We Have to Protect the Children

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My favorite movie/musical is “The Music Man”, the story about a travelling salesman in 1912 who sells bands. In order to get the get the local townspeople fired up, he has pointed out the evil of having a pool table in town. At a subsequent meeting in the schoolhouse he fires them up even more and as he changes into his bandleader uniform, he calls out reasons for why the town needs this band. One line is “We’ve got to protect the children!”

It is hard to argue that there is a lack of family values in the world today, especially here in the United States. What has happened in the past forty or fifty years? Without getting too political it is certainly my opinion the government is responsible for a good part of this.  Taking control of various social programs away from local organizations, most notably our churches, legalizing abortion and promoting fatherless families has created a culture where there are fewer and fewer families. Fewer families mean less family values.

We have also created a “culture of death” through abortion, contraception and euthanasia which has destroyed at least one generation, more likely several (more on the “culture of death” soon). These are the things I was thinking about as I listened to this morning’s readings at mass, and once again I think about how the New Testament which was written somewhere around 1,700 years ago, or more, and the Old Testament even further back than that, are still so relevant to today’s society.

The Gospel reading today was Mt 2:13-15, 19-23, which talks about Joseph being told by God in a dream to leave Bethlehem and head to Egypt because Herod wanted to find Jesus and kill him. Since Herod didn’t know where Jesus was he killed all the children two years old and under. Accounts vary on how many this may have been but it was probably around twenty. Why did Herod do this? Because he was angry and afraid that Jesus would someday take over his throne and rule the kingdom.

This is what is happening today. Someone is afraid the good will take over the kingdom. Who are the good? The children. When a child is born they have no preconceived ideas about anything, they get their ideas, their morals, their sense of what is right and wrong from their family. When there is no family, they don’t learn these things. When morality is removed from society it becomes a free for all where those with no moral authority rule. We aren’t far from this now. Who would benefit from this? Satan.

Satan doesn’t like children because he knows that it is through the children he can rule. As those who have been raised with family and family values fade into the distance, it is the  corrupt and immoral who take over. Satan has taken over our art, our music, all that is good and replaced it with evil.

It’s funny,  right wing conservatives always claim any time something bad happens, the liberals want to take more of money claiming “It’s for the children” and “we’ve got to protect the children.” Little do they know how right they just might be.

Also from today:

“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.  Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.  For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” – Col 3:12-21

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The Journey Begins

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I have been working on a little writing project recently trying to explain God to  oldest granddaughter. She asked me one day “Who is God?” While I was extremely happy she asked me, I didn’t know how to answer. When my children were young I was away from the church, far away from the church, so needless to say I didn’t raise my children in the Catholic (or any other) faith. Now that I am back I have been worried about my grandchildren (all 5 1/2 of them) and how I could teach them about God. Which is why I was happy she asked me this question. God does have a way of opening doors. 

I wrote a pamphlet trying to answer her question and I will post it soon as a separate page on this blog. It isn’t easy to answer a question like this, especially when you aren’t sure who God is yourself. And what I have learned is when you try to answer one question, more and more questions come up, in fact more questions than answers. None of them easy to answer. Each answer depends on another answer, all are intertwined.

For example here are some of the questions I have had come up in trying to answer her initial question:

  • Who is God?
  • What is faith?
  • Is the Bible real?
  • What is heaven?
  • Do we need God?
  • Where is God?
  • Does God talk to us?
  • Why did Jesus have to die?

None of these questions is easy to answer, especially when you are trying to explain this to a 10 year old. But it has started me on a journey to find the answers and to be able to explain them to her. And so far I have learned that when I was her age, our religious education was sorely lacking. I don’t remember anything from that time and those classes. Certainly it was a long time and I may have forgotten things, and certainly since I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be there I may not have managed to pay attention. But I should remember something, right? Well I don’t. I have learned more in the last two or so years than in the past 40 plus years. Interestingly enough I have learned many other Catholics my age also have the same problem, that of not understanding their faith. There was a definite dropping of the ball regarding religious education at this time, even the Vatican acknowledges this.

