Friday, June 27, 2008

Set the World on Fire

There's another St. Catherine in Heaven this week, and the Cantrell family's loss is the Church Triumphant's gain. For those of you in the blogosphere who have yet to make the acquaintance of Baby Cate, stop by her blog and get to know this little evangelist. Her parents, in an act of heroic generosity, decided to share Baby Cate with the world, posting frequently on the heartbreak, the laughter and the wisdom God gave them over the past several months.

Baby Cate was a tiny little thing - only 7 months on earth - but I stand in awe of the impact she made. She wasn't expected to survive past 5 months in utero, but she sure trumped those odds. She probably never uttered a single word, but the words written about her have impacted and inspired over 70,000 people. She couldn't walk, but during her short earthly mission she travelled (via the Internet) as far as Zambia, Uzbeckistan, and China. She never earned a single dollar, never drew a paycheck, never made a contribution to a local charity... but her very life has enriched the lives of tens of thousands all across the globe.
She was completely dependent upon machines and medication at the end of her life. Her little heart stopped functioning on its own nearly 2 weeks ago, and still our hearts waited in expectant hope, praying for a miracle.

It was not to be.

From a worldly perspective, Cate was a failure. A drain on society, a waste of resources, a mistake. Had her parent's opted to abort early on, upon learning of her grim prognosis, all of this needless suffering might have been...avoided. All the time, the money, the medical resources poured into the tiny body of a child who would not see her first birthday. Surely these could have been spent elsewhere, with greater impact...

But Cate's impact can't be measured in dollars. Her contributions will never show up on a bank statement, will never be the subject of a major motion picture. Because Cate didn't move mountains; she moved hearts.

Cate never had the privilege of receiving the Eucharist on earth, but now she stands at the throne of the Blessed Sacrament Himself. She watches with delight as thousands of the brothers and sisters she left here on earth encounter her story and then, falling to their knees, encounter He who authored her story.

Cate the Magnificent, as one commenter called her, was a small thing, but she had a monumental task to achieve, and in a very short time. She didn't have a moment to waste, and so she didn't. As is evident in the loving reflections penned by her mom and dad, not a moment of this child's life was spent in vain, not a precious minute slipped by without purpose. Especially towards the end, when the hour grew late.

Let us pray for the grace to live our own lives in light of eternity, heeding St. Catherine of Siena's words to "be as we should be" in order that we might "set the world on fire"

And let us pray for eyes opened wide enough to see the greater reality into which our own small roles are woven. Let us remember that not one of us is useless so long as the One doing the using is the Creator of the universe. And let us remember Baby Cate, her family, and their heroic example of obedience and humility.

Can't wait to meet you, Cate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Glenn Beck's Conservative Creed

This is awesome, though I would have changed up the order a bit...

A conservative believes that our inalienable rights do not include housing, healthcare or Hummers.

A conservative believes that our inalienable rights DO include the pursuit of happiness. That means it is guaranteed to no one.

A conservative believes that those who pursue happiness and find it have a right to not be penalized for that success.

A conservative believes that there are no protections against the hardship and heartache of failure. We believe that the right to fail is just as important as the chance to succeed and that those who do fail learn essential lessons that will help them the next time around.

A conservative believes in personal responsibility and accepts the consequences for his or her words and actions.

A conservative believes that real compassion can't be found in any government program.

A conservative believes that each of us has a duty to take care of our neighbors. It was private individuals, companies and congregations that sent water, blankets and supplies to New Orleans far before the government ever set foot there.

A conservative believes that family is the cornerstone of our society and that people have a right to manage their family any way they see fit, so long as it's not criminal. We are far more attuned to our family's needs than some faceless, soulless government program.

A conservative believes that people have a right to worship the God of their understanding. We also believe that people do not have the right to jam their version of God (or no God) down anybody else's throat.

A conservative believes that people go to the movies to be entertained and to church to be preached to, not the other way around.

A conservative believes that debt creates unhealthy relationships. Everyone, from the government on down, should live within their means and strive for financial independence.

A conservative believes that a child's education is the responsibility of the parents, not the government.

A conservative believes that every human being has a right to life, from conception to death.

