Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mmm, Chocolate

Speaking of contests, a good friend of mine has entered the Mrs. Fields & iVillage 30th Anniversary Cookie Competition with his own original recipe: Chocolate Mint Explosion.

Go to the site. Try the recipe. Vote for the recipe. Then try the recipe again, you know, to make sure you got it right the first time.

This guy's got mad skillz.

Poetry. Argh.

I'm entering a poetry contest tomorrow. I'm still working on revisions and am feeling, the entire time, my inadequacy as a poet. Don't get me wrong - I love poetry and I love writing poetry. But I do feel inadequate with my poetry at times, which is certainly another way of saying I am unsure about my ability as a writer in general. All writing is poetic at some level.

Here at the blog, I just kind of spew out the words with little revision. When I am forced to present my best - through hours of work - that's when I begin to get nervous. That's when my present ability is put under the microscope. Though it is, to some degree, a subjective view.

After reading over what I've written, it almost feels too personal for a contest - that it's simply a family poem and lacks universality. Ugh. It feels immature somehow (the poem itself, not the content). Anyway, I'll try to post the finished poem here tomorrow. I still want to pour over it some - though it's a relatively short thing. I'm still working on it and I hope to have a more beautiful piece tomorrow when I submit.

Say a prayer for me and my muse today, if you would.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thinking and Believing

How we think about something and what we believe about it are sometimes disparate things. Which, to me, is odd. But I occasionally in my spiritual life will have a moment of semi-clarity where I see this bold disconnect between my understanding of something theological and my belief/action concerning that same principle.

The prayer to the Holy Spirit I posted on Sunday

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

created one of those moments in me.

I think correctly about the Holy Spirit (I think). But this prayer made me realize that even though my view of the Trinity has broadened in the past year, that my understanding is still impoverished in many ways. And perhaps this has to do partly with the general incomprehensibility of the concept of the Trinity. Perhaps it is partly due to my upbringing (Thou shalt pray only to the Father ...). But sometimes I wonder how much of a practical Jehovah's Witness I am. Not fully comprehending or living as if God indwells His Church, that God - the Heavenly King - temples within me.

This is me thinking out loud, and it probably makes little sense to anyone else. I am not thinking of abandoning the Holy Trinity, only thinking that my heart may have inadvertently abandoned Him long ago. I'm not sure what I'm saying at the moment, except that I want to live the experience of the Holy Trinity more than simply know the concept in any theological sense - even if it's an understanding of the idea's unknowability. I want thought to concretize in my heart and in my life, in word and deed.

O Heavenly King ... come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bear Grylls

I got hooked on a TV show this weekend. The Discovery Channel was running a marathon of "Man vs. Wild" episodes and I was sucked in. Bear (that's his name) parachutes into places where tons of thrill-seekers die each year, and then shows you how to survive.

So far, in every episode I've seen, he's made it out alive. (He does have a camera crew with him, so they might be slipping him jellies when worse turns to worser.)

I even used one of his survival tips on Memorial Day as I mowed my lawn. I find it difficult to breathe when I mow. And our area has been very dry lately, which made for above-average breathing difficulties. Unable to find a mask or kerchief, I tied a T-shirt around my nose and mouth, effectively blocking out the pollen and bits of grass and debris. It was touch-and-go for a bit, but I survived the ordeal. And I owe my survival to Bear. In such a short time, he's already been a lifesaver. (And he could save your butt too.)

He's a Christian, and you'll see him occasionally cross himself before dropping out of an airplane. (Apparently, he almost died from a parachuting accident while in the British SAS - his parachute ripped open - broke his back in three places. I'd be crossing myself too.)

There's something riveting about watching a man eat a snake alive, or peeing on a T-shirt/headdress to keep his head cool - all in the name of survival.

The show's on Fridays at 9 p.m. And if your life is as staid and quiet as mine, you should have plenty of time to take it in.

Letting the Air Out

As we were driving home from the grocery store - one of those "family" trips - the kids all had helium balloons. And then they didn't. One after the other let out the helium. (Completely wasted helium, I might add.) It took them less time to empty the balloons than it did for the poor kid who had to fill them all to fill them all.

So as their father, I kindly explained to them why balloons won't float as they do on SpongeBob, where they can simply blow air into something to make it float. I explained how helium is lighter than the air they breathe. And I added that letting the helium out of a balloon without inhaling it is surely at least a venial sin.

