Marc Barnes is like Ted Williams Hitting .400

And just as fun to watch. Take for instance this post he wrote yesterday, which has gone as viral as the Spanish Influenza, being seen by close to 37,000 people in a little more than 24 hours. Like Ted drinking a bottle of Moxie, Marc wades right in.

Oh dear. Matthew Inman of the marvelous web-comic, The Oatmeal, seems to have experienced that exquisite twitch all modern atheists are doomed to experience — the I-know-what’s-best-for-you-silly-religious-people-come-heed-me spasm. This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview. Having thus defined the term “religion”, the moral high ground is taken, the sneers are unleashed, and all religious people fear and tremble, for atheism has demonstrated itself as supremely reasonable, authoritative, scientific, and gosh-darnit it’s a wonder everyone just doesn’t convert on the spot. Check it out. [Read more...]

Want To Be In A Movie? Casting Call!

Urakami Cathedral, 500 meters from Ground Zero.

What am I talking about? The film by Ian and Dominic Higgins, that’s what. You remember the one? It’s called All That Remains, and it’s the amazing story of Takashi Nagai, and how he responded to the bombing of his beloved city, Nagasaki.

Here’s a little message Nigel Martin Davey, one of my Co-Producers (a real one, not an honorary one like me) put out recently if you are interested. [Read more...]

About Catholic Relief Services, Brandon Vogt reminds us…

that while “the good” isn’t “the perfect”  (in the midst of a fallen world), that doesn’t mean it’s the embodiment of all evil either. Nor does that make it the aider and abettor of evil anymore than the Church is as a whole.

What follows is from his post entitled Compassion vs. CARE: A Defense of Catholic Relief Services.

 Food, Water, and…Contraception? [Read more...]

Because Life Goes On, And Is Worth Living UPDATED

Acts of terror, senseless violence, wars, rumors of wars, budget crises, scary headlines, scandal, political vitriol, etc., etc., got you down? It’s good to remember that life goes on, and is worth living. It is good to remember that for “the world,”

These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them, [Read more...]

Because We Need Sheets, Even If We Think We Don’t

On Sunday, my family and I made a trip to a little college in a little town near the peach capital of South Carolina. We did so in order to drop my daughter off at a camp that her lacrosse team was attending. After a lunch stop at a local eatery, we wound our way through the town on our way to the campus. As we did, we passed by an old, impressive looking Baptist church, established in 1878.

Up and down that same street were a number of other churches with impressive steeples, and my daughter asked the following question. “Dad, how is Mass different in these churches from ours?” A short question, and as we were getting close to our destination, and as I was navigating for my 16 year old son, a freshly minted driver, I just gave her a few brief answers on basic Protestantism like this.

“Well the first thing to know is they don’t have a Mass, actually. See, they don’t believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist, like Christians have believed since the very beginning. Also, in most cases Protestants, which means “to protest,” believe that if something isn’t written down in the Bible, that it isn’t true. Only if something is spelled out clearly in black and white in the Bible, will they believe it. Keeping in mind that there were no Bibles for hundreds of years after the Church began, that makes you wonder, right? We believe in the Bible too, Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church.  Also, most Protestants don’t revere the Blessed Virgin Mary, despite the fact that in the first chapter of Luke, right there in black and white, she proclaims that “all generations will call me blessed.”

And that was about all I had time for, as navigating which way to turn, and where to find the registration building for the camp put an end to her query. In the back of my mind though I was happy that she had asked the question, and I figured we could revisit the issue at some point in the future as a topic to discuss during the summer before CCD classes picked up again.

As it turned out, events would conspire to bring this topic back to the fore much earlier than that.

We got my daughter checked in at the registration desk, were issued keys to the dorm where she would be staying, and then we headed off to check out the room. It was in an older wing of the dormitories, but nice and clean. Bonus! Her roommate from the team had already moved in, bed made and everything. Mom stayed back as gear guard while the kids and I headed to the car to unload her stuff, and head back to the room to settle her in. We saw her coaches dropping their daughters off, exchanged pleasantries, etc.  All was well.

Safely in the room with her gear I say, “Well, let’s make your bed. Where are your sheets?” There had been a checklist on what to bring, see, and sheets, blanket, pillow, or sleeping bag, had been on the list of items to bring. Noting that she had her pillow and her quilt, and not a sleeping bag (like she had brought the previous year) I was surprised, nay, shocked (!) to learn that she had not brought sheets. “I don’t need them. I didn’t have sheets last year.”

“But you had a sleeping bag last year, and this year you didn’t bring it. You will not be sleeping on this mattress without sheets, honey. That is impossible.”

