Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where You Can Find My Articles on Catholicism

I have a series of articles that I have entitled 'Why Do Catholics...". You can find the series listed among my Blog Contents to the left. I have many, many dear friends who are not Catholic and are either curious about our practices or have major misconceptions about Catholicism. Some of the questions I cover are: Ashes on the forehead, repetitive prayers, ,Crucifix, purgatory negating Christ's sacrifice, What is Advent?, Worshipping Statues , Sacramentals(not sacaraments) , Purgatory, Why do Catholics Call Priest Father? , The Eucharist, Purgatory, One More Time
Scriptures Dealing with Purgatory , Why Do Catholics Genuflect, Do Catholics Believe in Faith Alone?

I am about to cover a biggie for my non Catholic friends: Mary. Yes, I know that some people mistakenly think that Catholics put to much emphasis on the mother of Jesus. The first article in this series is found here: Mary, Mother of God , Mary part II,

Also, because of the popularity of the movie, Fireproof I have included an article about Kirk Cameron. Catholics need to be aware that he does not believe that they are Christians and his program, The Master's Way seeks to lead them away from the Church. Yes, Mr Cameron, Catholics Are Christian.

My goal is to write out several articles dealing with my Protestant(mainly Baptists) friends concerns in this area. Please be patient with me. I home school, even in the summer, and am busy with my family of four kids and three dogs. I will do my best to get these articles up quickly.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tragic Case of Carri Chimelewski

I started two different post about this news report and erased them both. This particular story is so sad and tragic that it is difficult to write down my thoughts. http://www.fox59.com/wxin-unassisted-bathtub-births-072309,0,6360522.story

Apparently, there are some members of extreme fundamentalism who are distrustful of the modern medical establishment. So, frightened are they of doctors and hospitals that they opt to give birth at home.

Of course, I realize that there are midwives who are well trained and careful to follow the regulations of the states in which they work. Women decide to give birth at home for a variety of reasons. My intent is not to criticise the different choices that are open to women. But there is a vast difference between a midwife who has attended an accredited institution and is prepared to turn away clients whose health make home birth dangerous, and a midwife who refuses to follow any of her state's restrictions because she feels she has a mandate from God.

Thirty-seven year-old Carri Chimelewski of Richmond, Indiana was so proud of her growing family she started a website posting pictures of her latest pregnancy online.

Most of us know that an older mother has special needs that might make her a bad choice for giving birth at home. She would need to be closely monitored, if she did opt for home birth. That apparently didn't happen in the case of Carri Chimelewski.

Determined to give birth at home under the care of unlicensed midwife, Brandi Wood, the mother ignored very troubling signals that she needed to see a qualified professional. She wrote on her blog: "My body is full my legs can only take so much." Her midwife dismissed her concerns as fatigue and assured her that she must be carrying twins. The Chimelewski's baby died(there was only one) and Carri almost lost her own life.

One statement in the article especially infuriated me. She believed that God would handle any problems she had with her pregnancy. Followers also say Carri dismissed doctors as idolatry. We are blessed to be born into a country with decent medical care. Not using that care is refusing a gift from God. For goodness sakes, the book of Luke was written by a physician. I can't even fathom the reasoning behind her idea that doctors are idolatry.

I have included the link to a site called No Longer Quivering. The owner was a member of an extreme fundamentalists group(I would call it a cult) that encouraged women to give birth at home. Luckily, the blog owner is alive to report on her experiences and warn other women from following her example .http://2spb.blogspot.com/2009/07/vyckies-story-part-20-though-he-slay-me.html

I really wish that I could express how deeply this story bothered me. It is so tragic and unnecessary. It also makes me angry. This newborn should not have died. Poor Vyckie over at No Longer Quivering should never have felt that God's will was that she be miserable and risk her life. There is nothing biblical that states that we should avoid the wonderful advances that have been made in health care.

But what saddens me most is that there are women now, even as you are reading this, who are forgoing medical care because they believe that they are called from God to do so.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Before You Meet Prince Charming

I am linking to the reviews of a book that I have meant to read for a long time. It is called Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally. The comments on Amazon were all very positive about this book, so I was surprised to read this blogger's viewpoints.

I am gratified that I have been saved from spending money to purchase this book for my girls. There are views in this book that I do not wish my daughters to absorb.

I am disturbed by Sarah Mally's claims that a girl needs to be rescued. Excuse me, unless something dire happens, we don't need to be rescued. Being rescued implies that there is some sort of dangerous tragedy happening in your life, like a house fire or being held at gunpoint. Certainly, please help anyone that is suffering from such atrocities. But if a young woman is simply living her day to day life, then she shouldn't need to be rescued. What the heck should she be saved from anyway? Doing dishes, mowing the grass, cleaning up after her dog? What? Why would a man desire a woman who wants to be saved from her regular life?

