Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years

Happy New Year Everyone.

Have a safe, peaceful new years. May God Bless each and everyone.

Thanks for the visits and comments

From the WestCoastCatholic family to everyone... Peace

Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum

The family was sitting by the fire place last night, enjoy each others company. I'm on vacation until after the new year so we have lots of family time together before I head off to the old grind stone.

I was noticing the fragrance of our Christmas tree ( a nice Noble) was very strong last night. I've always loved the smell of the tree, how it fills the rooms in the house, the excitement of Christmas morning.

Yet after Christmas day (depending how early one gets their tree) the fragrance of the tree obviously diminishes as the tree slowly dies. The water level doesn't go down quite as fast and the branches begin to stiffen. I always keep an extra eye on the tree at this point, paranoid about house fires.

I don't know if it's true or not but it seemed to me that our tree was giving off it's last fragrance sort of like that finale at a fireworks show.

Trash day was today, however our tree is still with us. I'm hoping to keep it until at least Monday. The branches are still supple enough.

... and the fragrance is very strong.

The wife reminded me of a story I hadn't read in a long time.

Have a read...

Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale: The Fir Tree

Monday, December 29, 2008

The World - Changes

Read this article on the marked changes in the World political and economic landscape in 2008.

Since this piece is a combination of both fact and fiction; fact in the events happenings, fiction in the analysis, I thought I'd add my own thoughts and opinions.

The bottom-line message is the world is changing and the U.S. is getting in the way. Typical world view, but what is lacking in this article is the amount of good the U.S. is doing to assist the world.

If the U.S. went down the world would surely be a different place, economically, politically, and especially with regards to Christianity.

I doesn't mean that the U.S. is a perfect place. Not by any means. The shame of the economic crisis, shows the greed of a few and their effect on the many. Some of the decisions regarding war will be debated for many years to come. In my opinion those decisions will be vindicated as a necessary but not a sought after road.

Here's the article: (China's view of the World) - My comments in italic and in green
Marked changes in world's political, economic landscape

by Sun Ruijun and Bao Erwen

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The world has undergone remarkable changes this year, but international security situation on the whole remained stable with "peace" and "development" prevailing as the themes of the times.

In 2008, the world has continued moving toward multi-polarization, resulting in a distinctive shift of international forces. Globalization is developing in depth and regional cooperation is gathering momentum.

What the heck is multi-polarisation? By 'regional cooperation' does this mean the team of Russia and China to replace the U.S. status in the world?

The world has been confronted with one hotspot issue after another and non-traditional threats are increasing. The world economic growth took a turn for the worse due to the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

WORLD MULTI-POLARIZATION STRENGTHENED

In recent years, the international political structure has transformed gradually from "one superpower coexisting with several other powers," formed after the Cold War, to multi-polarization.

The transformation picked up speed this year, with significant changes in the balance of international forces.

The United States has been acting as the world's only superpower in 2008, but the financial turmoil, which broke out in Wall Street in September, showed its vulnerability.

The U.S. remains the only superpower. However, along with that status so goes the superpower responsibility of responding to the needs not only of this nation but to the rest of the world. The U.S. not only for the year 2008 but along all of it's superpower existence has remained the most giving nation in the world bar none.

This past year and years past, many catastrophes natural and man made have occurred. The U.S. has often been the first to help with aid and assistance... free. Not so with nations like China or Russia or even the our European friends.

In addition, the country is still deep in trouble with its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has undermined its international image.

It's a war we have fought on our own mostly. We were attack on 911 and we responded. Maybe not all the decisions pertaining to the war were correct but the main reason 'to protect our nation' from further attack has been accomplished with this administration.

I don't see China or Russia assisting the U.S. With the exception of the U.K. the same. As far as NATO in the Afghanistan. their assistance is lacking. As far as I'm concerned our international image is only good when someone needs the U.S. to do something. And the U.S. is always there. There is plenty of American blood on Free Foreign shores to prove it.

Some analysts attributed the waning U.S. strength to its policy of unilateralism and expansionism on international issues, and its practice of a laissez-faire free market economy at home. It remains to be seen what consequences of these policies will have on U.S. national strength.

Expansionism? Laissez-gaire free market? By "what consequences of these policies will have on U.S. national strength" I guess it's meant the collapse of the U.S. as a superpower or worse is the underline message.

We will recover, we will hopefully learn from your errors and we will no doubt do it on our own.

By contrast, Russia's flexing of strong muscles in the international political arena in the outgoing year indicated a marked recovery of its strength.

Hurry ! Here come the Russians! Rah, Rah, Sis-boom-bah!

After sending troops to Georgia in August, Moscow announced its recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and established diplomatic ties with them.

You mean brutal invasion of a democratic State.

Furthermore, the Russian military forces also carried out operations in Latin America, which has long been considered the "backyard" of the United States.

Why not use the word 'Expansionism' here?

Washington, which has been pushing NATO's eastward expansion and trying to deploy anti-ballistic missile systems in East Europe, seemed to have no effective measures to deal with Russia's counterattack.

The former Eastern-axis State of the Old Soviet Union know that NATO status is their only hope to maintain their freedom. Of course China is rooting for a return to the old.

The growing strength of Russia has something to do with its leaders' strong will to make their country regain world power status. Over the past years Russia had seized the favorable opportunities by pursuing a pluralistic and pragmatic diplomatic policy, reviving its national economy and safeguarding its national interest.

