Getting Tired Of Playing Nice

Yesterday, the Gospel reading was one of the hardest ones for any committed American patriot and Christian to hear.  From Matthew Chapter 5: 38-48 (part of the Sermon on the Mount):

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

As my pastor said, We do this because we are Christian.

In the current state of American affairs, this is one of the hardest messages to hear, to love your enemies.  Love the people subverting the culture.  Love the muslims who are trying to instill Sharia law into our form of government.  Love the people who use government for their own enrichment.  Love the tax cheats.  Love the people who lie to get entitlements at the public trough.  Love the shysters perpetuating the hoax that the earth is being so affected by our activity that for its survival we must give up our way of life.

What makes this so difficult at this time is that the other side doesn’t play nice.  The other side has no problem lying, cheating, calling names, backstabbing, and so forth.  And yet, we Christians turn the other cheek.

Because that is what Christ told us to do.

This is what makes being a Christian such a difficult road.

Our only defense is the truth.  Speak the truth and an enemy may spit in your eye, but nothing wrong occurred.

Yes, we Christian Americans are getting tired of this.  And it will never end.

Learning To Ignore The Self

Every now and then, more often than used to be, headlines scream “Are Married Couples Happier Without Kids?

Being one of the millions of generation Xers in America who have put dreams of having not just a marriage, but a family in God’s hands, the irony is rather astounding.

Are married couples happier without kids.  From observation, some are, some aren’t.  On her daughter’s birthday, a friend from high school posted Happy Birthday to her “little miracle,’ remembering her six angels in Heaven.  The pain of the loss was obvious.  A cousin and his wife have not grown up yet, so any kids for them would be counter-productive, especially given their chosen profession in a creative field.  I’ve seen marriages all but fall apart when no baby appears.  Then there are the kids who outright say, “I was a mistake.”

Are married couples happier without kids.  That implies that the couple puts themselves before much other than the marriage.

In Catholicism, we are taught the order of priorities is God, family and then work.  Self is not mentioned.  Almost EXACTLY the opposite of modern American life.

For over a century, advertising has sold Americans on the concept that putting self ahead of everything else is the way life should be lived.  This is counter to being Catholic.  So is putting work ahead of God and family – even if work is part of providing for a family.  Yes, work is important and everyone must do it, but to put it ahead of having a relationship with God and family cuts us off from how God requests us to order our priorities.

But in America, we are taught to put self and work – a career – ahead of all the rest, even if God is calling us to do something other than work so that we can retire in style.

Are married couples happier without kids.

What a selfishly American concept.

Christian Women Face The World

head covering

Out here in flyover country, a disturbing trend is presenting itself – the niqab, or Muslim women’s face covering is appearing more and more.  To see it in a country where women are encouraged to consider themselves the equal of men and valued in our own right is rather jarring whether we agree with the notion or not.

The United States is not a Muslim theocracy where women HAVE to over themselves from head to toe everyday just because the mullahs say so.  Tough for those who think we are no longer Christian, too.

In trying to find out how it is that Islam insists on this practice as there are many women who only wear a headscarf for modesty, a little research was in order.  In the process, an even more jarring factoid about Muslim women’s attire surfaced – outside of the hard-line theocracies, wearing a niqab is a woman’s choice.

These women hide themselves.

Women wearing a niqab in the west choose to present only their eyes to the world.  Why?  Because presenting their visage to the world leaves many of them uncomfortable as they feel immodest and vulnerable when men view their faces.  At least that’s what a good many of the blogs out there written by women who wear a niqab say about the matter.

It is not required, but what does merely offering the option say about a religion?  God, in the case of Islam is called Allah, made women and by the rules of the “religion” they are permitted to go into the world participating in it and hiding at the same time.  As if they exist and don’t exist simultaneously.  And what does that say about Islam’s collective opinion of God’s largesse.  Hide away what God has made?

In Christianity, we believe that we are made in God’s image.  Every time we face another human being, we are looking at God’s creation, whether the person has fallen from grace – or modesty – or not.  We are all individual.  No two are the same, even people who are identical siblings, having split from the same zygote in the womb.  This is a celebration of God’s goodness.

We Christian ladies are encouraged to embrace our femininity within the bounds of modesty.  There are those who flaunt the rules, but at the same time, there are many who leave no doubt that they are female while leaving a little mystery for the eye of the beholder.  We enjoy it – and we enjoy the difference between men and women.  More importantly, the men of Christianity are taught to respect women.  Well, they are supposed to be taught that.  We’ve all run into dirty old men, guys that use females and creepy priests who need to go to confession.  But the basic teachings of Christianity treat women as people to be cherished, not hidden away, and certainly not choosing to hide oneself while in the world.  (Women in cloisters do not participate in the world, so there is no comparison with contemplative nuns.)

Standards of modesty have changed over the centuries, but one thing has not – Christian women face the world – literally.  At various times during history, our hair has been covered as St. Paul instructed and tradition at marriage has women presented to their new husbands with veils removed BEFORE the vows.  But there is no tradition of the face, the self, being hidden from the world, choice or not.  We do not  disappear simply because we feel threatened by the world or because men make us uncomfortable.

From personal experience, I will say that Muslim men are far more obvious about their fascination, admiration or otherwise staring at women.  Yes, it is very uncomfortable.  You can almost see these guys licking their chops.  Christian, Jewish and athiest me are far more polite about it.

Marriage Isn’t For You

Cultural Limits:

A lot to think about here.

Originally posted on Seth Adam Smith:

Kim and I

Kim and I

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my…

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Do Not Be Afraid

Originally posted on The Conservative Citizen:

star-spangled-fish-lapel-pin-white

“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

So much for peace.

Any ideas who said it?  Come on Christians.  It’s in the Bible.

That passage is in the twelfth chapter of the Gospel According to Luke.  The speaker is Jesus Christ Himself.

Seriously.  So much for peace…

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What’s so uncool about cool churches?

Cultural Limits:

My thoughts exactly.

Originally posted on the gospel side:

Unintended Consequences: How the “relevant” church and segregating youth is killing Christianity.

I recently spent six-months doing a rotation as a hospital chaplain. One day I received a page (Yes, hospitals actually still use pagers). Chaplains are generally called to the rooms of people who look ill: People gray with kidney disease, or yellow with liver failure, discouraged amputees, nervous cancer patients. In this room, however, was a strikingly attractive 23 year-old young lady sitting up cheerfully in the hospital bed, holding her infant daughter and chatting with family and friends.

Confused, I stepped outside and asked her nurse, “Why did I get paged to her room?”

“Oh, she looks fabulous. She also feels great and is asking to go home,” the nurse said.

“…And you are calling me because?” I asked in confusion.

The nurse looked me directly in the eye and said: “Because we will be…

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Empowering Our Youth to Make a “Mess”

Originally posted on 8 Kids And A Business:

Posted at Catholic Lane and Catholic Insight

PhotoIn one of his World Youth Days homilies, Pope Francis told the throng of enthusiastic young adults that he wants “a mess”. “I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he exclaimed. The participants embraced his words, reacting with the customary jubilation we have come to expect every time the Holy Father addresses the crowds.

The Holy Father was encouraging the youth to go out and spread the Gospel. As a mom of young adults, I am excited at the thought of my children’s generation going out and evangelizing but at the same time, I’m cautiously optimistic.

As a catechist of young children in my parish, I am all too aware…

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