Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On this day

Brian Baumgartner, Actor ("The Office"), is 35
. . . . .
in 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews. (Go to article.)

JP2 - a special cause

Cause Way Thursday
. . . . .
There are many holy people in the world. The vast majority of them we will never hear about. A few are thought to be extraordinary and catch attention. When that happens, the Church tries to find out more about them. If the evidence is overwhelming, it may declare that person is indeed in the presence of God, in heaven, and worthy of being listed in the official canon of saints.

Such an investigation is underway into the life and practices of Karol Jozef Wojtyla - Pope John-Paul II. The following 'trailer' [abbreviated video advertisement] promotes a DVD being released soon in his honor.

His is a 'cause' worthy of our attention.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On this date

Jon Stewart, Comedian ("The Daily Show") is 45
. . . . .

Enron Corp., once the world's largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.

Not a hair on your head will be destroyed

The Way Wednesday
. . . . .
Even if we die at sea, even if we are scattered on the ground, even if we are torn apart by savage beasts or birds of prey, he will raise us up by his power, for the whole universe is held in the hand of God. “Not a hair of your head,” he says, “will be destroyed.” That is why he urges us in these words: “It is by your perseverance that you will gain life.” [from The Apostolic Constitutions (380), a canonical and liturgical collection. A resumption of the Didascalia of the Apostles, text of the first half of the 3rd century (cf SC 329)]
. . . . .
Fear? Uncertainty? Despair?

Joy! Certitude! Hope!

Opposite sides of the same coin? or totally different coins?

Today, the universal church celebrates the life of St. James of the Marches [late 14th through middle 15th centuries] - born in Ancona Italy along the Adriatic Sea. He held doctorates in canon and civil law. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances.

This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate). His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives. Many men joined him as Franciscans.

He was not afraid to be martyred, although God did not asked that of him. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him.

His life belonged to God. He is a model many can follow. I bear the name James, and pray the grace to aspire to service as he. Reading the lives of saints can inspire to greatness - who will tomorrow's saints be?
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On this date

Bill Nye, TV personality [the 'Science Guy'], is 52
. . . . .
in 1973, the Senate voted 92-3 to confirm Gerald R. Ford as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew, who'd resigned. (Go to article.)

the Classifieds - Help Wanted - Experience required

Vid Way Tuesday
. . . . .
Discernment is sometimes a bit tricky. Sometimes trying to find just what it is that God is asking me to do becomes confusing. Have you ever been in the position of trying find a job? Every ad in the newspaper requires 'prior experience'. How do I get the experience without a job? It usually meant I had to start at the bottom and work my way up. Working my way up may be exactly what God had in mind for me.

Some years ago I thought I had discerned that I was to become a 'Permanent Deacon' in the Roman Catholic Church. I applied for and was accepted into the program. After a year, my employer transferred me to another Diocese in another state. They didn't even have a program for Permanent Deacons. Well, so much for that.

I was troubled by what I thought must have been a faulty discernment on my part. Fortunately, a spiritual director told me that was not necessarily so. He taught me that discernment doesn't mean I will figure out the 'end' in mind, but only the 'next step'. He gave me several examples that set my mind and heart at ease. Now, I recognize that God uses my next step as a prerequisite for HIS next step, and that may not be anything at all like what I was imagining.
. . . . .

'CLICK' on the > above and watch this clip from the "Make Room for Daddy" TV show from the early 1960's. The star of the show was actor and comedian Danny Thomas [who, as a philanthropist, founded the St. Jude's Childrens' Hospital in Memphis TN]. In this scene his very young son and daughter are trying to find a job.
. . . . .

hen trying to find God's will, prayer and fasting goes a long way to clear out my spiritual senses so I can hear God's voice.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

On this date

Tina Turner, Rock singer, is 68
. . . . .
in 1942, President Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline rationing, beginning December 1. (Go to article.)

From the com-boxes of earlier posts

Your Way Monday
. . . . .
MJ said...

OK Jim here goes one 2nd chance (I have several more).

I was headed to church last Sat. to be sacristan for 5:00 mass. I was stopped at a red light when I heard kablunk behind me. I looked in my rear view mirror just in time to see a red pickup truck swerving over the curb onto the tree lawn and stopping right beside me (I turned and looked at his face).

If he had not swerved, my car and I would have been toast !!!

I thanked God and said once again, "You have a purpose for me." Please show me what it is so I can follow. That is the scariest thing for me - how do I know?

(November 21, 2007 11:27 PM

. . . . .

...from uncle jim
Here's a close call story from another friend.