"Daddy, how do you know all that?" Annie asked.

Mommy said, "It's Daddy's job to know everything."

Anna said, "But Daddy doesn't have a job."

*phweeeee* I hear my pride deflating ...

To which dear, sweet Sophie replies, "But Daddy knew all that stuff before he lost his job, Anna."

... *phpbpbpb*

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pentecost Sunday

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Feed Me

I apologize to those of you subscribed to my blog's feed. I've been trying to label older posts (pre-labeling days with Blogger). I thought I'd figured a way to do so without the old posts dumping into my feed, but I was miserably wrong. So until I can find a way to do so, I'll be laying off any updates. Sorry for the trouble. And, uh, enjoy reading those old posts.

What Do You Want of Me?

I get the daily readings (Catholic lectionary) sent to me via e-mail from The Daily Gospel. Each morning, along with the readings, a commentary is included from various Church fathers, saints, and popes. Today's commentary was the following poem by St Teresa of Avila.

I am Yours and born for you,
What do You want of me?

Majestic Sovereign,
Unending wisdom,
Kindness pleasing to my soul;
God sublime, one Being Good,
Behold this one so vile.
Singing of her love to you:
What do You want of me?

Yours, you made me,
Yours, you saved me,
Yours, you endured me,
Yours, you called me,
Yours, you awaited me,
Yours, I did not stray.
What do You want of me?

Good Lord, what do you want of me,
What is this wretch to do?
What work is this,
This sinful slave, to do?
Look at me, Sweet Love,
Sweet Love, look at me,
What do You want of me?

In Your hand
I place my heart,
Body, life and soul,
Deep feelings and affections mine,
Spouse – Redeemer sweet,
Myself offered now to you,
What do You want of me?

Give me death, give me life,
Health or sickness,
Honor or shame,
War or swelling peace,
Weakness or full strength,
Yes, to these I say,
What do You want of me?...

Yours I am, for You I was born:
What do You want of me?

(By the way, my kindergartner just read this poem to me with more feeling than I can muster at 7 o'clock in the morning. She's wicked bright.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Yesterday and More Blog Keeping

Yesterday was a good day.

On to a different note, yesterday I tried updating some of my older blog posts by adding labels. I had no idea that when you add a label, or update a post in any manner, that it gets funneled into your feed. My apologies for stirring up the waters, as it were. I didn't mean to. I just want to label some old posts. Does anyone know how to do this without them being fed into your feed?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Catholic, XXIII

Mary is more than simply incidental in God's plan of salvation. She is instrumental.

God made Mary for this Moment. And her Yes was crucial for the redemption of the world.

All, of course, is grace.

First Chant
from the Akathistos Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary

An Archangel was sent from heaven to greet the Mother of God, and as he saw you assuming a body at the sound of his bodiless voice, O Lord, he stood rapt in amazement and cried out to her in these words:

Hail, O you, through whom Joy will shine forth!
Hail, O you, through whom the curse will disappear!
Hail, O Restoration of the Fallen Adam!
Hail, O Redemption of the Tears of Eve!
Hail, O Peak above the reach of human thought!
Hail, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
Hail, O you who have become a Kingly Throne!
Hail, O you who carry Him Who Carries All!
Hail, O Star who manifest the Sun!
Hail, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Hail, O you through whom creation is renewed!
Hail, O you through whom the Creator becomes a Babe!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Decidedly Offensive Post Follows. Do Not Read.

American Idol 2007 is nearly over.

Then Bette Midler wanders out onto the stage to sing "that song." Now some crap bothers me. And "Wind beneath My Wings" is a big hunk of that crap.

I was in college when this song was released by ... Miss M. I despised it even before radio continued, with unabated enthusiasm, to torture us with it. I still start awake some nights remembering the years lost to it.


So I began to think how some artists must simply want to open a vein when a song like "Wind Beneath My Wings" begins to connect with millions of sentimentalists out there. And keeps connecting as the decades pass.

I mean, I have my mawkish moments. Guilty as charged. But if I wrote something, well, that saccharine (and I might), and if it became a blockbuster (as that song has), then I'd be forced to make a retraction (after making a few million): "I didn't mean it. I apologize for all the pain and suffering I've caused." And break into "The Rose."

