Right Wing Extremism

POLITICS! I normally don’t get political in my blog posts. I do have very strong political beliefs, but the purpose of my blog is to help myself and others in our “Adventure to Salvation.” As a matter of fact, I think I only referred to politics once before in my blog and it was about the elections last fall. Click here if you would like to read it. However, recent news has fueled my desire to voice my concern about the future of our country. A report from the Department of Homeland Security has been released entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Below is a quote from a footnote on the second page of the document:

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

For the complete document, click here. A line has been drawn in the sand by President Obama and his administration. All Christians have been put on notice that they and their activities may be monitored. I say all Christians because most Christians oppose abortion. In addition, anyone who favors state authority over federal authority has been put on notice. In other words, if you agree with the founding fathers of our country, if you oppose abortion, and if you oppose immigration, including illegal immigration, you may be considered an extremist by the Department of Homeland Security. If you publicly stand up for those beliefs you may be monitored by the Federal Government.

So, what is the Christian response to this? Are we to remain silent in fear of the government watching our actions? Should we fear the government tapping our phone lines and listening in on our conversations? No! First of all, standing up for our beliefs is not illegal, not yet anyway. I also don’t think that the government has any interest in monitoring us at this point. They have more pressing matters to deal with right now. However, the current administration has let it known that they do not approve of our activities or beliefs.

In the event that the federal government does indeed decide to try to silence us, what are we, as Christians to do? We are to do what Peter and John did when they were brought before the Sanhedrin in Acts Chapter 4. The Sanhedrin ordered them to be silent about their beliefs in the Risen Christ. Their response was simple: “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). It is impossible for us, as Christians, to deny our faith and our beliefs. We must stand up! We must make our voices known. We must band together as the disciples did in the early Church and proclaim from the message of the Lord from the rooftops. Christ said we would be persecuted. It is all a part of the adventure of salvation. BRING IT ON!

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Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm  Comments (1)  

The Source and Summit of Our Faith

I love the Eucharist! The older I get, the more I understand and believe in the true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It becomes clear to me as I read the Gospels that Christ gave the Apostles the power to change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. You don’t need to be a biblical scholar to see what Christ did.

One of my favorite passages about the Eucharist is the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Here you have two disciples journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They are probably both distraught and excited at the same time. They are distraught over the fact that Jesus was killed, yet they are excited about the reports of His resurrection. Along comes “some guy” and starts a discussion with them about the scriptures. They are enlightened by what he has to say and strengthened by his words. Then they all sit down and have a meal together. This “guy” “took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.” (Luke 24:30). It was then, and only then, that the eyes of these two disciples were opened to who was with them. IT WAS CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST!! It was the Mass that Christ was celebrating with these two disciples–the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Luke stated twice in his Gospel that Jesus was only made known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist. He wanted to make it clear that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist. I am truly amazed by our Catholic tradition and I see the wisdom of the Church. The fathers of the Church didn’t just make this up. There is a scriptural basis for all of it. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and 2000 years later we hold true to the traditions Jesus implemented for us. No other Christian church can make that claim! Praise God for our Catholic faith.

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

My Online Rambling Serves a Purpose!!

Writing to me is like therapy. I have found that when I keep a journal that my life is more spiritually enriched. I’m not talking about the type of journal where you write down all the good and bad things that happened to you today, although that can be therapeutic as well. The journal I have kept is more of a spiritual journal.

I have moved beyond the written journal into the realm of blogging. This here is my online journal. I write a blog just as much, if not more, for me than for those who read it. I started it as a way to minister to the teens that are in the parishes I serve as a youth minister, as something extra they could do to strengthen their own faith. What I didn’t expect, however, was for it to strengthen my own faith as well. The spiritual writing I do requires reflection on my part. It requires me to think about the topic I am writing about.

I try every day to find Christ at work in my life. When I encounter those experiences, I reflect on them. Sometimes I read something that touches my heart, whether it be a scripture passage or something from a book I’m reading. Oftentimes I stop whatever I’m doing and write. I feel strengthened when I put pen to paper….I mean when I see the words flow on the screen as I type them. God is truly at work in my life. If I take the time and reflect on it and write about it I will be drawn closer to Him

Why don’t you try it? I’m not saying that you need to start blogging. Just get a notebook or journal and a pen and start writing. Write what is on your heart. It may be only one word. If you keep a spiritual focus on what you write, God will reveal Himself to you.

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Want to Deepen Your Faith–Try This…

I’ve mentioned several times in my blogs that I’m a big fan of Matthew Kelly’s book “Rediscovering Catholicism.” One of the things he discusses in his book is the importance of spiritual reading. He even goes so far as to say:

“We could…dream up of all types of elaborate adult education programs, but my proposal is that we encourage Catholic adults to read good spiritual books.”

Catholics are leaving the Church in droves because they don’t agree with certain teachings. But these Catholics that are leaving the Church don’t understand WHY the Church takes the stance it does. We can do whatever we can to try to get them to stay or come back but they will never understand it fully unless they discover it themselves. Encouraging spiritual reading will give all Catholics (not just the fallen away) the opportunity to discover the fullness of our faith on our own. If all of us would just take the time to read why the Church teaches what it does we will gain a better understanding of the beauty of the truth the Church is bestowing on us.

Likewise, if good, faithful Catholics immerse themselves in spiritual reading–even if it’s only 15 minutes a day–then they will deepen their faith and grow closer to Christ. I have tried this Lent to spend time each day doing some spiritual reading and I am already feeling the difference. So my challenge to all who read this is to spend time each day reading something spiritual. It will change your life!

Published in: on March 28, 2009 at 3:09 am  Comments (2)  

The Gap

I read something the other day that gave a new perspective on the idea of fasting. The premise of what I read was that we fast because something is missing in our lives and we want to remind ourselves of that gap. It made me think a lot about what it was that was missing and how to fill that “gap” in our lives.

Our human nature is one where there is something missing. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve our lives have been missing that deep, intimate, and personal connection with God the Father. We have been separated from Him through our sin. Our lives are filled with the pursuit of filling that gap in our lives. Everyone is pursuing something to fill themselves. The question is, what are you trying to fill that gap in your life with?

Many people try to fill that gap with things of this world. They pursue power, money, and personal gratification. They are concerned with status and the respect of others. Imagine digging a hole, a gap, in the ground. Now imagine filling that “gap” with water. You can probably fill it up, but it won’t stay filled. Eventually the water will seep into the ground. Filling the gap in your life with things of the world is like trying to fill the gap in the ground with water. You can fill your life up with money, power, status, and personal gratification but eventually the satisfaction you feel from those things will fade. It will seep into the soil and you will be left wanting once again.

Now imagine filling that hole in the ground with concrete. That concrete will not seep into the ground, but it will form a hard, firm foundation. Filling the gap in the ground with concrete is like filling your life with the life of Christ. The more you fill your life with Christ the harder the foundation of your life will become. You will never be left wanting if you fill your life with Christ.

Take the time of fasting and sacrifice this Lent to reflect on the gap in your life. What are you trying to fill that gap with? Use this holy time as an opportunity to reevaluate your life and put your priorities where they belong–with Christ.

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment