Tag: Faith

Discerning the Lord’s Voice

 

St Ignatius of Loyola, Father General of the Jesuit order, prepared a guide to help Christians distinguish the voice of God in their hearts and minds from other voices during prayer. Those others are one’s own voice (reason and imagination), the voice of the world (learned expectations and concerns), and the demonic voices which seek to confuse, isolate, embitter, and discourage. St Ignatius insightfully recognized that evil spirits attack a person differently in moments of weakness than in moments of strength. A summary of his rules can be found here

To that timeless advice, allow me to add a few further thoughts. 

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Lion of Judah on the throneI shout Your name, let it be knownThat You are the King of kingsYou are the Prince of PeaceMay Your kingdom’s reign never ceaseHail to the King! In the book of Genesis, there’s a repeated theme throughout the book that is perhaps my favorite theme in all of scripture. The […]

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They say COVID was and is an “opportunity” to “Build Back Better”. This is the mantra of the World Economic Forum, our current president and other world leaders.  It includes many goals that seem good, even virtuous and “inevitable”. I appreciate learning. I also don’t want to become an older person who is closed-minded to […]

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Everything Changes

 

Today I visited the woman who made me bald. Well, that’s not totally true. When my hair began to fall out in clumps, which is a really gross experience, I figured I would look less gross as a bald woman. So, I called Karen, my hairdresser to take it off—take it all off.

To digress for a moment, Karen is a very special person (although she might deny my description of her). She is a devoted Christian, a firm conservative and is fearless about speaking what is true for her. One day a couple of years ago I mentioned I was a Jew. She was delighted to hear it; her eyes lit up with anticipation. That very day she asked me if she could ask me questions about Judaism, and I said, of course! I can’t remember what our first conversation was about, but I do remember the tenor of our exchange. Her curiosity, follow-on questions, and even her comments about the practices of Christianity and how they related to Judaism (or didn’t) were steeped in sincerity and delight. Never once did I feel uncomfortable about her questions or motives.

Are You Going Back to Life the Same Way – Post-Covid?

 

Are you going back to your life the same way, post-Covid and now Covid 2.0?  I ask because I think many are not. I’m not.  Getting back to normal is like after 9/11, a new normal. It may be a good thing.  Let’s examine this more closely.

First (and this is a big one), parents have gotten an up front and center view of what their children, starting in kindergarten, have been being taught. Climate Change, Critical Race Theory, White Privilege, multi-gender identities, indoctrination on a massive scale, that take the parents’ boundaries out, along with reading, writing, math, art, sports, science, and literature as the priority, and placing the focus on an extreme progressive ideology.  At any rate, at least parents are aware and can take steps to do what is best for their children and family.  Prior to Covid, many were unaware of what was taking place within our schools, within teachers’ unions, and even the innocent library.

Where We Do Not Wish to Go

 

“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were young you used to fasten your own belt and you would go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18, New Catholic Bible)

I attended a Catholic Mass this past week to watch a cousin graduate from 8th grade and move up to high school. While I haven’t been a Catholic for 40 years, it’s still pleasant to listen occasionally to the familiar old service. The Church made changes to the liturgical responses a decade or so ago, and I find it a little jarring to hear something slightly different from the words I memorized in my youth; if not for that, I’d still be able to recite the responses correctly, even after all these years.

The Temptation to Doubt: Was it God … or Just a Thing?

 

I didn’t sleep much last night, which isn’t very different from every other night, but last night I had something new on my mind. Images of my mother’s ravaged body after decades of experimental drugs administered by heinous injections intended to treat her RA, which they did, but they also slowly killed her off in so many other ways.

She was hospitalized in the late ‘90s, and while still in what would be a weeks-long coma, I stood alone at her bedside in the ICU shortly after she’d suffered a severe brainstem stroke. Being the self-righteous prig that I sometimes was back then (and still can be now), I said something like, “Well Mom, this is how things go when you make poor choices.”

Yes, I really said that … or something close to that.

Member Post

 

“Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas said that he would not believe till he saw, but when he did see he said, “My Lord and […]

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Is Palm Sunday Still Honored?