Blog Keeping

I'm afraid my blogroll is a bit unkept. Most of my browsing is now done via Google Reader through RSS subscriptions. Currently I keep track of 63 blogs through the great Google Reader. (Yes, I'm aware of how pathetic that sounds.) That's more than double what I list on my blogroll. I'm not sure when or how or if I will change my blogroll. Though it does seem a bit unfair to those of you I've only lately discovered.

Does anybody know of a way to sync the two?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Danny Boy

HT: Meg

Church Abuses

I swanny. When I reverted, the Church never told me I'd get so much freakin' Catholic mail. Maybe Sweet Loraine should have put that in his book.

Boy Troubles

I got boy troubles. He's like Curious George gone ape.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Sometimes you write, just as you speak, without knowing a thing about a topic. Well, here I am. You've been warned.

"The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint." - Léon Bloy

What does it mean to be a saint? Most of the epistles of the New Testament could be summarized as follows:

Salutation: To the saints in Christ Jesus who are in [Philippi], grace and peace.

Body: Be ye saints.

Valediction: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit.

So in Christ we are already saints. But we are also becoming saints. We are commanded to be saints; it is God's will for us. The Orthodox have a wonderful picture of this process: God is fire and we are swords. As the sword is placed in the fire, it takes on the properties of the fire - it becomes like the fire - but it does not become fire. So we do not become God, but, as St Peter says, we become sharers in His divine life.

Some of us cringe hearing the word saint. We can think of a dozen or more reasons why we would not want to be one. But we cringe because most of the "saints" we've seen are not saints, but only sinners masked, marching around in stiff, binding clothes. And they demand that you be just like them. But saints are not wooden people in too-starched clothes, but men and women like Teresa of Calcutta. Their eyes are clear and bright. They don't walk around like Charlton Heston as he comes off his burning-bush trip with souped-up staff in hand, who does not even see his wife. Hell no. Instead, they are the most present people in our world, the most attentive, the most involved. They are full of joy. The only thing they may fail to see is themselves.

Now the Catholic Church canonizes saints. That means there are some people she knows who are in heaven through whatever means happen to be at her disposal. She officially declares someone a Saint. Anyone to whom she gives the title Saint is someone she "knows" is in heaven. All who are in heaven, of course, are saints - of the kind that the Church canonizes. And there are millions who have never been canonized by the Church but are still in the presence of God. Your dear old grandma. Your infant child. Your friend or relative who suffered through and struggled with the pain of breast cancer until her death. These are people who may indeed be in the presence of God, but are simply unknown to the Church. The Church does not make people saints by canonization, but only recognizes God's finished work in them. (Though, perhaps, part of the canonization process involves the Church's authority to bind and loose - I don't know.)

This issue is complex to explain to some because of their rejection of the theology behind it. They reject (1) the existence of a state of being that the Church calls Purgatory and (2) the authority of the Church. What they wouldn't reject, of course, is that there occurs after death some change in each of us to make us holy - with both the ability and the desire to always say No to anything contrary to God or His will for us.

So, yes, to discuss the Church's canonization of Saints, and what it means to be a saint, there is the issue of our cleansing to wade through. But perhaps I'll leave that for another time.

- to be continued -

Friday, May 18, 2007

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web never fails to make me cry. How can you not love E. B. White's writing? He finishes his book with these paragraphs:

Mr. Zuckerman took fine care of Wilbur all the rest of his days, and the pig was often visited by friends and admirers, for nobody ever forgot the year of his triumph and the miracle of the web. Life in the barn was very good—night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.

Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

I'm verklempt. I may have to rename my blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Movies and Stuff

Last night Laura and I watched Pan's Labyrinth. I'd been looking forward to this movie for some time. I was intrigued by the trailers, the concept of an "adult fairy-tale," the reviews, and Guillermo Del Toro.

The movie is no letdown. But it is ... different. It's at times violent, cruel, and horrific. And at times, it is simply beautiful. The beauty is shadowed and beleaguered with grotesqueries. While Del Toro is not a believer, his spirituality bubbles up Christ in places. There is redemption in this story, and I'll probably watch it again before sending it back.

I give it two thumbs way up, but I'd also interject some caution. First, it is, by no means, for children. Second, it is dark and cruel and sorrowful. Most of that cruelty arises from the fascist regime that contextualizes little Ofelia's (our protagonist) life, and her terrible misfortunes - the villain is truly villainous.

Yesterday, I also received Papa Benedict's new book from Amazon, Jesus of Nazareth. I'm very excited about this book and will comment on it as I read.

