30 December, 2010

Arizona storm: Phoenix-area hit with rain, snow in high country

Michael Brandon, a friend of this blog has just moved down to their winter abode in anticipation of his wife's arrival. While he is wet and cold in Arizona, today was sunny and temp's into the plus territory for the first time in a couple of months. The next couple of days are promised to bring temperatures up into into the low 50's F (albeit with rain). I hope that we are spared either bouts of freezing rain or heavy rains as they tend to make for treacherous driving conditions as people are returning to their homes after the holidays come to an end.


Arizona storm: Phoenix-area hit with rain, snow in high country

Freedom Through Truth: Of Christians and Atheists

Michael Brandon over at Freedom Through Truth comments on my recent discussion with numerous atheists here and on the Holy Post in which he offers the following:

Atheists are people who CLAIM not to believe in the existence of God. Theists, on the other hand CLAIM that God believes in ALL of us. Christians take this further, and claim, with historical support, that God believes in us so much, and loves us so much that even though many CLAIM not to believe in Him that would not stop Him from making himself known to them, and offer himself up to save them from themselves.

Although God sent His Son Jesus to earth to show us what He wants from us, and to prove His love for us, many of us do not believe in Him still. Proving the existence of God to one who does not want to believe is like taking a blind man to the zoo, and trying to prove to him that elephants exist, when he refuses to get up off the bench he parked himself on. He can hear the elephant trumpeting, but considers it to be the wind. If you were to take his hand and lead him over to an elephant, and guide him to touch it, he might still refuse to believe it is an elephant. Such is the power of disbelief, in the heart and mind of someone blinded by more than just his eye sight.

But, atheists claim not to be blind....

Interested in more? Click on the link.

Freedom Through Truth: Of Christians and Atheists

28 December, 2010

Christianity: 100 Years of Boom & Bust | December 2010

An interesting perspective.

Christianity: 100 Years of Boom & Bust | December 2010

Top 10 Vatican news stories from 2010

Top 10 Vatican news stories from 2010

Fr. Thomas Doyle: the Vatican’s most critical insider | Holy Post | National Post

John Allen offers a comparison of assessments of the Church's handling of the sex abuse scandal between Pope B16 and Fr. Thomas Doyle - the Vatican priest who deals with the victims and their lawyers. I fear that Fr. Doyle has a point - one that I've written about here many times: the principal scandal is that children have been sexually abused by clerics, and then abused by the hierarchy's response to their allegations.


Essentially, the Church is on fire. The faith of generations is turning to ash in front of our eyes as neglect and a perceived ongoing disrespect for victims rights (with the aim of 'preventing scandal' that would 'damage the faith' - a worthy end but morally fatally flawed means). I acknowledge that the fires have burned down in North America as Bishops are finally beginning to understand the moral carnage their predecessors have wrecked upon the Church and the faithful. Generations of savings from Catholics have been sacrificed thanks to a failed strategy that was geared more towards 'cauterizing the damage' rather that seeking justice in bringing these predators to the civil authorities. Of far greater importance are the millions of souls that have been (temporarily I hope and pray) lost to the Church. The embers of rage that wracked the faithful as week after week brought the filth of the scandal higher and higher up the ecclesiastical chain of command is giving way... but alas for many, the warmth of faith has been extinguished by a cold indifference to the voice of the Church in today's debates.


This is an exact repeat of what happened one generation ago in Quebec in the wake of the 'Révolution Tranquille' and it is indeed soil poisoned to the arguments of faith. Anger is at least an expression of emotion that implies an attachment to the Church; indifference means that this link is extinguished. I do not deny for a moment that the situation is hopeless... but it falls now to a few priests and faithful to work to rebuild the Church under difficult circumstances in which we can no longer assume that our message will be granted the benefit of doubt as to our good intentions. This repository of good will has been spent over the past 20 years in vain attempts to 'prevent scandal' to the faith. The irony is that it is these acts that provided the 'coup de gras' to the faith of many.


So long as we remain prayerful, mutually connected with meaningful liturgy that feeds and sustains their faith, and trusting in the saving power of Christ's message as a 'better way', we will succeed. But there is no doubt that if the entire hierarchy truly gets its act together, it will make the work seem lighter. Modernizing its instruments of communication and administration are essential steps along that way... and these steps will come as younger clerics more attuned to the post-modern society (and NO!!! I do not count myself them!!!) work their way up the structures of the Church. Quebec faces an opportunity over the next few years as over half of the Bishops will soon retire - and Cardinal Quellet, who taught in both 'La Grande Séminare in Quebec and the North American college and thus has personal knowledge of the best and the brightest among many young priests from his home province will be choosing their replacements. The same is eventually going to happen to all the Canadian Bishops as they are replaced when they retire due to age or ill health, but just as Quebec led us into this new hostile environment, it might too provide us with the first steps towards an authentically renewed Church in Canada.


