“Unsalvageable” humans?

An article in Taki’s Magazine refers to some human beings as “The Unsalvageables“.  Here’s an excerpt. Some of you might remember Anthony Stokes. He was a 15-year-old DeKalb County, Ga., hood rat with a bum ticker who kept getting passed over for a heart transplant because of his “high risk” lifestyle, which included burglary, weapons charges, arson, and neglecting to take his prescribed meds. Seeing how donor hearts aren’t found on trees (or in Dollar Trees), doctors were reluctant to give a young crime lord in training one of the precious organs. So Anthony’s granmoms or auntie or whoever the hell

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Important lessons to learn from the Texas church shooting

I’ve been watching the security camera footage of the Texas church shooting last Sunday, and reading as much as I can find about it.  It contains some important lessons for all of us, not just in terms of church security, but our personal approach to security as well. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the man who shot the criminal.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. Wilson recalled the events leading up to Sunday’s shooting and said there was concern about the individual as soon as he entered the building due to the way he was dressed, in a long coat with a fake beard

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Sunday morning music

Enough with the Christmas muzak already!  Let’s have something that’s both tuneful and prayerful.  Words aren’t necessary. First, here’s Mannheim Steamroller with “Fum, Fum, Fum“.  It’s a very old tune from Catalonia in Spain.  (Lyrics at the link above.) Next, an ancient English air, “Greensleeves”, the tune of which was adapted in the 19th century to the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?“.  Lindsey Stirling does the honors. Here’s a hymn from the Orthodox Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which was set to music by Tchaikovsky in 1878.  It’s not Christmas music, strictly speaking, but it seems to me to fit in very well with the season. 

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Is the Catholic Church becoming just another hotbed of secular humanism?

American pentecostal evangelist Bob Mumford, whom I’ve mentioned in these pages before, once defined secular humanism as “what happens when the world evangelizes the church”.  I don’t think he was far wrong in that assessment.  More and more often, one sees churches and denominations behaving just like the world around them, ignoring the clarion call from the Divinity, in whatever way they proclaim him, to be a “sign of contradiction” to the world, the flesh and the devil. I should acknowledge that, as a former Catholic priest, I have a partisan perspective on this issue.  You’ll find my story in a series

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The death of a friend

I’ve lost a lot of friends, comrades-in-arms, and acquaintances.  It was never easy to cope with, and sometimes it felt like the yawning, empty ache death leaves behind was about to overwhelm me.  (Not unlike a heart attack, in some ways:  I’ve now experienced the latter twice, so I think I have some basis for comparison.) Over the weekend, a friend of mine lost a loved one, and turned to me for a shoulder to lean on.  Again, that’s something I’ve done a lot, as a pastor (now retired) and as a friend.  Living in a conflict zone, as I

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“So what can I, personally, do about this mess?”

That’s a question I’m being asked more and more, as the dismally partisan, sectarian and one-sided impeachment proceedings play out in Congress;  as crisis after crisis (our all-too-porous borders, homelessness, the economy, etc.) grabs the headlines;  as people feel more and more powerless to actually change the rot that they see all around them in our society.  “What can I, personally, do to change it?” I think there are several things one can do:  but they all have to begin with accepting the situation as it is, and ourselves as we are.  It’s no good saying, “Things should be this way”

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That’s a trick they didn’t teach us at seminary

Being a retired chaplain, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip.  (Click the image to see a larger version at the comic’s Web page.) The comic amused me on many levels, but it also highlights a sad truth.  I don’t believe in the so-called “rapture” (it’s not biblically valid at all, and was never part of the teaching of the early church), but an awful lot of people seem to spend an awful lot of time arguing about it.  In fact, so many alleged Christians spend so much time arguing about when and

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Pain can do that to you . . .

I was saddened to read that a Belgian athlete has chosen euthanasia as the only way she could see to end her pain. Belgian paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics and silver at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, died by euthanasia Tuesday, officials said. Vervoort, 40, suffered from incurable, degenerative spinal pain. She said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro three years ago that she only got about 10 minutes of sleep some nights and described the pain that caused others to pass out from just watching her. She said sports

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