Russia's economy in real 'hurt', right now. With the price of oil on the decline, their revenue is slowly decaying. Their stock market is in even worse shape than ours. They had to suspend trading for a few days.

Also in 2008, after standing the test of natural disasters following the Wenchuan earthquake in May, China succeeded in hosting the "truly exceptional" 29th Olympic Games in August. In October, the country sent Shenzhou-7 spacecraft into orbit, accomplishing its first ever space walk.

The Olympics were a wonderful show, however China failed to hide the true nature of their society. This is not an example of a Nation up and rising for their people. It's evident their growth is centered on a military influence on the rest of the world.

China has showed to the world its overall national strength is on constant increase following 30 years of reform and opening-up. China has become one of the major engines for world economy and contributed significantly to world economic growth.

Protecting their markets from free trade and manipulating their currency is not by any means beneficial to the world economy.

Moreover, China has played more important roles in international affairs, such as the financial summit and the informal meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) continued to enhance its independence and influence in international affairs.

In March, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said their countries share a vision of a "global Europe."

"We need Britain and France at the heart of Europe, a global Europe, that is reforming, open, flexible, outward-looking," the two leaders said in a joint statement.

The outgoing 2008 has also seen a large number of developing countries rise with increasing momentum.

From a geopolitical perspective, the center of world power is shifting from both sides of the Atlantic to the western Pacific region, as the emerging countries are mostly located in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

This shows that the existing international system is undergoing readjustment with new reshuffles and restructuring profoundly changing the balance of power in the world.

... away from the U.S.

GLOBALIZATION, REGIONAL COOPERATION

The in-depth development of economic globalization has made economic ties and interdependence between countries even closer, boosting the sustained growth of world economy, and benefiting many countries.

The Doha Round of talks of the World Trade Organization, aimed at furthering global trade, remained deadlocked this year. However, the financial summit and the 16th Leaders' Meeting of APEC in November sent out a strong signal for boosting the talks and gave them fresh impetus.

Yet, economic globalization has not been plain sailing this year.

Some developed nations, out of their selfish interest, asked too much of their developing counterparts, leaving the Doha Round of trade talks in an impasse.

After the outbreak of financial crisis, trade protectionism gained ground in some developed nations. However, economic globalization will continue despite twists and turns, as it is the inevitable outcome that corresponds to the development of productive forces of today's world, and constitutes the general trend of world economic growth.

It is hoped that developed nations would establish an equal, mutually-beneficial and win-win partnership with developing nations, so as to advance economic globalization toward balanced development, shared benefits and win-win progress.

This is code for 'the U.S. didn't want to make further concessions to free-trade policies which could be very detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Regional integration is another highlight in 2008, with regional and sub-regional cooperation further strengthened.

The EU continued to boost the process of its integration. Except Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland, all EU member nations have ratified the Lisbon Treaty, signed by EU heads of state and government in December 2007 and designed to reform EU institutions and streamline decision-making in the ever-enlarging union.

That's up to Ireland and the rest. They each have their own reasons

A charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),which was ratified by parliaments of 10 members of the regional bloc and formally entered into force on Dec. 15, clearly set the strategic goal of setting up an ASEAN community.

In Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) inaugurated a free trade area in August.

In October, the SADC and two other regional blocs, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, held a summit in the Ugandan capital of Kampala to discuss Africa's economic integration.

COMPLICATED SECURITY SITUATION

International security situation remained stable on the whole this year despite sporadic traditional threats.

The U.S.-led NATO continued to take "containment" measures against Russia. Meanwhile, Washington has reinforced its military strength in East Asia.

You can thank the U.S. is still somewhat on the ball...

The armed conflict between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia took the world by surprise. Observers noted however, the root cause of the conflict lies in Russia's perceived threat to its strategic security posed by NATO's continued eastward expansion that will recruit Georgia and Ukraine as new members and Washington's insistence on deploying anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, rather than the apparent differences over South Ossetia's sovereignty.

Brutal supresson by Russia is the true cause...

The year 2008 has also seen new changes in some old hotspot issues, and the emergence of some new hotspot issues.

The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula achieved a breakthrough, but also encountered new obstacles.

After the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) formally submitted a declaration on its nuclear program, Washington removed the country from the "list of state sponsors of terrorism."

But the two countries were far apart on the issue concerning verification of the DPRK's declaration.

Iran's nuclear issue remained deadlocked. Tehran refused to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment activities, while Western nations threatened to launch a new round of sanctions against the country.

The need to apply pressure on Iran to prevent a Nuclear Iran is a no brainer. If there was a trully combined effort by the European States with the U.S. more progress could take place.

Iraq's security situation has improved, with violent attacks on decline as compared with last year. Washington and the Iraqi government reached a deal on the status of the U.S. forces stationed in the country. But sectarian conflicts, political confrontation, terrorist activities and the U.S. military presence were still threatening Iraq's stability.

Come on, the U.S. efforts and sacrafices is the only reason for the progress in Iraq

As insufficient U.S. and NATO troops were unable to deal effective blows to Taliban insurgents, Afghanistan underwent the most turbulent year in 2008 since the fall of the Taliban regime, with at least 5,000 people killed in violent attacks this year.