She was in the left turn lane of a 5-lane intersection. She thought the traffic had cleared and started her left turn. As she entered the more left part of the intersection she saw a semi tractor-trailer barreling towards her just yards away. She knew she was 'dead'. She recalls closing her eyes, gripping the steering wheel, and in panic, hitting the brakes, and screaming as an expletive the name of Our Lord, as she awaited the impact [and all of this was in a split-second, as you might imagine]. When she opened her eyes, she was through the intersection, there was no semi in sight, and she was fine. She assures there was no physical way it could have ended like it did. She claims some supernatural suspension of time by her guardian angel moved her through supernaturally fast, or somebody [who might that have been] moved the truck around her, which she says could not have happened naturally. I commented to her there is supernatural power in the name of Jesus ... and she had screamed out to him, albeit perhaps in a manner not exactly reverential. She is more careful now how she uses His name.

I've had close calls of many kinds, I'm sure. How many have I counted as 'a second chance' ?
. . . . .
Adrienne said...

My favorite teacher was Sister St. Philomena. She was a small woman and wore glasses that were thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis thick. Sister would sit on her desk and tell us stories about when she was our age. I’m sure that was frowned upon by her superiors. But the best of all was her story about some sneaky nun who used to leave the room and sneak back, holding her rosary beads to keep them quiet, so she could catch the kids who were talking. Sister St. Philomena vowed she would never do anything so nasty. When she returned to the room after an absence we could hear her coming down the hall, swinging her beads to make a huge clatter, giving us plenty of time to compose ourselves. Gotta love her!!!

(November 22, 2007)
. . . . .
Stories of God's protection are faith builders to others. Tell us one of yours, please. - right here in this comment box. I look forward to your story. I'll share your 'second chance' with others in a future post.
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

On this date

Jenna Bush, President George W. Bush's daughter, is 26
. . . . .
2002 President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security and appointed Tom Ridge to be its head

to be the best I can be...

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man, part 4

Bad habits are not easy to break. Repetitive sinful behavior become bad habits. Repetitive bad habits become vice. Vice can be replaced with repetitive good behavior, which become good habits, which become virtue. A good Christian man must necessarily become a man of virtue.

Saint Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 4 verse 13,
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. [NAB]
Every day I encounter situations that call for a decision on my part. Some are small - some are big. Every one of them requires I act like a man - a Christian man.

Can a non-Christian man respond the same way? Not exactly. While any person can respond with the same words and actions, only a Christian man can respond with the mind of Christ. Only a Christian man can say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives - in me." [Gal 2:20 - rsv]

There are some virtues that a man needs to play his role in society and in the family. Relying on God's power, on God's grace, on God's wisdom is a virtue - an invaluable virtue. St Paul makes this use of the power of God a theme several times in his letters. Another instance of St. Paul reminding his readers of this is found in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians in chapter 12, verses 9-10.
...he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [NAB]
Paul had been begging God to remove a particular 'thorn in the flesh'. God's response denied that request. God reminded Paul that by using the grace granted, the power of God is made perfect. It is in overcoming my difficulties, with God's help, that I give glory to God. I am virtuous when I manifest the power of God by pushing through a difficulty - by gutting it out.
. . . . .
(to be continued next Sunday)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On this date

Katherine Heigl, Actress ("Grey's Anatomy" and "Knocked Up") is 29
. . . . .
1963, Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy. (Go to article.)

Movies and lunacy - today's mix

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .
There are many movies being released this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. One of the movies getting a lot of advertising is Beowulf. Unfortunately, I fear a lot of English Lit teachers will be encouraging their students to go see this movie. The problem is the movie version has a lot in it that is not as it is in the written masterpiece. A review of it can be found here.

A movie that some might consider viewing is the Bee Movie. Like most movies, it manages to get some questionable material into the script. The reviewer I read [here] gives it a "qualified B".

Enchanted seems to be a good bet, though. Every once in a while, someone comes out with a holiday season movie that you can actually go to and enjoy. This might be this year's winner. Read about it here, then go and enjoy yourselves.
. . . . .
Have you ever heard of the AmChurch? The term 'AmChurch' is a form of shorthand name for the American Catholic Church. It is a very non-traditional aberration of 1970's liberality after Vatican II.

I, for one, have been oblivious to this group. This week for Thanksgiving Day, Mark P. Shea* wrote an article on the Inside Catholic website about these extremely liberal people, who call themselves the American Catholic Church, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church. You can read the article here.

An example of their 'theology' can be found in their interpretation of the story in Ez 16:49 - '...the real sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sodomy but was, instead, lack of hospitality'. Does that cause you to scratch your head and say, "What?".

Another example can be seen in the story of the loaves and fishes. Their interpretive version says, "Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and the crowd, so moved at his warm fuzziness, started to share their own lunches with each other and sing..." - for real!

Read the article for more. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord of the Roman Catholic Church.

