Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Joke

A priest and a bus driver both died and went to Heaven at the same time. They get to the pearly gates where Pope St. Peter greets them. He motions to the priest, and they both hop in a jeep and go out the back door. There are about 50 acres of rolling hills with a little cottage on the knoll.

St. Peter turns to the priest and says "This will be yours for eternity. A perfect little cottage, right next to lovely pond, a lush little garden, and a library full of books."

The priest says, "Thank you so much. This I shall enjoy!" St. Peter drops off the priest, goes back to the pearly gates and motions to the bus driver.

They hop in a stretch limo and go out the front door. There are about 500 acres of land, with mountains and lakes and rivers. There is a huge 200-room castle on one of the mountains, and a wishing well that makes wishes come true. St. Peter says "This will be yours for eternity. You can live in that castle with servants to wait on you hand and foot, and you can have everything you want."

The bus driver looks and St. Peter and says "Well, now, don't think I'm not grateful, but why am I getting so much more than the priest?"

St. Peter just laughs and says "You brought more souls to Heaven! When the priest preached, everyone fell asleep. When you drove your bus, people prayed!"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Joke

An American tourist was walking around the cathedral in Ireland admiring the architecture.

"Are you enjoying your visit to our grand country?" asked a young priest.

"Very much, Father, but the whiskey is far too strong for me," said the Yank.

"How so?" asked the priest.

"Well, I got drunk on it on Saturday night and passed out. Sunday morning I woke at 5 a.m. bright as a button. I went to 6 o'clock mass, 7 o'clock mass, 8 o'clock, nine, ten and eleven o'clock mass. Then I went to afternoon Rosary, sermon, Stations of the Cross and Benediction!"

"So what's wrong with that?" asked the priest.

"I'm a Protestant!" said the tourist.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Short Reflection

I don't have a lot of time to blog right now, but  I didn't want to let this pass. Yesterday's Gospel was from Luke 15 - "there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people." While you've no doubt heard countless homilies on this subject, and the prodigal son parable, that all focus on how great repentance is, there's a danger.

People come to think of sin as being not very bad because hey, look how much joy it brings when I repent. You can look at these verses and think that it is "OK" or actually even preferable to sin. After all, the ninety-nine righteous people didn't bring God as much joy as me when I sin and then repent. But consider the converse. If it is not true that God delights in sin, and it is true that the repentant sinner brings more joy than ninety-nine righteous people, then the repentant sinner is a net loss, even considering the joy when he repents. Or in other words, one sin brings more sadness than the joy that repentance brings, which we are told is immense.

So next time I think about a sin being "no big deal" I'm going to reflect on how much sadness one sin can bring about. A sobering thought.

Monday Joke

Not so very long ago, an old German man was feeling guilty about something he had done, so he decided to go to Confession.

He said, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I feel terrible because during World War II I hid a refugee in my attic."

The priest said, "But that's not a sin! I wouldn't feel bad about that if I were you!"

"But I made him agree to pay me 50 Marks for every week he stayed."

The priest said, "Well, I admit that certainly wasn't the most noble thing to do, charging the man to save his life -- but you did save his life, after all, and that is a good thing. Don't worry about it too much; God forgives."

The man said, "Oh thank you, Father, that eases my mind. I have only one more question to ask you -- Do I have to tell him the war is over?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On What Charge?

I'm somewhat confused (and a bit irate) at this piece from AP news:
Polk County sheriff's deputies arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr., 34, on felony charges as he drove a pickup truck towing a large barbecue-style grill filled with Qurans soaked in kerosene. He had said he was heading to a nearby park to burn 2,998 Qurans — one for every victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Sheriff's officials said they would hold a news conference later Wednesday to discuss specific charges.
So, what is he being charged with?
Jones planned to burn the books at the county-owned Loyce E. Harpe Park in Mulberry, but was denied a permit, with officials saying he filed his request too late and that he does not have permission for an event of that magnitude. 
...Polk deputies took Jones and Sapp into custody. The Lakeland Ledger reports the men are facing traffic-related offenses for driving with kerosene in the grill. 
The Polk County Sheriff's Office has not publicly said what charges the two men face, but they will be felonies.
Really? I can't see how driving with a trailer with kerosene in it is a felony. Kerosene, like diesel fuel and unlike gasoline is not considered a flammable fuel. According to Wikipedia kerosene has a class II flammability rating, which means it must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperatures before it will ignite.

So I really don't see the problem. Stupid, yes, but a felony? Nor is failure to get a permit to exercise one's first amendment rights a felony.

