Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Judgment and “Personal Choices”

“Don’t judge me on my personal choices:” the refrain of the modern autonomy worshipper. Personal decisions, no matter how destructive or foolish, are immune from criticism in today's hypersensitive world.
This argument is ironic, since those who make this claim often make rather cynical and disgusting judgments of others based on their political positions, number of children, personal appearance, or other accidents (Check your average Facebook feed or comment box). 
But it is also inaccurate, since Christians are specifically enjoined not to "judge" individuals based on personal choices. In fact, Christians aren’t supposed to “judge” people at all. We can’t know the eternal fate of anyone (except those canonized by the Church, who are in heaven) or the state of anyone’s soul, or how "good" or "bad" anyone is at any given point in time. 
But Christians can and should judge behavior – or perhaps more accurately, we can say with certainty that certain behaviors are clearly wrong, as judged against a pre-existing standard. Insofar as Christians “judge,” they judge the actions of others based on the unchanging moral standard of the moral law of God.
Christians have a duty to warn others that certain actions are indeed evil – especially in a world which celebrates certain evil actions and enshrines moral relativism as its guiding philosophy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Defense of Being Right

Most posts on this blog are fairly technical pieces directed at my fellow Catholics. This post will be sightly more controversial.
To the non-Catholics among you: My Catholic religion is better than yours.
This statement may seem rather shocking at first, but I do not apologize for giving offense. For you believe that your religion is better than all other religions. (Or, if you are an atheist, you hold your irreligion to be better than any religion.) Otherwise, you would not adhere to that religion which you practice, or at the very least believe.
Please do not insult your intelligence and mine with the idiotic assertion that “one religion is as good as another.” For if that were the case, all religions would be equally true (or equally false, depending on which way you looked at the question). And a true religion is better than a false one, since it better reflects reality.
But one religion claims that Jesus is God; another holds the existence of many gods; another believes there is no such entity as god. One religion claims Jesus is divine, another a demigod, another simply a good human. Even among different types of Christianity, there is irreconcilable division – one holds that Jesus established one Church, another posits personal interpretation of the Bible. They can’t all be true.
The moral codes of each religion are wildly different and contradictory. Some religions uphold divorce, others forbid the practice. One approves abortion, another rejects it. One religion permits suicide, another opposes same-sex marriage, still another forbids the eating of pork. Again, they can’t all be true.
And there are a host of reasons why Catholicism is superior to other religions. Catholicism, the only faith that can credibly claim to stretch back to the time of Christ, has taken shots from every earthly entity for 2000 years – persecution from without and within, confusion as to its basic principles, and the corruption and outright stupidity of many of its leaders – and emerged from every battle stronger than ever and unchanged in its basic teaching. (Judaism is something of an exception, but the Jewish people wait in vain for a Messiah who has already come.)
My Catholic religion is a haven for the holy and surrounded in sanctity. Catholicism is characterized by miracles in spades. My religion is lived out in its fullest expression by a multitude of saints.
My Catholic religion embraces the reality of the realms of the intellectual and the spiritual. It makes sense that humans would not fully understand a God who is by necessity beyond us. It makes sense that humans could use reason to come to a limited understanding of the Maker of the universe and the architect of natural law. It makes sense that God would wish to supplement what we can know about Him by reason through revelation. Christianity is rational and mystical; Catholicism successfully navigates both realms.   
To a much lesser extent, one can assert the superiority of one political ideology over another. In the political sphere, the analogous statement to “one religion is as good as another” is “Don’t enforce your moral views on me.” But the enforcement of moral views is the entire point of law; the laws a society adopts and enforces reflect both its moral vision and (theoretically) its cultural consensus.
Thus, all laws reflect some form of morality. Legalized abortion is the enforcement of a view which holds that the freedom of the mother to do as she wishes with “her body” trumps any right of that which grows within her. Redistributive taxation implies a moral vision that government has an obligation to take care of the poor in part by taking from the resources of the rich. The Second Amendment implies that people have the right to defend themselves, using means that could be turned to evil.
Of course, politics is much less dogmatic than religion, despite the hysteria of many political commentators and politicians. There is revealed truth in religious matters; there is no such revealed truth as to how to run a government. There can and should be disagreement about political matters, and the person who claims infallible knowledge of what political course to take is either the second coming of Solomon or a clueless narcissist.
Nonetheless, I do hold definite political views, and believe that those views should be enforced through the proper legal channels. Accordingly, I vote for candidates that hold similar views. If that constitutes “imposing my moral views,” so be it. Presumably, you vote for candidates that support your views. If you wish me to stop pushing my moral views on you, convince me that my views are wrong. 
So I can only say to those who demand that I remain silent and stop pushing for the implementation of my moral views on society: “I believe my ideas are better than your ideas, and will vote accordingly to implement them. So do you. If you wish to convince me concerning an issue, I will listen to you with an open mind – I’ve been persuaded before. Please extend me the same courtesy.” 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Abortion Will End in America

