Tag: Faith

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Imtiaz Shams is British ex-Muslim.  Genetically Modified Sceptic is an American ex-Christian.  Veedu Vidz is a British ex-Muslim comedian.  Together they host a forum on what it is like to walk away from the religious faith that one grew up with, one that was taught by ones parents and believed by ones friends and extended […]

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Quote of the Day: Faith

 

“Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a relative problem which can be solved in relative ways. Faith is the central problem of this age. The Western world does not know it, but it already possesses the answer to this problem – but only provided its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as Communism’s faith in Man.” — Whittaker Chambers, Witness

These words remain applicable today, and yet so many of our current political debates focus on economics. As a parent of children attending public schools, I see faith in God being deliberately replaced with faith in man. Schools eagerly preach the religion of environmentalism under the guise of science, or English, or whatever other subject they can tangentially relate to its themes.

Utopia Under a Tent or a Waterfall?

 

I had my six-month dental cleaning and check-up. I didn’t expect to see the same hygienist. At my last visit, she was planning a move, possibly to Portland but I told her she may want to re-think that. She got back yesterday and said parts of Oregon were beautiful, breathtaking, the waterfalls, cool breezes, deep emerald green forests and didn’t want to leave. They hiked every day. She grew up here in Florida and is ready for a change. What she wasn’t ready for was Portland. She said she’d never seen anything like it, and was shocked by the enormous homeless population. Tents everywhere. “They don’t bother you, she said, or panhandle”. But “you couldn’t help but feel ill at ease,” walking from the donut shop with a bag of fresh-baked donuts. She walked by a young man at 7:15 AM, shooting up in broad daylight. Drugs that come in from Mexico and China. She said another’s face was beaten to a pulp. The smell was awful. But Oregon she said, was truly breathtaking…

I asked her why has Portland turned into this refuge? Her first answer was the legalization of drugs, marijuana. This seems to lead to stronger drugs and the lack of incentive for work or a better life. We both wondered where they got money for drugs. She said even with the abundance of jobs, they are mostly high-tech and rents have become unaffordable as a result. I asked why don’t they build affordable housing? She said that’s in the works, but you still have to have a job, and the towns don’t have the “budget to build them.” No wins here. She then commented, “I get the concept,” like what they are doing in LA.”

Book Review: I Want To Live

 

“The absolute raw truth of the matter is this: I have no idea what I am doing now, much less what I will be doing a year from now. Years of living my life for another person has left me without a clue as to how to live for myself.” from the book,

“I Want to Live – Confessions of a Grieving Caretaker by Susan D. McDaniel.

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  Some days, when my own academic self-expectations seem crushing and even a six mile run can’t seem to exhaust my endless, bouncing anxiety, I can feel my fingers itch to play the harp. I’ve played for more than half of my life, and having to leave it so suddenly behind (when I could continue […]

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The Dollar Almighty and a Crisis of Faith

 

This week an Inside Edition video interviewing Kenneth Copeland went viral as part of a disturbing investigation of televangelists living upscale lifestyles. Copeland, and others, are part of a movement from decades ago, preaching a prosperity “gospel,” offering false teachings, and thus, false promises, which have caused many followers heartache mentally, financially, and in their faith. 

We hear stories and jokes all of the time about the crazy cat lady that leaves the entirety of her estate to one of these ministries (see, this clip from the 1997 movie The Rainmaker). However, there is a scary truth to this example, in that the message is solely that prosperity is the only way to God, and if one is suffering, that means Satan is in charge.

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The week of Easter 2019 was difficult, personally and as a Christian. I lost my mother in law, our last remaining parent. Notre Dame caught fire and burned, doing massive damage. The small Christian community of Sri Lanka suffered terrorist attacks, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Another shooting at a Jewish synagogue in California. I […]

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It Takes a Village to Make a Village

 

I’m a third of the way through Tim Carney’s Alienated America and I also thoroughly enjoyed the episode of The Remnant podcast about the book. It’s no surprise to me that I like this book, as the lack of social organizations at a grassroots level is near and dear to my heart, especially when it comes to firearms ownership in America.