More effort is needed to turn Afghanistan around. Now that Iraq is on more stable ground, the focus will be on Afghanistan.

In the Middle East, Israeli and Palestinian leaders failed to honor their commitment of a peaceful deal made at an international meeting in the U.S. city of Annapolis last November.

Meanwhile, Fatah and Hamas, two major factions in Palestine, were locked in frequent clashes due to different political views.

... and now as of today 12/29/08, the Palestinian/Israeli cease fire if off. Major Prayers are needed!

In November, the Sudanese government announced an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn western region of Darfur to pave the wayfor the Arab-sponsored peace negotiations with the rebel movements. But in July, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) demanded an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omeral-Bashir, accusing him of "genocide" and other war crimes committed in Darfur.

Darfur continues to be a mess. Hello, is anybody out there besides the U.S.to help. It's aweful quite

The ICC move set a precedent for an institution transcending states prosecuting the incumbent leader of a sovereign state, causing grave concerns among Middle Eastern and African nations, as the move threatened the current international order based on the UN Charter.

In February, Kosovo's declaration of independence drew mixed reactions from the international community, with Washington voicing support and recognition for Kosovo's independence, EU nations holding different views on the issue, and Serbia and Russia expresses strong opposition to Kosovo's independence.

Moscow maintained that Kosovo's independence would endanger the system of international law and leave negative consequences for the Balkan region and the world at large.

They would feel better if Kosovo was under their (Russian) influence (control)

In Thailand, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, different political factions, as representatives of different interest groups, got into furious disputes over election issues.

The year 2008 has also witnessed increasing non-traditional security threats, including terrorism, climate change and piracy.

On Nov. 26, more than 200 people were killed and some 300 others injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India's largest city. Afghanistan and Pakistan also fell victim to terror attacks.

As for climate change, a disaster caused by freezing rain and snow hit a large area in southern China. Hurricanes pounded Central America and the Caribbean. More than 77,000 people were killed and nearly 56,000 people went missing in a severe tropical storm in Myanmar.


Since the beginning of 2008, more than 120 cases of piracy occurred off Somalia, a war-torn country in Africa, with more than 30 ships hijacked and some 600 sailors held hostages.

As rampant piracy is posing increasing threats to maritime trade and shipping, some countries were forced to use military force to ensure the safety of their commercial vessels.

FINANCIAL CRISIS

In September this year, a financial "tsunami" that broke out in Wall Street, quickly turned into the most serious global financial crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

According to the U.S. company Goldman Sachs & Co., global financial institutions would suffer a loss of 1.4 trillion dollars in the U.S. subprime crisis. Global financial crisis had already plunged the United States, the euro zone and Japan into recession, and slowed down the growth of emerging economies.

Greed at it's worst..and it's not over yet. These bailouts smell of further errossion of the American value system. One of 'work hard and honesty'.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted a 3.7 percent growth rate for world economy this year, lower than the 2007 figure of 5.0 percent.

The global financial crisis is blamed on the laissez-faire economic policy adopted by the U.S. government and its failure to exercise effective financial regulation amid the dramatic expansion of financial derivative products since early this century.

Though the U.S. crisis is evident in it's effects on the rest of the world, the U.S. isn't totally to blame. The European Nations as well as Asia and Russia has been in financial straits for awhile.

People expect the international community to draw lessons from the crisis and undertake necessary reform of international financial system in a comprehensive, balanced, incremental and result-oriented way, so as to establish a new international financial order that is fair, just, inclusive and orderly and fostering an institutional environment conducive to sound global economic development.

As long as it joins forces, the international community will be able to tackle all political, security and economic challenges and continue to advance the world further toward justice, peace and prosperity, observers said.

Look, while the U.S. is not a perfect nation, and can even be blamed for some of the struggles of the rest of the world, it is by no means the demon and all evil source of the worlds problems.

The U.S. will continue to be looked to as a guiding light especially during a world crisis. We in the U.S. will overcome our hardships as well as be instrumental in assisting other nations.

This article is nothing but a propaganda piece, viewing the world through the eyes on a nation that would like to see the demise of the United States.

A nation that oppresses it's people, and wants to spread that form of totalitarian government to other nations.

Sorry China we're here to stay.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Recipe's

The Holiday's are a time of recipes.

I came home having worked Christmas Eve day ( bummer) to find the family deep in cookie making. Cookies of all shapes and sizes, some soft and some, well kind of hard (burnt) which are my favorites.

Pie's, yam's and walnuts with roasted marshmallow topping and thousands of other mouth watering recipes, yes that's the holidays.

Here's one recipe that's quite unusual... well you'll see.

This Recipe for Lapsed Disgruntled Catholic Pie...

1 cup of growing disenchantment
1/2 cup of some pronounced unease
3/4 cup of rotting historical illiteracy
1 cup of disillusioned with dogmatic bans
3 teaspoons of outgrown child childhood fantasies about the Real Presence, purgatory, and guardian angels (note: can be substituted with a 1/4 cup of ripe theological ignorance)
4 cups of stale, bitter skepticism

Mix all well in a bowl of ambiguity. Pour into a pan of uncertainly. Heat stove of 150 degrees, the preferred temperature for lukewarm spirituality. Cook for whatever length of time feels good to you. Coat with thin layer of sugary, neo-pantheistic frosting. Serve to readers of National "Catholic" Reporter while in a natural state of discomfort, chanting, "I am Catholic. I am Catholic."

