Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Being Like Our Lady in the Time of Pandemic

Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice ~ Being Like Our Lady in the Time of Pandemic - Friar David L. Jones
We find ourselves in the eye of a tornado, in the epicenter of a pandemic. Everything is swirling by. It’s very much like being in war. Death surrounds us. Everyone is a soldier now. Everyone is a soldier now.
We must remain vigilant, keeping ourselves safe and everyone around us safe. We come to see, to know, to realize that ultimately our destiny is in God’s hands. God’s will be done. Maybe before we didn’t fully see or sense that, now we do. Now we do...

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Notes from the Catacombs Sessions -- Water to Wine Gathering 2019 (W2W19)

Something new is occurring, a new beginning. To name it is to reduce it, to flatten it, to deny some aspect of reality that we all experienced there. A Holy Spirit filled event of friends, which goes beyond names or definitions, gathered in St. Joseph, Missouri, over a 3-day period (June 13–15, 2019) to worship, to pray, to hear testimonies and amazing talks, and to fellowship. 
This event occurred at World of Life Church by the invite of Pastors Brian and Peri Zahnd to call together their friends, and through them to their friends and family members, to the Water to Wine Gathering. This is the second year of the meeting of friends at the Water to Wine Gathering (W2W19). This year Brian and Peri Zahnd led the gathering with Joe Beach, Jonathan Martin, Cheryl Bridges Johns, Sarah Bessey, and Rich Villodas... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Big Picture - ISIS, NATO and Russia

Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice - The Big Picture ~ ISIS, NATO and Russia
The civilized world, especially those in the West and ​in ​Russia, is disgusted by and extremely angry about the recent terrorist acts of radical militant Muslims in Mali, Egypt, Lebanon, France, and now California. Most of these violent terrorist activities have been planned, orchestrated, and executed by militant members of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL), the Muslim caliphate now in Syria and Iraq.​ ​
Many in the West are demanding a violent military response. There is even ​talk of invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty which means all member nations of NATO will go to war in Syria and Iraq against Daesh. A major regional war, possibly world war, seems imminent.            
A​ lot of Neoconservatives (War Hawks), especially the talking heads at Fox News and nearly every U.S. Presidential candidate in both parties, are ​beating the war drums. It​ is important for people to understand the "Big Picture" with the current conflict the West is having with Daesh. It i​s essential that we understand and briefly review who the major players are and what interests drive their current policies and actions... TO READ MORE CLICK ABOVE.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Masonic Symbolism of the U.S. Capitol

TradCatKnight - The Masonic Symbolism of the U.S. Capitol
The US Capitol is not simply another governmental building. It is the spiritual center of the United States. Its structure, its art and its symbols all reveal the great importance of secret Fraternities in the shaping of the world most powerful government. We’ll explore the Capitol and discover the features that make this building a Masonic site, an American Temple of Solomon.
Related Posts:

George Washington and Freemasonry

Freemasonry and America  (Parts One, Two & Three)

Charles Carroll

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Candida Moss on the Purpose of Hell

The Daily Beast - What the Hell Is the Purpose of Hell? Whether hell is other people, a place, or just a bad date, it’s deeply ingrained in society’s collective consciousness. But why? by Candida Moss

Candida Moss on The Daily Beast

Official Website

Related Posts

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is Sacramentalism the Answer to Secularism?

There is a growing chorus of scholars across the ecumenical boundaries (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) that are making the argument that sacramentalism, a sacramental worldview which recognizes the centrality of the liturgy, as the antidote that counteracts the effects of the poison or disease of secularism. Several ecumenical great minds, thinkers, and writers are making this argument in a variety of different ways who include at least the following intellectual cadre: Brad S. Gregory (Roman Catholic), David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox), Hans Boersma (Protestant), and James K.A. Smith (Protestant).
A lot of good historical as well as philosophical and theological points feed into their argument that sacramentalism is the answer to secularism. Nominalism which is a reduction of reality, a flattening of categories, is no doubt one of the root causes of our secular Western viewpoint. Therefore it makes sense that a recognition of the sacred would seem to get at the root of this disease. I understand this point and largely agree with it. Allow me though to ask some questions and bring an important perspective into this dialog that desperately needs to be considered and judged by these men as well as by others good thinkers and folks who are intrigued by this conversation... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt on Empire

Bergoglio’s Pendulum, Between Capitalism and Revolution - Marxist, libertarian, Peronist. They have applied the most disparate labels to him. The contrasting judgments of the Acton Institute and the “Friends of Pope Francis” by Sandro Magister

Wikipedia on Negri

Wikipedia on Hardt

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Going to Hell with the Terrorists and Torturers

Glory to God for All Things - Going to Hell with the Terrorists and Torturers
Torture is wrong. Justify it if you will, but it remains wrong.

