Friday, May 29, 2015

The ‘Wait, What?!’ of the Week, May 29, 2015

Last week the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that New York State was within its rights to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that the license plates are “patently offensive” and could provoke incidents of road rage.

Wait. What?! A car license plate with the cartoon image of two smiling children and the words “Choose Life” is “patently offensive”? To whom? And it could provoke incidents of road rage? Really? Well, at least the Second Circuit Court acknowledges that pro-abortion people are prone to violence. After all, they think it’s a good thing when helpless babies are dismembered in the womb (or left in a bucket to die if they accidentally get born before the “doctor” can dismember them). As was the case with slavery and the Nazi Holocaust, it’s quite clear the entire pro-choice position is based on the powerful committing violence against the defenseless.

Here’s the bottom line: every time so-called pro-choice people censor pro-life people, they are actually declaring: “We have no good argument.”

Thursday, May 28, 2015

‘Attitude of Gratitude’ observation for Thursday afternoon

I am grateful for two things: that my eye doctor’s office is only a mile from my house, and that when I drove home from his office just now it was very overcast outside. You see, the goop he put in my eyes made my pupils dilate to the size of Oreo cookies. If the sun was shining brightly, even sunglasses wouldn’t have helped. I’m also grateful we live in a time and place where doctors are so knowledgeable about the workings of the amazing eye. While looking at some of the posters in his office, which showed the incredible complexity of vision, I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine how an eye doctor could possibly be an atheist.” I mean, the illustrations on those posters just screamed out: design, planning, function, intelligence, Creator. I am grateful to God for the gift of sight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Who’s That Old Guy?

Recently I was on a business trip in Canada, the highlight of which was a day-long seminar about the exciting features of a brand new piece of commercial air conditioning equipment. (OK, you’re right, I need to brush up on the definition of various words, such as “highlight” and “exciting.” Either that, or I need to get out more often.)

During the seminar, I looked around the room and noticed that every one of the other 25 people in attendance was younger than me. A couple of guys might have just turned 50, I estimated, a far cry from my age 58. The rest were in their 30s and 40s. I suddenly felt very old. I don’t remember being in a business situation where I was definitely the oldest person in the room. Some of the people at the seminar were born in the 1980s, for goodness sake! Shoot, by the mid-1980s I was already at my fourth job since getting out of college. I finally settled into the HVAC industry about the same time some of the attendees were in nursery school. I applied that old expression to myself and thought: “I’ve forgotten more about this business than some of these guys have ever learned — and that’s just since breakfast!”

As I sat there, not paying attention (some things never change, regardless of age), I started to calculate in my head how much money I ought to set aside each year in order to be able to retire comfortably at age 65. Unfortunately, putting 100-percent of my current income into a pension plan might cause problems with the monthly budget.

Suddenly, the guy doing the presentation said, “And what do you think, Bill?” I looked up and saw that he was staring at me. He repeated, “What do you think?” I muttered to myself, “I think I need a nap,” and then I took a deep breath and said out loud, “Well, it’s an interesting feature, no doubt. But it’s actually very similar to what Trane and Carrier offered three decades ago. I do like, however, that you’ve given it a much smaller footprint.” (“Footprint” is a sure-fire impressive buzzword in my world.)

Other guys in the room smiled at me. Their smiles meant either, “Hey, the gray-haired dude has lots of experience,” or, “Hey, the gray-haired dude is older than dirt.”

The next day, when I drove through U.S. Customs on my way home, the agent looked at my passport and said, “Wow, this is an old photo!” I smiled and said, “Yeah, I used to have brown hair.” What I really wanted to say was, “My hair may be gray, but at least I have some, you bald-headed stooge!” But I refrained, mostly because he had a gun on his hip.

When I got home and told my wife about my geezer episodes, she laughed and said, “That explains your two favorite places.” Totally confused, I said, “Huh?”

She said, “When you’re not at work, where do you spend a lot of time?” Still confused, I replied, “I dunno. The bathroom? The couch?”

She said, “No, at church.” Then she continued, “And where is our new favorite vacation spot?”

This one I knew. “Florida.” Then it hit me. “Right! When I’m at church or in Florida, I’m NEVER the oldest person!” Being age 58 in church is in the middle of the pack. And being age 58 in Florida is like, heck, it’s like being a high school kid.

Now all I need to do is convince the manufacturer to schedule the next seminar either in church or Florida. I’ll give him a call right now. No, first I need a nap.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trinity Sunday and the Great Commission

This weekend, we celebrate Trinity Sunday, a feast that honors the all-important Christian doctrine, which no one quite comprehends, the Holy Trinity.

At best, all we can do to grasp Trinitarian doctrine is to use imperfect analogies. As long as we’re on this side of eternity—in our fallen, time-constrained, 3-dimensional natural world—I suspect we’ll never be able to fully understand the Trinity. For now we have to take it as an article of faith, a profound divine mystery, that it is true. I also suspect once we get on the other side of eternity, once we get to Heaven and break free of the constraints of time and space, we’ll slap our celestial foreheads and exclaim, “Oh, now I get it! That wasn’t so complicated after all.”