MORE

Was Jesus Born in a Manger or a Stable?

Professor Michael Barber of JPII University in San Diego, give a nice explanation of the difference between the two and what scripture says to clarify.

Why Was Jesus Born in A Stable?


Every year, around Christmas time, we hear a lot about the fact that Jesus was "born in a manger." There are even songs about it!
However, it is important to point out--as I often do to my students, since it's one of my pet peeves--that Jesus was not born in a manger. According to the Gospel of Luke, he was "laid in a manger"--i.e., a feeding trough for animals--"because there was no place for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7). This suggests that he was born someplace where animals were housed--probably some kind of stable.

Why is this detail significant? First of all, it points up the utter poverty in which Jesus came into the world. But Saint Jerome gives an even deeper reflection (one which I've never heard from the pulpit). According to Jerome, although it would have been fitting for Christ to come into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he came into this world in a stinking stable, for us:
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Baby it's cold outside !


I'm rather enjoying the cooler weather of late.

In Southern California, that's as close to the changing of seasons as it gets.

As I look through the front window of my home I can see our tree (don't know what kind of tree... Elm, Birch maybe?) has lost most of it's leaves. I love the way the leaves change color, however in true California fashion, right behind and across the street are three huge palm trees.

Anyway, it had me thinking about the unusual cold weather and the topic of 'Global Warming'.

Just when it seems that most of the politicians have jumped on the band-wagon mother nature, God's magnificent creation, has thrown them and the rest of the 'Kyoto' world for a loop.

Not only has the record setting temps got in the way but finally the GW movement is realizing these financial times are not a good environment for funding this escapade.

Here's an interesting article the sums up the turn of events.

2008 Was The Year Man-Made Global Warming Was Disproved.

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.

The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

MORE...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas to All!

I'm praying that everyone's Christmas is a joyous, peaceful one.

Remember it's Jesus' birthday so ... remember his the guest of honor tomorrow.


.... you last minute shopper, good luck.

WCC +<><

Global Warming's Next Victim: Christmas Lights

Oh brother....

SCIENTISTS have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs.CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

He said: "Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights.

"He said the nation's electricity came from "centralised carbon intensive, coal-based power stations" which were responsible for emitting over one third of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Platt added: "For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

B16: The Nature (Ecology) of Man

B16 hit it right on the button.

The hype about protecting nature and the effects of 'global warming' are "no more important than protecting the nature of the person".

B16 responds to the worlds abbreviated stand on 'nature', where on one hand the message is to be good stewards of earth and it's resources and extend a firm fisted hand against those they feel abuse and neglect these treasure.

Yet in the same breath do the exact opposite when it comes to the preserving the true 'nature of man'. The ECOLOGY OF MAN, as the good Pope phrases it.

While the media has picked up on the homosexual emphasis of B16's talk, they kind of miss the rest of the message jin my opinion.

Pope Benedict is indeed talking about the term gender, however I also see his point about how man wants to supersede God as the creator in all things. Man wants to re-order the purpose of man, so to speak, in terms of his sexuality, of what man feels is best for him/her outside of God's original intent for man/woman.

The re-ordering of marriage, of 'any-thing-goes' without regard to our Creator.

I just love the way B16 is not afraid to teach. He's not concerned about what others may think in terms of watering down the teaching of Christ

Here's what he said from a reliable source:

Pontiff Calls for "Ecology of Man"
Warns Against New Theories of "Gender"


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- While protecting nature is an essential mission of the Church, it's no more important than protecting the nature of the person, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke today of what he termed an "ecology of man" during his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with prelates and members of the Roman Curia.

"Given that faith in the Creator is an essential element of the Christian creed, the Church can not and should not limit itself to transmitting to the faithful only the message of salvation," he affirmed. "It also has a responsibility with creation, and it has to fulfill this responsibility in public."

The Pontiff added that while the Church needs to "defend the earth, water, air, as gifts of the creation that belongs to all of us [... ], it must also protect the human being from his own destruction."
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Making a Difference: St Francis House


Here's an example of changing lives. This in the inner city of Brooklyn, New York, St Francis House.


ABOUT:

Breaking the Cycle of PovertyAlmost half of all high school boys have experimented with drugs before the age of thirteen. Many will leave school before the 9th grade, become fathers or become homeless. Some will resort to anything-- begging, crime, prostitution-- just to feed or clothe themselves, just to survive.In 1967, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. founded the St. Francis House. Its mission is to provide a safe haven and highly structured home environment designed to meet the needs of young men who, having run out of alternatives, are looking for a new start in life.



Great Job!. If you'd like to donate please visit the site.

Christmas Movies

A timeless tradition in our household each year has been the viewing of Christmas movie classics.

Many of which most people are familiar with. A Christmas Story with Raphy and his Red Rider B-B gun.


"You'll shoot your eye out!"

There's Bing and White Christmas. That corny scene with Bing and Kaye singing 'Sister, Sister'. And I'm still feel a little toasty watching Vera Ellen's dance scene.



There's Miracle on 34th Street with a little Natalie Wood. "To market, to market to buy a fat pig! Home again, home again, jiggety jig."



