Category Archives: Life In Christ

When the men do time, their daughters do time

“I thought I needed material things to make my daughter happy, when what I needed was right in front of my face.”

–Ronnell Glasgow

via Virginia Jail Holds Father-Daughter Dance For Prisoners – ABC News

(h/t lacydelagarza)

This is a very touching, inspiring story and I ask all who read it to pray for these men and their families because despite everything they’ve done and put their families through – these fathers are still needed by their kids.

 

 

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This anti-speeding ad from New Zealand will haunt you | News.com.au

Christ taught us to love our neighbor. Well here is another example of how the simple act of obeying laws we deem “fluid” based on location, car, mood, etc. can become a day-to-day expression of that love simply because you care enough to be considerate of the person or persons you may never see otherwise.

This anti-speeding ad from New Zealand will haunt you

ANTI-SPEEDING ads have been done to death, which is perfectly appropriate when you consider how many people die every year because of speeding.

But this ad from our friends in New Zealand turns the subject on its head. It asks speeders, who may think they’re in control, to think about the mistakes that other drivers make. And in doing so, it literally makes time stop.

The ad opens with its focus on a father who is waiting to turn onto a country road with his son sitting in the back seat.

The father makes a mistake. He pulls out in front of a car which is travelling towards him too fast. Moments before the two vehicles collide, time freezes.

Both drivers get out of their cars and walk towards each other.

The father knows there’s nothing he can do. Source: News.com.au via YouTube

“Mate … I’m so sorry, I thought there was time,” the father says.

“You just pulled out,” the other man responds. “I don’t have time to stop.”

The father knows there’s nothing he can do. Source: YouTube

“Please. I’ve got my boy in the back,” says the father. The other man looks over and sees the child in the back seat.

“I’m going too fast,” he says. There’s an awkward pause. “I’m sorry.”

Both men walk back to their cars. The second man looks at his speedometer, which says he’s moving at more than 100km/h. The father takes one last look at his son, with pain etched all over his face.

Then time restarts, and the two vehicles smash into each other.

As the screen fades to black, the words “Other people make mistakes. Slow down” appear.

Watch the ad. It might haunt you for a while, but that’s probably a price worth paying.

via This anti-speeding ad from New Zealand will haunt you | News.com.au.

 

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Fla. woman dies after 42 years in a coma

(R) Colleen O'Bara and Edwarda O'Bara (Facebook)

A beautiful story of the sanctity of a human life.

MIAMI— A Miami woman who spent 42 years in a coma has died.

The Miami Herald reports Edwarda O’Bara was a high school student in 1970 when she fell ill, threw up her medicine and slipped into a diabetic coma. She passed away Wednesday at age 59.

The Herald reports that before the teen lost consciousness, she asked her mother, Kay O’Bara, to never leave her side. She kept her promise, taking care of her daughter until she died five years ago. That’s when Colleen O’Bara stepped in and continued taking care of her sister in the Miami Gardens home.

Kay O’Bara was a devout Catholic who said she felt the presence of the Virgin Mary in her daughter’s room. That led Dr. Wayne Dyer to write “A Promise Is A Promise: An Almost Unbelievable Story of a Mother’s Unconditional Love and What It Can Teach Us.”

via Fla. woman dies after 42 years in a coma.

FoundNation » Universal

I was fortunate to discover this group while listening to the Catholic Rockers podcast, produced by SQPN. In any event, as has been my experience with most “praise” Catholic musicians they bring every experience the Lord has allowed them to the table in his honor and leave nothing to be desired.

FoundNation is more than just a rap group. It is a group of men, driven by their Christian identity, to serve others, and make God known to them through their lives and their music.

This new group that spans to all the borders of the United States is not only bringing a new sound to Christian rap but is also setting a high bar for catholic rap. The 3 artists with the stage names of Thot, Dy-verse, and C2six have many years of ministry, from the local level of parish ministry with CCD and catechetical teachers to street ministry with gang intervention and street witnessing. After pursuing solo careers in the hip-hop world, they crossed paths through the indie Catholic rap label Phatmass, and quickly bonded as artists and friends. Desiring to bring change to the lives of individuals, their communities, and their own personal lives as they continuously sought to live out their Catholic-Christian faith, these young men became the group called FoundNation.