Also, I am troubled by the classism presented in the book. The nobility are all good and all wise. The snobbery that is present throughout this book is very evident. Anyone who disagrees with the King's parenting choices, according to the author, is either jealous or guilty about their own lives. The poor peasants are seen as easily led and tempted. So far, I am rooting for the commoners in this book to revolt, but I doubt that will happen. This type of thinking actually sounds like the reason that countries have rebelled against their leaders.

The mother-Queen-is rarely seen in this story. I don't know why that is so, but it troubles me that she is so little involved in her daughter's life. By the way, the fact that the Princess has no name irritates me also. Actually, I really disliked this goody good young woman. I was sort of hoping that the alligator that lived in the moat would eat her. Alas, the gator appears to be a vegetarian because he-according to Miss Mally- eats pond scum.

I am equally amazed that all festivities in the book are considered evil. Getting together with other young women and having fun is called evil. That is a bit strong. Having fun just for the sake of enjoyment is not a sin. Even in Franny Burney's works(1700's) the women went to balls and had social picnics. I have no idea why Miss Mally is against events where young people can meet and socialize.

Mally implies that those who don't follow her guidelines will automatically be unhappy. A lot of us dated and ended up happily married. To claim that there is one way to find a spouse when the human population is full of a variety of personalities, cultures and circumstances seems to be very narrow minded. It makes me wonder about the author's experience level with other people. Perhaps she isn't purposely being dishonest but has had limited contact with those who hold different views then her own.

What concerns me most is this quote from her book:A girl can defraud by dressing in a way so that boys will notice us, flirting with our eyes, or even just by the way we smile at a certain time or laugh at every jokeThat sounds much more extreme. This would be troublesome if something happened to a young girl like a sexual assault. The victim might think that she deserved her attack because she smiled at the man.

I realize that this is a popular book among many Christians. But there are apparent issues within the book that should be discussed before allowing our daughters to read the book.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dealing With Past Sexual Abuse

There is an excellent series of articles over on the blog site, Abba's Little Girl, that deal with the sexual abuse that the blog owner suffered as a child. The series is dubbed Out Of Darkness and it is very helpful for those who have endured past abuse.

One note, the owner is a convert to Catholicism. Her father, and abuser, was a Baptist minister. She does NOT attempt to paint the majority of Baptists as perverts; I would not link to her site if she was using her experiences to castigate the entire Baptists denomination. It was her former Protestant Church, in fact, which encouraged her to confront her family with her past.

Here is part of her very first article on her experiences. I am printing it in hopes that others in pain from their childhoods will want to explore her series.

It has not been easy discussing this facet of my experience. In fact, I think this is the one facet that continues to be painful. I have heard people comment often that I seem to be able to discuss my experiences calmly and without visible signs of pain. That is because the Lord has done such an amazing job of taking the pain away and I have worked through forgiveness and recovery.

But the one area that continues to be painful and which affects my every day life to this day is the accusation my mother and subsequently my brother have made that I have been the victim of False Memory Syndrome.

You cannot imagine (unless you're been through it) what it is like to have your own family not believe you about something so devastating as being molested. To watch the perpetrator sit quietly by and watching the other members of the family castigate you while he withholds the truth feels like having a pillow held over your face.

To this day, when I express myself about something that means a lot to me, and I find myself not believed, I experience that same feeling of suffocation. I have to guard against the reaction and remind myself that the opinions of others do not determine truth.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yes Mr Cameron, Catholics Are Christians

Over the weekend I saw the movie, Fireproof, and was pleasantly surprised. The movie had some very funny moments and the suspense scenes were very exciting, plus it had a positive message. There was no anti Catholic content and it was a movie that could be viewed with your children in the room.

But, although I would not hesitate to suggest the movie to my Catholic friends, I do have a very sad caveat. Apparently Mr. Cameron, like some evangelicals, do not consider Catholics Christian.

These are Cameron's own words detailing his evangelizing of a young Catholic:

In my younger days as a Christian, I probably would have felt the need to debate issues of Catholicism, such as the Apocrypha, praying to saints, Mary's perpetual virginity, the infallibility of the Pope, etc. before I even got to the subject of the gospel (which is the power of God to salvation). But I know from experience that focusing on sideline issues eats up precious time and can waste an important opportunity. Instead, I remembered what Tiger had taught me in the airport - "Sometimes, to accomplish more you have to see less." Like Jesus did so many times when he spoke with unbelievers, I blocked out the distracting arguments, and focused upon two things only. My goal was to help this young man (1.) see his sin clearly and thoroughly (which allows him to understand his personal need of a Savior) and (2.) see God's amazing love demonstrated towards him on the Cross. By ignoring the distractions of religious traditions and fixing my sights upon communicating the pure message of the gospel to this man, we were able to accomplish much, much more

Because of the popularity of Fireproof among many Christians, especially evangelicals, expect to see Kirk Cameron's methods of evangelizing to Catholics to become more prevalent. If you haven't seen his TBN show, The Way of the Master, his tactics involve some manipulation.