I know I've missed a few.


But my all time favorite movie is It's a Wonderful Life. Good'Ol George Bailey and the Savings and Loan. Frank Capra's movie wasn't as big a hit as it should have been back then, but today Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.




Of course there are the hum-buggers...like Mr. Wendall Jamieson of the NYTimes.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation."

A lump of Coal for Mr. Wendell...

What's Rick Warren's Purpose?

I'll tell you, I've been thinking about how to take Pastor Rick Warren's decision to give the inaugural prayer next month.

My first thoughts were along the line of "how could he do such a thing?"

While my thoughts haven't strayed too much from that line, I did reflect on a possible silver-lining.

If Mr. Warren can use this opportunity, and not necessarily at the inauguration itself, but more throughout Obama's administration, to voice the Pro-Life issue, then I would say it's a good decision.

It's quite obvious what Mr. Obama's agenda is in his selection. 'If I have Rick Warren praying me into office, the Christian community should welcome me with open arms' ... or something like that. Sorry but I just don't buy that he has any real intentions of being mister nice guy to the Christian teachings on abortion.

I know that Christ dinned with the sinners (I would consider myself part of that group) one can only hope that Warren's efforts will be fruitful. We all must pray that it does.

However, only time will tell.

Rick Warren Responds: How Should Warren Then Pray?


"I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.

Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.

The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history."

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

80's Flashback

I've been hearing plenty of 80's music lately. I can't believe that era was 20 years ago.

Plenty of memories though and maybe these music video will jar a flashback or two.

Where were you when these were blaring?




How about this one? (I saw this mentioned on LGF



For you rockers of that era...

A Pause...

I haven't posted for at least a few weeks...

a pause was in order.

...but I'm back so lets hit the play button again.

WCC +<><

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

iRobot or Future World?...Whatever

Most people are familiar with the 2004 movie iRobot (Will Smith) and if you're old enough the 1976 move, Futureworld (Yul Brynner).

With this next story we could be a step closer to both, in the real world. It's kind of a creepy story of a boy genius ... maybe a very lonely boy genius who applied his brain power to create a 'life-like' robot to assist him with his daily chores and financial book work.



The robot he created also acts as a companion, which is where the creepiness comes in. He has designed his robot to look like a female.

I don't know what to think about this. Robots will obviously take a bigger role in our daily lives as technology progresses and society calls for their need. The military uses them, our auto industry uses them.

I've even seen the type of virtual pets that kids carry around with them and care for them (feed them, play with them... or... they die).

What I do have concern with is the use of robots to take the place of companions, spouses, friends... human companionship. There is so many things wrong with this, I don't have time to post fully on. Just time for a few thoughts.
God's intent was never to substitute the human relationship with a man made mechanical creation. The soul will never be re-created by man and a robot will never have one.

'Death', on T.V.

How would you react to watching a little T.V. at night and maybe coming across a documentary that catches your eye.

Hmmm. A documentary which appears to show the relationship of a very sick husband, tended by his loving wife who is sitting by his bedside.

You think to yourself, "This is touching, a couple sharing the struggles of life, caring for one another".

You remember your wedding vows, "... for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health...

But what you don't (or do) realize is that you're watching an actual 'Suicide' and the husband on screen is passing away right before your eyes..... ON T.V.

Moments before he dies, she asks him: “Can I give you a kiss?”

Craig replies: “Of course” and Mary adds: “I love you.”

Craig says: “I love you, sweetheart, so much.”


Mary then tells him: “Have a safe journey, I will see you some time.”


Such is the case in th U.K.

'Sky Real Lives' aired this documentary with the sanction of the government.

As Catholics we know that Euthanasia is wrong and goes against the teachings of the church.

Euthanasia CCC 2276-2283

Euthanasia
2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.
Suicide
2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

See also Pain: CCC 164, 272, 376, 385, 1431, 1435, 1460, 1490, 1521, 1607, 1609

Link: Catechism of the Catholic Church


Yet this (Euthanasia) is not just happening in the U.K., it's actually legal in Oregon.

Here are some stat's on 'Assisted Suicide Laws'

Currently, 35 STATES have statutes explicitly criminalizing assisted suicide :

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin
NINE states criminalize assisted suicide through common law:

Alabama, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia

THREE states have abolished the common law of crimes and do not have statutes criminalizing assisted suicide :

North Carolina, Utah, Wyoming

In Ohio, that state's supreme court ruled in October 1996 that assisted suicide is not a crime.
In Virginia, there is no real clear case law on assisted suicide , nor is there is a statute criminalizing the act, although there is a statute which imposes civil sanctions on persons assisting in a suicide.

Only Oregon permits physician- assisted suicide.

Source: Associated Press.Provided by Infonet List is a daily compilation of pro-life news and educational information.


It seems more and more we are becoming a society of 'the easy way out' as evident with now numerous bailouts, corporations and mortgages.

With euthanasia I would actually catagorize this and 'the easy way out' most of the time it's centered around some sickness/pain related circumstance.

No one likes pain.

Yet, when look to Our Lord for answers, we can see by his life's example, his answer is there before us.

In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am meek and humble of heart;and you will find rest for yourselves.For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Euthanasia is not the answer...

Friday, December 05, 2008

SmartCar: Smorvette, Smamborghini...

I received this in an email this morning...