A conservative believes in the smallest government you can get without anarchy. We know our history: The larger a government gets, the harder it will fall.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/25/beck.conservatives/index.html

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Baa Baa Black Sheep

The following is excerpted from a fascinating article which a co-worker had left in my inbox this morning, and I can't help but wonder whether he was secretly listening in on my dinner conversation last night. The topic is gay marriage, but from a slightly different angle. The "what-if" angle, which invites us to dust off our freshman logic courses and exercise the frequently ignored principle of cause and effect.

"Once you have replaced the Dos and Don'ts of Christianity with some idea of sex as self-actualization, you cannot rationally resist anyone who wants to be more liberal than you are, and there will always be someone more liberal than you are. Begin with the principles of sexual liberalism, and reason is always on the side of the person who wants to be more liberal still."

"You want contraception; someone else wants easy divorce. You want easy divorce; someone else wants homosexual marriages. You want homosexual marriages; someone else wants threesomes. You want threesomes; someone else wants children. You want children; someone else wants sheep. And his reason for wanting sheep will be just as good as yours for wanting contraception or easy divorce or homosexual marriages."


"If this, then that" used to be a fairly innocent method of explaining to someone (perhaps a small child) the basic principle of cause and effect. For example, "Don't put your hand in the fire, it will burn."

This is no longer the case, as these days the mere suggestion of absolutes -moral or otherwise- is enough to send the majority of academia into a tailspin.

Which puts Christianity into something of a tight spot, particularly Catholic Christianity. You see, we're all about absolutes on this side of the Tiber, our creed is chock full of them.

Which is going to pose something of a threat to the relativists who would rationalize, well, anything in an attempt to include anyone. Even pedophiles. And practitioners of bestiality. And couples who want to legally include their labradoodle in their marriage contract.

And then we have that stodgy old man over in Rome telling us what to do and how to do it, and he simply must be shut up, for the sake of civil rights and equality and freedom. After all, what right has any person to tell another person what they can and cannot do with/to/in their body?

I mean, really, it's my prerogative whether I want to snort coke, have a threesome with my dog and my hairstylist, eat a steady diet of arsenic-laced fried foods and smoke a pack a day. Unfiltered. (Well, that last one is a bit over the edge, I suppose. After all, cigarettes are bad for you. And no, that wasn't an absolute statement. And neither is this.)

So what to do with this reticent, rambling old religion full of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots"... and what to do with her bigoted followers? It's not right that people should hold these views about other people, see? It's best that we don't allow sermons and speeches on concepts like "right" and "wrong" and (g)od forbid, "good" and "evil." We better shut them up. But how?

Perhaps by forcing the closure of adoption agencies like the one in Boston run by Catholic Charities, which was forced to shut down last year after refusing adoptions to same-sex couples. Perhaps by taking legal action against pastors, such as Fr. Alphonse de Valk, who is "currently being investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) — a quasi-judicial investigative body with the power of the Canadian government behind it."1 for his hate-filled teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which expressly define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Sound a little 1984 to anyone else? But surely, you must be thinking, these are extreme examples, isolated incidents? I wouldn't bet on it. If we had any idea the money, the marketing dollars, the manpower going into this massive worldwide effort to baptize debauchery "in the name of Obama, and Green Pride, and the Diverse Spirit," we'd be a whole lot more concerned, as a collective body of believers.

But we don't mind much if they take away our religious freedoms, do we? Just as long as nobody gets their feelings hurt.

1. http://www.catholicexchange.com/2008/06/04/112780/

Monday, June 23, 2008

Letter of Dissent

Dear President Phipps,

At Messiah on April 13th, 2008, Senator Barack Obama stated, “There is a moral dimension to abortion…” That is a complete distortion of the truth. Abortion does not have a moral dimension, it completely is a moral issue. Or to put it more accurately, it is a completely immoral issue. Child killing is not an issue that has various ways of being approached. Killing children is always wrong no matter what the circumstances surrounding that particular child’s life. Morality is not about preference, it is about the laws of nature and the laws of God.