Peace be to you on this Ascension Thursday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sleep: The Great Discombobulator

I fell asleep on the couch watching TV, apparently. I don't remember. But I did wake up on the couch as one of my children, who shall remain unnamed, came into the living room and sat in the recliner. I was casually interested. I began to close my eyes again.

Then she got up and started to do the pee-pee dance next to the chair.

She looked very nervous.

I woke up at once, sat up, and told her to go to the toilet.

She left the room, but it didn't sound as if she kept walking toward the bathroom.

As I rounded the corner into her bedroom, I saw her halfway up the ladder on the bunk bed.

"[Hey, You]," I said. "Get into the bathroom!" I pulled her down and gently directed her toward the toilet.

As she began to pee, she seemed to gather her wits. I left her with a gentle reminder to climb into bed when she was finished.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell Is Dead

Jerry Falwell died today at 73.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Full of Love

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:
In you not [three]score years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death.

- Christina Rosetti

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Early Fathers

We Catholics often talk about the early Church Fathers, referring to them to support Church practices that aren't necessarily so clearly stated in the Scriptures. But the Church Fathers' writings are not inspired - they are not on the same level as the Scriptures themselves, which is the Word of God written.

But the Church Fathers were the recipients of the faith, passed down to them from the Apostles. So St Ignatius of Antioch learned from St John the Evangelist (the Apostle) what he taught about Church life.

It might be, as I recently heard Patty Bonds describe it, (though the analogy is not perfect - analogies never are) like the game of Telephone. If one wants to find out the truth about what was first said, the person to ask is someone at the front of the line.

It might be, as theologians so often do with texts, that more weight is placed on the earlier texts (in this case, the earlier texts are persons, closer to the actual teaching of the Lord and the Apostles). They want to find as early a text as possible, believing that text to be closer to the original autograph.

It might be both of those things, but it is also more. We turn to the early Church Fathers because their writings, even if they are not inspired, open for us a window into how the early Church operated, what it taught and believed from its inception.

So let's say, as an example, that we learn about some tradition begun in A.D. 1352 in the Church. That is a less compelling truth - though it still may be a truth - than if we know the Church was practicing and believing something at the turn of the first century - as we find in the Didache, and in the writings of St Clement of Rome and St Ignatius of Antioch. These are precious and insightful documents not just because they contain truth in them about God, but because they shed light about what and how the Church believed and practiced in the generation that immediately followed, the generation taught by, the Apostles.

Some people want to disregard it all, believing that nothing is authentic that is recorded outside the Scriptures. This view of Church history (history in general) falls short in a number of ways. First, the Scriptures themselves never give themselves that kind of exclusivity. Second, the Scriptures did not spring up out of a vaccuum. Third, the canon of the Scriptures was decided upon by the Church in the fourth century. So if you believe the Church went off the rails early, you are trusting in the infallibility of letters that were decided upon by a corrupted and fallible Church. In other words, a fallible collection.

Such a belief undermines our very faith.

It should also be obvious that some things that Christ and the Apostles taught and practiced were not placed in the Scriptures (John says so at the end of his gospel, if you don't accept the common sense of such a statement). That doesn't make the teachings or practices unbiblical (meaning contrary to revealed-truth-written), but it does make them extra-biblical (outside revealed-truth-written). And Protestant traditions themselves are full of extra-biblical practices, from child dedication to order of worship to music choices to church buildings. The list goes on.

For me, therefore, the early Fathers are compelling. When St Ignatius and the Didache speak of the Eucharist as the actual Body and Blood of our Lord and as true sacrifice (as the Scriptures do), it ought to make contemporary believers - believers who have been taught that Communion is merely a symbol (a belief promoted by Zwingli in the sixteenth century) - stop in their tracks and re-evaluate what they're reading, and, I hope, what they're believing.

When the early Fathers talk about baptism and faith together saving us (as the Scriptures do) - those who believe it is merely a symbol ought to re-evaluate how and why they read the statements about baptism in the Scriptures (baptism now saves you, baptism washes away your sins, baptism unites you to Christ, etc.) as being metaphorical rather than literal.

The early Church Fathers, though they are not the Scriptures, are invaluable to us. They allow us to see how the Apostles understood and interpreted their own writings, the Scriptures. And they allow us to peer into the life of the early Church - how it was and how it is meant to be.