In this week’s gospel reading, the conclusion of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gives his followers what is known as The Great Commission. This passage is chosen for this week because it contains the most clear Trinitarian statement in all of Scripture. Jesus says, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Although it is difficult to comprehend the concept of the Holy Trinity, it is not difficult to comprehend what Jesus is telling us to do in this Great Commission. He wants us to make the whole world His followers. (Ooh, how politically incorrect is that?! Especially nowadays in our relativistic, perpetually offended culture?)

Also, in this week’s gospel reading, Jesus explains how we can fulfill the Great Commission and bring the whole world into a proper relationship with God. He says, “I am with you always.”

We can’t do it through our own power. We’re too weak. We can only fulfill our commission if we use Jesus’ supernatural power working through us.

Now, at this point, some people are probably saying, “Yeah, we already tried that Great Commission thing. It was called The Inquisition, and burnings at the stake, and bloody warfare, etc.”

Good point. Throughout history some have tried to convert the world to Christianity with swords and guns and terror and death. And this is exactly what relativistic secularists fear when they hear Christians say, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

But conversion to Christ occurs through the heart and free will. It is not accomplished by force; it is accomplished by love. That’s why it is so important that Jesus is with us always. Only when Jesus is with us can we possibly muster enough love to attract the world to the truth of the Gospel. Only when we “love our neighbors as ourselves,” and “lay down our lives for a friend,” and “pray for our enemies” can we show the world that Jesus is the only path to Heaven.

Just as no one can quite comprehend the Holy Trinity, no one can quite comprehend how the world will be converted by love rather than force. But the power of God, the love of Christ, and the truth of the Holy Spirit are greater than anything we can imagine. I suspect once we get on the other side of eternity, once we get to Heaven and see that love and peace truly conquer hatred and violence, we’ll slap our celestial foreheads and exclaim, “Oh, now I get it! That wasn’t so complicated after all.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

‘Attitude of Gratitude’ observation for Monday morning

I am grateful to all the men and women who paid the ultimate price while defending our nation. It is so sad that sinful mankind repeatedly resorts to war in an attempt to solve political disagreements. That’s our pitiful lot, living here in this fallen world. But at various times over the years, when our country needed to be defended, a select few stepped forward and put their lives on the line. Let us pray that our merciful God will bless and comfort their eternal souls. And let us pray for those who are in harm’s way today. On this Memorial Day, let us never forget that freedom isn’t free. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

‘Attitude of Gratitude’ observation for Saturday morning

I am grateful that I am not forced to make my living by playing the game of golf. If that were the case, my family and I would’ve starved to death a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of golf. I’m one of the few people I know who thinks watching golf on TV is really exciting. And I truly wish I could play the game with a modicum of competence—you know, maybe shoot in the low 90s once in a while. Nothing spectacular. But the fact is, I am so awful at the game of golf, it borders on the comical.

I played in an industry outing yesterday, and I don’t think there was a single time that I hit the ball solidly and straight. Oh, I hit a few solidly…right into the woods. And I hit a few straight…but only 50 yards (with a 3 Wood!!!).

I know I’m getting old, and it’s been many decades since I played football and baseball in college, but I’ve never been a total spaz when it comes to hand-eye-coordination activities—except when I put a golf club in my hands. Then it suddenly turns into an episode of the Three Stooges.

Well, we did have a lot of fun yesterday. And I made it thru 18 holes without losing ALL of the dozen balls I brought. So that’s a moral victory. I’m sure glad my paycheck doesn’t depend on how solidly and straight I can hit a golf ball.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The ‘Wait, What?!’ of the Week, May 22, 2015

As mentioned last week, LeMoyne College, a Jesuit school in upstate New York, invited Cardinal Timothy Dolan to be the Commencement speaker. A group of outraged students started a petition, demanding that the school disinvite the Cardinal because he is “homophobic.” In other words, he holds the Catholic view (and, up until a few years ago, the worldwide historic view) that marriage is between one man and one woman.

However, at the same graduation ceremony, LeMoyne College also bestowed an honorary degree on Lois Whitman, a “human rights activist” who serves on the board of directors of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that zealously promotes abortion and contraception. In addition, Whitman is on the board of directors of Physicians for Human Rights, a group with a nice sounding name that also zealously promotes abortion.

The Catholic students at the Catholic college, who protested the Catholic Cardinal for holding Catholic views, did not say a peep about the abortion-loving Ms. Whitman.

Wait. What?! What in God’s name is it about Jesuit schools these days? They are some of the most looney, loopy, leftist, un-Catholic institutions you can find. The Jesuits were formed by St. Ignatius Loyola centuries ago to protect the Church from Protestants. But now, who will protect the Church from Jesuits?