Saturday, December 13, 2008

Playboy's Not So Virgin Mary

Playboy Mexico insults its mostly Catholic population with a semi-nude Virgin Mary on its December cover. So, what was THAT like during the shoot? You the order to be a "sexy mother of...your Lord and Savior."'s not as bad as Piss Christ or Elephant Dung Virgin Mary.

See article at the Sun here

-Steve K.

Twilight Unconsciously Mormon

So I watched Twilight this past Thursday (not my idea...really!). The movie was painfully slow and terribly directed. The concept itself is actually cool...but the movie missed every opportunity for more upbeat fiercer music or more dramatic camera work. OK so maybe that's what I expect from a vampire movie nowadays.

I came across this nugget of knowledge this morning. Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight Series is a devout member of the Church of Latter Day Saints aka Mormon Church:

Unconsciously, I put a lot of my basic beliefs into the story. Free agency is a big theme, as is sacrifice. One very kind fan wrote to me and said, “instead of gore and horror there was lyrical beauty.” (Okay, so she was probably too kind). Even after I explain all that, I still have LDS friends (and extended family) who look at me funny.

I really didn't expect that at all. It vaguely makes sense...sucking blood equals sex...not sucking blood equals really it is interesting. I also didn't expect Orson Scott Card who wrote Ender's Game was also a Mormon. Then again, this is all I know about Mormonism.

Then again, belonging to a particular faith tradition doesn't necessarily mean that an author will write about that faith's themes in his work.
-Steve K.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Modern Christian Martyrs

Catholic Online published a story on modern-day Christian martyrs around the world, that also includes victims of the anti-Christian violence that is occurring in India by Hindu extremist groups.

We often take our liberties for granted, and freedom of religion is arguably the most important.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tonight's Episode of Televised Assisted Suicide...

"Craig wasn't interested in this as his personal story, he was interested in people actually coming to grips with death, with the fact of death - I think that's often hidden from us. It's very sanitised.

"He wanted to use his decision and his death to demonstrate what actually happens, so that people could see it was very peaceful, that it was a rational decision on his part."

from the BBC

I've been blessed enough to not have to deal with serious pain or suffering, so it's difficult for me to put myself in this man's shoes. What I will say is:

1) The last moments of life are sacred-even mysterious. It should be approached with fear because life itself cannot be restored once it's gone. Broadcasting a suicide on national television is a sign of a coarse and unfeeling society.

2) "Coming to grips with death?" I thought doctors were in the business of saving lives? We Christians resist the power of death over us as death has been triumphed over by Christ; and we belong to him. I paraprase GK Chesterton when he said that, suicide isn't simply the killing of one's self, but from the suicidal person's perspective, the complete murder of the whole world.

Pastor Testifies to Power of Prayer with $1.5M

This article talks of how a Texas pastor's prayer for $1 million to pay for his congregation’s church building had been answered abundantly. Rev. Tom McDaniels was quoted in the article saying he believed his prayer was answered as “the Lord wanted to show his power.“

The words of George Bernard Shaw need to be remembered when reading such articles i.e., “most people do not pray; they only beg”. Would the unchanging and Almighty Lord be less powerful if He had not moved the heart of the parishioner to open his wallet? The lives of the saints are the strongest reminder that our prayers are to bring us closer to Him, not closer to worldly gains. As we read in Luke 9:25, what is the benefit of gaining all the wealth in this world if we lose our salvation?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tragic story: Man loses family when jet hit house

In truly a heart-wrenching story, a man who lost his entire family when a Marine Corps jet slammed into the family's house did not blame the pilot who ejected and survived.

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community. "He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.

Many question God when tragedy occurs, but this man's trust in God is truly an inspiration. May God grant him strength and our prayers for his entire family.

"Truth Talk"

“Botros has been hosting Truth Talk since 2003. The weekly show grew out of an internet chat room attended by thousands where the Coptic priest engaged Muslims on the inherent contradictions of their own religion and found that he was leading many to faith in Jesus Christ. As the geographic scope of the show has grown, so has its reach into the lives of Muslims. It is broadcast in Arabic, and this year began also to be translated for Turkish audiences and into Farsi to be aired in Iran.”

Religious conversion is a sensitive topic in many places in the world (Indian Christians can attest to this). I am of the opinion that rather than being hostile to those who are proselytizing, religious leaders should seek to better educate their own flocks. This holds to be especially true as far as the Indian Orthodox church's struggle with charismatic groups is concerned. Rather than harboring hatred for these groups, we should seek to educate our laity so as to make the church "impervious" to such attempts at conversion.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tribune files for bankruptcy

In breaking news, the Chicago Tribune reports that they are filing for bankruptcy, due to large debt and declining advertising revenue.

Although not a sign that the world is ending, its clear we live in an age where the electronic media and communications continue to out-date paper media reminiscent of the decline of the railroad and other industries in the past. This "new" media democratizes the distribution of information and will present new challenges to spread the message of Christ ... but at the same time it also makes available access to numerous sources of true information on the pre-denominational Church.

Hefner resigns from Playboy

Oh yes, we are going there! Wall Street was titillated on Monday when Christie Hefner announced her resignation as Chairman and CEO of Playboy.

Sadly, Playboy's declining business had absolutely nothing to do with renewed Christian morals, but rather the cheaper and wider reach of Internet-based pornography.

The debate on Obama's Faith

Every 4 years, the US Presidential election focuses a spotlight on the religious views of the candidates, and in this 2004 interview Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani interviews U.S. President elect Barack Obama about his Christian faith.

Evangelicals seem divided on how "Christian" Obama truly is, with some optimistic and others seemingly convinced he is not really a Christian. Catholics are also engaged in these discussions because of the issue on abortion. And of course the misinformed who labeled Obama a Muslim because of his color and name.

As citizens of the United States, we exercised our right to vote on November 4th. Regarding the continuous debate on the quality of Barack Obama as a Christian, we have been reminded our place is not to judge (Matthew 7:3) and like the famous icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent our Christian duty is to always push ourselves to be perfect like God is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Recalling the wisdom of CS Lewis, "if they are wrong, they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules that is common to (Christianity)"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Patriarch Alexey to be Laid to Rest

Russian Orthodox Christians flocked to pay tribute to Patriarch Alexiy II on Sunday as he lay in state in a Moscow cathedral, thanking him for the revival of the faith after decades of communist repression. Alexiy II, enthroned in 1990 a year before the demise of the Soviet Union, died of heart failure on Friday. He was 79.

Reviving Russia's main faith, he oversaw the construction of thousands of new churches and raised the prominence of Orthodoxy across the vast nation by building closer ties with the Kremlin.

During his 18 years as leader of the world's largest Orthodox church, Alexiy helped heal an 80-year rift with a rival faction of the church in the West which had been set up by monarchists fleeing the atheist Bolsheviks.

full article

If communism was so great, why did the Church in the Soviet Union suffer so much? That's an interesting question for those who try to harmonize Orthodoxy with Marx.