I went to the March for Life yesterday; indeed, I actually walked 8 miles to the March with a friend. It was heartwarming to see so many people witnessing to life on such a bitterly cold day.
An estimated half a million people marched for a noble cause – the end of abortion. There is hope for this cause: I firmly believe abortion will end in my lifetime, at least in America. The pro-life movement is finally getting smarter about how it fights for life: by working to change laws on the state level, by using ultrasound technology, and most importantly, by emphasizing its advocacy of pregnant women in need of assistance. The supporters of abortion will slowly face the demographic reckoning of their embrace of the culture of death.
This hope, however, is tempered by a host of caveats. It was said by Christ that some demons can be driven out only by prayer and fasting. If this is the case for abortion, pro-life advocates have a long uphill climb in a hedonistic culture. For abortion will end only after a radical change in the American culture. American culture, as viewed through the lenses of its entertainment industry, is toxic, corrupting children quickly with the claim that sex is consequence-free run without responsibility. Too many Americans have succumbed to the corrosive idea that personal autonomy is the paramount virtue – and accordingly have scorned the unborn life that hinders the career of the mother.
It will end with the conversion or the humbling of the elites of society. Abortion has well-heeled and well-connected supporters in the government, the medical profession, the educational profession, and the media.  
It will end unevenly. Certain states have all but outlawed abortion; in other states abortion is deeply entrenched. The partisan divide over abortion will only deepen as some states protect abortion and other states seek to heavily regulate the practice.
And it will end only after millions more lives are lost. This is tragic to admit, but barring a miracle and the swift and total conversion of our President and Congress, abortion will only be strengthened, at least on the federal level, in the next 4 years. Barring a major change in the culture, abortion will remain a supposedly viable (and subtly encouraged) “solution” for “unwanted pregnancy.”
It is impossible to predict exactly when the tipping point for American culture will occur, that will make the abolition of abortion in America possible. My suspicion is that this tipping point will come between one to two generations of long, tireless, and seemingly fruitless work on the part of pro-life advocates. 
And when the day of reckoning comes for abortion in America, there will be wailing and grinding of teeth from the forces of death in America. But the noise machine of the culture of death will be drowned out on that day by those who live the Gospel of Life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Responding With Charity and Clarity

Earlier, I posted a somewhat pointed response to one of my readers, who took issue with my Wednesday post on why women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles in the United States military. He (or she) responded graciously but firmly in return.
I still hold the position I took earlier on the subject, although I have some new wrinkles to think about. But my original post could be understood to exhibit a paternalistic air – which is somewhat ironic, considering my second post was written in response to a stray comment.
The point of this blog is to encourage understanding of my Faith and charity; my posts should therefore exhibit the understanding and charity I demand of others.
The exercise serves as a reminder that two people can and should disagree without being disagreeable, and that wording my posts more carefully with less loaded language will reduce trouble in the future, and will make dialogue easier.

Misusing "What Would Jesus Do?"

A commenter recently responded to my last post by asking the noble question “What Would Jesus Do?” The question, of course, is one that Christians should ask themselves continuously. But Christ, of course, is not available to disentangle thorny political topics. Far too often, the implied answer to “What Would Jesus Do” is “Jesus would do whatever I want, because He supported X ideal.”
In the case of the particular post I referenced earlier, the commenter asked the question when I attacked the idea of women in the military. He concluded: “I do not think that he would condemn the new policy as you have,” and questioned "could not both genders contribute on the battlefield?" 
This would be a fair point – provided that he or she backed up his or her arguments with evidence that supported this point. But aside from one quote from an official that the Pentagon "expects to have gender-neutral standards for combat jobs," this evidence was not offered. Since the military already lowers physical standards to accommodate women, this claim should be greeted with some cynicism.
Bad policy implemented to achieve desirable ends is still bad policy. It does no service to women to “raise them up” by diluting standards for service, or by throwing away prudence for the sake of achieving desirable ends.
This method of argument is easily abused. After all, Jesus clearly upholds women, and demands justice for the poor. Thus, people could (and do) argue that Jesus would clearly accept abortion, because surely He would agree with “helping women.” Jesus would support redistributive taxation, because he demands justice for the poor. And so on and so forth.
Before asking ourselves the question “What Would Jesus Do?,” let us consider how well we truly understand the person of Jesus Christ before claiming His approval. Let us also consider how logical our position is.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Placing Women in Combat Roles is a Terrible Idea