I am a graduate of the class of 2005 writing to inform you that I can no longer support Messiah College. This is because I refuse to support abortion advocates or those who promote them. Messiah’s recent “Compassion Campaign” was simply a platform for unrepentant abortion advocates to clothe their radical views in the rhetoric of kindness and love, “faith and politics.”

There are several problems here. First, true love is about doing and protecting what is good, not about expressing warm feelings and “agreeing to disagree.” The reality is abortion hurts women (and men) physically and mentally. Senator Obama is the most radically pro-abortion candidate to ever run for president. His voting record is the proof of his belief at work (I show some of his voting record below). Giving him a platform will only further his distorted view of human rights. Such a candidate is beyond working together with those who disagree to find common ground. You simply cannot work with one who will unceasingly defend the “right” to kill innocent children. Senator Obama’s excellent rhetoric and charismatic presence distract his audience from the actual issues.

The main issue of concern here is the non-negotiable issue of abortion, which leads me to my second point:A good end can never justify an evil means because actions have intrinsic value. An intrinsically evil act – such as murdering an unborn child – can never be justified, no matter what potential good might result. A new human life begins at conception. Science cannot and does not dispute this. God gives that particular life an eternal soul that has never existed before and will never cease to exist. Every abortion, no matter what the surrounding circumstances, intentionally kills that life and ignores the intrinsic value and worth that is given by God’s creative act. It is not up to the mother to decide whether or not each life has value. This has already been decided by the Lord of life. Senator Obama has a distorted view of human life that enables him to support his view of abortion.

For decades, doctors and scientists have been in agreement concerning the beginning of a new life. This is quite obvious: at conception a new organism that is not part of the mother has begun to exist (one can simply open a high school biology book to see the development of life from the beginning). It has only become a “question” in the political arena for those who wish to justify abortion. Senator Obama’s confusion on answering this question allows him to lay the foundation for his unwavering support of abortion. Uncertainty surrounding whether the embryonic tissue within the mother’s womb is a human life precedes the act of terminating “that thing’s” existence (abortion). Appealing to faith and personal perspective, fancy rhetoric, and question dodging all ignore the real issue.

Thirdly, a Christian who votes for a pro-abortion candidate “in good conscience” has a poorly formed conscience. It is a contradiction to claim to be a Christian and to vote in favor of child-killing. Abortion is not a “political issue.” It is the most fundamental issue of life. If one does not have the right to life – to be born – he can never have any other right, such as the right to own property, to free speech, to vote, etc. The act of committing an abortion (not the person) must be condemned by those who believe life is beautiful and valuable, that is, Christians.Faith must shape political views for Christians, and not the other way around.

I am a Christian who believes that upholding the right to life is the most crucial concern that has entered the political arena today. Why? We live in a time of holocaust. In America alone, over 48 million lives have been snuffed out by abortion since 1973! Every day we lose more lives than we lost on September 11th, almost 4,000 babies! I, and all those born since 1973, are survivors of this holocaust, and I am speaking out on behalf of these innocent victims. Obama is one who will certainly further this horrific bloodshed.

I would like to highlight a few points by showing some of Obama’s voting record:

• Obama has been given a 100% pro-choice record by NARAL in 2005, 2006, and 2007 (see www.prochoiceamerica.org and a 100% pro choice record by Planned Parenthood in his home state of Illinois. He received a 0% pro-life stance by NRLC (The National Right to Life Committee indicating a radically pro-choice stance, see www.nrlc.org )

• In 1997 Obama was one of five who did not vote for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, which allows doctors to partially remove the baby from the mother’s womb and kill the child in a particularly gruesome manner. (SB 230 passed 44-7)

• Often children who survive attempted abortions are killed after birth. Many laws have attempted to end this unimaginable cruelty. 3 times in 2001, Obama was one of a very small number that did not support these laws, which all passed with a sweeping majority (SB 1093 passed 34-6, 1094 passed 33-6, and 1095 passed 34-5).

Obama opposed children’s rights on the state level as well as the federal level that was passed in 2002, “The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”Events like the “Compassion Campaign” clothe this issue in fancy rhetoric and ignore the real problem. This is not about politics. This is about the value of life. Life has dignity because God is the Author of Life. Barack Obama denies this God-given value because abortion by its very nature denies God’s handiwork.