Okay, you’re asking “What’s the point of this?” Well as the title suggests this has been the beginning of a journey for me, I guess a journey to find the truth, and this blog will be part of this journey. This is where I will ask and answer my questions, along with all my other insights and ramblings, and I can see a book forming. I feel I am being called to do this to make up for my past sins and especially the one where I did not teach my children the faith.

So I ask for your prayers and feel free to link to my Facebook page (over there —>) and you can offer insights, make suggestions or share anything with me which will help me on my journey. And of course, your comments are always welcome here.

See No Evil, See No Good

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I guess when Atheists claim they don’t believe, they really don’t believe. I ran across this post today from the “Friendly Atheist” on Patheos discussing a recent photo purported to be of persecuted Christians which the author has proved to be fake. I certainly can see where the evidence proves it is fake, like so many other “viral” photos on the internet and how other groups have used this same photo to prove persecution of whatever cause they happen to believe in.

But what disturbs me is the author doesn’t seem to believe there is any Christian persecution, writing:

“As for the meme at the top of this post, given that there’s no dearth of actual oppression of Christians in most majority-Muslim countries, it’s galling — and a disservice to real victims of religious persecution — that these lies are considered necessary at all.”

I decided to do some checking and see if there is or is not persecution of Christians.

From the National Catholic Reporter:

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that in the last decade, an average of 100,000 Christians have died each year in what the center calls a “situation of witness,” meaning for motives related to their faith.

Although some experts regard that estimate as inflated, it works out to an average of 11 Christians killed each hour throughout the past decade.

There is even a website which chronicles all incidents each month.

But I guess no amount of evidence would be enough for the atheists to believe, which is certainly their right.  I wonder – are there many atheists living in Muslim countries?

We Need More Joseph’s

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we need more joseph's

We really need more Joseph’s out in the world today. We need more people who will take responsibility and do the right thing even if they don’t need to.

In today’s Gospel, Matthew 1: 18-24, we recall the story of the angel coming to Joseph letting him know that his betrothed, Mary, would be having a baby. Joseph and Mary weren’t yet living together, the custom was  to live separately for a year, so needless to say Joseph was surprised Mary was pregnant. His first reaction was to quietly divorce her so she wouldn’t have to suffer any scandal, when the angel told him not to.

Joseph could have not listened to the angel and done what he originally intended, he could have chosen to not take responsibility, walking away, but he didn’t. instead he and Mary raised their son and we know the rest of the story. Unlike so many today who would have walked away, even when they are physically the father, Joseph stayed, raising Jesus as his own. While we do’t know a lot about Joseph, no where in the Bible is he heard saying anything, in fact the only time we learn of him again is when he and Mary have to return to the temple after Jesus stays behind, but we can assume Joseph never complained about his circumstances. He didn’t ask for help, he just accepted what God asked him to do and did his best. I am sure it was hard, worrying about how he could afford this, and I am sure he just worked harder. He didn’t run away though. Even Mary accepted her responsibility without question, again, unlike so many today.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people were like Mary and Joseph, taking responsibility and not running away from them? Instead of the father disappearing or the mother killing the baby through abortion. I guess we can only pray that someday this will be. In the meantime we should take responsibility for our actions and especially when God asks us to do something for Him.

Here is a blog post from Catholic Apologist Jimmy Akin on this explaining this assage better than I ever could.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1: 18-21

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More Intolerance From the Most Tolerant

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In yet another case of intolerance from the people who claim to be the most tolerant people in the world, the progressive left has attacked another good faithful Christian. Of course I am referring to Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame. Yes he exercised his First Amendment rights and expressed his views about homosexuality which conforms to those of most Christians, that it is a sin.

Now note I said most Christians believe homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality is an act. This in no way means homosexuals are evil or bad in any way, in fact all it means is according to Christian beliefs it is considered a sin. I’m a Catholic and we have a saying in the church which goes “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Phil Robertson said nothing about any homoexual only what he thought of their actions. Some feel he was wrong to do so, but why should he say something he doesn’t believe?

