Thursday, August 23, 2012

RnR


Few posts lately because we have been enjoying a wonderful time at Edisto Island, South Carolina.  A place where reading books, playing bocci ball, good conversation and playing music into the night is about all that happens here.  It does not get much better than this.

God is Great.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Odd Life

We rarely go to see a movie at the theater but we will for this.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Diaconate, Martyrdom and Preaching the Gospel


In early Christan history, stories about the martyrdom of deacons for the Church have been widespread.  From the first century martyr, St Stephen, to St Lawrence in the 3rd century, the deacon was called to do the work of the Church in spite of risks to their welfare.

The call for the deacon today is no different than the call at the beginnings of the Church.  We are called to serve our bishop and proclaim the good news to all people.  Sometimes that news is contrary to what secular society wants to hear.  The Chic-fil-A incident  illustrates the response someone may get if they proclaim their belief in the traditional view of marriage between one man and one woman.  One will be called hate-filled, a bigot, and their livelihood may be threatened.

This extreme example of retribution recently happened to a sociologist who published research that children in homes with one father and one mother are much more likely to be well adjusted and successful in life when compared to other non-traditional family structures.  Critics of his research wanted him fired from his job; not because his research was incorrect (they were not sociologist), but because it did not support their view of the family.  For any group to attempt to take away someones ability to earn a living because of their opposing views is a reminder of a dark period in European history when the Fascist and National Socialists were in power. Could this type of persecution happen in the United States? 

Yet even if it does, deacons will be called to speak the truth and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  And when they do so on critical issues that face society, they may be criticized, even by their own congregations. 

Let us hope that the deacons in today's Church will have the courage to speak the truth, even in the face of adversity and persecution.







Thursday, August 2, 2012

Archbishop Chaput on Building a Culture of Religious Freedom

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia gave an insightful speech this week on building a culture of religious freedom in the context of the changes we have experienced in this country.  At one point he said:

"Americans have always been a religious people. They still are. Roughly 80 percent of Americans call themselves Christians. Millions of Americans take their faith seriously. Millions act on it accordingly. Religious practice remains high. That’s the good news. But there’s also bad news. In our courts, in our lawmaking, in our popular entertainment, and even in the way many of us live our daily lives, America is steadily growing more secular. Mainline churches are losing ground. Many of our young people spurn Christianity. Many of our young adults lack any coherent moral formation. Even many Christians who do practice their religion follow a kind of easy, self-designed gospel that led author Ross Douthat to call us a “nation of heretics.”1 Taken together, these facts suggest an American future very different from anything in our nation’s past."

He does give concrete examples on how we can change the current path our country is on.  You can read the entire speech HERE.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Mandate and Small Business

As most know by now, the HHS mandate came into effect today.  That means that all companies without a direct religious affiliation must provide contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization procedures to its employees.

A majority of the debate has been about forcing companies with a religious affiliation (hospitals, etc.) to offer these services in their insurance plans.  However, very few people are talking about the small business owners who also have an objection to this mandate, but must comply by law.

That mandate includes my company.

See, my business partner and I run a small business and have 10 employees.  We have always believed that the "moral" thing to do to was to provide all of our employees with health insurance that is paid 100% by the company.  If they have a family, we allow them to include their families for a modest fee.  This mandate now makes what we considered a "moral" responsibility  into something that is now personally "immoral". 

Our insurance comes up for renewal at the end of the year.  At that time, we must consider what is the greater sin as the owner of a small business.  Do we continue to pay for healthcare insurance that we feel is a moral obligation to our employees and their families or do we drop drop healthcare coverage all together because of the mandate.

Where is a Moral Theologian when you need one?