Fr. Thomas Doyle: the Vatican’s most critical insider | Holy Post | National Post

Lose the religion or lose the subsidy - The Globe and Mail

Lose the religion or lose the subsidy - The Globe and Mail

24 December, 2010

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friends,


It is now a few hours before I am privileged to celebrate the first of two vigil Christmas masses and I am spending a few minutes with quiet Christmas music playing on the TV and giving thanks for the blessings I have received through this blog in particular and via this internet 'ministry' of mine in general.


It has brought me untold blessings. The people who have made contact with me either on the blog or via my personal email have (for the most part) inspired, challenged, and led me to look deep within my mind and heart to see not only what I believe to be 'true' but why it is that I so believe. Wisdom shared from regulars like Lady Janus, Small Town Guy, Martin and Michael Brandon has helped me to see many sides of these questions we discuss; sides I had not ever taken note of before. You have all been the most precious of gifts that I give thanks for you this Christmas eve.  You offer the light of charity and the voice of your life's convictions in my life and for this I thank you.


To those who chide or challenge my convictions, I say 'fight the good fight' and I'll do my best to hold up my end of the conversation. Some days I'll be 'road kill' and on others I'll win my point. The key is to be trusting enough in my knowledge and convictions to stand up to the challenges posed by others... and to be humble enough to be willing to change my ideas when proven to be in error. I guess it's kind of like a 'rational' Catholic's version of the A.A. 'Wisdom Prayer'. 

Whenever fundamental zeitgeists such as I welcome here comes into contact with each other, there's bound to be heat and friction; just as when 'the rubber hits the road'. May our journey through 2011 be as rewarding for you as 2010 has been for me. May the 'skid marks' on our backs and ego's be few and light for all!


Merry Christmas and happy holidays! See you back here in a few days.


Fr. Tim Moyle

PS. No matter your conviction or belief... I hope you'll appreciate this gift for you. It seems to sum up how I feel. Hope it's the same for you.


23 December, 2010

22 December, 2010

Santa Claus a Canadian, immigration minister reaffirms | Posted | National Post

...but where does the Easter Bunny live? (smile)

Santa Claus a Canadian, immigration minister reaffirms | Posted | National Post

Bad diagnosis : Pharyngula

Another blog article discussing my National Post column. Thanks to 'Rebecca65' for the link! The whole purpose of this blog and my National Post columns are to get people talking about these issues. It is heartwarming to see that my desire is coming to fruition, even when the remarks and comments do not agree with what I hold to be true.

Bad diagnosis : Pharyngula

Being on God’s Side: An Open Letter to the Religious Right | First Things

Being on God’s Side: An Open Letter to the Religious Right | First Things

Why Religious People Are Scared of Atheists | | AlterNet

An excellent counter argument to my 'grumpy atheists' column. My thanks to 'Rationalist1' (a poster on the Holy Post and definitely not a 'grump'!!) for the link!

Why Religious People Are Scared of Atheists | | AlterNet

The origins of secularism

BIG BLUE WAVE: The origins of secularism

20 December, 2010

WikiLeaks’ master leaker upset at being leaked against | Full Comment | National Post

Karma really is a bitch!

Lorne Gunter: WikiLeaks’ master leaker upset at being leaked against | Full Comment | National Post

A social network telling of the Christmas story

Churches halt decline, new research shows - Telegraph

Humm... I thought that the atheists were trying to convince us that not only was the Catholic Church on an inexorable slide into oblivion, (especially in today's Britain) but that B16 was thought to be the very epitome of what the English detested: German, conservative, dogmatic, homophobic etc. Yet the evidence shows that in the wake of his visit to the British Isles, religious practice was on the rise throughout the Christian Churches.


Maybe the forces of faith are more resilient that our opponents have given us credit for. I do not deny that the church stands bloodied and battered before the world this day, and that there is a great deal of work to be done to repair the Barque of Peter. This news should give hope to believers everywhere for it is evident that the boat will stay afloat despite the sinfulness of a few and the animus of its enemies.