Wow this is how you encourage people to buy small, fuel efficient cars!If you're a car 'nut' you have heard of and seen the Smart car, but now there are body kits available to personalize your Smart car!The Smart Car full body kit!!

Go from this...











To These!


Smorvette!












Smaudi A3 AWD!














Smamborghini!












Smorsche!















How about a Smorsche Targa!
















And last, but not least,

The Smerrari!





Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hollywood Stars: "Prop 8 the Video"


Star studded short video protesting the successful passage of Proposition 8 in California, hit the web on Wednesday.


The video attempt to point out that Scripture says a lot of things are bad and that is suppose to mean 'they are acceptable'.


Hmmm... let's see.


Claims Jesus (Jack Black) makes from the video:

Shellfish (shrimp Cocktail) is bad.. the bible says so...

You can sell your daughter into slavery so...

You can even stomp your wife ... according to scripture the video claims.

"Besides", 'Dookie Howser' (Neil Patrick Harris) says. "There's money to be made from gays and lesbians"

So....

Why not support the overturning o Prop 8?!

Wow, what a convincing argument.

NOT!


Since Proposition 8 passed in California, much of Hollywood has been up in arms. Now, they are singing and dancing, too, in a new Web video called "Prop 8: The Musical."


The video was posted Wednesday on FunnyOrDie.com, the video site co-founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. The site has found a niche in getting professional talent to quickly create topical comedy videos.


"Prop 8: The Musical" may be a 3-minute Internet video, but it has a blockbuster cast _ including Jack Black (who plays Jesus), Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, Rashida Jones and others.


Though Jesus doesn't bring the two sides together, Harris has better luck. He argues gay marriage could save the economy: "Every time a gay or lesbian finds love at the parade, there's money to be made."


Washington State [Seattle]: Making a name for Itself


Yet another story coming out of Washington State. I was unaware of a particular White House tradition that allows the 435 Congressional districts to showcase a decorative Christmas ornament to hang from the official White House Christmas tree.


That sound pretty cool, yet there are those that would twist this time honored tradition for their own ill purpose.


Enter... once again Seattle Washington. The officials of the State selected Deborah Lawrence, a local artist, as the person to represent the beautiful state of Washington with her decorative Christmas bulb.


Description of bulb:




Well, it didn't get the nod from First Lady Bush of course.





What an honor for the State of Washington, the ONLY bulb to be rejected. The good people of Washington deserve better.


Now they have two black eyes.


Maybe they can place that bulb next to the Atheist poster board at the State Capitol.




Artist Statement: Deborah Lawrence


Oh, and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS !



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Washington State Capitol: Anti-Religion Message Along Side Nativity Scene

Just want are the Washington State officials thinking about?!

The sign above was posted along side the nativity scene and holiday tree as a symbol for atheist. While everyone would recognize the nativity scene, holiday tree and the menorah as symbols, I'm baffled that the State officials would consider this sign a 'symbol'.

It is blatantly an anti-religion statement designed to offend.

Seems I'm not the only one with this opinion: Complaints

This is what happens when 'let's please everyone' runs amuck! No rules, everything is acceptable!

Anti-religious sign at state Capitol raises eyebrows

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An atheist group has unveiled an anti-religion placard in the state Capitol, joining a Christian Nativity scene and "holiday tree" on display during December.

The atheists' sign was installed Monday by Washington members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national group based in Madison, Wis.

MORE

West Coast Priest: Obama-Voters should Confess

Now there's a second priest, on the west coast this time, that is reported to have told his parishioners to the sin of voting for Obama.

AmP breaks down the AP report.

Second priest says Obama-voters should confess

The AP report was so short (and the reporting so horrible) that I have to pick it apart.
My comments in [brackets]:

A Roman Catholic priest has told parishioners they should confess if they voted for Barack Obama because the president-elect supports abortion rights. [I'm sure he asked them to confess the sin of voting for Obama, not confess that they voted for him.]

The Rev. Joseph Illo said parishioners at St. Joseph's Catholic Church shouldn't risk losing their "state of grace" by receiving Communion sacrilegiously. [No, I'm sure the priest said those who commit a mortal sin are thereby deprived of the "state of grace". Seriously, this counts as religion reporting?]

He delivered the message in a Nov. 21 letter and at Mass. [I bet it was a bulletin.]

MORE

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Will the Real St. Paul Please Stand Up....

Great article on St. Paul from Jimmy Akin.

We're doing a short study on St. Paul and the Sacraments by Fr. Pacwa in our Men's Group at our parish...

Two From Benedict

Since 1963 there has been a growing debate in Protestant circles regarding the way in which St. Paul's teachings--particularly regarding justification--are to be understood. A significant number of authors, including Kirster Stendahl, E. P. Sanders, James Dunn, and N. T. Wright, have concluded that the standard accounts of Paul's teaching developed since the Reformation are simply wrong, that they read Paul's conflict with first century Judaizers anachronistically against the Reformers' struggle with the Catholic Church and what they perceived Catholic beliefs to be.

Although these authors have their own opinions about the details of what Paul meant, and while each gives different nuances to their understanding of Paul, there are certain commonalities among their thoughts, and this has given rise to the term "the new perspective on Paul" as a way of naming their school. (Though some of them have said, "the new perspectives on Paul" would be more accurate.)
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Memorials to Communist Tyrants...