*Mark P. Shea is a senior editor at and a columnist for
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Friday, November 23, 2007

On this date

Miley Cyrus, Actress & singer ("Hannah Montana") is 15
. . . . .
1943, during World War II, United States forces seized control of the Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese. (Go to article.)

have a heart - post-thanksgiving reflections

Heart Way Friday
. . . . .
hope you ate less than I did.

I hope you ate healthier than I did.

I hope you are grateful for what you ate.

I hope you are grateful for your health.

I hope you will stay that way - eat right 364 days a year.

'Click' on the > above and enjoy being scolded by the Doctor's wife.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

On this date

Boris Becker, tennis Hall of Famer, is 40
. . . . .
in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. Suspected gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States. (Go to article.)

Gratitude - express it today

Cause Way Thursday
. . . . .

The Hand of a Teacher:
A Thanksgiving Story

The Hand

© 2004 Steve Goodier

At first it sounded like a Thanksgiving story, but the more I reflected on it, the more appropriate it seemed for any time of the year. The way I heard it, the story went like this:

Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment -- to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student's art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. He was the teacher's true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went -- until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas' desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, "It's yours, teacher."

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, "Take my hand, Douglas, we'll go outside." Or, "Let me show you how to hold your pencil." Or, "Let's do this together." Douglas was most thankful for his teacher's hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.

The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglases of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they'll remember the hand that reaches out.
. . . . .

...and I have a story, too

Teachers' hands reaching out to help a student is probably so common we hardly notice. - it is their way. I recall two elementary school instances in particular.

She was my fourth grade teacher and she also served as the 'Principal' of our small Catholic parochial school. She was affectionately referred to on the playground as "Old Susanna", as in 'Oh, Susanna, don't you cry for me...' . I assure you, she had quite a few young men crying for her in those days. That particular day, it was my turn.

In a group of fellow fourth graders, I had just made some remark concerning our teacher. I had, of course, referenced her in the most common term of affection by which we knew her, "Old Susanna". The guys became deathly silent as a look of sheer horror spread across their faces. Yep, you guessed it - she was standing directly behind me.

Her hand reached out to me ... and grabbed me by the collar of my jacket. "Come with me young man". I was collared. I was dragged into the office to meet another well-known [by others, I assure you - this was my first meeting with him] inhabitant of the 'Principal's Office' - Mr. Padduhl [pronounced 'paddle']. He was a plank of 1/2" thick hickory with a fat end, kind of like a beaver's tail, and a narrow end, which was used as a handle. We met. I cried. Then I listened to a lecture on respect, and honoring other peoples' name. Sister Mary Susanne had my attention. I referenced her and all teachers by their correct and proper names thereafter. Oh, and I never met Mr. Padduhl again.

Eighth grade found me wanting to move along a little faster than we were doing as a class in math. I was by no means a math wiz of any sort, but I had our lessons down pretty good and expressed to our teacher a desire to learn algebra [back then, algerbra was reserved for high school]. Our very nice [really] teacher, Sister Mary Elmer, got me a book, some work-sheets, and started tutoring me during time when the other students were working on that day's lessons. As a result of her kindness, and a little effort on my part, I scored well on the entrance exam required by a local Catholic High School. The clincher was in the math section of the exam - most students taking the exam had not yet been introduced to Algebra. Thank you Sister Mary Elmer.
. . . . .
Got a favorite teahcer? Tell us about this wonderful person.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On this date

Steven Curtis Chapman, Gospel singer, is 45
. . . . .
in 2000 The Florida Supreme Court granted Democrat Al Gore's request to keep the presidential election recount going.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

The Way Wednesday
. . . . .
From the writings of Peter Kreeft,
Twelve Ways to Know God

Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God (Jn 17:3). What are the ways? In how many different ways can we know God, and thus know eternal life? When I take an inventory, I find twelve.

  1. The final, complete, definitive way, of course, is Christ, God himself in human flesh.
  2. His church is his body, so we know God also through the church.
  3. The Scriptures are the church's book. This book, like Christ himself, is called "The Word of God."
  4. Scripture also says we can know God in nature see Romans 1. This is an innate, spontaneous, natural knowledge. I think no one who lives by the sea, or by a little river, can be an atheist.
  5. Art also reveals God. I know three ex-atheists who say, "There is the music of Bach, therefore there must be a God." This too is immediate.
  6. Conscience is the voice of God. It speaks absolutely, with no ifs, ands, or buts. This too is immediate. [The last three ways of knowing God (4-6) are natural, while the first three are supernatural. The last three reveal three attributes of God, the three things the human spirit wants most: truth, beauty, and goodness. God has filled his creation with these three things. Here are six more ways in which we can and do know God.]
  7. Reason, reflecting on nature, art, or conscience, can know God by good philosophical arguments.
  8. Experience, life, your story, can also reveal God. You can see the hand of Providence there.
  9. The collective experience of the race, embodied in history and tradition, expressed in literature, also reveals God.You can know God through others' stories, through great literature.
  10. The saints reveal God. They are advertisements, mirrors, little Christs. They are perhaps the most effective of all means of convincing and converting people.
  11. Our ordinary daily experience of doing God's will will reveal God. God becomes clearer to see when the eye of the heart is purified: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."
  12. Prayer meets God—ordinary prayer. You learn more of God from a few minutes of prayerful repentance than through a lifetime in a library.

