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A Priest and an Atheist Walk into a Bar: A Story about Faith.

What is the nature of faith? Why do some of us believe that there is a God that watches over us and impacts our lives, while others believe we are alone in the world and left to our own devices?These are questions I have been pondering since I wrote my last Patheos story on “The Third Man” phenomena. In a nutshell, it was about how certain people in life-threatening situations detect a “presence” around them that they perceive as a guardian angel. I received a few reader comments questio … [Read More...]

FreeImages.com/Paul Frances McDonald

The “third man” phenomena—proof of guardian angels or something else?

Have you heard the story of “the third man” encountered by Ernest Shackleton during his legendary Antarctic expedition? You may already know the tale of how Shackleton’s boat The Endurance became trapped in the ice and how he and his crew narrowly escaped with their lives—but one fascinating fact that drew less attention was the otherworldly presence that accompanied him during the final leg of his journey.After a harrowing 800-mile open water voyage, Shackleton and two crewmen then made an e … [Read More...]

Jack LaLanne on improving your spiritual and mental well-being in 10 easy steps.

Do you remember “The Jack LaLanne Show”? As a child, I can recall my mother watching the program on our black-and-white television. Jack was a “fitness expert” before there was such a thing, and I remember him as a man in constant motion. Wearing his trademark jumpsuit, he took viewers through exerci … [Read More...]

Will the texting, TV-watching monks of Cambodia find enlightenment?

If you asked me to name the place where enlightenment could most easily be obtained, I might guess a Buddhist monastery in the Far East—that is until I read a recent article in the United in-flight magazine Hemispheres.It seems that in recent years, Internet use has become widespread at temples a … [Read More...]

How Eileen Flanagan Turned a Midlife Malaise into a Life with Purpose.

What do you do when you reach middle-age and realize you’re living a life that is far less fulfilling than you expected? When you become aware of the fact you’re not living the simple and idyllic life you once imagined, but something that more closely resembles the consumeristic, upward-striving lif … [Read More...]

If gays are going to hell, are gluttons going too?

A few days ago, here in my home state of New Jersey, a story appeared that irked me. The Director of Campus Ministry at Seton Hall University, Warren Hall, posted a pro-LBGT (Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/Transgender) remark on his Twitter account. In today’s day and age, it seemed fairly innocuous: LGBT ' … [Read More...]

The puzzling Jesus parable—and a minster’s perfect response.

It was a few hours after my daughter was born, and I was sitting in chair in a small local hospital, as my wife and newborn child slept peacefully nearby. On the nightstand next to me, I noticed a copy of The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version and picked it up.It was the first time I had … [Read More...]

Life is too short to be “busy” all the time.

I recently listened to a podcast with a great riff by the author Tim Kreider on how we seem to pride ourselves on our “busy” lives. Tim points out that while this busyness makes us feel important, there’s also a huge downside to our nonstop activity—it takes away from our ability to be lazy.Now, … [Read More...]

Napoleon Hill on getting ahead in life: with sex.

Successful people tend to be highly sexed. ~Napolean HillHave you ever read Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich? One of the strangest and most curious parts of this self-help classic is found in a chapter titled The Mystery of Sex Transmutation. I’m sure it raised a few eyebrows when it was fir … [Read More...]

The powerful prayer that was forgotten about for centuries—and its amazing comeback.

What do you do when it feels like your prayers are going into a deep, dark void and aren’t connecting you with the Divine?Well, 700 years ago a Christian mystic had an answer, an alternative to traditional prayer that he believed offered a direct connection to God. The Roman Catholic church s … [Read More...]

Making the world a better place: one kind act at a time.

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~John BunyanWant to feel better about yourself? I can think of no better way than by engaging in a “random act of kindness”. It’s a gesture that not only makes the recipient feel better, it has a funny way … [Read More...]

What makes us happy? (It’s not what you might think.)

In the United States, we place a premium on being happy. (Cue the Pharrell Williams video.) Yet, a recent study shows that not all cultures approach life the same way. In a story titled “Not Everyone Wants to Be Happy” at Scientific American, social psychologist Jennifer Aaker points out that our per … [Read More...]

4 Life Lessons from the Minister who helped win a Super Bowl.

If you’re even a casual football fan, you probably know by now that the New England Patriots won the 2015 Super Bowl. But you may not know about the man called “a critical part of the team’s success”, though he’s not part of the coaching staff and has never played a single down.His name is Jack E … [Read More...]

A Look at Non-Stop Prayer—and a Very Doable Alternative.

I’ve always been fascinated by the simple edict found at in the New Testament to “Pray without ceasing”. Perhaps because, I have several times come across people and religious groups that take this proclamation quite literally.A few years ago, I read about a group of young Christian men, who bega … [Read More...]


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