The geniuses running the Defense Department have made the brilliant decision to allow military women to serve in combat roles. (To some extent, this is already a fait accompli, since women already serve on naval warships. That does not make it a wise decision.)
Allowing women into combat situations is an incredibly stupid idea. The first and most obvious reason why this is so is simple: women, as a group, simply don’t have the physical strength that men possess. Combat (especially combat infantry) is physically demanding, and requires strength and endurance that many women simply do not have. The military recognizes this fact – the qualifying standards for men and women for the military are very different. Allowing women into combat positions dilutes the strength and integrity of the military, needlessly risking the lives of soldiers.
Let’s assume that women will only be allowed to drive tanks, or fly planes, or whatever. Let’s assume that some semblance of sanity prevails, and women wouldn’t be allowed into ground combat units, or would have to pass the same standards as men in order to enter those units. (I’m not holding my breath.)
But there are numerous other reasons why allowing women in combat roles is foolish. There is the problem of facing enemies which mistreat captured female prisoners. (Imagine how poorly America would have weathered the Vietnam years with female combat soldiers.) There is the problem of women getting pregnant before deployment. (Update: Read my comment for more.)
Is there really an urgent necessity that requires women to be placed into combat situation? Is there really a public outcry for women to join such units? Or is this just another push to assert the absurd myth of the "equality" (translation: sameness) of men and women? 
Women can’t do everything men can do. Men can’t do everything women can do. Men and women are not interchangeable, despite a society that desperately tries to forget that fact.
The move to put women into combat roles is another assertion of the idiotic notion that men and women are “equal” – or more accurately, that gender doesn't matter. And America's military will suffer because some people want to make this point.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why Does God Permit the Temptation of Homosexuality?

Why does God create people inclined to engage homosexual activity? Surely God is either horribly cruel or downright foolish for creating individuals condemned to Hell solely on account of their sexual orientation.
Before answering this question, it must first be reiterated that God does not condemn people to hell on account of “being gay” - a common and misleading accusation. But I don’t have the answer to the particular question of why God permits the particular temptation to homosexuality, even though homosexual relations are indeed always sinful.
But I do know that all humans have inclinations to particular sins. Some of us are tempted to lust, others to pride, still others to anger. Absolutely no one is immune to being vulnerable to certain specific temptations.
Why God permits each human to experience particular sinful temptations is a mystery. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that all of us can overcome our sinful inclinations with God’s grace. Indeed, all of us are called to overcome our particular sinful inclinations, so that we may be made perfect in Christ.
Certain sins receive less condemnation than others; humans tend to condemn certain sins more than others because of the human tendency tend to attack sins we don’t suffer from. The lecher rarely argues against lust; the thief does not inveigh against coveting. (Sins such as greed are rarely argued against anymore, because the poison of greed has seeped into the well of modern society.)
So those who are “gay” tend to receive more attention for their inclinations than those inclined to envy or lust or greed, because the issue is a hot political topic and because most people are not subject to that temptation. This may be horribly unfair, but it is part of the human condition.
Why does God allow particular individuals to be more prone to certain types of sinful behavior? The simple answer: I don’t know, and no one except God does. But it is also true that if God permits His sons and daughters to be tempted, He also gives us the tools to overcome the evils we face.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today is January 22, 2013: the 40th anniversary of the most loathsome Supreme Court decision in history, namely the legalization of abortion in all 50 states.
I loathe abortion with a fiery passion; my personal experience of abortion is particularly bitter. But I rarely write about the subject of abortion on this blog, because there is little that I could possibly write about the topic that hasn’t already been written or said by others. Today, much will be written by others wiser than I about the deleterious effects of Justice Blackmun’s 40-year old diabolical decision.
Besides, there really is to say about what is such a simple issue at heart. For if abortion is the taking of a human life, then it is never permissible; if it is not, then it is permissible; if the matter is unclear, then the benefit of the doubt should be given to the side of life.
I recognize the incredible difficulty – financial and otherwise – that many women with “unplanned pregnancies” face in keeping their children. We Christians must always exhibit charity towards women who seek to abort their children; we should be prepared to give of our own time and resources for the sake of helping such women in need, up to the point of adoption, if need be. 
But silent charity does not give us a license to remain silent on the issue. We must never slacken in our duty to demand an end to child-killing, if we truly believe that abortion is the taking of innocent human life.
I write this because I often wonder how strong the commitment of the average "faithful Christian" (yes, I include myself) is to the elimination of abortion. Intellectually, of course, I am a firm opponent of abortion; most of my readers are as well. But far too often, vital issues such as abortion take a back seat to the economy or to material concerns in the minds of “pro-lifers,” while those who support a culture of death vehemently defend even the most minor restrictions on abortion. Yeats’ words sadly ring true in our day and age: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”
I do believe that abortion will be abolished in the United States in my lifetime, if only because of the slow but steady demographic suicide that defenders of the pro-choice banner have chosen to inflict on themselves through their embrace of abortion. But this natural demographic process is slow and by no means certain, and will involve the loss of literally millions of innocent lives and the continued moral corrosion of American society. An eventual victory by suicidal attrition is a Pyrrhic victory in the cause of life.
Today is a perfect anniversary to sound the death knell of abortion in America, the most heinous expression of the culture of death. 40 years of legalized child murder is enough. May the days of Roe v. Wade be numbered! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Vital Question

