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Showing posts from December, 2007

Christmas reflection

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"It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…"

- Fr. Andrew Greeley

May you receive abundant blessings this Christmas and may God hold you in the palm of his hand during the coming year.

Bro. James

Jeremy Casella's album "Recovery"

Here's some info about an album I discovered and bought recently thanks to christianitytoday.com (it made #4 in their top 10 albums of the year list):

http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/reviews/2007/rcvry.html (their original 5-star review)

Jeremy Casella - "Recovery" (available on iTunes) = currently unsigned American artist after his label shelved his previous album (with lots of big name guest artists) never to release it. If it's half as good as this one it would certainly be worth getting and be much better than much of the relatively uninspired Christian MOR that trots out in the US on a daily basis.

"Recovery, a richly textured stunner that combines acoustic guitar, atmospheric keyboards, and drum programming with warm strings and horns. To say there's nothing quite like Casella in the Christian music landscape is an understatement, and that's part of why we find the album so captivating. Naturally, the other component is the poetic writing, whic…

For anyone who has been owned by a cat!

This wonderful little cartoon certainly cheered me up when it dropped into my Inbox. Reminds me so much of our old cat Tigger who slept on my bed most nights for about 10 years. Hmmm, yes, I think I needed to chill out a bit (you're right HolyFamoley).

Some righteous anger?

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Back to that blog debate with an atheist... the other day it got to the point where I'd had enough of being polite and reasonable. I boiled over when a particular person used a very offensive word to describe myself and another catholic. This was after having had a very amicable, friendly discussion with another atheist, so don't think I've got it in for non-believers!! :-)

Anyway, this was my reply, not that I'm necessarily proud of the tone of what I say, it does nevertheless address perhaps better than I have managed to do before some of the issues I get challenged with when in discussion with non-believers.

See here for the complete discussion thread.

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"Yes OF COURSE the Church has throughout the centuries contained people who've got it badly wrong, committed atrocities even. WE CHRISTIANS ARE HUMAN BEINGS, for heaven's sake, not robots... imperfect, at times weak, forever sinners in need of conversion. Get over it!! And believe you me, w…

The challenge of trying to prove God's existence

This is a response I gave to an atheist asking for proof of God's existence on the Daily Telegraph's Religion blog, "Holy Smoke":

If I asked you to prove that a relative of yours loved you, there would be a number of experiences that I am sure you could mention, if you so wished, to back up an assertion that "person A" loved you. What if I then said, "How do you know they are not faking it/lying/acting out of predominantly selfish motives, ie. not truly loving you?" I could counter ANY of your arguments to justify the existence of this invisible love with such a statement. It wouldn't give me any pleasure, but I could do so and feel secure that I had "won" the argument. You would KNOW deep down that the person loved you... you would have so many clear memories and feelings to drawn upon.

Maybe that person actually saved your life and in the process sacrificed theirs.. "There you are! There's proof!" you would say... But I…

Gratefulness - Brother David Steindl-Rast

This is a beautiful reflection given by Brother David Steindl-Rast. He has such a wonderful germanic accent too.

"The Lives Of Others" - a wonderful film

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I saw this for the 3rd time recently. It's a companion piece to Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" (starring the ever wonderful Gene Hackman) but, I feel, with much more heart and soul than the aforementioned 1970's American film. It won the Oscar this year for Best Foreign Film in competition against such popular, critically acclaimed films as "Pan's Labyrinth" (Mexico), "Days Of Glory" (Algeria) and "After The Wedding" (Denmark). The film is at no. 59 in the all-time popularity ratings over at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)

Ulrich Mühe's subtle, skillful central performance as Captain (Hauptmann) Wiesler in a role written for him was surely also deserving of an Oscar nod, but he was not even nominated. It has been seen by some as wishful thinking to suggest that such a devout, zealous defender of the socialist ideals of the East German Communist regime could go through such a conversion experience, but I feel the …