Clearly, it’s not impossible. My daughter seems to have an austerity streak going that shocks her Mom and me sometimes. This girl can rough it with the best of them. Now, though, I’m doing my level best not to turn into Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Weathers, reading her the riot act for deciding to ditch bringing her sheets to camp. My wife was not too happy about the sheet situation either.

What to do? Take action! “I saw a Walmart on the way here from lunch. The boys and I will go get her some sheets while you two stay here, unpack, hang out with the other girls etc. Also, let me know if there is anything else on that check list that she forgot, okay?” Actually, the tensions had risen to the point where the boys had high-tailed it out of there at the first intimation that the check-list hadn’t been followed to the letter. I found them outside, rallied them to the cause, and headed to Walmart which, love them or hate them, would have sheets a-plenty standing tall and awaiting purchase by me.

As my son piloted the vehicle through the unfamiliar town, and we passed by the big Baptist church again, the idea hit me that ditching the sheets on the checklist was another answer to my daughters’ question earlier on how we Catholics are different from these other churches. My mind is weird that way.

Long story, short, we bought a set of brand new sheets, learned that we also needed to pick up some hand soap (sheeesh!), and then we beat feet back to quarters. Upon arrival, sheets and soap was distributed, and the naked bed was clothed with brand new sheets with that smell that probably only Marines can understand when I write the phrase “smells like Cash Sales.” In other words, so new, they haven’t even been washed. You know the smell.

The lack of sheets crisis had been averted! Bed now made, and ready to hang out with her teammate/roommate, it was time for the parents to depart. Kisses and hugs all around, but I asked my daughter to step out in the hall so I could tell her something before I left.

“Remember how you asked me what makes Catholics different from the Protestant churches? And I told you some things that, as protesters, they decided to get rid of? It’s kind of like how you decided to not bring any sheets. You didn’t think you would need them, but you did. They too have decided that they didn’t need sheets. And now, though they may find themselves living in sumptuous mansions, the beds inside their rooms do not have sheets on them. Isn’t that strange? Beds need sheets, whether you live in a shack, or in a palace. The fullness of the Faith is found, and lived, in the Catholic Church. We haven’t decided to ditch what we have been given, and what we have needed, from the very beginning. Understand?”

She did, of course, because how much simpler can you put it?

 

Monsignor Charles Pope Defends the Faith…UPDATED

from the “know it all” Know Nothings. In this case, the know it all is Patheos’ own Friendly Atheist.

I once wrote that treating atheists like they are stupid is a mistake. I still believe that. Of course, it’s also a huge mistake to let them pretend they have figured everything out, deciding to junk thousands of years of tradition, revelation, interpretation, and enlightened study of Christianity. The Flying Spaghetti Monsters & Sky Fairies ya-da, ya-da offense is getting played out. [Read more...]

“The Unplanned Baby That Was Always Part of the Plan”

Awwwwwwww.

Disney Baby (who knew?) shares a story (with the title above) that will warm your heart,

Our baby Luke was a surprise, y’all. And when Caroline and I learned she was pregnant with him, we fainted were smack dab in the middle of the throes of toddlerhood. Times three. You see, I went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months thanks to marrying a single mom, then quickly conceiving triplets. [Read more...]

A Business Contract With America? It’s Not Enough UPDATED

Timothy Dalyrymple is a published author, and a Ph.D. While I was learning to field strip an M-16, he was learning about Kierkegaard. He’s also got more degrees than you can shake a stick at. He’s generally a good guy, means well, wants the best for our country, and on top of it all, he lets a lightweight like me stand up on my wee little soapbox and hold forth on why I am Catholic.

Timothy, managing editor of the Patheos Evangelical portal, has been hanging around lately with the likes of Hugh Hewitt, “a nationally syndicated radio host with Salem; he’s also a brilliant law professor and practicing attorney, an accomplished author, and a true leader in the conservative movement.” When I lived in Southern California, I used to watch Hewitt  on KPBS from time to time.

Anyhoo, Tim and Hugh are very concerned about the Romney campaign having being caught flat-footed by the Supreme Court Decision on healthcare reform. And they sure were, weren’t they? Blindsided is more like it. Over on his blog, Hewitt writes that, [Read more...]

On Day Six of the Fortnight For Freedom, the Acton Institute Reminds Us…

that the HHS Mandate is an assault on religious liberty. Which means it’s an assault on liberty. Period. What’s that got to do with Dietrich Bonhoeffer? [Read more...]

The Beach Boys Sing the Our Father

The boys hiking the Janss Steps at my alma mater (UCLA).

Thomas L. McDonald shares his Saturday Song — “The Lord’s Prayer,” as sung by the Beach Boys. ==> It doesn’t get much better than this. <==


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