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There's a war on. Are you going to enlist, be drafted or be run over?

The Manhattan Declaration has been finalized, signed and released.  The summary of the document is:

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Folks, I don’t know if you have heard but there’s a war going on.  Yep and it’s time to chose sides.  These Christian leaders have chosen theirs, and written up a biblical, theologically-based explanation. What will YOU choose?

Read the entire document here.   And then sign here.

…I am signature 18702.

Postscript:  Fr. Z assures us that while the war is raging, our awesome Pope is implementing a Marshall Plan!  He’s got some other good advice, too.

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This is an excellent article from Jeffrey Tucker on The New Liturgical Movement blog.   The comments are also challenging.

The youth movement in Christianity is close to my heart.  I have observed it in Evangelical circles and bemoaned its near-absence within Catholic circles.  Yet, as Mr. Tucker observes, the Big Worship Event is not all that its cracked up to be and as at least one commentator remarks, it is not bearing fruit within the Evangelical churches, who are also losing their youth at a surprising rate.

What I will say about this topic, which I admit I contemplate daily as I discern God’s call for my own ministry work, is that there seems to be required a balance of the two extremes:  yes, youth respond to the loud, exciting and sometimes hormonally driven Big Worship Events.  But as Catholics, we absolutely must feed our children as we feed ourselves:  with quiet and intense and personal prayer and contemplation, and a clear emphasis on the sacraments.  My major beef with American Catholicism is that (with the exception of parishes here and there) our Catholic youth are COMPLETELY IGNORED:  they aren’t being fed at all.  If you think that dragging your teen to mass every Sunday is feeding his or her soul adequately, you need to seriously step back and look again.  Anyway, read this article.    Oh, and read about Catholic HEART Workcamps again.  ;-) 

 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some thirty years ago, evangelical Christianity threw itself heavily into the business of marketing itself with a series of hip slogans such as “I Found It” (a stranger is supposed to ask what this means, thereby opening an opportunity to share the Gospel). Along the same lines, there was the Good News Bible with a newspaper-theme cover. More recently there has been the WWJD campaign. Dozens of other kitschy campaigns have come and gone.

Part this new sensibility, even a core part, was the cultivation of a specific youth sector within the church. The idea is born of the baby boom: there is some kind of generation gap that makes it difficult for young people to comprehend things in the same way that older people do. Thus must we concoct special sales pitches to show the youth that Christianity is for them. Of course we need youth ministers too (an aging guy who wears jeans) and a host of programs to show off that Christianity is not just for stodgy fuddy-duddies.

This effort almost always means adapting the shape and form of existing secular youth culture — which itself is a modern invention — and baptizing it with Christian themes and messages. The rationale is that if we do not create a Christianized copy of the prevailing youth culture, we risk losing the youth entirely.

If the kids are going to attend rock concerts, better that they be Christian rock concerts. If they are going to go to rallies and parties and scream their heads off about crazy stuff, better that they be Christian rallies, parties, and scream fests. Better to get high on Jesus than methamphetamines. That’s the rationale.

The “youth retreat” was born at some point in this process, and by “retreat,” I don’t mean a time of quiet contemplation, spiritual reflection, and careful discernment. The retreat almost always involves the display of a series of would-be teen idols who sing and speak and tell jokes, and eventually get around to presenting an emotional story of their own conversion. These eventually morphed into huge national conventions with massive commercial sectors within them, with teens encouraged by parents to travel hundreds of miles to experience the spiritual high that comes with huge religious gatherings.

The heady mixture of presence of Christian rock-stars, encountered in the context of a thorough mixing of boys and girls on out-of-town trips, can lead to strikingly emotional experiences. Kids return telling of their new-found commitment to religion and also of the intense new friendships they have developed with others on the trip. Parents feel a sense of relief that at least these kids are hanging around with other Christian kids and not fraternizing with the seedy sectors of life.

Catholics were late to this approach to “selling” their faith to the youth but with Mass attendance dramatically down from decades ago, more and more people are getting in on the act. In the digital age, this involves heavy use of film and video shorts that promote bacchanalian scenes of fun, laughter, loud music, and inspiration of some sort or another.
And it does all make difference. The kids return home with a new countenance, and a new love of God and a new love of their neighbor, though the young can be rather confused about how to sort it all out.

They report on their changed lives. And this effect lasts for about six months on average, at least that’s my strong impression. In its wake follows some degree of disillusionment, failed romances, and the status quo ante.

In the worst case, the effects of an event like this can actually backfire. By comparison to the massive youth rallies, the home parish seems rather staid and dull. Where are the rock bands, the great speakers, the beautiful boys and girls aching for new relationships, the inspiration that the rally dump on us by the buckets? Clearly there is nothing in my hometown parish that can compare to that.