The Christian walks up to a nonChristian(that apparently includes Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans and Anglicans) and pretends to engage them in honest inquiry. Of course, this is a lie. The questioner actually has a set way that they hope that the conversation goes.

Normally, the "nonChristian" target is asked if they think that they are good. Most people, caught off guard, will respond with an affirmative. After all, who is going to go through their faults and doubts with a complete stranger. The questioner then proceeds through the ten commandments to prove how the target is not actually a good person. If for example, the "nonChristian" admits that they have occasionally told a white lie, the questioner then immediately explains that this makes the person a liar. The hoped for goal would be that the person will admit that they are a hopeless sinner and need Christ.

I am not against witnessing. As Christians we are commanded to reach out to nonChristians, but even if this was not directed at my fellow Catholics, I would find such deceptive tactics troubling. If what we believe is true then we can have honest, straight forward dialogue with people. There is no need to trick people into becoming Christians.

Further though, I am offended and saddened that some evangelicals insist on viewing Catholics and certain other denominations as not being Christian. It drives me nuts that some nonCatholics believe that anyone who does not interpret the Bible in the manner that they do is not a "Bible believing Christian." One of the surprises that I received when first attending a mass was how much scripture is incorporated in the service. Catholics have three Bible readings each mass. This is not simply a few, out of context verses, but a reading from the Old Testament, from the New Testament and the Gospels. We also recite a Psalm. So, yes, a Roman Catholic Church is a Bible Believing Church. If anything we have MORE Bible then our Evangelical brothers and sisters.

As far as acknowledging our sins....um Mr. Cameron have you not listened to popular culture's opinion of our Catholic faith? Most nonChristians consider Catholics a little to focused on our sins. (I don't) It is ironic that a Catholic, who has probably recited the Penitential rite asking for God's mercy and forgiveness at every mass and who undergoes an examination of conscious before each confession, would not know that they need Christ's mercy and forgiveness. Did the Catholic youth in the article never attend a mass?

Mr Cameron's attempts to evangelize Catholics away from the Church is why some of us are wary when Evangelicals wish to fellowship with us. This is sad. As Christians we need to stand together and be united. Instead, I have to wonder why the sweet Baptist lady invited me hear a service with her. Is it because she enjoys my company and respects that I am a Christian or is she performing some sort of stealth witnessing. Yes, I have been the uncomfortable victim of such tactics.

I find it somewhat amusing that Mr. Cameron has given up attacking the issues of Catholicism that he disagrees with. Perhaps this is because there are very logical and Biblical reasons why Catholics believe as they do. Hopefully, sites such as mine will continue to give the 'whys' behind our faith. Because he can't attack our beliefs directly, he has to rely on deceptive methods.

If I sound mad, well I am. It angers me that I do not play God and judge other Christians salvation, even though I disagree with their interpretations of the Bible. Yet the same courtesy is not extended by SOME Evangelicals to their Catholic brethren. Worse yet, I do admire that Cameron is trying to live his religious faith honestly in Hollywood so, it saddens me even more that he is blatantly against our beautiful faith.

I would suggest that any Catholic who reads this blog begin a prayer chain for Mr. Cameron. It isn't impossible that Grace could soften his heart toward our Church.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Do Catholics Genuflect?

If you are a Protestant who has ever attended a Catholic Church then you have probably noticed the parishioners executed a strange sort of bow. Before entering the pew, your Catholic friend probably dropped to his/her right knee while crossing themselves. I promise you, this is not done with the intent of tripping the poor, unsuspecting Protestant visitor so that we can silently laugh. LOL

The practice appears to have started during the Middle Ages when it was common to genuflect to people in positions of power. Gradually the practice entered the Church where it has remained as a form of devotion and respect to Christ

When most Protestants say that God is present in their church they normally are speaking about the presence of Holy Spirit. Because I believe my nonCatholic friends when they tell me that they are Christian, I don't doubt that they experience grace in their lives and churches.

But when Catholics-and some Lutherans and Methodists- say that God is present in our Church we mean that Christ, through the Eucharist, is actually physically present in our mass. Under the guise of bread and wine, we get the opportunity to literally touch our Lord. When we bend our knee, we are expressing our reverence. Being in the physical presence of Jesus Christ is an honor. Genuflection is an act of humility. Catholics take seriously the verse that states that 'Every knee shall bow."

I should add that most most of my experiences with nonCatholic Churches have been with evangelicals. So, if your particular Protestant Church has practices that are similar to Catholics, I apologize for being overly general in my description of Protestant practices.