Churches halt decline, new research shows - Telegraph

Heroic, Female and Muslim - NYTimes.com

"Part Mother Teresa, part Rambo." Any woman who could be so described is worth reading about!

Heroic, Female and Muslim - NYTimes.com

Pope Urges Church to Reflect on Abuse - NYTimes.com

Pope Urges Church to Reflect on Abuse - NYTimes.com

Your Monday smile

Q. What is a dyslexic agnostic insomniac?

A.  Someone who lies awake all night wondering if there really is a dog.

===========================================

I'd never "heard" this before, but it's too good not to be old.

19 December, 2010

Lunar Eclipse to Take Place December 21 - ABC News

Lunar Eclipse to Take Place December 21 - ABC News

Good will to all men? Not from the grumpy atheists! (Thank God not all atheists are grumpy but there sure seems to be a lot of them)

Why is it that so many in the atheist community cannot bring  themselves to get past their anger whenever they engage in discussions? The language of many of their contributions in public debate is laced with invective and dripping with sarcasm and bile. There are exceptions of course, but they tend to fall more into the category of being the 'exception that proves the rule' when compared to the hostility of many of today's atheist posters. Comment offered by the theists in the public square is often depicted as being 'malicious' or 'venomous' and intended to enslave the 'feeble minded and weak' by those who post. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Venom is something that is oriented to death. Christians are oriented in a 180 degree different direction. We speak not to the culture of death  that grips our world but rather for the culture of life and light which ends with the gift of eternal life.

For example, the Catholic Church in its human incarnation is sinful,
(as is every other human institution) corrupt and often acts differently from what it teaches. Yet it is still here. She may be battered and bruised, largely through its own sinfulness and the criminality and immorality of a few, but 2000 years of experience has permitted the Church to experience the waxing and waning of the faith in different part of the world at various time before. We do not despair these difficult times because we have been here before... and we may be here again in the future, but one would be foolhardy to predict her demise anytime before the great parousia.

Why are believers so confident? It's because even though we have suffered the wounds of sin from various clergy, we know that they not the totality of our experience. There have been times when we stood as a paragon of grace for believers. Even today there are times when the voice of the Church has truly spoken to the core of many, moments when the transcendent presence of God is visible despite our sinfulness and brokeness for anyone who has both the eyes and heart to see it. It is these moments, brought about through the faithful ministry and efforts of almost all clergy who has taken up the yoke of service which makes possible and strengthens the convictions and fidelity of many believers today.

But... I think that there is a more primordial reason for the 'bad mood' of so many atheists.

Atheists tend to see the state of their personal world as being  limited to the best they can achieve. Life's injustices will never ultimately be surmounted and they are limited to a 'what you see is what you get' assessment of life's trials. Believers on the other hand
know that things will be better. They know that following the teachings of the church can bring them closer to that promised ideal in the here and now, and that any justice denied them by the events of their personal lives as a result of their fidelity to God will be theirs to enjoy in the life to come.

It is easy to understand how this fuels the anger that many atheists. When one must content themselves with a creed that necessarily mean that they will never personally experience ultimate justice, peace or love; that when they look back at the missed opportunities denied them through life's injustices, it is without hope of recompense other than ultimate annihilation in death. Such a world view would certainly lead to a jaded view of life. Since theists tend to see the glass as being more full than empty, their optimism and good cheer must be be particularly annoying to atheists when they see life in such sombre colors (particularly amid the Christmas season when Christians sing out their joyous message of hope).

Nihilism on the one hand, or hope on the other? No wonder they're so grumpy.

The state of our unions The future of marriage can be found in the past, A History of Marriage author says

The state of our unions The future of marriage can be found in the past, A History of Marriage author says

18 December, 2010

17 December, 2010

An opinion on the relationships between atheists and theists from the National Post

Charlie Lewis of the Holy Post has offered another opinion piece on the relationship between atheists and believers. You can read it here. Among the numerous comments that have been generated, Charlie responds to one poster in a manner that succinctly brings a light to the reason why we believers demand that our voices be heard in the public square. I share it in the hopes that it might generate a discussion here on his assessment.


A thoughtful reader wrote that atheists would stop getting angry at religious people when we "stopping trying to cram things down his throat." I took the time to respond to him even though I'm pretty certain nothing would ever change his mind.
Here's what I wrote:

"Please take the time to read what I'm writing to you. And then tell me what you think.

