Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I ponder quite a bit about what has happened to my country, struggling to understand how we went from Kate Smith to Rosanne Barr. Though I never served in the armed forces, most of my adult life has been focused on political involvement and bringing positive change into our nation. I have fought for our country in a different way, in different battles, but I have fought with all my heart. 

And I have been profoundly shattered to see the collapse of what I thought was America. 

When our generation is long in the grave and history is written about the United States, what will it tell us about the people today? That is way too broad a question to ask on a blog. So I have narrowed it down to writing specifically about the perspective of the American Dream and my parent's generation.

How must the generation born specifically between 1935 to 1950 relate to today's America? To start, I will give some personal background.


I was born in the 1960's and have an inkling of a memory of what the late 1960's racial and  feminist struggle was like--the drug and sexual revolution. But most of my memories take place in the 1970's.

Our family had soldiers in Vietnam who came home addicted to drugs and cynical. And my childhood is peppered with memories of war protests and peace signs. 

I remember the Watergate trials and President Nixon's resigning. I remember sitting in line for gasoline when my dad was trying to get us to school and himself to work during the oil crisis.

But the sex, drugs and rock and roll culture was the environment that seeped the most effectively into my little Christian sheltered world. The context of my world was: The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, women burning their bras, riding on the city bus with the black kids in back, my fifth grade friends smoking joints after school. 

My childhood was during that strange transition of America being Leave it to Beaver

to it being All in the Family:

My age group got to see my parent's innocent and naive America briefly as it went past our back seat car window, but mostly in the rearview mirror. 

The Rockwellian Years

Our generation's parents were a part of a culture where the American Dream was God's dream. During the Golden Years of the USA during and immediately after WWII, when there was a complete conflation of religion and patriotism, church and state, America was still a place of high ideals and where even the media was still ashamed of sin. Being American meant being a good Protestant living in God's land, the shining city on a hill. It was the time that they inserted, "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. 

American kids were encouraged to believe that you could be anything you wanted. Be an astronaut! Be president! God supports you on your quest to be whoever you want to be and in your God-given right to pursue happiness. This is America, dream big

And now these kids who grew up watching the Lone Ranger and Father Knows Best are looking at their lives and feeling they failed. Because, let us be honest, most American's did not achieve their American Dream. I am not saying they do not have a tremendous amount to be thankful for nor am I suggesting that they didn't achieve more than most humans who have ever lived on the planet. America is full of nice homes, nice cars, and nice people. 

What I am writing is that most kids who grew up in those golden, idealized years--did not achieve what they were promised they could achieve. Most are not astronauts or millionaires or president or baseball players or hollywood stars. America cannot look back at those childhood promises and claim they came true. 

The Promise of the American Dream

A few of us born after 1955 who grew up in a very different America have done and are doing what our parents believe to be shockingly unpatriotic and even ungodly.

We have been forced to look at America realistically and ask some difficult questions. Many of us have travelled outside of our country and realize that people all over the world believe their country is the greatest and their values look very much like America's values. In fact, in some ways, these countries are doing better than we are.

It is not unpatriotic nor ungodly to be realistic.

I can hear the outcry, "Then why is everyone on earth trying to get into America then? Why so many immigrants?"

The truth is that most immigrants before the middle of the 20th century were from Europe. In the last few decades, immigrants are coming from third world countries, not to share the American Dream or the American culture, but for economic opportunities. They are not fleeing religious persecution, but are fleeing poverty. And there is nothing wrong with that. But we need to understand that these people coming today, do not plan on assimilating into the melting pot. They are not even aware of the once-
ubiquitous values of the 1950's America. They know America for its military, its drugs, Hollywood, Pokemon Go, Apple Computers and Beyonce. 

It must be devastating for a generation reared in the 1950's and early 1960's to awaken to today's America. To watch the American Dream go from the American hero: Superman and NASA's
conquering of space to getting a million hits on youtube twerking.

Time to really, prayerfully rethink the American Dream. Maybe that capitalistic, democratic ideal of pursuing happiness that was supposed to bring materialistic prosperity for all was never possible nor even right. 

Maybe the American 
 Dream isn't and never was God's dream. Perhaps God never intended people to pursue happiness but holiness. Maybe the American Dream is a deception from the Father of Lies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Thank God this doesn't happen often in this life: 

God's discipline. 

I am not writing about just any discipline, but a different type. Sometimes discipline isn't about being punished for something you did, but enduring suffering for something someone else has done. God is disciplining you in self-sacrifice for someone else.