With their individual talents, they seek to bring light into a dark world, through rhymes, beats and songs. The sounds represented from the group come from “tha South” and also from a “latin” rap mixed with a “now-pop” sound, the music is definitely engineered for our street youth but enjoyable for all ages and backgrounds.

Check them out:


FoundNation » Universal
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On why one person thinks they are pro-life

A 3D ultrasound taken of a fetus at 20 weeks.
A 3D ultrasound taken of a fetus at 20 weeks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The excerpt below, from a recent op-ed piece, is a perfect example of what is often referred to as “relativism.” One the one hand the anonymous author states correctly that being pro-life means that one respect the sanctity of life, they qualify the definition with an all or nothing approach that essentially pulls the rug out from under that sanctity.

(Just an aside, I pulled what I felt were the full nuggets of the piece, which deals with the issue of life. The remainder of the op-ed is a bit of a rant against conservative politicians…blah, blah, blah…)

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

Once we get past the ranting we get to the substance of this person’s opinion. I find it interesting that this piece remains anonymous as anyone who feels so strongly that their position is correct should stand behind it. I may put funny pictures as my profile and the like but it isn’t that hard to find me out.

Anyway, the author qualifies their vision of pro-life of being of their “world.” As such, the start of the relative begins. Relativism is one of those concepts that seems good on the surface but is essentially a mirage that disappears as one gets closer leaving you thirsty and worse off than before. That said, there are some interesting points such as the lack of effective gun, environmental and education regulation. But there is one major issue – the author lumps all of these issues in a manner that leads implies that each issue is equal to the other.

Willful abortion, the murder of children in the womb, is an evil that has no equal. It goes so far against the norm that its abolishment is a goal of importance that far exceeds that of any other listed here. And that is because every right that a human has stems from the right to life. Moreover, all of the other issues presented here are those that humans affect on each other and some are even self inflicting. Abortion on the other hand is one where the primary victim has no choice or even opportunity to remove themselves from harm.

“Pro-life” can mean only one thing: “respect for the sanctity of life.” And there is no way that respect for the sanctity of life can mean we are obligated to protect every fertilized egg in a woman’s ovary, no matter how that egg got fertilized, but we are not obligated to protect every living person from being shot with a concealed automatic weapon. I have no respect for someone who relies on voodoo science to declare that a woman’s body can distinguish a “legitimate” rape, but then declares — when 99 percent of all climate scientists conclude that climate change poses a danger to the sanctity of all life on the planet — that global warming is just a hoax.

The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth. That radical narrowing of our concern for the sanctity of life is leading to terrible distortions in our society.

While the author is correct that pro-life is a term where the identified or self-identified explicitly values all life (human life mind you) as sacred, their definition is one of their own design as it does not truly value human life as sacred. This is evidenced by their failure to elevate the protection of the most inalienable right of the most innocent as the number one priority.

Would they be so rash at comparing slavery and genocide (of native american, Jews, etc.) as being on the same level as the environment and health care? This makes no sense.

Respect for life has to include respect for how that life is lived, enhanced and protected — not only at the moment of conception but afterward. That’s why, for me, the most “pro-life” politician in America is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While he supports a woman’s right to choose, he has also used his position to promote a whole set of policies that enhance everyone’s quality of life — from his ban on smoking in bars and city parks to reduce cancer, to his ban on the sale in New York City of giant sugary drinks to combat obesity and diabetes, to his requirement for posting calorie counts on menus in chain restaurants, to his push to reinstate the expired federal ban on assault weapons and other forms of common-sense gun control, to, to his support for mitigating disruptive climate change.

