Since We Can’t Say “Spying” Anymore…


Today we remember when Judas Iscariot went to the Sanhedrin and obtained a FISA warrant was paid thirty silver pieces to betray and deliver Jesus. After conducting authorized surveillance eating with Jesus and other disciples at the Last Supper, he returned to the Sanhedrin with an intelligence dossier, telling them Jesus would be at the Mount of Olives.

Just keeping up with the times, y’all.

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Patheos Announces Launch of New “Ex-Catholic” Channel

(ACMPress) A spokesman for Patheos Inc announced this morning they are launching a new channel by week’s end: The Ex-Catholic Channel.

“Given the growing number of ex-Catholics – especially in America – we felt they needed a place where they could monetize their experiences in a friendly, safe, supportive community,” the spokesman said. “We figured, why not help them fully explore their spiritual journey out of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church?”

Patheos hasn’t announced which writers the new channel will feature, but it is rumored a significant portion of the German Episcopacy has been brought on.

“It’s time to capture this expanding demographic,” the spokesman said, “and get a toehold in the market long held by the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal.”

Patheos did confirm that Rebecca Bratten Weiss will be the editor for the Ex-Catholic Channel, given her experience in managing the very similar Catholic Channel.

“The biggest hurdle we’re facing is marketing – how do we contrast the two channels?” the spokesman explained. “Will readers be able to tell the difference between them? It’ll be a challenge, but we’re confident Rebecca will figure it out – she’s all about nuance and gradation, after all.”

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The Christchurch Mosque Massacres: “What Can Men Do Against Such Reckless Hate?”

The mass shooting at the two mosques in Christchurch NZ on Friday, where 49 worhipers were killed, and dozens others were injured, is the latest tragedy to make headlines. I wish I could say it’s unbelievable.

As I thought about the shootings, the more I was reminded of the scene between Aragorn and King Theoden in Helm’s Deep, from Tolkien’s “The Two Towers”.

“So much death – what can men do against such reckless hate?”

The answer isn’t found merely in policies and parliaments, because the source of hate isn’t due to a lack of laws, or legal loopholes. Natural solutions are insufficient against supernatural problems, and while they’re necessary to maintain order, provide structure, and mete justice, they don’t address the heart of the problem. Hate springs from the heart of men, and no law can prevent its rising. Politicizing tragedy perpetuates the hate, and in short order, the motives and intentions of those pointing fingers becomes the issue, rather than the issue itself.

The best response to reckless hate is reckless love. It sounds insensible and nonsensical to the world, and to be honest, it sounds that way to most Christians too. But we know as Christians, by the example of Jesus’ life and death, that is the only response. Our real enemies are not flesh and blood, but powers and principalities, the spirit of the world, the enemy of mankind. When we instead battle against our fellow man, we reignite the fire of hatred that Christ’s love, as shown on the cross, has already extinguished.

Evil’s power lies in its ability to make us despair and feel hopeless. It endlessly batters against our hearts, minds, and souls, tempting us to believe all is lost. It convinces us we’ll be safer if we sacrifice more freedom, eliminate the Other – the “bad people” – or compromise priniciples. We feel helpless in the face of these tragedies: “There are so many problems, how can we possibly solve them all??” some ask. “What can Man do?” The truth? God doesn’t expect you or me to solve all the problems. He expects us to love with a reckless love. That’s what Christians are expected to do. Today, tomorrow, every day.

“Ride out and meet them.”

Aragorn suggests to King Theoden to meet the enemy head on, to battle with blade, and beat back the onslaught, and not cower in fear. Christ commands us to meet the enemy head on as well, but not with weapons. Or tweets, memes, and carefully crafted statements. We are called to love our neighbor and our enemy – sometimes they are the same person – and we can only do that by going out to meet them. Which can be a messy business. Following Christ ought to make us courageous, not cowardly. He has defeated death. He has told us to not be afraid.

“For death and glory?” “For your people.”

Loving our neighbor isn’t for our own glory. It’s for God’s. If our glory is the objective, then what we’re doing isn’t love. We go out to meet them, becoming a witness of the power of Christ’s love. We do it for the people – His people – one person at a time.

“The sun is rising.”

The Son has risen. Accuse of me of reading more into Gimli’s line, I don’t care. Jesus is our strength in our daily struggle against evil, because He has already won the battle. First and foremost, we must battle the evil within our own hearts. We start there, and then by loving our neighbor, God’s grace can work on their hearts, and love then spreads. God loved us first, while we were still sinners. We hold no claim to refuse to love others for that which God deigned to do for us while still imperfect.

“Let this be the hour when we draw swords together.”

Let this be the hour when we go out and meet them. Let this be the hour when we fight with reckless love. Let this be the hour we inconvenience ourselves with intentional acts of kindness. There will be future tragedies – none of us are so naive as to believe otherwise. No one is guaranteed safety. No one is spared from the effects of others’ exercise of free will. But may it never be said no one ever witnessed the love of God in us, because we failed to show the love we profess to possess.

Let us be the ones to show what can be done against such reckless hate.

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A Memento Mori Lent

Here we are, the start of another Lenten season. The older I get, the more I anticipate and look forward to it. It’s not because it’s one less Lent I will have to endure (although that’s true) – or that I’m one year closer to being exempt from fasting (also true, but surely I kid). I believe it’s because I’m gradually becoming more mature in my faith, and deepening my love of Jesus Christ.

I think my affinity towards Lent was sparked after reading Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples, and going through the Called & Gifted program several years ago. C&G brought my faith to a whole new level I didn’t think possible, and to this day, I still consider myself a disciple of Christ, following wherever He leads me, trusting more and more in His word. I have become more aware of the moments where God is leading me to exercise my charisms. Tis a beautiful thing when it happens.

And I believe this is is another one of those moments, a nudge towards something I hadn’t considered.

This Lent, I’m using the Memento Mori Lenten Devotional, by Sr Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, and published by Pauline Books & Media. Sr Theresa (@pursuedbytruth on Twitter) tweets and talks on the ancient Christian tradition of memento mori – “Remember your death” – and her enthusiasm for this practice inspired me to purchase the devotional and journal. I have zero expectations on what my faith and life will resemble on the other side of Easter. How will I be changed? What will my life look like?

Sr Theresa succinctly explains why this practice is important, in the devotional’s Forward:

Remembering one’s death is an absolutely essential aspect of the Christian life not only because it helps us to live well but also because it helps us remember what Christ has done for us. Jesus trampled death! Memento mori is not a momentary trend but an ancient practice encouraged by Scripture, Jesus, the Church Fathers, and many of the saints. With the grace of God, memento mori has the power to change your habits and lead you to holiness.

So here we go. Day 1 on the path to changing habits and increasing holiness. Putting out into the deep, talking about death. Who’s with me?

Image source: personal photo of Larry Denninger (please ask permission to use)

Posted in Catholic, Death, Lent | 3 Comments