...But there is something of far greater value that is too easily missed in our current round of hand-wringing. It is the dark places of the human heart that we see and quickly cover in the wrangle of debate. It is a place where our thoughts should linger.
For the place of torture and the smashing angry insanity that drives a plane into towers dwell in the same dark heart – and the heart belongs to us all. Some will protest immediately that I am drawing some kind of moral equivalency. One act is done to save lives, the other to destroy them. But it is not any kind of moral anything that I wish to draw. Rather it is our attention to the true character of the human heart.
Related Post - You Cannot Be Christian and Support Torture by Brian Zahnd

Letting Go Of Hell

Letting Go Of Hell (Without Letting Go Of The Bible) by Benjamin L. Corey

Posts on Hell by Scott McKnight

Is the Lake of Fire Torture? by Josh Butler

Unleashing Hell by Josh Butler

CT - Interview of Josh Butler

Rethinking Hell

Posts on Hell by Fr. Aidan (Al) Kimel

Heaven and Hell in the Afterlife, According to the Bible

Related Posts:
The Real Hell – Is There Such a Thing?

Voris vs. Barron on Hell

Hell - Barron, Voris, Martin, Jersak, Dart, Lazar and Alfeyev

Fr. Aidan (Al) Kimel on Hell UPDATED

Catholic Showdown

EP (ongoing dialog)
What is the Christian Understanding of the Social Order?

Why the Neoliberal Catholic Approach to Social Ethics Fails

Markets, Liberalism, and G.K. Chesterton

Different Kinds of Liberalism: Chesterton and Burke v. Storck

What’s Really at Stake in the Catholic Showdown?

Two Catholic Camps Worth Debating

Faith, Reason, and the Two Camps

Related Posts:
The Real Catholic Debate

Patrick Deneen on The Neo-Conservative Imagination

A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching - Whig Thomists vs. Augustinian Thomists UPDATED

Saturday, November 29, 2014

my newest article on Il Sussidiario

Il Sussidiario - René Girard, Michael Brown Jr. and Ferguson, Missouri
It appears as if the African American community has turned Brown into a martyr and the whites have turned the police officer into a hero. But this way there is no way out...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

René Girard, Michael Brown Jr. and Ferguson, Missouri

As a Missouri resident I feel obligated to speak out, to speak the truth.  I have both lived and worked in St. Louis. 

Is the African American community displaying a "mob mentality" in the Michael Brown Jr. case by resulting in violence once again?  We should never allow mobs to determine the guilt of the accused.  Even on the rare occasion when the mob is right about what the accused actually did, the mob is wrong because it is using the accused to vent its own sinfulness.  Violent protests, rioting, robbery, the destruction of both public and personal property, are all visible examples of this sinfulness.

It appears as if they have turned Brown into a martyr and mobilized their community against the perceived threat of the white man, the other.  Therefore the white man serves as a scapegoat instead of recognizing the problems of their own African American community which include a disposition for higher rates of criminal activity, acts of violence, alcohol and drug abuse, the breakdown of the family, out of wedlock relationships, children with no fathers, etc.

Why are folks not publicly speaking out about these facts? Why the silence? Is it politically incorrect to speak the truth? How is this any different than not speaking out against the mob mentality after 9-11 and focusing our hatred as Americans and Westerners on the Muslims, the other?

Besides this is a great opportunity for an Ethics 101 lesson. Judge the act itself. To determine if an action is ethical, one must judge the act itself. Brown was high on marijuana, robbed a store, was walking down the middle of the street, assaulted a police officer while he was still inside his police vehicle, resisted arrest, and physically charged at the officer multiple times until the officer had to use deadly force to stop him. Those are the facts that the grand jury determined. The police officer acted morally and justly according to the grand jury.  This is not a tragedy.  

One must distinguish between killing and murder. Murder is the direct intentional killing of an innocent human life. Brown was not innocent, he was the aggressor in both the robbery of the store as well as in the assault of a properly commissioned public law officer. This law officer was justified in killing him, it was a just act.

Now it also appears as if the whites have turned the police officer into a hero and mobilized their community and militarized police force against the perceived threat of the black man, the other.  Therefore the black man serves as a scapegoat instead of recognizing the bigger issue at hand which is the problem of systemic sin of our own American culture and history, specifically that of racism.  We can longer turn a blind eye to systemic sin, as a culture, as a people.  We must confront this reality.

I am aware of and recognize that we must continue to improve and repair race relations.  The public education system in St. Louis is a disaster.  It locks minorities, especially African Americans, into a caste system.  One must ask why do folks protest and riot?  Think of the Palestinians in Israel.  It is because they feel there are no other options. 

First, real educational reform must occur to give the future children in Ferguson, and the rest of St. Louis, any chance of a civilized future.  True education introduces one to all of reality - the true, the beautiful, and the good.  It gives hope, a way of seeing the world with new eyes.  Without this we will continue down the road of violence.

Second, we must seriously address poverty within the African American community, and in all minority communities, in Ferguson and elsewhere.  What are the root causes?  Lack of quality education, mostly low wage service related jobs which lead to higher unemployment, lack of security and safety for small businesses, etc.  All these factors lead to a loss of hope and despair for those whose hearts are designed for the infinite. 

Third, we should develop a real community model of policing in Ferguson, and in other like communities.  This will help ease the racial tensions. A local police officer should know the local small business owners, the local clergy, the local community activists, etc. He should not be the other who just anonymously patrols the streets profiling suspected criminals.