Hebrews 12:
For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 

You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect...
There are moments when you stand in front of a fire and you peer into it not knowing how deep or how hot the flames are. But what you do know is that someone you love set this fire whether on purpose or not and that you have to walk through it.
...for our “God is a consuming fire.” 
It may be excruciating--since you could stay where you are, or walk away. Nothing is making you walk through it; nothing except that you know it is the right thing to do
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 
You may not feel love towards the person who put you in such a position. In fact, you may feel deep rage. Perhaps you didn't deserve this. You may be the innocent party having to suffer the unbearable consequences of someone else's choices or mistakes. Maybe the person started this fire from doing something catastrophically selfish or stupid or without thinking. 
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
You run through the list of good excuses. There are a thousand legitimate reasons why you should not have to be selfless and put this stupid or irresponsible person ahead of yourself. You know it is unjust and unfair for you to have to suffer. 
Why is it always you who has to be unselfish? 
Why is it always you who has to be courageous?
Why is it always you who has to quietly suffer heartbreak? 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
It doesn't matter now. Someone has to walk through the fire. In the end, no logical explanation is going to solve the problem, the right thing is to walk through this blinding, searing fire of humiliation and pain for the love of another.

Somehow, if you do the right thing, you trust that God will heal this. "Though You slay me, yet will I serve You," you grit your teeth and power-yell out to the cosmos. You steel yourself and take many deep breaths. All you know is that you must walk through it to do the right thing.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
At those moments, I pray you will feel very close to
Christ in the Garden crying out to God, "Please let this cup pass from me, but not my will, Oh Lord, not my will but thine be done!" 
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
The moment may very well feel like your own personal crucifixion. 

If you have to ask yourself if you have ever been through this type of experience, I can assure you, you haven't. You know if you have walked through the fire, for you will have the scars; you cannot escape the memory of the burn, the self-sacrifice. Perhaps this moment for you was miraculous act of forgiveness or giving up your lifelong dream or a set of beliefs you hold dear. Maybe the Lord called or is calling you to move or to stay or to love when someone doesn't deserve or even want your love. 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
Or perhaps it really is something you have done to yourself. This is a self-inflicted fire and God is asking you to stop doing something you are addicted to. 
...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 
You are staring into to the fire of obedience and you know it will kill you to walk into it--or at least feel like it will kill you. But, you know it is the right thing
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
Walk through it on your knees. God will never send you alone into this situation. It is going to hurt like nothing has ever hurt you before. 
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
But when you are out and on the other side (usually some distance) you will never regret for even a moment that you went through it. You will feel forged like steel and stronger. In fact, you will be stronger through God's grace. 
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. 
Then, when it is over, then you will understand love in a whole new way. You will look at the Cross in a whole new way. And you will thank God that He gave you the courageous grace to walk through to authentic love.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Church Christ Started is a Family

Daily, I have Protestants challenging me about my Catholic faith showing me texts of scripture that supposedly prove that Catholicism isn't Biblical. 

And here is the problem: we are simply not going to agree on Biblical interpretation. Catholics have a very different understanding of the church. Once you see that, it will help you understand how to approach a Catholic. 

Here is the Christian worldview of a Catholic: 
Christ started His New Covenant family at Pentecost with the Catholic Church. When you are baptized into that church, you enter a family covenant with God. Christ becomes your brother, God becomes your father. And all those who have been baptized are your brothers and sisters in Christ. 

You may not get all the family rules right or even understand the family rules. But that doesn't make you less of a family member. Are your biological brothers and sisters perfect? Of course not. It is not logical to demand that they be perfect. 

See a Protestant is looking for a church with perfect theology--or one that best fits the person's interpretation of theology. They believe the church they deem has the scriptural truth is the one God wants them to be a part of. 

Catholics believe Christ started the Catholic Church and is revealing Truth to them through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Even if they don't get theology perfect, that doesn't mean the church is wrong anymore than if your dad were to give you wrong directions or were to blame you for something you didn't do makes him less your father. If we are family, we are family through Christ, not perfect theology. And not perfect behavior from the kids. 

Catholics are family. We are struggling to understand truth together. If some of the children don't quite understand Catholic teachings, that doesn't make the family break up. 

So it is really useless to say, "Your priests are bad." Because if someone said to you, "Your dad is bad." That just makes you ashamed, it doesn't make him less your dad.

If someone said to you, "Your family is stupid for believing God wants babies baptized." Well, even if that were totally true, even if Catholics were 
absolutely wrong about some teachings, that still would not take away the fact their Father is God and that Christ died for their sins. 

Theology isn't the measurement of whether a church is the right church. We look to the church Christ started and understand it is a group of people struggling to live up to the name of Christ. That's how we look at it. We look to Who is the Truth, not what is the truth.