Unfortunately, Christians sometimes have family fights about these ways, and treat them as either/or instead of both/and. They all support each other, and nothing could be more foolish than treating them as rivals—for example, finding God in the church versus finding God in nature, or reason versus experience, or Christ versus art.

If you have neglected any of these ways, it would be an excellent idea to explore them. For instance, pray using great music. Or take an hour to review your life some time to see God's role in your past. Read a great book to better meet and know and glorify God. Pray about it first.

Add to this list, if you can. There are more ways of finding and knowing God than any one essay can contain. Or any one world.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On this date

Josh Turner, country singer, is 30
. . . . .
in 1945
, 24 Nazi leaders went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. (Go to article.)

Accountability in the check-out line...

Vid Way Tuesday
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I know I've blown it more than a few times in my life. I never encountered this lady though. If I had, I wonder how I would have responded ... besides turning 'red' with embarrassment AND anger.

Alright! Now that I've been caught, what do I do?
. . . . .

'CLICK' on the above > and get ready to punt.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

On this date

Jodie Foster, actress, is 45
Meg Ryan, actress, is 46
. . . . .
in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania. (Go to article.)

So, what are WE hiding?

Your Way Monday
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Senate Committee Investigating Six Major Ministries
Sen. Grassley probes "possible misuse of donations" to Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and others.
. . . . .
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating several major church-based ministries known for their leaders' lavish lifestyles and prosperity teachings.

"Recent articles and news reports regarding possible misuse of donations made to religious organizations have caused some concern for the Finance Committee," Grassley wrote to the ministries in letters asking for detailed financial records.

None of the ministries targeted—those led by Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, and Randy and Paula White—are required to file the financial disclosure Form 990 with the IRS because they are are designated as churches.

Grassley "is not just asking them to come in and talk, he is asking them for everything," Kenneth Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, told The Tampa Tribune, which in May ran a lengthy investigative report on the Whites' Without Walls church and its finances.

The ministries have until December 6 to submit audited financial statements, compensation reports, records for ministry jet travel, and other documents. The Tampa Tribune has posted the letters to each ministry.

Some of the ministries contacted by news organizations say they will respond to the requests.

Creflo Dollar told CBS News his ministry is an "open book" and said he would comply with any "valid request" from Grassley. But he also warned that Grassley's investigation possibly affects "the privacy of every community church in America."

Joyce Meyer Ministries noted an October letter from the IRS stating, "We determined that you continue to qualify as an organization exempt from Federal income tax." The ministry also said that audited financial statements are available on its website. "JMM is committed to conducting itself with excellence and integrity, choosing to go above and beyond the level of accountability required by law," the organization told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which published a series of investigative reports on the ministry in 2003.

Randy and Paula White, who recently announced their divorce, told The Tampa Tribune they found the request "unusual, since the IRS has separate powers to investigate religious organizations if they think it's necessary. So we find it odd that the IRS did not initiate this investigation. It also seems odd that they have asked about areas that have no relationship to the operation of the church."

Grassley's office told the Tribune that the IRS "has been unable to keep up with the exponential growth of all tax-exempt organizations, including churches and ministries."

While Grassley is not proposing any changes to the law or tax code, he's suggesting that he may do so after the investigation. "Based on initial review, the way ministries operate has changed significantly over the last 20 years to 25 years, while the tax laws governing them for the most part have not," his office said.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

How does this investigation stay legitimate?
Can this type of hearing become the slippery-slope for all Churches to become suspect and subject to intrusive investigation?
Or should we rejoice in the opportunity to weed out those among us who are lining their personal coffers behind the shield of religion?
. . . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On this date

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox designated hitter, is 32
. . . . .

in 1976
, Spain's parliament approved a bill to establish a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship. (Go to article.)

it was the other guys who did it, not me!

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man, part 3

There is a passage in the Hebrew scriptures [the Old Testament] in the 1st Book of Samuel, chapter 15, that speaks very loudly and clearly [read the story here]. I, at times, feel somewhat insignificant in the overall scheme of the Lord's plans. Much of what I do seems to dwindle in importance compared to the accomplishments I see others perform.