Perhaps this post should be titled “Why I am not an atheist,” since there is a personal element involved. But it is titled the way it is because the question of God’s existence is one that everyone should ask themselves at some point during their lives.    
For the answer to the question of whether there is a God raises myriad other questions. If there is a God, then the obvious question arises – what (if anything) does He want of us? If there is no God, then right and wrong are illusions, so why can't human beings act as they will? 
Morality, life choices, afterlife - all of these important issues stem from God's existence or non-existence. 
(For what it is worth, I proved God’s existence definitively and brilliantly. But I digress.)
I was born and raised as a theist, but considered atheism for years. Intellectually, certain problems – especially the difficulty of reconciling God’s omniscience and omnipotence in the face of people going to Hell – bothered me about theism. And at many points of my life, I would have preferred the void of atheism to the definiteness of a God. A world without God, moral law, and an afterlife would have been far more appealing and comforting to a young man whose life was, shall we say, not exactly a paragon of moral virtue.
It’s not as if being an atheist is a hardship in America. Atheists win the praise of practically every “sophisticated” writer in America, and receive the unskillfully directed scorn of a few noisy Christians in return. Yes, they see the occasional statue or billboard. But they don’t have to drag their butts to church or have pesky moral rules about things like sex. They also have the satisfaction of believing that on earth, there is no higher being than humanity.
Theism, of course, has its advantages as well: the comforts of an afterlife, the assurance that suffering happens for a reason, the explanation for a lot of insanity that happens in the world. But the vital question does not ask which system is more comforting; false comfort or pride does no good to anyone.
I believe in God for 2 main reasons (and many smaller ones). The first is a modified version of St. Thomas’ 5 ways. All causes must have a first cause. If one accepts the Big Bang theory, explaining what caused the Big Bang is impossible without a God; a speck of unimaginable density doesn't suddenly explode without reason. 
The other definitive proof of God’s existence (for me) is the existence of miracles. Some miracles can be explained away by scientific means. But there are numerous miracles (Fatima comes to mind) which are impossible to explain using the scientific method; 9-year-old children don't just suddenly accurately predict extreme meteorological phenomena.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Corporal Works of Mercy (Part 7)