Friday, May 11, 2007


It was 86° today and the yellow-haired child demanded, er, requested that I dress her in a unicorn costume - a costume made of heavy polyester, designed to keep one warm while trick-or-treating. It has a hood shaped like a unicorn's head and wings so that she can fly. She was flushed and sweating liberally, but a happier child you couldn't find.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where I Am

My first year at Lansing Christian School was as a third grader. We had moved from Mason where I attended a public school, Steele Street Elementary. In fifth or sixth grade I went to a sleepover hosted by friends of mine from Mason - the earliest friends I remember.

It was an eye-opener. The guys were hormonally crazed. They kissed the TV screen whenever a beautiful woman came on, they told dirty jokes, etc. I expressed my shock and discomfort to my mom when she picked me up the next day.

"I can't believe how much they've all changed," I said.

My mom, referring to my growing faith, said, "They haven't changed, you have."

Fast forward twenty-five years. On returning to the Catholic Church, I have had my share of relational turbulence that has sprung up out of my reversion. At one moment - a year after my return to the Church, I expressed to my in-laws my dismay at our floundering relationship. They told me, "We haven't changed, you have."

And it hurt.

Almost two weeks ago, Dr. Francis Beckwith, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, was received into the Catholic Church. He too is a revert, his family having left Catholicism when he was fourteen.

I've been keeping up with his comments on Right Reason, where he blogs with several other bloggers. And I've been keeping up with the reactions of both Protestants and Catholics. And I've been reliving my own reversion.

The first Protestant reaction I read was from Dr. James White. He talked about how Frank had lost his love for Christ. He said other things equally incomprehensive for a revert who has become Catholic for that very reason - his love for Christ and Christ's Church.

Some Catholics responded poorly to Dr. White's post. Dr. White said he was not slandering Frank, but only taking a stand for the gospel.

On The Journey Home program on Monday, I watched Dr. White's sister, Patty Bonds, herself a convert to Catholicism, talk about how she has lost her family and friends because of her decision. You could see the hurt written large on her, even though she said that encountering Christ once in the Eucharist has been worth all her pain and struggles. Nevertheless, you could see and feel the pain, especially understanding her brother's disdain of Catholicism and Catholic converts (the show never mentioned Dr. White specifically that I saw - though I was trying to corral the children into their beds).

(So, uh, do we have a point, Lyons?)

All the hubbub surrounding Dr. Beckwith's reversion to the Catholic Church has re-opened these wounds in my life. And I've hurt with Dr. Beckwith, though I don't know him from Adam's cat.

As I was watching Dr. White's sister, Patty, on the Journey Home she said that right before she was about to be received into the Catholic Church during Easter Vigil, a few of her good friends told her that they would sever their relationships with her if she went through with her conversion.

She did.

So they did.

And she said that when she drives by one of these friend's homes - as she apparently must do on occasion - she is struck by how much she still loves her friend, but how her love is unrequited. Patty said that she hadn't changed, but that her friend had.

And it reminded me of how I've heard that sentence spoken in my life. It was revelatory.

You see, my in-laws told me recently that our struggling relationship is my fault: "We haven't changed, you have." And I finally recognized that to be the lie it is - not a malicious or purposed lie, by any means, but a lie working itself out in my life. Patty is right and they are wrong.

It's true that I became Catholic. But I changed churches; I did not change who I am, or my relationship with them or others. They and others have changed our relationships. They and others have voluntarily withdrawn from me emotionally and spiritually. They and others have, apparently, felt that they needed to do so.

And I'm sorry for all of them. I'm sorry for all those who a friend or family member's decision to, on their own journey, follow Christ into the Catholic Church has been so incomprehensible and objectionable to them that it fundamentally changes how they view that person.

It's painful. It hurts that following Christ can cost so much because of other believers. It hurts to hear disparaging words spoken about you and your relationship to Christ from brothers and sisters. It hurts to see people whom you love and respect distance themselves from you because of their inability to recognize even the possibility of Christ in a Church that believes and worships differently than they do. It hurts to hear the Church you so dearly love spoken about with such hostility.

And so where am I? I love and I pray. I work at doing each better each day. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes it feels like most of the time.

But I'm making new friends and discovering new family who love and pray for me.