Do they teach history in school anymore?

I mean, truthful history, not re-written history. I wonder this anytime I see a teen with a 'Che' tee-shirt on.

New York City's Useful Idiots

New York City, it seems, wants to be second to none in public memorials to Communist tyrants. After all, Seattle has a statue of Lenin adorning its waterfront, and San Francisco has a statue and plaque honoring the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade at the heart of the tourist center in the city’s waterfront park.
New York City already has a banner depicting Stalin hanging from The Cooper Union, in whose great hall Abraham Lincoln once spoke.

MORE

Obama - B16: FOCA Showdown

WashPost's Jeffery Kuhner sums up the approaching Obama administration maelstrom concerning the 'Freedom Of Choice Act' or 'Freedom to Murder Act' which it should be called.

The question, 'how many divisions does the Pope have?' is the question once asked before (WWII).

With over 54% of U.S. Catholics that voted for Obama, it may seem that some of the division's have replaced their swords and shields with white flags when it comes to the abortion call to arms. With the promised passage of the FOCA , it will differently be more than a few more nails in the 'unborn coffin'.

I'm afraid that the election stand of 'maybe a few less abortions' is going to be one of the most tragic compromise battle cries ever uttered by deceived Catholics.

But, I'm not ready to give up the fight and nor should you. I'd rather be on the side of truth defending the unborn and be out numbered, than be on the side of untruth and in the majority.

Here's Mr. Kuhner's observation's:

KUHNER: Obama vs. Pope Benedict

COMMENTARY:
President-elect Barack Obama's plan to pass the Freedom of Choice Act is setting up a showdown with the Vatican.

"The first thing I will do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," he said at an address before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007. And if he does, it will trigger a harsh response from Pope Benedict XVI, as well as a political revolt among practicing American Catholics.

Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) "would be the equivalent of a war," a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. "It would be like saying, 'We've heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.' " At a recent Baltimore meeting, the U.S. Catholic bishops pledged to challenge Mr. Obama on his defense of abortion rights.

FOCA seeks to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. It would remove all restrictions on abortion in state statutes - including restraints on late-term abortions and parental notification laws. It would also entrench taxpayer funding of abortion. Moreover, it would compel Catholic health-care facilities to provide the heinous procedure. In short, it constitutes a fundamental assault on basic Catholic doctrine.
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L.A. Times On Women's Ordination

LATimes sides with Fr Roy Bourgeois on women's rights for ordination to the priesthood.

Thanks LATimes for setting us Catholics straight.

The scary thing is some (I suppose it 'many') Catholics will agree with this garbage....

Los Angeles Times Blast Catholic teaching...

Upset by the prospect that Father Roy Bourgeois risks excommunication if he does not repudiate his participation in a woman’s ordination, the editors of the Los Angeles Times on Sunday criticized Catholic teaching on women’s ordination. The editorial also took issue with Cardinal Roger Mahony’s recent reminder to parishes that laypeople are not permitted to preach the homily at Mass.

The Times editorial makes no effort to provide an accurate understanding of Church teaching on the impossibility of ordaining women, mentioning only a "traditional view" and claiming that theologians have gradually been turning away from that "view." (To be accurate the editorial should have said that some theologians have abandoned the traditional teaching.) The editorial should be read in light of another recent editorial in the same paper, attacking a new Vatican document that reiterated the prohibition against homosexuals in the priesthood. In each case the Times makes the argument that Catholic teaching clashes with the demands of justice-- an argument that might eventually be used to justify court intervention in Church affairs.
More

LA Times Article: Women & religion

Friday, November 28, 2008

Iraq: St. Elijah's 1400 yr old Monastery

Interesting article on St. Elijah which is 1400 years old. It's long history is in the hands of American Troops.

With Iraqi Christians a threatened and dwindling minority, U.S. forces are safeguarding a 1,400-year-old monastery _ Iraq's most ancient _ for a time when peace, reconciliation and archaeological detective work can occur.

St. Elijah's Monastery, with its main fortress-like structure looming atop a barren hillside, sits inside a sprawling U.S. military base. Its bloody history makes clear why the monastery needs protection. In 2003, it was damaged during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Some 250 years earlier, it was nearly leveled by a Persian ruler who ordered its monks slain.


Posts of Interest...

Some cool interesting posts to read on a Thanksgiving Day + One weekend.

Trubador has some interesting posts

The First Thanksgiving

Eleanor Rigby...is she a real person?

AmP has a one...

Advent on the iPhone

InSight Scoop...

Food for thought on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Stuffed

We at the WCC family had a very joyous peaceful Thanksgiving. We all awoke not too early and we all pitched in to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

We enjoyed the days rainy quietness and we shared some long conversation, salsa and chips and DVD's (Dark Knight and Indiana Jones' latest), while the turkey roasted.

There's plenty of leftovers which will serve as dinner for the next few evenings and as per our family tradition, we ordered our Christmas tamales. I don't know if it's just a So. Cal thang, but tamales and holidays are a must. When my grandmother on my father's side was alive we use to help make them.

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is and continues to be a happy one. Family and the Holiday's, my favorite combination.

Peace

WCC +<><

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Google Earth - Rome!

thanks Catholicdoxy!
Rome as it was...

google.earth.com/rome


Catholicism Project Trailer

I've posted on this before, however I viewed the trailer again this weekend and it's worth another post.