To support Senator Obama is to do likewise, no matter what the reason. ( In July of 2007 Senator Obama told abortion advocates, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," which would wipe out every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion (Planned Parenthood Action Fund Event, July 17, 2007).

This letter expresses the grave concerns shared by many other Messiah Alumni. Those whose names appear below are indicating that they agree that; It is not acceptable for Messiah College to support in any way, or to give a platform to those who support abortion or allow its perpetuation under any circumstance.(Names here)It frightens me to see Messiah’s future direction in light of this event. Until there is a great change on the part of the administration, I cannot support Messiah, and I will encourage others withdraw their support as well. Please permanently remove me from your all of your mailing lists. I will pray that Messiah College has the courage to know the truth and spread the true meaning of love: standing up for those innocent children who cannot defend themselves.

Thank you for reading,

Christopher Gilbert
Class of 2005

CC: Office of Alumni and Parent Relations

Friday, June 20, 2008

Standing Up

A friend of mine has decided to take the rather radical step to break ties with his alma mater over recent support given by the administration to a certain - ahem - pro choice presidential candidate. He drafted a convicting letter which he is boldy circulating on facebook and beyond, drawing no small amount of criticism from former classmates and current students alike, and I want to thank him for his boldness, so here goes:

Thanks for putting this letter out there, obviously it's getting people's minds working in ways that they may find... inconvenient. It's a tough issue, abortion is. But then, murder is always a tricky thing to discuss/defend/extol. For those of us who are here to voice our opinions on the subject (and 1 out of 4 of our generation are not) we may want to give some serious consideration to abortion as a stark, startling reality.

It's not an issue, not a political agenda, not a personal choice... it is the willful termination of a human life. In every other arena this is called murder. And the scale upon which abortion has been perpetuated? That's generally referred to as genocide.There are pretty words that we can invoke to clothe the mystery of a mother taking the life of her own child, but no amount of rhetoric changes the cold fact that where two hearts were beating, now one remains.

Choice. Difficult decision. Private matter. Agonizing alternative... none of these quite capture the essence, the intrinsic evil that is abortion. But then, our generation, we've been carefully groomed to stay in line and not to ask any questions. Thanks for being unkempt, unruly, and inquisitive enough to step out of line. Thanks for being a real man.

The school in question is Messiah College.

The letter can be read in its entirety (for the facebook-savvy among you) here

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ten Reasons Why We Need Parents...

Okay, actually just one.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,369103,00.html

No time to comment on this at the moment, but please take some time to consider the ramifications of an entire generation who have come of age under the watchful tutelage of the television before graduating into the careful supervision of the pharmaceutical industry.

Hmmm.... I wonder what these teens are really longing for...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

True Love Waits... And Waits, And Waits...

"Heroic patience." I first heard the term uttered by a friend who was struggling through a breakup. We've all been there, but her take on the situation was unique in that her sorrow was overlaid with a deep, deep peace and resignation.

She was sad, but she wasn't desolate. As we sat sipping wine and hashing out the details, it was clear that while her trust in the relationship was shaken, her faith in God was holding steady.

I remember being intrigued by her response, by the fact that in the face of disappointment and sadness, she remained hopeful in a manner that didn't detract in any way from her grief.

This, I thought, this must be how a Christian suffers. Not by rejecting the pain, but by embracing it while allowing oneself to be embraced by the One who can handle something as large as disappointment, as heavy as heartache, as overwhelming as anguish.

I had recently been released back into the wild myself, and my response had been one of starts and fits of prayerful surrender interspersed with moments of real anger and frustration with God. Why? Because He wasn't playing by my rules.

In my frustration, I forfeited what might have been some of the sweetest moments of consolation by turning my back on the only One who could possibly have comforted me. I learned a lot - but not by choice - and certainly not in the same gracious manner that I was witnessing in my beautiful, heartbroken friend.

That's when she shared with us this concept of heroic patience. The kind of patience St. Monica must have possessed, sanctified by (and in turn, sanctifying) her decades of intercession for her wayward son. St. Augustine's conversion was that much sweeter for the years of waiting, and how much grace was won by his mother's prayers!