Your idea is that religious people are trying to jam views down your throat. Who are these people? I know they're not most mainstream Protestants and not Catholics. We don't go door to door. As for such issues as abortion and gay marriage, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I'm a Catholic, for example, and I pay taxes, vote, volunteer in my community. I'm just as valuable a citizen as you are. So if you're saying any religious person is not entitled to an opinion then you are not a believer in democracy.

If you're saying religious people have determined the Canadian political landscape then I suggest you look around. Even with a Conservative government legalized gay marriage and abortion at any stage of pregnancy is legal. And given those were two key issues that concerned religious conservatives I can only conclude the religious lost that fight. So much for influence.

The other issue is you're assuming all religions are the same. Members of the United Church are very liberal: they support abortion rights, gay marriage, etc.

As well, the concern of many religious people is in the realm of social justices, relieving third world debt, reducing poverty. Young evangelicals today, for example, are more interested in these issues than gay marriage or other social conservative causes.

You stereotype all people under one brush called religious.

Give me one concrete example of someone trying to shove anything down your throat.

I realize this note is a waste of time because you already made up your mind. And by the way, I know a lot of Catholics and I never hear them talk about atheists.

You could try practicing that same idea of "live and let live."

Switzerland considers reducing the taboo on incest | Full Comment | National Post

This is an interesting exchange between some of the National Post commentators on the move by Switzerland to remove the legal prohibition against incestuous relationships. They raise some interesting points.

Switzerland considers reducing the taboo on incest | Full Comment | National Post

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Explains Why We Need the Catholic League - U.s. - Catholic Online

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Explains Why We Need the Catholic League - U.s. - Catholic Online

Pope Compares Fundamentalism With Secularism - NYTimes.com

Vatican - Pope Compares Fundamentalism With Secularism - NYTimes.com

16 December, 2010

A Christmas letter from Jesus: An oldie but a goodie none the less for the message it communicates

Letter from Jesus about Christmas --

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless?  Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :

I LOVE YOU,
JESUS

““Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

The mystery of Mona Lisa and Amelia Earhart solved?

Here are a couple of interesting stories about long held mysteries. The first one deals with an announcement in Italy that they may have discovered a 'code' painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. (click here for link)


The second story deals with human remains found in the Pacific which may belong to Amelia Earhart! (click here for link)


Two mysteries 'solved' by science... COOL

Is the Bottom Really Falling Out of Catholic Mass Attendance? A Recent CARA Survey Ponders the Question | Archdiocese of Washington

Is the Bottom Really Falling Out of Catholic Mass Attendance? A Recent CARA Survey Ponders the Question | Archdiocese of Washington

Too good not to pass along to my fellow travellers on this 'digital' freeway 'where the rubber hits the road'

15 December, 2010

Clergy shortage affecting all denominations in Canada - The Globe and Mail

I guess all those folks who claim that Catholic clergy are the only ones suffering from lack of numbers (due of course to the great 'demon' of 'unatural' celibacy) are wrong. Even denominations with married clergy are facing the same shortfall in their personnel.

Clergy shortage affecting all denominations in Canada - The Globe and Mail

Time continues misrepresentation on Pope Benedict

Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Time continues misrepresentation on Pope Benedict

So, Why Is Incest Wrong? The next social 'advancement' in our experimentation with social institutions

AlbertMohler.com – So, Why Is Incest Wrong?

The future of faith in Canada - The Globe and Mail

The future of faith in Canada - The Globe and Mail

What to put in your winter survival kit - The Globe and Mail

What to put in your winter survival kit - The Globe and Mail

Looking for a good book to give as a gift to a Christian? Check out George Weigel's suggestions.

A Christmas Book Sampler | First Things

09 December, 2010

Here's a video prepared by one of priests (Fr. Réal Ouellet) to invite youth to a diocesan retreat. Full marks for effort!

The Pink Candle and Other Musings

This Sunday we light the third candle of the Advent wreath: the pink one. Here's a posting that explains why this unique candle is a part of this traditional advent decoration.

The Pink Candle and Other Musings

Grace under fire - McLeans Magazine re-evaluates Pope Benedict

Grace under fire - Newsmakers - Macleans.ca

Alien star that shouldn't exist is discovered - U.s. - Catholic Online

Alien star that shouldn't exist is discovered - U.s. - Catholic Online

The Changing Culture War - NYTimes.com

The Changing Culture War - NYTimes.com

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