 

Today is a holy day among Christians, at least it used to be. Palm Sunday was always featured in headlines and honored.  The only headline I saw this morning was a bombing in Indonesia during a Palm Sunday Mass, with fatalities. Does the world still stop on this day, and think about its significance?

In Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew specifically draws attention to a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.

In the first verse of Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, we hear that Jesus and the disciples were in Bethpage. Bethpage is one of the last villages on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and is located on the Mount of Olives.

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The individuals who rise to national prominence here in the U.S. puzzle me with their apparent mediocrity–the lackluster communication skills (or slick speaking ability devoid of content), the lack of clear principles, the absence of fresh ideas. I find it frustrating that we can’t elect strong, principled leaders in a country of more than 300 […]

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Psst, Consumer, Wanna Buy Your AlieNation?

 

Like many Americans right of center, the ads I see online feature plenty of vaguely patriotic products. Some of the stuff’s campaign gear. Some of it’s randomly tacti-cool. (Already got a tactical pen? Have you tried our tactical toothbrush yet? Got the toothbrush already, have you? What about a tactical toothpick?) Perhaps because my browsing habits are eclectic, the ads “targeting” me are eclectic, too. According to my ads, I’m a Trump-voting, militantly pro-life charismatic sedevacantist Catholic wiccan secular humanist who’s also militantly pro-choice and pining for the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m deaf, too. Because of earwax. But at least I’m not alone in that: judging by consumer ad complaints, the main symptom of Covid-19 is massive earwax buildup.

People who say they know about these things say that Covid’s virtual earwax buildup is a symptom of declining click-throughs on online ads. The more time we spend online without clicking through on ads, the more “bottom feeder” ads we see. Maybe I am who I am to online marketers because I don’t click through. Therefore I must “want”, in no particular order, Osteen Cubes, <insert name of Biblical woman here> Anointings, conversational Medieval Latin kits, “homeopathic” essential-oil blends consecrated to Jesus or my choice of goddess. Little lapel pins featuring lab flasks bubbling vacuities like “Science is real!” or light-splitting prisms spelling out “I’m gay for science!” in rainbow writing.

Rapid-fire lapel pin advertising directed my way, whether from right or left, never hits its target, since even if I saw a pin I liked, I wouldn’t buy it. If I saw an ad for a lapel pin featuring the smexxxiest anthropomorphized doped garnet laser — adorned with real synthetic garnet chips reading “She blinded me with science!” — well, I’d chuckle. But I wouldn’t click.

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“I think politics has made us crazy. Everybody in the country has lost their minds on politics. We have forgotten that America is not a government. America is not a president. America is not a Congress. America is your family, your faith, and your community. That is how we are going to rebuild this country.”  […]

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Watching Her Walk

 

I watched her walk down the hall toward her bedroom, her right heel falling short of the hardwood floor, each step jostling her little frame to the left in an exaggerated sway, the next step shooting her spine straight and vertical, and then falling to the sway again as the pattern of her gait repeated. She disappeared through the door. I’d asked her to go change her clothes, wondering if she would or not. She often protested, leaving me to wonder if she might be looking for my help just to get a few extra moments with mom.

I turned back to the mirror to finish curling my hair while listening to the morning news. The nation’s capital building had been breached a few days before, and I couldn’t help but search for encouraging words, a glimmer of hope, a ray of light. My uncertainties about almost everything had escalated, and now given all the rumors about bad things happening, even my phone seemed like a sudden stranger, and a new mystery. I felt the energy of a struggling hope begin to wane. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that she had returned.

She was there, standing still and waiting for me to turn and inspect her ensemble. I did, noting the much-improved coordination of colors between her chartreuse t-shirt and a more muted collage of greens on her leggings. She waited for my smile of approval, which I gladly offered, and then she nodded downward toward her new shoes, a pair of black suede Ugg ankle boots. They were on the wrong feet. I’d told her yesterday that the zipper goes on the inside, but she hadn’t quite caught on. Or maybe she had and was only making things work. She’s good at making things work.

Loving Pain as Given: A Review of Heroes, a Dark Twist on the Grateful Acre

 

For B, and other youth whose grateful acres host, if not prairies, at least patchy meadows. And for Gary McVey.

