Tag: Faith

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.

Member Post

 

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.

Member Post

 

“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.

Family Second, Faith First

 

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to Lt. Col. Allen West speak during the service of a local church. His presence and purpose, as much as the words of his excellent message, brought to mind something that I had been mentally digesting since the recent death of the British philosopher and writer Sir Roger Scruton. Both Col. West and Sir Roger serve up mental meals far richer than this poor cook can scramble together but I do have a few beginning bites partially digested enough to serve up a notion or two from them.

It was Scruton’s reflection on faith and family that I had been pondering. He had taken to task the need for government to tout so-called “family-friendly” policies. He contended that when the health of a nation’s faith was solid, the fate of the family was secure. He did not discount the importance and need of a strong family culture for the nation to flourish. But the foundation of that family culture was not in policy but the strong faith of individuals. A nation with a strong culture of faith will have strong families which keep the values of the faith, culture, and nation alive.

It should go without saying that the opposite is also true. So, it might be reasonable when questioning the cultural decline of a nation or society to look first to the strength of its faith traditions. It might also be reasonable for those who wish to pull down a culture or nation to start with that most fundamental element of its foundation.

From NeverTrump to Humbled Supporter: A Journey of Faith

 

From NeverTrump to humbled supporter A journey of faith

For a few weeks, I’ve had an article brewing in my brain. It’s a follow-up to a previous article that I wrote, and I was pleased to read the new article last night. I didn’t write it, so I owe Western Chauvinist a debt of gratitude for not only writing what I was thinking, but doing it better than I would have. The article — “Reluctant Trump Christians, Where Is Your Confounding Love?” — is pretty much the defense I was planning on making as a follow-up to the Christian perspective for supporting our President.

I have a new wrinkle to add to the argument. I was a NeverTrumper. In fact, I was such an angry NeverTrumper that I left the GOP in July 2016, and started a new political party. Things were going extremely well as we surpassed 30,000 members very quickly, but I was blindsided by dissension from within that evicted me from the party I established. It hurt. I withdrew from politics and public society for several months.

Another World

 

My wife and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Willamette National Cemetery. We were there for the interment of her stepmother. She was going be interred next to Karen’s dad. Karen’s dad began WWII as a sailor in the Merchant Marine and, before the war ended, was a sailor in the US Navy. While waiting to be escorted to one of the shelters for the memorial service, Marines arrived for another service. So we missed the endless parade of pundits for the Senate verdict on President Trump’s impeachment.

Karen’s dad was a farm boy from North Dakota and joined the Merchant Marine to escape the farm, and a chance to see the world that existed beyond the Dakota plains. He saw a bit more of that world than he bargained for. On his first voyage, his ship was sunk by a German U-boat. He and some of his shipmates found themselves in a lifeboat and watched as the U-boat surfaced. They thought that the Germans were going to finish the job they started. The sailors on the U-boat gave them some food, and then gave them directions on the course they needed to follow to get back to the US coast.

Choosing Faith

 

Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroad. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand. We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states. We took the classes, completed the home visits, and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for a third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home. But as usual, our plans came to a halt.

My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents, our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance.

When I learned of the deployment the questions and “what ifs” came: What if he leaves before we are placed with a baby, do I still take one in? How can I take care of a newborn by myself when I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about them? Can I do this by myself while I’m working full-time? Should I wait until he gets home, even if that is a year away? What if we miss the opportunity to take in a child? Was it so stupid of me to even try this with our military lifestyle, what was I thinking?!

In a special holiday edition of 10 Blocks, Timothy Goeglein joins City Journal assistant editor Charles McElwee to discuss how people of faith can help renew American society—themes explored in his new book, American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation.

Coauthored with Craig Osten, American Restoration calls for a revival of spiritual values in America and offers a roadmap for people of faith to engage with our modern culture—especially at the local level.

Can I Tell You a (Holiday) Story?

 

I just got a text from my childhood best friend. She texted three pictures from our other childhood best friend. This time of year, people reconnect, share stories, and think of their lives in context — as in the past, present, and future. Let me tell you a story:

I recognized the older sister, the lovely Mary Beth. She was beautiful, blonde, and so talented. Growing up, I was constantly at my friend Kitty’s house. They lived on the next street over, easily accessible through the alley. I asked Mary Beth to make me a dress. I coveted Mary Beth’s navy and black velvet dresses with lace collars. She could sew anything. I found a pink paisley material and she whipped up a gorgeous mini-dress with bell sleeves. I strutted into grade school and got sent home because it was too short. My best friend Kitty lent me her Maxi-coat; so cool that I’d throw off my plain nothing, kick off my ugly snow boots, and put on that beautiful wool coat that dragged the ground. I slipped and struggled over the ice and snow to school because the coat had to have pretty shoes under it. So vain … Wait – did I tell you Mary Beth was deaf? She taught me sign language. Kitty and her baby sister could hear.

The three texted pictures included Mrs. Kitty and my friend Kitty. I was told Mrs. Kitty passed away last year at 91. Both were named Kathryn. This family burns deep into my past memory. Both parents could hear, but five out of seven kids were deaf. Their doors were never locked. You could pop in for lunch or dinner, shoes off. One child, Barry, used to strut around and put on shows for us and make us laugh. He turned out to be gay – no one cared. Through their church, I met Godsen, a guest from Africa. I saw him in the backyard in a white robe and tall red hat, as black as night. I was curious and introduced myself. He told me about his country.