So we find that sometimes - oftentimes - in the darkest hours, during the most painful episodes, that God is most available, because we are most available. It's no accident that pain brings us to our knees, what you do once you get there is the real question.

My friend chose to wait, patiently and prayerfully, and to trust the One who could see the bigger picture, confident that her prayers were heard and would be answered at the perfect time. This weekend, when she walks down the aisle to meet her future spouse, the very man who broke her heart all those months ago, she'll do so in confidence and with a joy perfected in suffering. The road hasn't been easy, but then, in the words of a very wise man, the road to Calvary wasn't paved.

"The essential goal of the love of Christ [and of husband for wife] for the Church is her sanctification." ~ Theology of the Body, 91:5-5

"Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her, in order to make her holy." ~ Eph. 5:25-26

Monday, June 16, 2008

Theology of the Body on Catholic Exchange

Check out the latest offering from Catholic Exchange - the Theology of the Body channel. We'll be discussing everything from pornography to parenting, and viewing everything through the lense of JPII's Theology of the Body.

This is an awesome way to integrate Theology of the Body, or TOB, into your lived experience as a Catholic, as a Christian, as a human person. This is George Weigel's oft-quoted analogical prediction of "a theological time-bomb" beginning to tick. Loudly.

Let's pray for an explosion that rouses the entire world.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'll Tell You When You're Older

God is a Father in ways I will never fully understand, at least on this side of eternity, but there are striking similarities which shine forth during moments of exceptional clarity in life or in prayer - often bred from discouragement or despair - when I turn my heart reluctantly toward Him in true supplication, abandoning my usual practice of petition. (That's foot-tapping, frequent watch-glancing, arms-crossed-in-frustration petition, for anyone unfamiliar with this chosen method of prayer which I lean heavily upon.)

I'm not great at waiting patiently, but I can ask. I'm a great asker. Just ask my folks.

And so I've been doing a lot of asking lately, both quantitatively and qualitatively speaking. Not for much, really, just for glimpses into the future, a vision of "the bigger picture," hints at my eventual vocation... I've basically been asking for editorial jurisdiction over the screen play that is my life.

And I feel like God's been answering me in a familiar sort of way that hearkens back to days gone by, when the right questions posed at the wrong time would result in the all-too-familiar adage: "I'll tell you when you're older."

Or something along those lines.

Only my father never said it in those words, exactly. He didn't have to. He simply let me know on a "need-to-know" basis what he thought I needed to know, when I needed to know it. And what made him the expert on my life? His particular role as my father. And that was good enough then, so why isn't God's Fatherhood good enough now?

I have great difficulty trusting God to do what's best for me. I have very little difficulty trusting my dad though. Because I can see my dad, I can feel his arms around me when he hugs me, I can mentally conjure past experiences where he has proven himself worthy of my trust. And it's unlikely that I will mistakenly attribute the time my dad rescued me from the side of the road and taught me how to change a tire in a snowstorm to chance or luck. It wasn't luck, it was him - he was there.

With God, it's different. Or at least it appears so at first glance. God hasn't manifested His presence to me in a shimmering cloud of glory lately, hasn't appeared to me in a dream issuing instructions on living. God speaks softly. And not always in His own voice (though in all of creation, what true good can be spoken any other way, but through the voice of its Creator?).

God is less recognizable than my dad, because I less willing to recognize His hand at work in my life. I cry for His involvement in my daily affairs, but I reject His efforts on my behalf. I ask Him for things like patience and humility and trust, and then I reject the opportunities He sends my way to cultivate those virtues.

But I want it now, this way, my way. I don't care if He knows what's best for me, I know what I want and I waaaaant it. (Foot stamping for emphasis)

And then, much to my delight, (and chagrin) a ray of light breaks through the murkiness of uncertainty clouding the present, and I am utterly amazed at His faithfulness, charmed by His solicitous and particular care for me, His daughter. And for a few minutes - or maybe even days - I'm sure He's there and I'm certain He cares.