Now I don't agree with Pastor Jones, or condone what he was about to do, but this is supposed to be America. The articles mentioned describe how his actions could spark Muslim violence in the Middle East. Although I doubt his actions would be that important, and there already seems to be violence in the Middle East without his help, even if it did, this is America, not the Middle East.

[Update: the charges have been disclosed:
Jones was charged with unlawfully conveying fuel, a felony, and openly carrying a firearm, a misdemeanor. Sapp was charged with invalid registration for his trailer that hauled the grill and the felony of unlawful conveyance of fuel.
So apparently in Florida it is a felony to carry kerosene this way, although I read several articles about its use in sprayers to kill vegetation - I wonder how they get around the law for that?

Well, my already low opinion of Pastor Jones' intelligence has taken a dip. He supposedly knew this was illegal but wanted to flout the law. Or at least that's what's being reported. We'll see what happens at the trial. I bet they throw the book at him (pun intended).]


[Note: This is a modified repost of Ten Years Later]

Pictured above is Frigate FFG 29, the USS Steven W. Groves. It is leaving New York harbor on a shakedown cruise of the Mk92 FCS, a surface to air missile control system (you can see the egg-shaped radar dome for it in the picture). My father helped design the Mk92, and I worked on its software.

This picture was taken in the 1980s and hung in my parents' kitchen for years. It now hangs in my house. I remember looking at it soon after the 9-11 attacks ten years ago, and thinking of the brave Americans, both first responders and military, who have given and still give their lives to keep ours safe. Please join me in prayers for them on this 12th anniversary of the attacks.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy,
who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity
and the great commandment of love for one another.
Send down your blessings on these your servants,
who so generously devote themselves to helping others,
and protect them always as they work to protect us all.
Grant them courage when they are afraid,
wisdom when they must make quick decisions,
strength when they are weary,
and compassion in all their work.
When they are called to aid both friend and stranger,
let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection for all our men and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to defend with honor, dignity and devotion, the rights of all who are imperiled by injustice and evil. Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold and let them draw their strength from you.

For you are God, for ever and ever. Amen

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Joke

Sorry for the delay - tough day at work. Today's joke is H/T Godwin Delali Adadzie on Google+ (with changes)...

Hans Kung, Carol Keehan and Pope Benedict XVI all die on the same day, and go to meet St. Peter to know their fate.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gay Guns

Yes, the Opposite Files are back...

Made up "right", states must honor most lax laws of other states.

Real right (written in Constitution) states can restrict despite laws in other states.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Joke

Today's Monday Joke is courtesy of Ambrose Little on google+.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Getting Catholic Answers

Well, people are lining up on both sides. On the one side we have Michael Voris and his supporters, and on the other side EWTN and Catholic Answers. For those who've missed the kerfluffle, Michael Voris, of Church Militant TV recently rebuked "Catholic media" for not having the same outspoken reprimands against bishops and clergy who are (in fact) too lax on issues of faith and morals. He also points out that these people are making salaries which he believes to be too high.

I don't want to get into the specifics what was said about whom, but I wanted to offer my thoughts (in keeping with the title of this blog). It seems to me to be analogous to those who decry the use (or lack of use) of graphic abortion images in the pro-life movement. And as I've said before on that topic, there is room in the church for both approaches. Not everyone can be St. Paul (all things to all men) and so people will approach the salvation of souls from different angles.

Michael Voris is a necessary voice, calling for the repentance of correction of those in the church who ignore or actively support evil. God bless him for that. But that doesn't mean he is perfect, or even better than Karl Keating or Michael Warsaw. Not everybody has to have the same style, thank God.

Yes, Catholic Answers forums is not always a good place to go, but it is a public forum, and can't always be "policed" properly. Having moderated forums before I can say from personal experience that even with the best of intentions and a lot of hard work, forums get out of hand.

As for the salaries involved, while both EWTN and Catholic Answers are non-profit organizations, they are not charities. When I get a cell phone I don't say "this iPhone is evil because Tim Cook is rich" (even though that might be true). I say "is this iPhone worth what it will cost me?" Catholic Answers produces 400 some odd hours of solid Catholic apologetics radio, plus audio video and print products. Even more so EWTN. When I support those organizations I am paying what I feel it is worth to have this material available, to me and to others. And frankly I think if you live in Southern California and have a large family, and several college degrees, the salaries mentioned are not unreasonable.

And lest this post be seen as anti Michael Voris, I refer you to paragraph 3 of this post. I do think it was not useful for him to publicly excoriate other apostolates but I think his heart is in the right place, and if he is overzealous sometimes, so am I. To Michael, Karl and the others involved in this, I say "God love you."