7. Bury the Dead
"... and if I saw any of my nation dead, or cast around the walls of Nineveh, I buried him." (Tobit 1:17)
The last of the corporal works of mercy is, on some level, the most logical of them. There is little direct tangible benefit towards visiting a prisoner or welcoming a stranger. But dead bodies smell bad after a couple days, rotting and spreading disease. It only makes sense to get corpses into the ground and out of the way as soon as possible.
But this corporal work of mercy is not only logical; it is merciful as well. For we could just dump bodies in the ground, and solve our problem of disease control with far less pomp and ceremony.  
But burying the dead is an act of honor, symbolizing the return of a Christian's temple of the Holy Spirit to God. Through Christian burial, we celebrate the life of an individual and his (presumed) return to God.
This work of mercy also reveals to us our dependence on others. For we are merely “dust, and to dust we shall return.” (Genesis 3:19) We are granted the opportunity to become participants in this process through our fulfillment of this corporal work of mercy.
Simply picking up a shovel is of course not the only method of fulfilling this corporal work of mercy. By graciously participating in funerals and honoring the memory of good Christians, we can fulfill this work of mercy. And when our time to go to God comes, other Christians will do the same for us.  

The Corporal Works of Mercy (Part 6)

6.      Visit the prisoner.
“He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives…” (Luke 4:18)
Thinking about this work of mercy was the impetus that spurred me to plan this whole series on the Corporal Works of Mercy. (I was watching The Green Mile at the time, and was struck by the sorrowful solitude of the prisoners, and those living in the nursing home.)
Ostensibly, “visit the prisoner” is another easy-to-interpret work of mercy. We are asked to go to jails to visit those locked up in prison for crimes – an unpleasant and mildly distasteful task, perhaps, but an easy one. After all, prisons aren't going anywhere.
But a simplistic interpretation of this work of mercy, like a simplistic interpretation of the other works, is faulty. A closer look at this corporal work of mercy poses some uncomfortable questions for Christians.
Obviously, this work of mercy does not command Christians to endanger themselves by finding the most violent criminal offenders and heedlessly embracing them. The corporal works of mercy are not a command to engage in danger-seeking. 
But it does call us Christians to examine our own attitudes towards prisoners. For many of us scorn criminals, deeming them as perpetually unworthy of the presence of law-abiding citizens. They did wrong, and they should be punished. And so we lock them up, forget about them, and shun them forever.
But redemption is possible, even for the worst of us (believe me, I know) – and it is a lot easier to achieve with the assistance of others. This work of mercy, examined closely, reminds us that all of us are capable of great evil. The saying “there but for the grace of God” comes to mind – we could just as easily be in the shoes of those we shun, if not for God's mercy. God came to redeem all men, not merely those who have not broken secular laws. 
The definition of prisoner also needs to be examined, since criminals are not the only prisoners. Many old people find themselves locked in the prison of nursing homes, with few people who visit them. Nursing homes may be comparatively comfortable prisons, but they are still just as inescapable to those who inhabit them, except through death. The homeless on the streets are also in prisons, locked in a sort of self-imposed inverse prison (oftentimes of their own making) of freedom from possessions and home.
Christ set us free; this work of mercy helps us to pass on that freedom to others.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Corporal Works of Mercy (Part 5)

5.      Visit the Sick
This corporal work of mercy, like the others, seems deceptively easy. Go to a hospital, visit a sick relative, work of mercy fulfilled.
But Christianity demands full devotion to Christ, which requires more than mere rote fulfillment of the letter of the laws of God. St. Francis of Assisi famously ministered to a leper with his own hands, despite his aversion to the terrible disease. This type of total devotion to the letter and spirit of the spiritual works of mercy is required of us as Christians - overcoming our squeamishness to give fully of ourselves to others.
As with the other works of mercy, fulfillment of this requirement requires more than grudging adherence to the letter of the law. Visiting hospitals or friends suffering from illness is merely the first and barest requirement of this corporal work of mercy. 
For there are many sick in this day and age who are not found in hospitals. The hospitalized, of course, need care and support from their fellow man - and not merely doctors and nurses who devote their lives to curing illness. But there are many types of physical sickness: the blind and the broken, the deaf and the dumb, the leper and the lame. There are individuals suffering from chronic and debilitating illnesses such as arthritis. There are those confined to their home who need care and human interaction.
And sickness is not confined to the realm of the physical - mental illness is a scourge of many in this vale of tears. There are enough men and women suffering from chemical imbalances of the brain – men and women who shun others (and a few of whom snap in the face of madness). These people need love, not the shunning that many so-called Christians launch in their direction.
Then there are those in continuous danger of sickness – those exposed to illness daily through their work, those living in conditions not conducive to good health, those who overwork themselves. They also must be assisted.
The methods of assisting these men and women may be simple. The sick coworker who receives a heartfelt get well card – he or she is a recipient of this work of mercy. The simple act of cooking for someone in pain or ill - this is an act of mercy.
Most of us in the busy first world, hindered by our ties to our cares, can devote comparatively little of our time to serving the sick. But we can spend a few minutes visiting others, even those we barely know. And we can do little things to serve others. Little acts, as long as they are done in a spirit of charity, are often the greatest help to others.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Defense of Taylor Swift?

