Friday, March 30, 2012

Georgia lawmakers pass abortion bill

The Georgia State Legislature passed its "Fetal Pain" bill after it was thought to be dead after changes were made to the House bill by the Senate.  This bill prevents abortion after 20 weeks except in cases where there are congenital or chromosomal defects.  Although the compromise is difficult to support, the bill is expected to save ~1,500 babies every year in Georgia.  I call that a move in the right direction.

You can read the entire story HERE

Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Century Christian Ossuary

 A lot has been made about the Discovery Channel show about finding the Tomb of Jesus.  This tomb, located over 2 kilometers from the old City of Jerusalem, has for the most part been discredited.  However, the story has recently been resurrected (pun intended) because other tombs have been discovered int he immediate vicinity of this tomb and these new 1st tombs have ossuaries that have christian inscriptions on them.  Of course, to promote the discovery, some are promoting this as proof of the "Jesus Tomb".

Yet the conclusion of the following:
What we apparently have is a family connected to the Jesus movement who reaches beyond the standard burial norms of the Jewish culture of the period to express itself individually in these unique ways (University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2012, February 28). Tomb exploration reveals first archaeological evidence of Christianity from the time of Jesus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2012)
 Forget the hype going around about the claim about it being associated with the Tomb of Jesus (that does not bear repeating).  The important discovery here is that archeological science has found the first definitive proof of a Christian presence in the vicinity of 1st century Jerusalem.  The Church was growing and the followers were more than happy to share their beliefs on the 1st century equivalent of a tombstone.  That, my friends, is a wonderful discuvery.

You can read more at:

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Morgan Mitchell 2012

Christmas is 9 months away.

Painting was done by my baby girl.  It will be a part of her exit show from the University of Georgia Art School.  And yes, I am very proud of her.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Music That Matters

Jewish Shroud Expert Teaches at Pontifical University

 During our visit to Jerusalem, we stayed at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.  A nice hotel, with good food and a beautiful chapel.  One of the most interesting aspects of the center is the museum that is dedicated to the Shroud of Turin.  Although it is not very large, is covers the most recent scientific discoveries concerning the shroud.  As a scientist, I was convinced by the quality of the science done and became the basis for believing that it is authentic. 

Just recently I read an article on Zenit about one of the scientist involved in the research.  At one point, he said:
 For me, once I came to the conclusion from the science that it was authentic, I came to understand how meaningful it is. This is like a forensic document of the Passion, and for Christians around the world this has got to be the most significant relic because it accurately documents everything that is told in the Gospels of what was done to Jesus.
 Read the entire article using the link below.

ZENIT - Jewish Shroud Expert Teaches at Pontifical University

If you ever make it to Jerusalem, the Center would be a wonderful addition to your pilgrimage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First "Regular Season" At-Bat

I learned on Sunday evening that I will be preaching on Sunday and this is the first opportunity since the Mass of Thanksgiving on February 12th.  In many ways, I felt that was part of the honeymoon; everyone was so supportive.  But now I get my opportunity as a deacon of the Church; no more practice homilies in class, no more feedback from classmates; this one is for real (although I will rely on my wife for input). 

I began preparations on Sunday evening with a quick look at the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent.  It was during that process that I began to realize the gift I have been given.  By the mere fact that I was to prepare a homily, I was provided an opportunity to dive deep into scripture.  Questions like:

  • What do the Words say to me?
  • What was the perspective of the writer?
  • How does this passage differ from the other Gospels?
  • What do these Words mean to us today?
 After I went back through the readings yesterday, I unearthed more topics than I could have imagined.  The number of homilies that can be written for these Words are endless.  Each phrase has something to say to us.  I now see how it is possible to go too long; to try and say too much.  I have already focused my message to one portion of the Gospel (with a little help from the Epistle).

Even with that, there is so much to say.

So now I must put my thoughts into words; words that hopefully touch people where they are right now.  

It may not go as well as I would like (I still have a lot to learn) but I now know that this process is a gift to better understand the Words of scripture.  That, in itself, is a blessing I did not anticipate.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

HHS is Hurting Women

Got this for "The Anchoress":

Well said

Friday, March 9, 2012

Der Dom

Another picture of my favorite Cathedral.

Cologne Dom

The Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was one of the most crowded sites we visited during our trip to the Holy Land.  It is controlled by three Churches so gaining access can sometimes take a while.  It took a long time to enter the crypt, where there is a cave.  This cave, tradition holds, is the birthplace of Christ. 

I was not sure what to expect and was a little surprised.  A little taste of it is shown in the video.

Needless to say, the atmosphere was not very conducive to quiet contemplation on the significance of where we were and why we were there.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jesus Clearing the Temple

Triple Gate - Jerusalem

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

 The beginning of this Sundays Gospel reading tells us about Jesus entering Jerusalem for the passover.  This gate, the triple gate, is thought by many scholars to be the entrance that Christ would have used to enter the city and the temple.  It is also in this area the many people believe that Christ cleared the temple area of the money-changers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Must-watch video of the day

Saw this over at the Deacons Bench. Worth a look.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Inner (Geologist) Nerd Appears in Israel

During our trip to Israel, not only was I totally overwhelmed by the spiritual nature of the trip, but by the local geology as well (oops, I probably just lost my audience).  I was struck by the fact that in Capharnaum, much of the millstones were made of basalt (a black deep ocean igneous rock) while everything else I had seen on the trip was sedimentary (light colored limestone and sandstone).  So I asked myself the question; where did this stone come from?

I soon got my answer on the way to the sight where Christ cast the demons into pigs, which is on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.  At a point, we left the limestone and sandstone and entered an area full of the dark basalt rock from the deep sea.  As we continued to cross the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, the rock turned back into the limestone and sandstone.  You could tell that the dark basalt had split the sedimentary rocks in two.

For the first time in my life I saw evidence of a plate tectonic rift zone. 

This area is part of the Great Rift Valley, which is one of the only new spreading centers in the world. 

If you draw a line from the Sea of Galilee through the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, you would have just drawn a fault that goes through the entire length of the Holy Land.  Eventually, the Arabian plate will continue to move north and away from the African plate.  Eventually, the Dead Sea will become part of the Red Sea (the Dead Seas is ~1,000 below sea level) and eventually connect the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean.

It all reminds me of Psalm 114 when we hear the Psalmist say:

The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs?

 God was using nature to make His point.  It is a beautiful thing.

OK, I feel better. 

Ga. abortion bill adds 
to national debate  |

The Georgia House passed a bill yesterday reducing the time-frame from receiving an abortion from 26 to 20 weeks. The bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration. You can read more on this story on the link below.

Ga. abortion bill adds 
to national debate |