Rejection for blog

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a gift we don’t want. If you can’t stand country music, ripping off the Christmas wrap and finding a CD entitled Country’s Greatest Hits isn’t going to go over very well. Nor is a DVD of a movie you can’t stand, nor a food that contains an ingredient you’re allergic to.

In my life I’ve gotten some pretty bad gifts (see “Weird Gifts”

So, when I get a gift like that, I figure there are four options:

  1. Trash
  2. Donation to charity
  3. Sell on eBay
  4. Re-gift to someone who will like it

As long as I’m sure the giver won’t find out about it, any of the above can be done without hurting that person’s feelings. So imagine my surprise to discover a different kind of option:  Continue reading

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Smothering the Spark

supermarket fire for blog

It had started out as a normal afternoon.

My aunt was shopping at our local supermarket. One moment everything was fine, but in the next the driver of a car on the street outside lost control of his vehicle and crashed it through the glass doorway of the store. Worse, it started a small fire.

My aunt scooped her toddler daughter out of the cart’s seat, grabbed her purse, and ran out the supermarket’s other exit.

Of course the police and the fire department were summoned. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the fire was put out quickly. The car was towed, broken glass swept away, the door boarded up.

That was the end of it.

Or so everybody thought.  Continue reading

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Market Street

market street for blog

I love silent movies. I admit they don’t have the “punch” movies nowadays—in color and with incredible special effects—have. Yet, they were quite something when they were made, and they still remain a window into yesteryear.

Take, for example, one of my favorites, A Trip Down Market Street, filmed on Saturday, April 14, 1906, in San Francisco.  Somebody set up a hand-cranked camera in the front of a trolley and recorded everything that occurred until the car reached the end of the line and turned for the return journey. Once in a while, you can tell a person has noticed the camera and is astonished by it, but for the most part, the picture captures a typical afternoon in early 20th century San Francisco. We see cars (some of which have the steering wheel on the right instead of the left), bicycles, and an occasional trolley car headed the other direction. What’s fascinating is all the folk who, going about their business on an ordinary day, had no idea this little slice of their lives was being preserved for posterity.

[SIDENOTE: You can view this short film here:  Sound has been added to this version.]

But the impact of this film is far greater than just that. When I watch it, I can’t help but be reminded of Luke 17: 26-29, which tells us of how people went about their usual lives, unaware disaster was about to strike . . .   Continue reading

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commandments for blog

When you read the Bible, you can sometimes see a hierarchy in the way things are listed. For example, each list of the twelve apostles shows Peter first and Judas last.

There’s another hierarchy you can find in the Old Testament: the Ten Commandments. The initial three, often depicted by themselves on one stone tablet, deal with our relationship with God. And the very first one is the most important: “I am the Lord thy God; Thou shalt not have other gods before me.”

Further down the list, we see the hierarchy still in play. “Thou shalt not kill” is obviously more important than the prohibition against adultery, which is greater than the one against stealing, which in turn is more important than not lying. And you can see how those are of more concern than coveting, whether of your neighbor’s spouse or goods.

But then there’s this one Commandment that seems—at least by today’s standards–to throw a monkey wrench into the whole idea of such a hierarchy.  Continue reading

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Just the Way I Am

just the way i am for blog

Recently, I came across a Facebook post from someone who declared “God loves me just the way I am.”

You can bet there were loads of comments agreeing with that sentiment.

I think I may have actually done a face palm.

Well, yeah. God does love me just the way I am. Since God is love, He loves all His creatures just the way they are.

All of them.

Even Satan.  Continue reading

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Mass Interrupted

bible for blog

Whoever designed my church is an idiot.

I don’t mean Whoever designed my Church. That would be Christ. I mean whoever designed my church building.

This nameless person apparently decided the best place to put the restrooms was on either side of the altar.

So, if the altar server isn’t paying attention, what you might hear when the Host is elevated during the Consecration is not the pleasant tinkling of bells but rather the whoosh! of a toilet flushing. Oh, the restroom is a distance away and the door is closed, but you can still hear it.

That’s what you call an untimely interruption.

I’ve heard of Masses being interrupted by protestors shouting slogans and throwing condoms at parishioners. Frankly, I never expected to be at a Mass that was interrupted by anyone.

But it happened.  Continue reading

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Complaining to God

wheelchair for blog

Do you ever wonder why God allows bad things to happen to us?

I mean, what are you to think when you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own? What if someone you love dearly dies?

Don’t you, like Job, sometimes want to beg God for an answer? Why, God, Why? How could you let this happen to me?

I admit sometimes I want an answer.  Continue reading

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Liar, Liar


Remember President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal? I know a woman who told me she thought it was okay for him to lie about it because “All guys lie about sex.”

I told her I had to disagree. The Commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” doesn’t have an asterisk at the end saying “unless the subject matter is sex.”

Besides, I pointed out, the man lied on the witness stand—under oath.  Did she not understand that when a person swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth “so help me God” that he is claiming God Himself is a witness to the truth of his statements?

I’m not so sure I convinced her. For some strange reason, this bias is deeply ingrained.

I saw on one of those talk shows a couple of men who also thought it was okay to lie about sex. Know why? Continue reading

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Dictionary for blog

According to the MacMillan dictionary, the prefix pro— means “supporting something or approving of it.” Nowadays a lot of people are pro-this or pro-that, whether you’re talking about politics or some other social issue.

And of course you will meet people who say they’re pro-life or pro-choice.

Actually, for a term to be the opposite of pro-life, it would have to contain the opposite of either one of the two terms. It would have to be anti-life or pro-death.

But of course nobody wants to claim to be either of those. After all, that sounds pretty bad, as of course it is. Hence the supposedly innocuous term pro-choice.

However, I have yet to meet anybody who actually is pro-choice.  Continue reading

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Defining Heaven

Heaven for blog

When I was in the first grade, I asked my teacher—a nun—what heaven is like.

She told me heaven is like the Mass.

That was absolutely the right answer.

That was absolutely the wrong answer.  Continue reading

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