It’s been a year since Will Arbery’s play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, took the conservative Catholic blogosphere – or rather, that part able to see the play or a private script – by storm. Now the script is available to the public. I ordered my copy here. If you can afford to, read it. Theaters remain closed, but the theater of imagination richly rewards reading a play. Reading reveals motifs easy to miss when a play just happens to you in performance and you can’t revisit it. This review addresses unspoken pressures, like the prosperity gospel (which may not influence orthodox Christians’ theology, but can influence their social expectations), behind what conservatives speculate is Heroes’ demonic finale, the “We” who may, or may not be, Legion.

Epidemic of Hopelessness

 

We have been trapped for years by a minority in our society that thinks that we live in a despicable country. Recently they are also making clear that the only solution to this “fact” is the destruction of our country. I believe that the deluded people who profess this worldview experience nothing but hopelessness in their lives. Unfortunately, those of us who don’t agree with them are slowly becoming infused with this sick approach to life. If we don’t wake up, we risk succumbing to this life-threatening disease.

The Federalist, in an article by Nathanael Blake, helped me diagnose the sickness of hopelessness of the Left. Many people have tried to understand the viciousness and destructiveness of Progressives by pointing to the draw of Marxist theory, the corruption of education, and the immaturity of many young people, to name a few. But these reasons only answer the “what” questions—what they are doing; they don’t answer the “why.”

The Black Community and Our Culture Has Lost Its First Love

 

I grew up in Pittsburgh. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”, and other speeches were part of my high school curriculum. I married a Southerner in 1987. I was shocked to hear that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a part of his high school curriculum. I entered a different world, a world where in his growing up years, hired help was mainly black, maids, landscapers, and hardscape contractors. I began to see and hear of a South that was not part of my upbringing, but only depicted in movies like “Gone With the Wind.” However, I experienced more racism in the North than I ever did in the South.

Entering high school a naive 13-year-old, it was a landscape ripe with violent protests, riots, marches, Vietnam, Women’s Rights, Black Power. I was a kid growing up in a raucous world, but raised by a generation who grew up under a different tyranny. Being Polish and Ukrainian descent, my family came to the U.S. with nothing and created a home for me. They fled the Communists, Nazism, and Russian repression. They lived through the Great Depression. The women in my family suffered abuse as I learned, going back generations, as men from that era were angry, harsh, and even depressed. That led to drinking and fighting. Fortunately, my dad and my aunt who raised me were nothing like that. I was raised with a respect for law enforcement, the Church, and my elders. Step out of line and I got whooped, which I did quite a few times.

Letter to a Friend Looking for G-d

 

I have a new friend who, like me, is exploring her Jewish roots and discovering the rewarding and difficult aspects of some Jewish communities and their practices. I wrote this letter to her yesterday to support her on her journey.

Dear Ros,

Why would a loving God permit something like COVID-19 to afflict people He ostensibly loves? It’s the sort of question people have wrestled with for thousands of years. Our own Dave Carter sits down with Father Ben Bradshaw, Pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Memphis, TN, to discuss this question and a great many others in a wide ranging conversation that touches on the metaphysical insights of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Socrates and Aristotle, the physical challenges of ministering in a world of social distancing, and even the world of faith and food (Father Bradshaw is also a classically trained chef).

Ricochet Member Seawriter also joins Dave in a discussion of a his latest book, “Vanished Houston Landmarks.” (He’s also authored 31 other books on a huge variety of interesting historical topics.)

Scrubbing Away What’s Not Important

 

As a property manager, I look after beach properties for part-time owners. I received a text from an alarmed Atlanta client, saying that security encountered a strange individual who claimed he paid $2,400 to someone on Craig’s List to rent his home. Police were called and the dude claimed he drove from Michigan to Florida to move in.

He gave two numbers of the person who “rented” the property to the police, both of which were disconnected; clearly a scam. My client was alarmed that the person claimed that he entered into this agreement with someone who had the same last name as the owner, a very unusual last name. They also had a private gate code. So scammers are well at work during the worst worldwide event since World War II – why take a day off?

I’ve checked in with neighbors. It’s March and overly warm here in the Florida Panhandle. While watering my garden, my next-door neighbor received a beautiful bouquet from a delivery van. I hollered at the woman, who staggered to the front door with the huge, heavy vase.