Here's the website of Fr. Barron, please visit and support with a donation if you're able.




for more YouTube video of Fr. Barron, Here's the Link: Fr. Barron

BreakUp of U.S.A.

Russian Analysis: Doom, Demise, Breakup of America

I start my day with the daily reading before I hit my news and favorite weblogs. For the past week we’ve been reading from the book of Revelations… with all its mystic symbology.

Today’s Gospel was an eye opener and kind of ominous as Jesus speaks of the ‘end-times’ (Lk 21:5-11) -NAB

I had to read the whole chapter, I just couldn’t’ leave it at verse 11.

1
1 When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury
2
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
3
He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
4
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."
5
2 While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said,
6
"All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."
7
Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
8
He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' 3 Do not follow them!
9
When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end."
10
Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
12
"Before all this happens, 4 however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.
13
It will lead to your giving testimony.
14
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
15
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking 5 that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
16
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
17
You will be hated by all because of my name,
18
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
19
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
20
6 "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand.
21
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
22
for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled.
23
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
24
They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles 7 are fulfilled.
25
"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26
People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens 8 will be shaken.
27
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28
But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."
29
He taught them a lesson. "Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
30
When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
31
in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
33
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise
35
like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
36
Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
37
During the day, Jesus was teaching in the temple area, but at night he would leave and stay at the place called the Mount of Olives.
38
And all the people would get up early each morning to listen to him in the temple area.

After I reviewed the daily readings I was surprised to see and article on the Drudge Report entitled: RUSSIAN ANALYST PREDICTS DECLINE AND BREAKUP OF USA.

Here’s a clip:

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts…

…He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong. He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

Woo baby,
Market failings, bailouts to everyone … corporation level pay grade only. Russian warships in Hugo Chavez country, China buying up American debt, 401k converted to 201k (mines down 39%).

Sounds like the end-time may truly be here, right?

Well, I don’t know about that. Are times hard? Very hard? Sure they are.

I think in today’s Gospel, Jesus is reminding us that we shouldn’t put too much trust in the man made empires. The Jerusalem temple was the center piece in the Jewish community back then, yet in 70AD it was destroyed.

Today we see banks going under, mighty corporations on their knees, things we’ve learned to trust over time are now on shaky ground and times don’t look as secure as we would like.

Will times get harder?

Maybe, but Jesus tells us to focus our trust in Him and to stay alert.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise
35
like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
36
Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
37

Jesus said these words just before his last Passover Supper, just before the beginning of his Passion.

I was talking with my kids who are young adults, about the news events of the day last night. They have the same concerns as everyone.

“I’ve just graduated from college… what does the future look like for me?”

“I’m getting married… what will my life be like in the next 5 years?”

I wish I could say that they would find good jobs and that their future children would grow up in peaceful times with prosperity all around them,

But I couldn’t say that.

The only advice I could give was a reminder what ultimately life’s goal is and that’s what our focus should be on. Yes we have to deal with jobs, food, and shelter. We need to remain involved with our communities, helping each other out, and remain focused on the banquet Christ has prepared for us.

Trust in His providence, remain alert.

I don’t mean this post to instill words of wisdom. There are plenty of folk out the in weblog land with ABC’s after their names and theology educations that rightfully would say my ramblings are remedial at best and laughable nominally.

These are just the some thoughts I had while reflecting on today’s gospel and today’s news….

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Emerging Protestant Church


Is this the face of the new Protestant church?

One of the key leaders of today's most cutting-edge church movement has opened an Internet discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage with the bold proclamation that he believes "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer" individuals can and should live out their sexuality in – and blessed by – the Christian church.

"I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!)," writes author and church leader Tony Jones, "and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state."

MORE: Emergent church leader says 'gay' can be biblical lifestyle

I don't mean to pick on our brothers and sisters. The truth is this frame of thought that Tony Jones has is becoming more and more prevalent in the Catholic church as well.

The passage of Prop 8 leaves us with some hope, however it's easy to see our leaders attempting to pull us away from church teaching.

Sunday was the Solemnity of Christ the King. It's the end of the church calendar as we head into the Advent season.

The Gospel reading for Sunday was on the "goats and sheep" (Matt 25:31-46).

We need to ask ourselves on a daily basis,

'which are we?'

Christianity without Culture?

John Neuhaus of First Things has a great piece that I read this weekend. Thought I'd pass it on.

The Deadly Convienence of Christianity without Culture

“Gnosticism” may not be the right word for it, but it is what Harold Bloom in The American Religion calls a religion of the self. It is a seductive way of accommodating differences by declaring a truce in contentions over truth. The “Christ without culture” model—meaning Christianity indifferent to culture—would seem to produce a circumstance in which religion is impervious to culture and culture is impervious to religion. But, in fact, it results in religion’s acquiescing in the culture’s demand that religion confine itself to the sphere of privacy.

In his classic study at the beginning of the last century, The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James describes religion as that which a man does with his solitude. What one does with one’s solitude may take many different forms, from mystical experience, to thinking positively in ways that maximize your potential, to ten-step meditation techniques resulting in a greater measure of inner peace. In more contemporary language, religion—or, if you prefer, spirituality—is whatever works for you.

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