God gave Saul very specific tasks to accomplish in retribution against the Amal'ekites, who hassled the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. Saul followed most of the instructions, then reneged on a few of them - a few that seemed somewhat minor to Saul. When Saul was challenged by Samuel for disobeying God, Saul tried to cover his tracks with a story. Samuel, who knew the Lord very intimately, knew that Saul had transgressed the instructions given him by God. As a result, God withdrew His favor from Saul, and Saul no loner served as king over Israel.

Living the life of a Christian man is not easy under any circumstance - the world, the flesh, the devil all work against me. Even with intent and grace, I stumble and fall. Even with the desire to follow the Lord and do His bidding, I fail. Even in times of great fervor, I fall short of the Glory of God - I sin, I miss the mark.

The life of Saul teaches me that I am accountable to God for my failings. Consequences follow my deeds, and I will pay dearly for my transgressions. Even knowing this, I bring shame.

Does this mean I cannot become a man of God - a Christian man? Of course not. It means I must daily strive with all my energies to do that which God has given me to do - I will be held accountable.

Virtue is the antidote for vice. There are many virtues necessary for the Christian man. I mean to look at some of them as I continue in this reflection.
. . . . .
[to be continued next Sunday]

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On this date

Reggie Wayne, football player with Indianapolis Colts, is 29
. . . . .

in 1973
, President Nixon told an Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Fla., that ``people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.'' (Go to article.)

What is it you don't understand?

Any Way Saturday
. . . . .
Compliments of anonymous via my brother, uncle jack
. . . . .
Maybe this is the way to teach the 10 Commandments today!

Kentucky / Tennessee Hillbilly Ten Commandments
Some people in Kentuckessee have trouble with all those "shalls" and "shall nots" in the Ten Commandments. They just aren't used to talking in those terms. So, some folks in Southeastern Kentucky got together and translated the "King James" into "Harlan County" language... No joke, read on...

The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments (posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Harlan, KY).

(1) Just one God

(2) Honor yer Ma &Pa

(3) No tellin' tales or gossipin'

(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'

(5) Put nothin' before God

(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal

(7) No killin'

(8) Watch yer mouth

(9) Don't take what ain't yers

(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff

Now that's kinda plain an' simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day.

. . . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On this date

Sam Waterston, actor on ("Law and Order") is 67
. . . . .
in 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C., against the Vietnam War. (Go to article.)

Where can I help?

Cause Way Thursday
. . . . .
There are numerous causes and organizations that need help to fulfill their mission. Just as they need to continually reassess the work, so do I. Am I currently serving God's kingdom where and how He is calling me? I need to occasionally take a little extra time and ask God, again, to show me where he wants to use my talents.

Is it time for you to reassess, also?

Here are a few places to consider.
. . . . .
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)

The leading US-based Catholic-sponsored philanthropic organization that focuses exclusively on providing healthcare to people in need worldwide. CMMB fulfills its mission by: developing and managing healthcare programs; providing medicines and supplies; training indigenous healthcare providers; recruiting and placing medical volunteers; and responding to emergencies. CMMB's placement program assists health providers interested in volunteering for short-term and long-term tours of service at selected clinical sites around the world. Publication: CMMB Today - quarterly.

10 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011-5765
Toll free: 1-800-678-5659 ext. 32
Web Site:
. . . . .

Catholic Network of Volunteer Service (CNVS)

Promotes, recruits and refers volunteers to missions in the U.S. and other countries. Through more than 200 faith-based programs, CNVS works with U.S. dioceses, religious orders and the private sector in determining volunteer needs. Publications include: annual Response Directory of Volunteer Programs; bi-weekly newsletter, How Can I Help?; and quarterly Mission Handbook.

Catholic Network of Volunteer Service
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 506
Takoma Park, MD 20912-4423
Toll free: 1-800-543-5046
Phone: 301-270-0900
Fax: 301-270-0901
Web site:
. . . . .
FROM Mission to Mission

Cross-Cultural Re-Entry and Re-Discovery for Mission
FROM Mission to Mission provides a network for laity, sisters, brothers, priests and ministers who have been involved in cross-cultural or global ministry. FROM helps its members by counseling and coaching missioners during their time of "reverse culture shock," offering periodic re-entry workshops and retreats, convening regional and national gatherings of missioners, publishing and distributing booklets and tapes pertinent to transition issues, circulating a directory of member missioners' names and addresses, and publishing a periodic newsletter. FROM's goal is to ease the re-entry process through sharing the joys, angers, fears and frustrations that mark the missioners common experience upon re-entry.

FROM... Mission to Mission
303 Atwood Street
Longmont, CO 80501-5508
Phone & Fax: 720-494-7211
Web site:
. . . . .
I'll post some others next week.
. . . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On this date

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State is 53
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in 1972, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 1,000 for the first time, ending the day at 1,003.16. (Go to article.)