We need both the light of truth and the warmth of love.  The truth will set us free.  Love alone is credible.

The way we move forward is to recognize the humanity in each other’s human faces, the local police officer and the local citizen, who both knows the truth of the other and loves him for who he is, a man made in the Image of God.  We must literally love the "Hell" out of the other.


Related Posts:
René Girard

Gil Bailie

Fr. James Alison

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gil Bailie

The Cornerstone Forum is a non-profit institute concerned with today’s spiritual and moral crisis and dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the challenges that confront the Christian vocation in our time. The Forum's founder and president is Gil Bailie – a Catholic layman, author and lecturer. Mr. Bailie gives workshops, lectures and retreats, drawing on the anthropological work of René Girard, and the theology of Benedict XVI, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, John Paul II, and others.

Reflections on Faith and Culture Blog


Ignatius Insight - A "Roamin' Catholic" and the Cultural Crisis

Communio - René Girard's Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Part One and Part Two

Related Post - René Girard

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rémi Brague - The Limits of a Secular Age

Catholic Thing - The Limits of a Secular Age by Randall Smith
Rémi Brague, French Catholic philosopher and winner of the prestigious Ratzinger Prize was at my university last week. Prof. Brague is one of those lecturers who loves to make interesting little side comments, something I am particularly fond of. In one of these little “asides,” he suggested that the “secular” are those whose lives are defined by a horizon of a hundred years. “That is simply what the word ‘secular’ means,” he declared...

There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books

There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.

Witnesses will draw from the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them.

Main Website

Here is the link to all the videos of this conference.

Douglas Bushman's Themes of "Lumen gentium", Fifty Years Later

CWR ~ Light for the Nations: Themes of "Lumen gentium", Fifty Years Later - A retrospective on Vatican II's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" ought to place the primacy on the Church as end, and particularly on holiness by Douglas Bushman
November 21, 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican II’s central document, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. If the articles that this occasions reflect a strain of theological commentary on this text that narrowly focused on the issue of collegiality of bishops, then one can expect a chorus of writers to lament the fact that Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI resisted accepting and implementing what the Council taught about the relationship of pope and bishops.  
The importance of Chapter Three of Lumen gentium, where this subject is treated, is incontestable. At the time of the Council, everyone was aware of the need to provide a complement to the teaching of Vatican I on papal primacy and infallibility. Cut short by political and military disruptions of the time, that Council’s full agenda was left unfinished. Nevertheless, Vatican II recognized that apostolic authority is a divinely instituted means, not an end in itself. It is totally at the service of the Church’s unity, holiness, and catholicity. Since the value of a means derives from the end to which it is ordered, a fifty-year retrospective on Lumen gentium ought to place the primacy on the Church as end, and particularly on holiness, as the best way to be faithful to the authentic spirit of Vatican II... TO READ MORE CLICK THE LINK ABOVE.
Related Posts

Thursday, November 13, 2014

René Girard


Girardian Annotated Bibilography and Links Page

The Anthropology of René Girard and Traditional Doctrines of Atonement

Are the Gospels Mythical?

On War and Apocalypse

Violence and the Lamb Slain - An Interview with Rene Girard by Brian McDonald

The Scapegoat: René Girard's Anthropology of Violence and Religion

Colloquium On Violence and Religion (COVR) - Official website for exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard‘s Mimetic Theory

Raven Foundation

Raven Foundation's Teaching Nonviolent Atonement Blog

Theology and Peace

Theology and Peace Blog

Center for Christian Nonviolence

Michael Hardin
Preaching Peace

Christianity is Changing Blog

Tony Bartlett
Hope in Time (new website)

Hope in Time (old blog)


James Alison
Main Website

Jesus Forgiving the Victim


Contemplation in a world of violence: Girard, Merton, Tolle

Gil Bailie
The Cornerstone Forum is a non-profit institute concerned with today’s spiritual and moral crisis and dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the challenges that confront the Christian vocation in our time. The Forum's founder and president is Gil Bailie – a Catholic layman, author and lecturer. Mr. Bailie gives workshops, lectures and retreats, drawing on the anthropological work of René Girard, and the theology of Benedict XVI, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, John Paul II, and others.

Reflections on Faith and Culture Blog


Ignatius Insight - A "Roamin' Catholic" and the Cultural Crisis

Communio - René Girard's Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Part One and Part Two

Anthropoetics: the Journal of Generative Anthropology

Chronicles of Love and Resentment

GABlog - Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

Abbot Andrew Marr
Imaginary Visions of True Peace - The Stories and Spiritual Teachings of a Benedictine Monk

Biblical Peacemaking

Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard

Michael Hardin's Lectionaries Commentary

The Text This Week

No Outcasts

Thursday, November 06, 2014

the silence of God

One grows strong in Christ by being fed by Him in silence. Solitude usually walks with silence, but silence does not actually need solitude. Silence possesses solitude in itself. He who enters the depths of God's heart leaves solitude at its door, because the silence of God envelops him. - Servant of God Catherine Doherty in Molchanie