Again, there is truth to the author’s position but to qualify it with the work of Mayor Bloomberg is questionable and of poor understanding of the sanctity of life. Banning acts of the will like smoking, sugary drinks and the like, while well-intentioned and even beneficial, but not doing so with concern for the murder of children is reprehensible and contradictory. None of those items, including guns and climate change are as grave or have a direct impact on an individual person – as in an innocent person being the target each and every time – as abortion.

via Opinion: Why I am pro-life – San Jose Mercury News.

Five Steps to Better Parenting

English: Holy Family, Mary, Joseph, and child ...
English: Holy Family, Mary, Joseph, and child Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is some good advice for parents:

  • Make the most of our time together.  My son and I have been having great conversations on the way to lacrosse practice and when we throw the football in our front yard.  The important thing is to maximize every minute with our children as opportunities to share and guide them to good decisions in life.  Making family dinner time a priority is one way to help make this happen.  Know that efforts to get our attention are often potential cries for help.  They need us, but are we available?
  • Listen before lecturing.  This is difficult for me!  The fastest way to have my son clam up is for me to cut him off with a “coaching moment.”  I can coach later, but I need to hear him out first and encourage him to share his thoughts.
  • Be great Catholic role models.  It doesn’t get more basic than this, but do we realize how often our children are watching our every move?  They will love God, be excited about Mass and have devotion to our Catholic faith if we do.  They will likely pray faithfully if we do. They will be more likely to grow up following the Magisterium and staying out of the “Catholic cafeteria line” if we do.
  • Honor the Sacrament of marriage.  Want to see our children get married and start great families some day?  Love our spouses and model the kind of marriage we want them to enjoy.  Show open affection, say “I love you” and make sure the kids know how much we honor and respect the person we have married.  We are dooming our kids to a marriageless future or possible divorce if they grow up in a home where the Sacrament of marriage is not treasured and valued.
  • Tune out popular culture and “detach.”  Guess what?  If we are obsessed with American Idol, buying junk we don’t need and trying to keep up with the neighbors, our kids are likely to emulate our behavior.  I am beginning to feel that every minute spent in front of the TV or the computer is wasted time and a missed opportunity to interact with the family.  This may be the hardest thing on the list, but we can do a better job with our time and focus.

via Throwing the Football and Five Steps to Better Parenting : The Integrated Catholic Life.

3:10 to Yuma – 3:00 to Divine Mercy

Cover of "3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Editio...
Cover of 3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Edition)

Okay, the title of the post may not completely make sense but whatever – it’s my blog and I like it.

Anyway, I just finished watching the remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and found it phenomenal and spiritually rich. At the moment I cannot recall the ratings for the film upon its release but because it is a Western and I am partial to that genre.

There is so much to the Western. For me the American cowboy is for the US what the knight is for the UK. And with that idealization comes much in the way of what makes those stories and characters great and timeless – that is chivalry and self-sacrifice. 3:10 was certainly no different in my eyes.

With Crowe as the antagonist Ben Wade, we find an extremely charismatic villain whose love of creating art betrays his reputation like an atoll betrays the expanse of the open ocean. On the flip side, Bale’s protagonist Dan Evans, is one whose own dignity is seemingly borders on stubborn pride as he remains set on seeing out his choices to the end despite what appeared to me as doubt in said choices and even himself.

However, as the film crescendos towards the final scene there are breaks of what I would call examples of God’s Divine Mercy and the alleviation of Evans’ internal sufferings which stem from internal doubt. The doubt and possibly guilt that many a good father carries with them when they feel that they cannot and have not provided for their families. Add that to an injury gained on the battle field but not by the “courageous” fight against the enemy but from a fellow soldier via what we now call “friendly fire.” How many veterans return home from the front with an injury and barely a prospect to support themselves or their families?

The first of these glimpse of Mercy begins with the fact that Even decides to make a seemingly foolish decision to risk his life and that of his family to bring in Wade for $200 – just enough to skin by. This exhibits a man who is not greedy but desperate, involving himself where he has no obligation.