Gun owners are being shoved to the side in American culture, and that’s putting the right to self-defense for all Americans in jeopardy.  While my focus is on gun rights, the fact is, the decline of social communities outside of politicas is something that is hurting all Americans. So I ask you, my fellow Ricocheti, what can we as individuals to help re-create and renew the social organizations that once held our country together?

I’ve written about “Warrior Club” as one way to bond over the Second Amendment, but what are some of the other ways we can jump-start American’s involvement in the local community and preserve our other freedoms? The obvious answer is, of course, “go out and join a service organization” or “help coach youth soccer,” and that’s how things will ultimately change. The preservation of individual rights, after all, is up to the individual, not the state. However, the act of preserving our rights does not have to be an uphill climb. In addition to re-invigorating our local churches and service groups, what can we as indivivuals do on a state and national level to make such goals easier to accomplish? What tactical-level goals are out there, and how do we accomplish them?

How Secularism gets Tolkien Wrong

 

I have had to check out of Ricochet for a while because I was assigned to write a book, which is cool but to get anything done on that project I needed to take a break. I came back to the site and started reading posts and sure enough that made it impossible for me not to write up a post myself. A post by @LoisLane really inspired me to write I post I have been thinking about for a very long time you can find her excellent post and fascinating comment thread here

The Lord of the Rings movies differed from the books in many ways, which is to be expected since a movie and a book are very different mediums. For instance at the “Breaking of the Fellowship” I think it was vital to the movie to show Boromir fighting for Merry and Pippin and Aragorn “avenging” Boromir. I saw the Fellowship of the Ring three times in the theater and each time the audience was on the edge of their seats as Boromir redeemed himself and they erupted in applause when Aragorn dispatched the Uruk-hai that killed Boromir.

I Grieve with The Jewish Community of Squirrel Hill

 

Saturday morning, an unspeakable tragedy unfolded at a Jewish Temple in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. I stared at the TV in stunned silence, as my gut tightened into a painful knot. As I watched law enforcement running among flashing lights and chaos, the details emerged of mass casualties and injured. I turned to Fox News and saw the beautiful neighborhood where I once lived, with Fall trees aglow in bright orange, red and yellow, shadowed by mass casualty trucks and men in fatigues carrying assault weapons. A spokesman for the city said ‘an attack on this community and faith is an attack on all of our communities and faiths’. I knew these were not mere words of comfort, but a deep truth that all who are from Pittsburgh understand. Later in life, Squirrel Hill’s predominantly Jewish population would embrace me on a personal level.

As a child growing up in Brookline, a suburb of Pittsburgh, my classrooms and friends were composed of Italians, Jews, Greeks, Lebanese, Syrians, Irish, Poles, and Ukrainians. I was as familiar with delicious ethnic foods, holidays and traditions as though they were my own, and some were. In my early twenties, I shared several apartments near the Tree of Life Synagogue. I could walk to work on Murray Avenue, back in my retail days. As I shopped at the local markets, I noticed numbers tattooed on people’s arms. At first, I didn’t understand, but I soon realized these were first-generation survivors of the Holocaust, to me the worst period in recent human history. I was invited to a Jewish wedding reception in Squirrel Hill, where praise and thanks, tears and clapping abundantly poured out because this extended family “had survived.” This was not normal, something that I was not familiar with — sheer survival in the midst of extreme evil.

The Jewish community in this area, as other ethnic communities in Pittsburgh, while tightly woven together, talking about tremendous suffering, grateful to be alive, to have children and grandchildren, could still laugh and joke, be successful and stuff you with more food.

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I keep seeing this commercial for “Bring Your Bible to School Day”. It draws my attention with a catchy little tune that I haven’t sung since I was little, called “This Little Light of Mine”.  However, what intrigued me was that, in today’s politically correct and emotionally charged atmosphere, especially at schools and universities, this […]

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I’m Not Catholic – So Why Should It Matter to Me?