The Way Wednesday
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There seems to me to be a trend starting to develop this past decade or so. That seems to me to be a more serious search for the truth. In spite of all the secularism that has arisen, world wide, I think there is an deeper search going on by many. Some of these many are already 'religious'. Some are Catholic, some are Protestant, some are atheistic, some are not sure what they are - but they're all searching for something deeper and true.

We read fairly regularly of those who leave the Catholic Church and move over to protestantism, especially to Evangelical denominations; and others to Pentecostal groups. On the other side, we hear of Protestants who are 'crossing the Tiber' and becoming Catholic. I believe it is all in response to a hunger in the soul for something truer than what they believe they are experiencing.

There are some who have made the journey and returned to where they started. In an interview earlier this year, Tim Drake interviewed
Francis Beckwith. The article appeared in The Catholic World Report and was titled To Evangelicalism and Back. In the article,
Francis Beckwith discusses the reasons for his reversion and reactions to it.
[Tim Drake is a Lutheran convert to the Catholic faith. He serves as senior writer with the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine. He writes from St. Joseph, Minnesota.]

What can we make of his journey? You can read the article here.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On this date

Vinny Testaverde, football player is 44
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in 1956, the Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public buses. (Go to article.)

Ever get it backwards?

Vid Way Tuesday
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Faith produces works - or is it works produces faith?

Is it infant baptism, or believers baptism?

Christ is present in the Eucharist because the priest says the words given by Christ - or, does the faith of those gathered make Christ present allowing the priest to say the words?

It is not uncommon, unfortunately, to have a conversation with a randomly selected group of parishioners and find their understandings to be varied and mixed.
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'CLICK' on the above > and enjoy the humor.
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What do we need to do to get help and get our understandings working right?

On-going adult faith formation is critical. Let your pastor and staff know you want MORE!
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Monday, November 12, 2007

on this date

Sammy Sosa, Baseball player is 39
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in 1942, the World War II naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. The Americans eventually won a major victory over the Japanese. (Go to article.)

COMMENT on hospitality by Shiela

Your Way Monday
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Sheila said...

I love this video clip - reminds me of the Catholic Worker spirit: he needs a place to stay, well OK, he can stay with us.

I think one way to be hospitable is to welcome people into shared work. This past spring I stayed at my sister's house for the week before her daughter's wedding and helped out any way I could. Of course I had a comfortable bed to sleep in and good food to eat while I was there, but what made me feel more welcome than anything - less like a guest, more like a part of the household - was being given errands to do, like early-morning runs to Wal-Mart, and about a dozen trips in between the house and the church.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

On this date

Ellen Pompeo, actress ("Grey's Anatomy") is 38
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in 1982, the newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C. (Go to article.)

a great role model I am not always

My Way Sunday
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reflections on being a Christian man, part 2

I've found it helpful to look at persons in the Bible for clues about how I should live my life. Assuming I want to be a 'man of God', there are probably some characteristics I need to adopt as my own -that also supposes there are behaviors and characteristics I should avoid.

Job, a personage in the Old Testament writings, seems to me to be a very good model to aspire to imitate. He seems to be helpful in presenting a picture of what a man - a man of God - should look like. I say helpful, but I'm not suggesting it is a complete picture.

The 29th chapter of the Old Testament book named after this man Job, is quite telling.
It says that Job is friends with God.
It says that Job is a respected man of wisdom and authority
It says that Job was a man who could make decisions and take charge of situations.
It says that Job was a man who looked after the welfare of the people in his circle.
It says that Job helped the oppressed, the widows, and the poor.
It says that Job corrected error when it arose.

Are those characteristics and traits of the kind of man I want, or need, to be?

As a man of God, I need to be ever vigilant to be effective in living life in a manner that will not give the Creator a black-eye. I am a reflection of, and an extension of, the Godhead Himself. If my behavior is anything but what it should be, I may be responsible, through example, for turning someone else in the wrong direction.

I could write volumes about those times when I have been just that - a bad example. I hope there are other times when I get it right.

[to be continued next Sunday]
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On Thursday of this past week, I and 4 other men traveled 9 hours to the Buffalo NY area to attend a funeral on Friday Morning. The man being buried is the brother of a friend of ours. The deceased could be a role model for many men.

I don't recall ever being at a wake, Funeral Mass, and burial quite like it. This man was well known by many in every social and economic circumstance - top to bottom. The honor guards were several, representing some of the many influences in his life.

There were approximately 25 bikers dressed as you see them on the streets and in the mags from full leather to jeans and vests and regaled with every conceivable emblem and insignia - riding their Harley's in pairs from the funeral home to the church to the cemetery.