At these times, it makes perfect sense to look back along the timeline of events and understand why things happened when they did and the way they did. The hows and the whys make sense, suddenly, and I swear I'll never doubt His timing again. Because it wouldn't have worked earlier, I wouldn't have been ready yet, that opportunity wouldn't have been available, that person might not have said yes, etc...

And seeing that today I'm the oldest I've ever been, it only seems fitting to smile knowingly in His direction, understanding at last (sort of) the significance of that expression:

I'll tell you when you're older.

Come Again?

"Well, the first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act...that's the first thing I'd do."



"Hmmm, thou shalt not kill... I wonder what He was getting at with that one?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bye-bye State's Rights, Hello Big Brother

Dear Obama supporters,

Is this what you want from your future president? More meddlesome interference in the fundamental rights of American citizens? A promise made by the federal government to hold your hand and walk you through the really tough decisions that you'd otherwise be left to make on your own? Then you have picked the ideal candidate:

"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," Obama said in a July 2007 speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion.

The 2007 version of FOCA proposed: "It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman."

Fantastic, I've been meaning to ask someone to purge those pesky state's rights from our democratic republic. It's such a burden to think for oneself and to follow some semblance of moral order as directed by an informed conscience and intellect. Abortion without limits, that's the American dream...

Thank God (or whomever) for choices. Or the lack thereof.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Addicted to (self)Love

Oh Dr. Kristin, you've done it again. You're starting to make me believe a change of heart - or at least of head - is on the horizon for you. The latest offering from our favorite "sexpert"? 8 Signs Your Partner is Addicted to Porn. Well, it's a start...

The continuing confusion lies in identifying the difference between addiction and enjoyment. Is pornography and masturbation always wrong and unhealthy - like cocaine use, for example - or is there a time and a place for porn? After all, you can enjoy the occasional (or regular) cocktail outside of alcoholism, so isn't there a consumption limit somewhere, like maybe 3 porn sites per day, before one is considered a pornography addict?

I would argue not. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, because of what pornography is. Pornography is, according to Merriam-Webster, the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement. This erotic behavior, whether depicted between two completely fabricated electronic images of computer-generated people, or whether a home-movie of the couple next door, always involves at least one actual human person: the viewer.

So pornography always involves the degradation and the exploitation of at least one human person. Because when we reduce our sexuality to stimulation and release, we are made lower than beasts, existing in a kind of existential stupor. When a person gives himself over to his lower passions (read: impulses and desires outside of our conscious control, not ruled by our decision-making intellectual faculties) he becomes enslaved to them. Think brainwashing.

This is not freedom. And no matter how vigorously the arguments from the opposition may defend pornography and the consumption of such to improve one's sex life and to release stress, the reality remains. Addiction means slavery. When I am addicted to something, no matter how pleasant it might be to indulge my desire for it, I am not in control of my will. This goes for alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex... and yes, pornography.

The analogy falls short, though, as there is no such thing as responsible or recreational use of pornography. As mentioned above, pornography is only and always exploitative. Both of the subject and of the consumer, or viewer. Pornography is the distortion of the beauty of the human person being it portrays, and the defamation and degradation of the human person it stimulates. It sets in motion a cycle of objectification and use, of one's own body, and ultimately of the body's of others.

Of course, none of this makes sense outside of a holistic view of the human person which refuses (rightly so!) to divorce the body from the soul. We are body soul composites, inseparable until death, and only then with the hope of eventual reunion after death. What we do with - and to - our bodies matters.

Monday, June 9, 2008

On Your Marks...

So I'm published. Really and officially published, in this coming week's edition of Our Sunday Visitor, a weekly Catholic newspaper with a circulation somewhere around 65,000. My little article about marriage and theology of the body is on the last page of this week's InFocus section on the state of marriage in society, and what we as Catholics can do to turn things around.

So I'm pumped, and I'm thanking God for His generosity and His perfect timing. There's nothing like God's timing, nothing on earth. In the past two weeks my life has had less stability and more uncertainty than perhaps at any other time in... well... ever, actually. And then this.

Last week I can't count how many times I heard different friends intone the following:

God's timing is perfect. He's never late... and He's never early.