 

My personal spiritual journey had more hiccups than a newborn. While my family, with traditional ties to Catholicism, was influential in planting a Christian seed, growing up in the crazy ’60s, ’70s, ’80s made anything traditional not my bag. By the third grade, my dad bought me a little turntable that resembled a red suitcase and several Beatles albums (along with Alvin and the Chipmunks) – my first intro to rock and roll – and then as I got older, cough … all the rest…

I considered myself a “modern” Christian, i.e., more spiritual than religious, and fell down every spiritual rabbit hole there was. I read about Eastern religions, New Age, visited multiple denominational churches, but was never that committed. As I grew older, I realized I didn’t really have a spiritual foundation. In my case, it took a health crisis to realize I had nothing. The “Universe” wasn’t going to save me, nor the Buddha, or any other spiritual “wisdom” I gleaned from all those cool New Age bookstores, with the ear candles, patchouli and rose incense, and sections on whatever spiritual flavor of the day caught your attention.

I found myself in the hospital very sick, without a diagnosis. While I was hurling into a pan and they were wheeling me off for more x-rays, I started bargaining with Jesus, God, and Holy Mother Mary to get me out of there alive and I would change my ways. A priest came through during my 16+ day hospital stay and asked if I was Catholic. I lied and said yes. He prayed with me for my wellness several times and left me tracts that I clung onto for hope. That became the turning point.

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@bethanymandel did a post on her friend’s new book called, ”Leaving Cloud 9”, By Erica Anderson. http://ricochet.com/532746/when-you-leave-cloud-9/ I ordered a copy and just finished it. The story is about Erica’s husband Rick, who grows up in a broken home, broken in every way. The trailer, the parent, the poverty, the terrible abuse, a story repeated in […]

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Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and Its Relevance Today

 

In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:

  • Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
  • The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
  • The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
  • Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
  • The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
  • The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
  • And much more

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

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There are many things that form the mountains in our lives; grief, worry, fear, desolation, disease, pain and anger are just a few of these things. Sometimes we stand at the base of the mountain before us and feel the anguish of defeat, because the mountain stands in the way of our purpose. Some would […]

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In case you missed Bill Kristol’s interview with Christopher Caldwell on Populism in Europe and the Future of the European Union, it was sobering. In a calm tone, his thoughtful and measured responses to Kristol’s questions seemed to need deliverance via a bullhorn. Seismic shifts in, well……everything – is anyone paying attention? http://ricochet.com/527807/conversations-with-bill-kristol-christopher-caldwell-on-populism-in-europe-and-the-future-of-the-european-union/ Caldwell states […]

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Several months back, in our Wednesday night bible study of the book of John, we found ourselves reading John 17 – Jesus’ high priestly prayer dedicating his work on earth to the Father. In typical bible study fashion, we read the chapter together, then clumped together in small groups to answer a set of pre-arranged […]

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Alfie’s Legacy

 

Alfie Evans graced this world less than twenty-four months. I say grace because during the months of his short, precious life, he silently spoke volumes from his fragile hospital bed, as though he had a megaphone.

Alfie Evans was born a healthy, happy baby to Tom Evans, 21 and Kate James, 20 of Liverpool, England. As an infant, Alfie received several vaccines all at once along with “other medications”, as was reported. He started showing symptoms of illness at about six months with seizures and then his brain began to deteriorate.  Some have speculated that he had a reaction to the vaccines, but that has never been proven.  The hospital in England could not make a diagnosis, and Alfie was eventually put on life support. When the hospital decided nothing more could be done, even though no diagnosis was ever found, they informed the parents he would be removed from life support. His young parents pleaded that life support continue, but they said no.

It was at that point that Bambino Gesu Catholic children’s hospital in Rome, Italy, just a few hundred yards from Vatican City, offered to take Alfie and continue to care for him. “Rome’s Vatican-owned pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù has offered to treat the 23-month-old boy, who has a serious undiagnosed brain condition. The government in Rome has granted Alfie Italian citizenship in a bid to bring him to Italy and beat rulings to let him die.”