30 January 2009

No Lasting City

I just moved to Maryville, Tennesee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Just around the corner is a used book store and coffee shop. Having lived in San Francisco, Denver, and Ann Arbor a place like this is familiar territory.

While enjoying a great cup of coffee yesterday I had to tolerate jubilant gushing over the "new attitude" sweeping the country being attributed to the new President. It's as if all the hopes and dreams of the sixties have become incarnate in the new Messiah, I mean, President.

I think that the kindness and goodness was always there. Look at the recent catastrophes and how people came out to assist total strangers. What I think has happened is that the usually pessimistic and fault-finding left is finally able to see the positive in society. They are finding that it's not all doom and gloom. If anything, at least the hallucinogenic kool-aid they're drinking has altered their perception in that respect.

Hopefully the euphoria will result in a loss of the victim mentality that plagues segments of our American society. The staunch pro-death position of our President does concern me. His socialist ideas seem compassionate, but I know that socialism never works and results in a dependent nanny-state.

Christian hospitals will close down rather than be forced to perform abortions if policies like the "Freedom of Choice Act" go through. It bugs me that my tax dollars once again fund abortions in the Third world whether I like it or not.

But I am comforted by this fact: "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come." (Hebrews 13:14) A man made Theocracy is just as bad as a Socialist Utopia. I'm just as weary of the fundamentalist culture warriors as I am the kum-bah-yah kool-aid drinkers.

So what am I to do during my brief journey through this world? "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Hebrews 13:16) And as Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Regardless of the political climate and the current regime, I still must do what I can to help my neighbor. My identity as a follower of Christ and my responsibility to be His hands and feet does not change. Even during times of persecution Christians throughout history continued their acts of kindness and love.

Government will not solve all our problems. Sorry to burst your bubble America. But in this world I know there will always be problems, but the true Messiah will guide me safely through them.

29 January 2009

Entrusted with Gifts

"Lord, if you let me win the lottery, I will do so much to help people and build your kingdom!"

Have you ever bargained with God this way?

I was thinking about the incident in the Gospel of Mark (12:41-44) when the widow gave her last two coins to God. Jesus said that she gave more than the others because she gave out of her poverty, not out of her surplus.

"As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters the oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4:10-11)

God wants us to give what we can from what we have. Consider your talents, abilities, and resources then pray for the Holy Spirit to show you where these gifts can be given. If you are gifted with your mouth: encourage, teach, and testify. If you are gifted with your hands: build, feed, and heal. Be a good steward of God's varied grace.

No one else can do what you do, can give what you give. That's why God made you. That's why He put you where you are. That's why the people in your life are there. Give generously of the treasure God entrusted you with for His glory.

01 January 2009

January 2009

January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3.

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year will be summoned before Thy judgment seat. May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee. Amen.

The Holy Father's prayer intentions for the month are:

Family: That the family may increasingly be a place of formation in charity, personal growth, and the transmission of the faith.

Christian Unity: That Christian denominations may strive for full unity so as to be more credible witnesses of the Gospel to a world in need of a "new evangelization."