I have a confession to make: I grudgingly admire Taylor Swift. I know it’s popular to bash famous artists because of their absurd popularity, but I just can’t bring myself to take obligatory potshots at her for the sake of coolness.
No, my forbearance isn’t just because she is pretty, although she is attractive. (No, she’s not my physical type, but a man can still admire an attractive woman who isn’t his type). I don’t admire her because she is a great crafter of songs, although she is indeed a skilled crafter of catchy lyrics. Not because she has a good voice – I won’t delve into that thorny question. Not even because everyone else seems to hate her for her popularity, awakening my inner contrarian.
Unlike a whole host of other artists (that this blogger shall not name), Swift projects an image that is not completely toxic. Yes, I know about her, shall we say, awful choice in boyfriends, and decry her peculiar obsession with breakup songs.
But at least she has one at a time! And in a world where performers put their descent into depravity on display, there is something to be said for an artist who doesn’t induce a gag reflex every time she strains her voice for three minutes. (I know this image is largely based in illusion; I know her relationships have this annoying habit of ending in disaster. But in this crazy-quilt world, even the pretense of sanity is better than outright psychosis.)
This illusion of wholesomeness doesn’t mean that her lyrics are also wholesome – they aren’t. For her songs incessantly promote a foolish conception of “love.” Half of her music pushes the standard “happily ever after” nonsense that the wonderful world of modern entertainment has made its hallmark. The other half of her music is composed of complaints about relationships gone sour.
But say what you will about their message, her songs are very well-crafted, and fun to listen to. (Some in my family - including an editor of this blog - will disagree.) And that, at least, is the embodiment of the self-inflicted problem the modern Christian faces. Those orchestrating our cultural decline craft terrible messages into attractive packages for public consumption. Christians come up with confused messages and present those messages in forms that are painful to listen to.
Given the choice between well-crafted art with a terrible message and bad art with a semi-palatable message, most people (myself included) will choose candy-coated toxicity every time. And a confused woman like Taylor who croons well-crafted lyrics is far better than bands which play the tripe that constitutes Christian “music” – or should I say auditory torture noises. At least her falsity is far more true to life than that of "Christian" artists. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reflections from 10,000 Feet

I came home yesterday from a tour of the Great White North by airplane. Thankfully, it wasn't snowing, so there were no problems or delays. Deo Gratias!
I don’t have much experience flying, and it was my first late night flight. Since I had a window seat, I spent most of my time staring out the window and looking down.
The world looks very different from 10,000 feet. The pattern of lights during the night is absolutely gorgeous from the air. (I took pictures on my cell phone, but my cell phone camera is garbage, and my technological prowess is even worse, so sharing is out. You’ll just have to trust me - or go flying yourself.)
You realize very quickly how small people are high in the air. People are completely unrecognizable from a mile or two up. Cars can’t be seen from that height (and I have very good vision). All that you can see in the night is stationary lights. Small clusters of lights for towns, huge clusters for cities. Lights, lights everywhere. And this pattern of lights is strangely beautiful and comforting. It displays the extent of man's presence on earth. It is also symbolic of man's weakness - his smallness in the grand scheme of things. We are merely a small part of a very large world. 
God commanded His creations to "fill the earth and subdue it." (Gen 1:28) And the proliferation of lights shows that man, for all his imperfections and failures, has fulfilled this command.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Protestant Church Buzzword Bingo

With help from my family, I invented Protestant Church Buzzword Bingo! It's a perfect game for those long and dreadfully boring car trips.
The rules are simple. Most Protestant Churches have some variation of certain key buzzwords (i.e., Scripture, Gospel). On a long driving trip, look for Protestant churches that have such buzzwords in their title, and cross them off on a bingo sheet when you find them. First player to cross off five in a row wins!
Here's a card to get you started...











You can also do a Catholic version with the names of saints.
Readers, have a blessed end of the Christmas season and a very happy 2013!