There were another 20 or so Emergency Services vehicles from just about every jurisdiction within 50 miles of his home town - first responders, all of them. And law enforcement officers forming an honor guard for the casket from the hearse to the church entrance for his coming and his going.

There was a contingent of approximately 50+ Seneca Indians who live on the reservation adjacent to the deceased's property. He was a full adopted member of the tribe and the Red Eye clan who were listed in his obituary, naming his adoptive parents and siblings.

There was a group of American Veterans of his Viet Nam War era.
There was a special Naval Honor Guard, providing the flag ceremonies and bugler at the cemetery.
There was a 'flyover' of Emergency Services helicopters at the conclusion of the graveside services.
There were elected officials and government employees.
There were citizens of his home town, where he had served as Mayor for more than one term.
There were relatives from all over who made the trip to honor this wonderful man.
There was his family friend, who was also his personal confessor and Chaplain for the Emergency Services department of the County in which the deceased had served as Director and Commissioner of Emergency Services for many years, and who celebrated the Funeral Mass.
There were friends of friends, and people who had been the recipient of his generosity, and people who had disagreements with the things he did, and others for whom he was the peacemaker, and those for whom he helped bring consensus when no one else seemed to be able to get that done.

And he was GOD's man. He and his life of example showed others the way to God. The way he suffered the past year and a half, and died while praying the rosary with family and friends at his side, all spoke volumes. He has joined that 'cloud of witnesses' of whom scripture speaks.

Please offer a prayer of thanksgiving with me for this dear brother in the Lord, Michael Walters, former Commissioner of Emergency Services for Erie County [Buffalo] NY. May his soul rest in Peace.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've been traveling the past two weekends, and then was gone THURSDAY 'til this morning this week. I am WA_A_A_A_A_Y_Y_Y_Y behind on 'stuff', including this blog. I'll get back on schedule tomorrow, Sunday.

Friday, November 9, 2007

On this date

Lou Ferrigno, Actor ("The Incredible Hulk") is 55
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in 1965, the great Northeast blackout occurred as several states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of power failures lasting up to 13 1/2 hours. (Go to article.)

heartbreak hotel - ever been there?

Heart Way Friday
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Too many times I've missed the opportunity to help someone who was crying out for help. "What?!?!?" you say. You don't believe it ... 'cause I'm always so busy doing God's things and church things and...

eah, and not paying attention sometimes to the suffering and hurting people around me. They're all around me and I don't hear them ... I'm in my own little world - not in God's world. "Put on the mind of Christ!" Saint Paul writes. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives - in me."

oday! Today! This is the day that I will change all of that. Today! I will look and listen and be Christ to the hurting and suffering and lost. Help me Lord.

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'Click' on the above > arrow and listen...and watch...and be there!
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Thursday, November 8, 2007

On this date

Bucky Covington, Country singer ("American Idol") is 30
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in 1960, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard M. Nixon for the presidency. (Go to article.)

the wicked witch of the north - beware, my lovelies!

Cause Way Thursday
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You may already know about this children's movie coming out in December starring Nicole Kidman. It's called The Golden Compass, and while it will be a watered down version, it is based on a series of children's books about killing God (It is the anti-Narnia). From what I understand, their hope is to get a lot of kids to see the movie (which won't seem too bad) and then get the parents to buy the anti-religious books for their kids for Christmas unknowing that this is what the books are truly about.

The quotes from the author sum it all up. Christians need to fight back by not letting their children see this movie, or read the books... and pass this important information on to anyone you care about...

Please follow this link and then pass it on.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On this date

Billy Graham, Christian Evangelist, is 89
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in 1874, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about criticisms of President Grant, an image which includes the first important use of the Republican Elephant. (See the cartoon and read an explanation).
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DO, please look at the cartoon and read the explanation.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

On this date

Sally Field, actress, is 61
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in 1860, former Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln defeated three other candidates for the U.S. presidency. (Go to article.)

I just listen to the music - not the words!

Vid Way Tuesday
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Madison Avenue [the advertising boys] have made their BILLIONS of dollars by making sure I buy their client's products & services. How do they do that? Many, many, times it is by putting the message to music. They know, with the empirical evidence to back it up, that even when we think we're only listening to the music we're taking in their message.

When I say, "But mom, I only listen to that song for the music.", the reality is that she can win the bet 9 times out of 10 betting that I can sing along with the song even though I'm not listening to the words [yeh...right!].

How many of the 'oldies' from my era can I sing along with when I hear them on the radio? Many, if not most. But I never listened to the words ... I just liked the beat.