Touche.

For anyone interested in reading my article, (mom, pay attention) I suggest picking up a subscription to this fabulously orthodox little publication. Go to OSV.com for more info. And thanks for all your prayers, keep 'em coming! It's just a start, but it's a start nonetheless.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Whatever Your Personal Belief...

I had the pleasure of spending the evening with a couple of devastatingly handsome, intelligent gentlemen of the military persuasion; guys so manly and so rugged that blushing seemed the only viable option in their presence. In other words, they were babes. Brilliant babes.

And I was determined to meet them, intellectually, where they were.

I was almost immediately drawn into the typical abortion debate: it's "her choice," the issue is "complicated," and there are just no "easy answers..."

Unless the answer is life, and then the issue becomes uncomplicated - as human life has intrinsic and inalienable value, especially from a soldier's perspective. Whom are they protecting and serving if not humans? But this, I assure you, must have been regarded as the rationalization of a crazy person - a zealot.

And what of the friends I'd made? They were willing to indulge my idiosyncrasies to a certain extent: then it became tiresome. Morality of the absolute variety isn't quite en vogue when it's inconvenient.

Basically Christianity is fashionable to the extent that it is livable. After that? Well, the choice is yours... to each his own.

Just as long as nobody is inconvenienced, fetuses excepted.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Road Stress Travelled

This just might be my first "grown up" blog entry; a mobile post from the road, chronicling my journey into adulthood which seems to involve, for whatever reason, various travel mishaps so outlandishly comical as to appear contrived. (I assure you they are not: I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried – I’m not that talented.)

I’m writing from the cool, comfortable floor of the Atlanta airport, where I’m enjoying a brief respite after spending the first leg of my interminable journey to the promised land (Washington, D.C.) seated between a sweet-hearted eight year old gentleman and a foul mouthed, Jimmy Buffet-esque Harley dude headed to “FLA baby… Tampa!” as he was want to repeatedly ejaculate when roused — by turbulence — from his alcohol-induced slumber.

I have much to ponder, having spent countless hours over the past two days doing just that. Because what else can one do with idle moments spent surrounded by some of the strangest strangers this fine land has to offer? I spent three hours on the tarmac at Pittsburgh International yesterday evening, waiting out the stubborn thunderstorms in Cincinnati which were conspiring (and ultimately prevailing) to disrupt all my plans to descend upon the District of Columbia in a cloud of glory, taking Capitol Hill by storm.

Why, you ask, might I be traveling via Atlanta or Cincinnati? Well, let’s just say I’m not quite a jet-setter yet, and cheap flights always come with a catch.

In my case, the catch being unending comedy interspersed with drama and scandal, all playing out within the restrictive confines of a Boeing 737. Last night’s attempt for the Hill was unceremoniously aborted after hours of hopeful vigil (okay, forced imprisonment on the tarmac) when at long last the thunderstorm warning was lifted and we were cleared for departure. “But do I smell… sniff, sniff… gasoline?” worried a nicely-manicured woman in the 4th row?

As we deplaned, herded from our seats like disgruntled cattle, the offending gasoline odor was pinpointed as originating from the pants of a gentleman who had inadvertently doused himself in diesel at a gas station earlier that afternoon. And then gotten on the plane. At this point the pilot’s nose is twitching, and he thinks perhaps the smell might in fact be jet fuel, not eau-de-diesel on denim. So the TSA is called, and I politely request the opportunity to try this again in the morning.

Which brings me here, to this cool patch of linoleum in a busy terminal, waiting for my second flight of the day, having already been propositioned by the above-mentioned parrot head from paragraph 2 to join him at 37,000 feet in inaugurating one another into the Mile High club…

I politely declined, after which point he affectionately christened me “blondie,” spending the remainder of his conscious flight time offering me fist bumps and words of wisdom and anecdotal accounts concerning his (former?) drug habits. Cocaine is a lot like taking off in a jet plane, did you know that?

I am not making this up, but I am posting it purely for your enjoyment. And I’m beginning to relate more closely to Jim Carrey’s character in “The Truman Show,” because, come on, Somebody’s got to be scripting this…