So Blessed Mother, pray for me. Pray that I might love more deeply. Pray that I might love more truly. Pray for those who attack the Body of Christ and so persecute our Lord. Pray to our Lord with me that He might broaden their understanding of His grace, of His Body.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

St Athanasius

Since May 2, the feast day of St Athanasius the Great (Bishop of Alexandria), I have been hushed by this icon. Even yet, I don't have anything to say about it because I'm not sure what needs to be said about it, if anything. But this saint, this brother, has hold of my attention and my lips and won't let go of them. There are comments I would like to make about my current meditation, about Athanasius, and about so many other things happening in my spiritual life right now. I just don't know how to proceed, or if I should.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Call it bad parenting, but I took four of my children to see Spider-Man 3 today. One got in for free. Three carried blankets with them in case it got too scary (none were used). One had to use the bathroom in the middle of the movie. One, the one who got in free, was tired and wanted to go home before the movie was over. (Fortunately, I was able to bribe him with a small Sprite - if a three-dollar drink can be considered small.)

The kids know these movies and wanted badly to see the new one. Though not as badly as their daddy. I have been a huge Spider-Man fan since, well, always. I have at least two school pictures taken in Spider-Man shirts.

The newest of the Spider-Man movies has some great redemptive moments, some moralizing (a little overt for the little ones), as well as some flaws. The flaws mostly arise from packing in too much to possibly develop. But it's still good. It's darker. And it's got Spider-Man in it.

Go see it. Take your kids. Stay up all night with them as they have nightmares. Now that's fun for the whole family.

Dr. Beckwith Becomes Catholic

Not sure if you've caught this information in the blogosphere or not, but Dr. Francis Beckwith, the President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has returned to the Catholic Church and, due to circumstances, believed it best to tender his resignation as the president of the ETS. His resignation is effective today.

(Here, he briefly explains the Why Now? instead of at the end of his term in November.)

Sometimes the way we converts and reverts keep track of others' conversions sounds like we're keeping score. I know I've sounded that way to family and friends. We're not. But it is exciting to see other brothers and sisters experiencing the joy that we have experienced in returning to the Catholic Church.

Coming home is going to be, I would imagine, a turbulent time for him due to his former position - he has already experienced some ungenerous remarks written about him and, I imagine, will continue to hear them. Please pray for his peace in the midst of it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dr. Greg Boyd on Christus Victor

There's an excellent sermon by Greg Boyd over at Mars Hill's Web site. It's an MP3 on another, often overlooked, lens through which to understand the atonement - in some theologies, the most important or only lens. There are a couple of minor problems I have with the sermon, though that's just because I'm ornery - they are mostly Catholic-Protestant differences.

The one thing I would have like to hear more about, since I believe it is of paramount importance to a full understanding of Christus Victor, (the linked article does a poor job of reflecting Catholicism's view of the atonement, but, Hey! it's Wikipedia) is Christ's descent into hell - and what that meant/means for us and for humanity. But perhaps he simply didn't have time to speak about it.

(As a long-drawn-out aside, I am not endorsing all that is Greg Boyd and his ministry, as wonderful as much of what he does is. I do not subscribe to Open Theism, for instance. Greg Boyd does. I'm Catholic, for another instance, and he isn't. [That's me being cantankerous and having fun, by the way - sorry it's not as much fun for you.] But that doesn't mean we need to toss him out with the morning garbage either. He is a brother in Christ with some important insights for Christianity, especially within his own milieu of evangelical/post-evangelical[?] Protestant Christianity.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pretty Boy's on Notice

American Idol: Jon Bon Jovi night. The show begins with clips of Bon Jovi, and the four-and-a-half-year-old-yellow-haired child sitting next to me on the couch says quietly and soberly, "That guy sure looks gorgeous to me."

Something Is Rotten

The issue of illegal immigration is complicated, and I'm not sure how to address it. But to have, as we have here in North Carolina, counties that are actively implementing plans to rid themselves of illegal immigrants strikes me as nothing short of criminal and prejudicial. At the very least. And yes, I know they're illegal immigrants.

Jesus teaches us to treat the poor and the marginalized, the stranger and the foreigner, with love and compassion. Why aren't more churches speaking about this issue, reaching out to these people? Why are so many churches the very ones shouting for the illegals' removal?

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

- Catechism of the Catholic Church

Yes, the Church also makes provision for nations to limit immigration. But it is nonetheless distressing to see the richest people in the world walling out some of the poorest.

Introducing the Book (repost)