If I listen to good lyrical music, maybe even 'Christian' music, do you think that it would fill my mind with things of Christ more than if I listen to P. Diddy or 50 cent? What if someone took well known and popular current Christian songs and applied a secular message to the melody? Would I think of the Christian lyrics and remember Christ, or would I hear their secular message?
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'CLICK' the > above and let's find out.
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Monday, November 5, 2007

On this date

Art Garfunkel, Singer, is 66
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in 1968, Republican Richard M. Nixon won the presidency, defeating Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party candidate George C. Wallace. (Go to article.)

COMMENTS on hospitality by Melody

Your Way Monday
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rom Melody in a com-box below.

One way in which we can extend hospitality to others is to feed the sick and bereaved. I'm sure we've all taken a casserole or a pie to a family which has experienced a death; knowing that cooking for visiting relatives would just be one more stress they didn't need. I have taken chicken soup to sick neighbors, and it was always appreciated.

A friend of ours who has a large family had serious surgery. Of course these days, even for a major thing, they dismiss you from the hospital within 2 or 3 days. So her friends from church signed up to bring in meals each day for a couple of weeks. Many parishes have a ministry set up to take food to families in situations like this. (It is a good idea to check and see if there are any dietary restrictions for people who have been ill.)

I am better at doing something like this than at entertaining others at our house (unlike my Mom, who must have been a closet Benedictine!). Mainly because I am bad at cleaning house. Which is why I am home from work today. Our son and his wife are coming to visit tomorrow, and the place is such a pit that I had to take a vacation day to get it halfway decent. So I'd better quit messing around and get busy.
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the more the merrier [from uncle jim]

We currently have an invitation out to about 60 people to come for dinner next Saturday evening. The way the invite goes, the first 25 to respond get in. We do this 3 - 6 times a year I would guess. Each time there may be some of the same folks invited, especially from among those who couldn't make it the previous time ... or didn't make their response in time. Through the course of the year, we keep trying to get some new people in the door. It is usually a pretty good mix of folks - and most of the time it includes families - kids - a few or a lot. Once in a while we'll make it an adults only invite to people who don't have kids at home. But it is a lot of fun. I encourage others to try it. You don't have to go large - half a dozen would do. Invite 20 and say the first 6 or 8 to respond get in. Oh - and you let them know that once you have a head count and demographic, you'll be calling them to let them know what they can bring.
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Sunday, November 4, 2007

On this date

Ralph Macchio, Actor (The "Karate Kid" movies), is 46
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in 1979, the Iranian hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran. (Go to article.)

ever said, "What a character!"?

My Way Sunday
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reflections on being a Christian man, part 1

Last evening I attended an ordination in Memphis, TN. My nephew, Dennis, was ordained by his Roman Catholic Bishop, J. Terry Steib, SVD, DD. Dennis is now a Deacon ... a transitional deacon. It is called transitional because it is a stepping stone to ordination as a priest of the Church. He is preparing for the priesthood for his diocese, the Diocese of Memphis, TN. His priestly ordination will take place next June 7, 2008. He is completeing his theological studies at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in southern INdiana.

Some events seem to give pause for additional consideration, and this one did that to me. Each of us is created by God in His image and likeness [Gn 1:26 Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. ...]. Each of us is unique in all of creation. Each of us is expected to use the many different gifts and talents for the common good. Dennis is answering his call.

Am I?

Are you?

What is there about me, as a man [male], as a Christian man at that, that should make me stand out and be a reflection of that which God intended me to be? I want to share with you some thoughts along that line - thoughts that started en route driving 9 hours to Memphis. I intend this to be a continuing reflection for several weeks of Sundays. Join me in these reflections.
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Of the first things I've considered, those that seem of most importance to me are the qualities that define the character of the Christian man. First and foremost in my development of manly Christian character are issues of taking responsibility before God. I am responsible ... I am not a victim of some heavenly prank. This realization carries with it a lot of gravitas - weight, heaviness, significance.

In the Old Testament book of Joshua, I read in Chapter 24:
"Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Like Joshua before me, I need to take responsibility for my family, my 'house', my household. That means a lot of different things ... and 'things' are a part of the equation. God has blessed me with 'things' - they are ALL His. I have been appointed as chief steward of that portion of His creation entrusted to my care.

In our society and culture, money is a medium of exchange. I exchange money with others for things and services held by them. They exchange money with me to obtain things and services from me. I am responsible to use that money wisely. It is God's money. I am charged with looking after it and using it for His purposes and designs.

The notion of tithing comes to mind. A portion of that money needs to go directly to God's work. For me that means financial support to His church and other charitable works. It cannot be just what I have left over - it needs to be significant, and needs to allow for almsgiving, also.

Additionally, in the order of manly character development, I need to join with other like-minded men and take responsibility for the wider social groupings with which I come into contact in my neighborhood, city, state, and nation. Governments are in place for the broader common good. The micro level is my responsibility. I need to be "my brothers' keeper".

[to be continued next Sunday]
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