Ice Bucket Adjustment

iceIt is great when a fundraising idea goes viral and helps advance a worthy cause.  Recently the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been in the spotlight.  As of August 23 over $62.5 Million had been donated to the ALS Association.  ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name.

In recent weeks some Catholic groups have received some criticism for not supporting the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Not because they are opposed to finding a cure for ALS, but because the ALS Association does not follow the ethical standards of the Church when it comes to stem cell research.  Instead of becoming a killjoy in the public sphere, some organizations Continue reading

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Memorable Experiences & Wholeness (Homily for 20th Sunday of OT, Year A)

13largeSometimes we learn valuable lessons when they are tied to memorable experiences.  In Jesus’ encounter with the canaanite woman we see our loving Lord entering into a relationship with a believer and and strengthening her faith.  The whole experience is memorable, teaches a valuable lesson, and bring wholeness to everyone. Listen to it below or right click here to download.

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If it seems like everyone around you is an idiot, you’re probably a jerk

JERK-SIZEDI came across this wonderful article from Aeon Magazine about the essence of jerkitude. It really matches up well with one of my favorite books, “Leadership and Self Deception.”  We have all run into people who are self important and simply putting up with the rest of us.  In his June 2014 article, Eric Schwitzgebel tries to get figure out what makes jerk tick.

Here are a few excerpts, if you like them, I have included a link to the full article at the end:

The jerk culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him, treating them as tools to be manipulated or idiots to be dealt with rather than as moral and epistemic peers…

Continue reading

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Summer Reading List

822643p13636EDNMain15524Romance-of-Religion-cover250I subscribe to Our Sunday Visitor, a weekly Catholic Magazine/Newspaper.  A few weeks back they made a few book recommendations for summer reading.  My problem is that I have a shelf full of the next 30 books I want to read, so I can’t commit to buying any of the books the recommended.  Nevertheless, I thought it was a good article, if you want to read it and see the recommendations, click here.

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Pope says “No” to legalized drugs

legal-marijuanaLast Friday Pope Francis condemned the legalization of recreational drugs. He said that steps to legalize recreational drugs “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”

“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible,” he said. “The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!

“Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise,” he added. “To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem.” Continue reading

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Why Big Numbers Can Cause Big Problems

crowdI came a cross a great article in the March-April 2014 issue of Catholic Answers.  I really identified with what the author, Trent Horn, called “Compassion Fatigue.”  I also think he offers a better way of approaching Respect Life issues.  Here is the article:

Tomorrow tens of thousands of pro-life advocates will gather in San Francisco for the West Coast Walk for Life. As I read about this demonstration and the similar March for Life in Washington D.C. there’s one figure that sticks out to me and gives me pause. Lots of people have tried to underscore the tragedy of abortion by noting that over 55 million unborn children have been killed since the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.

I’m not sure that’s a wise thing to do.

Big Numbers = Bigger Apathy

Telling people 55 million children have been aborted in our country since Roe v Wade is true, but it might not be a good strategy to get people to care about stopping that killing. While researching American apathy to genocide in other countries, Paul Slovic found that we are less likely to help people as the number of people who need our help increases.  His article, whose title is derived from what Mother Theresa once said, is called, “If I look at the mass, I will never act.” (Read More)

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Women’s Rights- When a sapling isn’t a tree

Growing TreeRecently in Colorado, the Respect Life movement won a key victory by defeating legislation that sought to promote access to abortion as an entitlement that cannot be interfered with by any other legislation.  When I wrote to a Senator asking for her not to support this bill, she responded by writing: “Like most Coloradans, I believe every person in Colorado has the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions in consultation with their doctor and according to their own value system.  I am pleased to support Senate Bill 175, the Reproductive Health Freedom Act.”  While I was not surprised by this response, I was disappointed.  No doubt you noticed the complete relativism of the statement. “their own value system.”

In just about any argument over this issue, you eventually cross into the territory of “women’s rights.”  In many different areas of contemporary debate you will find women’s rights issues, e.g. pay inequality, reproductive issues, military combat, etc.  I want to make it clear that I am opposed to Continue reading

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Two different kinds of death

wreath-at-columbarium_mediumLast Friday was the one year anniversary of my father’s passing.  I went to the cemetery where his remains are kept in a columbarium. During my visit I witnessed a woman in the throws of sorrow. She was doubled over on the ground moaning in front of one section of the wall. At another point I saw a man sitting on a bench staring at the wall with a blank look on his face, as though he was confused at the reality he was contemplating. During my visit I joined these individuals in struggling through a moment of genuine heartache for the loss of a loved one.

Yesterday I joined a large crowd of people in front of the Colorado State Capital building to pray for the defeat of some rather hideous legislation that seeks to curtail any future limitations or regulations on abortion in my state. Many legislators in my state believe they are supporting genuine progress by securing the right of a mother to kill her children in her womb.  This kind of death is of course very different from the death that I encountered and mourned at the cemetery.  Yes, in both cases a human person dies, Continue reading

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