find the light of grace in "darker" films. This … [Read more...]

Surrender unto Surrender for Peace – UPDATED

I admit, my Tuesday column requires some patience. If you jump too quickly you're going to think I'm saying Christians should never defend themselves.Jesus surely didn’t preach that; he didn't preach a crusade either. He taught us to turn the other cheek.Our instincts tell us that turning the other cheek is stupid, but this is what Christ preached. He did not teach that we were meant to conquer others—be they radical Islamists, or gay activists, or evangelical atheists—but that we were to co … [Read more...]

"Are you a woman of God?" UPDATED

That's the question Sr. Lisa Doty got from a kid in trouble:“Yes, I am,” I responded, “is there something I can do for you?”Looking down at his feet, he stammered, hardly audible, “I’m not sure what you can do, but I really could use your prayers.” He went on to explain how he had gotten into a lot of trouble at school, and as a result of it, he was expelled. Naturally, his folks are angry, and they worry he won’t be able to go on to college. “I’ve ruined everything! I have no future now!” Te … [Read more...]

"Movin' On Up;" the Background!

Deacon Greg Kandra--who is due to move The Deacon's Bench over to Patheos on December 13--is busy hanging up bookshelves and making the place ready. As evidence of his excitement he's posted the greatest TV-Theme song ever written.An interesting background story on that memorable song. If you remember the series Good Times, you may recall Ja'net Dubois being cast as Florida's friend and neighbor, Willona.What most don't realize is that Dubois, was an dis an accomplished musician and singer. … [Read more...]

Paving Over Grace & Preparing a Place

Two must-reads for you, over at Patheos--well, three, actually!If you are a fan of books and movies, and I know you are, check out Joseph Susanka's excellent take on Paved Over Grace; The Road to Perdition, and how Hollywood deviated from the book in ways large and small, to essentially eliminate all the grace-notes, but manage to focus (with perhaps too much emphasis) on the message of "non-violence." Including both, says Susanka, would be better:The film’s final lines, delivered by the y … [Read more...]

Happy Friday Reading!

Another week speeds by, and I have a tabbar full of stuff I meant to share with you, opine on, or whatever. Is it just me or does it seem like time is speeding up? I am so not ready for Christmas, but Advent will slow us down a little, and help us to get into focus.Today, let's focus on what's new:You know Ed Morrissey? Nice guy from Hot Air, with the radio show, the great interviews and so forth? Well, he's not the only writer in the family anymore! His wife, Marcia, recently answered … [Read more...]