The real problem here is once again those on the left who want everyone to be tolerant of diversity, prove they are the least tolerant of all. Robertson speaks what he believes and he is ostracized by the left. How dare he says what he believes, he can’t do that! The left only believes in diversity when it conforms to their very narrow standards. Robertson never said people should stop, only he didn’t understand why people would want to engage in those activities. I agree with him, but does that make either of us evil?

Here is a link to a good article on the whole thing from the “National Catholic Register.” The people at A&E are hypocrites. If they are so horrified and upset by Phil’s remarks they should take the whole show of the air, but they won’t because it their money maker so instead they put Phil on hiatus. If I were the Robertson’s, I would get an injunction against A&E and not let them air the show. After all I am pretty sure the Robertson’s don’t need the money.

This doesn’t mean those who believe as Phil does should get nasty and ugly in return. There are stories of threats made to A&E executives and the usual boycotts, etc. and this to is wrong. Those who engage in this behavior are lowering themselves to the same level as the gay activists.

“But I say to you who are listening, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who are cruel to you.  If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek, too. If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt.  Give to everyone who asks you, and when someone takes something that is yours, don’t ask for it back. 31 Do to others what you would want them to do to you.  If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them.  If you do good only to those who do good to you, what praise should you get? Even sinners do that!  If you lend things to people, always hoping to get something back, what praise should you get? Even sinners lend to other sinners so that they can get back the same amount!  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. – Luke 6: 27 – 36

Update: Here is a paragraph from the GQ article which no one seems to be talking about:

You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around. (From Beitbart.com)

Robertson also listed a whole slew of sins and didn’t single out homosexuals.

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Who am I to Judge

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In my last post I wrote how I had done something I never had before, gave money to a street person. I wrote how it reminded me of  Matthew 25: 44 – 46 and “What you did for the least…” I have been reflecting even more on this over the last couple of days.

As I said I never did this before, mostly because I figured either the person panhandling was either scamming people or they were going to use the money for something they shouldn’t. The title of the post “There but for the grace of God” was intended as a reminder for me that this could be very well be me, and for a time I was close to this. What I have been thinking abut since then is who am I to judge these people? If it were me who was begging, would I want to be judged? Someone driving by me standing on the corner doesn’t know my story, they don’t know why I would be forced to panhandle, they would make assumptions, just like I have always done.

Too often we are quick to judge, whether it is the panhandler on the corner or the new person at our workplace, we make assumptions based on who knows what. It might be their looks, their clothes, the way they talk, the color of their skin, any number of things we judge someone on, all of which could be wrong. And by doing this, we forget what Jesus said:

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” – Matthew 7:1

I don’t know what this person did with the money, it isn’t important. Maybe he bought a bottle, or maybe he bought a meal or maybe he used it to help him out of whatever problem he has gotten himself into. Certainly I hope he made a good decision and used it wisely, but then, who am I to judge?

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There but for the Grace of God

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I did something the other day I have never done in my 57 years of living on this earth. I’m not sure what got into me, but I actually gave a dollar to a guy standing on the street corner holding a sign saying he was homeless, etc. etc. etc. Now maybe a dollar isn’t much, but it is when you don’t have many to spare. And, like I said, I’ve never done this before.

Why haven’t I ever done this before? I suppose there are a couple reasons. One is I have always felt many of these people are just scamming the public. Ever since I saw one in the city of Cambridge walk away from her favorite corner and get into her BMW I was kind of suspect. Then there are also the stories of how the first thing someone will do will  go buy a bottle or drugs with the money. And then I guess I always looked at it like “Who ever helps me when I need it? No one.”

Yesterday, I saw this guy, standing on the corner while I was waiting for the light to change, and I didn’t think these things. Instead I thought “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I don’t know where that expression comes from but it was the first thing I thought of. And then I thought of Matthew 25: 44 – 46

Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’  Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’  And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I don’t know what this guy was going to do with the money, I didn’t ask. I don’t know what his story was, what happened in his life which made him have to beg on the street. All I know is I gave him a dollar and drove on.

Maybe Jesus is finally getting through to me.

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