The eye begins to wander to other sects that can provide or at least attempt to provide that unrelenting stimulation that comes with youth rallies. They do a much better job of it than Catholics. It may not last there either and it might be just as superficial but at least they make a go of it. On this front, the Catholics can’t compete. And if the basis of your spirituality is the longing for media stimulation and artificially inflated spiritual highs, Catholicism is going to be marginalized at some point in their quest.

For Catholics, this is a very serious matter. To be Catholic in today’s world requires a great deal of social sacrifice. It nearly always has in the modern age. We don’t have the right friends in the right circles. Our parishes don’t have commercial venders selling lattes and we don’t have health clubs. What’s more, the Roman Rite doesn’t lend itself to the unleashing of loud guitars and would-be rock star improvisations. There are no personality cults in the Roman Rite. The entire structure actually does the opposite. It buries the personality and directs attention toward eternity.

From a marketing angle, (more…)

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Everyday, the news makes one thing clear in my heart:  I sure miss President Bush.

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I’m like…totally mad at Michael Barber.  I totally did an entire fake interview with him and like, completely didn’t know that he and Kim were expecting another baby!  I’m really bummed.  People will think we don’t know each other!  I might not ever make up another interview with him.  :-P 

All joking aside…congratulations to Michael and Kim Barber and welcome to Matthew Stephen, who really DID hit the lottery to be born into such a sweet family.  Blessings and prayers for all the Barber family!

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Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The great and powerful Wizard has spoken!

From the AP via  Google:    

ATLANTA — The nation’s largest publisher of newspapers serving the gay and lesbian community has shut down.

Laura Douglas-Brown, editor of Southern Voice newspaper in Atlanta, said she arrived at work Monday to find the locks changed and a note saying parent company Window Media LLC had closed down.      

She said the company’s other publications — including the Washington Blade, Houston Voice and South Florida Blade — were also being closed.      

“From my understanding, there was just no more money to keep these companies running,” she said in a telephone interview as she sat with her former employees outside their locked Atlanta office. “We had all been told that the companies would be sold. The fact that we were shut down was a complete shock.” 

The reason why?  Well, you’ll be happy to know that the AP stringer reports the reason for the financial failure of this gay publishing conglomerate:  too many other mainstream sources for gay news.  Yep, you read that right.  Seems that the MSM is chockful of gay and lesbian news articles:    

The company’s financial trouble stemmed from a number of factors. Besides an industrywide drop in advertising revenue amid the economic meltdown, mainstream publications are writing more about gay and lesbian issues, reducing dependency on niche publications such as Window Media’s.  [emphasis mine]

[ahem]…Just where does the AP get that little bit of ‘insight’ into the financial meltdown?  As you might have noticed, there is no attribution, not even the generic and suspect tag “industry sources say” is attached.  It appears to me–and again, I’m just a citizen–but it appears to this citizen that the AP reporter is just editorializing.  The listed causes for the financial woes of this company are just an opinion, but this opinion gets written up as factual reporting and sent out across the wire and republished.  So in other words, the opinion of Dorie Turner is that these woes are not reflective of a COMPLETE LACK ON INTEREST IN THE GAY ‘VOICE’.  Nope.  It’s not.  And don’t pay any attention to that man behind the curtain, either.

You know, I don’t really care about this gay and lesbian media company:  it makes no difference to me one way or another whether 3 or 4 or 5 gay newspapers go belly up.  I don’t read them anyway.   But I DO care that the Associated Press is once again, passing on opinion–liberal left-wing opinion–as fact, in an attempt to mold, shape, mislead or fool the public.  And I’m only posting this because should Dorie Turner or any of the other MSM string-pullers ever stumble across my weblog, I want them to know….I’M ON TO YOU!

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I hate to follow the happy posts with some sad news.  Very sad news indeed.

A severely ill toddler at the center of a legal battle between his parents has died days after his father agreed to switch off his ventilator.

The 13-month-old boy, known as Baby RB, suffered from congenital myasthenic syndrome, a rare genetic condition that means he cannot breathe on his own.

The father had been fighting the mother (now separated) over this issue, with the father arguing that the child could “play and recognize his parents.”  This is very tragic, for this youngster to have his life taken away, and his father robbed of the joy of his companionship.  Again, everyone is guilt-tripped into accepting the moral relativism in a twisted version of a virtue; in this case, Compassion. 

Please pray for this child’s soul, and for the parents involved, especially the father who has been battling all along to save his son.  They all need our prayers.

Parents Remove “Baby RB” From Life Support.

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Omigosh, I am trying to go to bed but I keep finding delightful things.  This article combines two of my favorite things:  the Faith and hockey.  To let you know just why I’m laughing about this article in joy, let me tell you about a conversation I had with my oldest son so many years ago:

Me:

You know…you could be a priest when you grow up.

Son:

I would, but I want to be a hockey player when I grow up.

Me: 

You could be a priest who plays hockey!

See? it could happen.

Catholic bishop takes the Faith onto the ice.

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