Despite this Evans survives where other die and his life is spared by the murderous outlaw Wade on more than one occasion – again, displaying the fact that Wade certainly has a moral compass – a conscience though malformed and crooked. Together both good and bad (not so bad) begin to see and understand each other in a way that, as evidenced in the scene at the train station, one could speculate that the two may have been friends were their paths slightly different. On the one hand Wade begins to respect Evans as a man of integrity and honor as the father proves that he did not ultimately choose to escort Wade to the train as a payout but rather as a way to show his oldest son that his father is a man integrity and of self-sacrifice. Wade now understands why he would turn down the $1000 he offered Evans while getting Mr. Butterfield, the railroad man, to promise that very amount simply because he “was the only to take Wade to the train when others wouldn’t.”

On top of that, the entire exchange concerning payoffs took place rain came down upon the drought-ridden town of Brisby, which eliminated, in the eyes of Wade, the monetary purpose for Evans choice. To me it seemed that the rain washed away the weight of doubt off the back of Evans and reinforced what faith he had in God. And no knowing that the his family was more than taken cared of – he was free to make good on his word for the simple reason that it was his word and that he was doing what he could to obtain justice for many who fell at the barrel of Wades revolver. A revolver that interestingly enough, played what was perhaps the most important part of the ending scene — giving us a glimpses of how Christ crucified joined with the selfless act of Evans brought hope and a shimmer of redemption to a violent villain.

Of course a film made today must show that the bad guy remains bad (thus Wade calls on his trusty steed) but I could certainly see that the director intended the Crucifix on the handle of Wade’s gun to be the equating factor for Wade “somewhat” redeeming himself. And through those last moments the audience knew that Evans would not have made the journey without the aid of Wade. It almost reminded me of Simon of Cyrene  helping Jesus with His cross. The man wanted nothing to do with it but seeing that this was not only his redemption but the redemption of the entire human race – how could he not have joined willingly after a little prodding initially?

I know much of what I say can be considered a stretch but for me I see examples of God’s Mercy and Love in our dramatic tales in print and on stage and screen. It is written in our hearts.

Finding Truth in Comics

You know, I am not quite sure what to make of this…

Original cover by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel 1962.
Original cover by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Marvel 1962.
'Fantasy,' painted glass panel, 2010, 16x20 by Brandon Michael Barker.
'Fantasy,' painted glass panel, 2010, 16x20 by Brandon Michael Barker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

via Covered: Brandon Michael Barker covers Amazing Fantasy 15.

After checking out Mr. Barker’s site, there appears to be a very Christocentric theme with his stained-glass comic book hero pieces. Like I said, I am not quite sure what to make of it.

Mr. Barker does mention any reason for this Christocentrism and the pieces do not appear particularly offensive or blasphemous. Comic book superheros always bring a Christological allegory into the mix the best representation for this being Superman.

In this reinterpretation of the Amazing Fantasy #15 cover, Mr. Barker includes obvious Christian imagery such as the Α/Ω in the upper right corner, replacing the American Comics Association seal. Of course, there is the halo, which is topped with the acronym for IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum), which translates to English as “Jesus the Nazarene (Galilean), King of the Jews (Judeans)” (INRI – Wikipedia). Also presented is the Christogram XP (Chi Rho). For an added bonus, Mr. Barker places some Roman Numeral on the lips of Spidey and although I am pretty sure this may not have been his intent, I could not help but think of the Stations of the Cross.

As a fan, Spider-man always seemed like a Christological allegory to me in the sense that one receives graces/powers/talents and must make a decision on how to best utilize these gifts – especially while struggling with one’s own cross or crosses. That famous line from Amazing Fantasy #15, which is mistakenly attributed to Uncle Ben Parker remains relevent and True and as a Catholic, harbors a deep call for evangelism:

“And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility!

— Narrator, Amazing Fantasy #15

Compare that line to the following passage from Luke 12:48 where Jesus states,

“But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

Talk about finding the Truth of God in the most unlikely of places.