Our culture does not challenge people to be spiritually transformed because, other than being tolerant and self-reliant, it does not have a good that beckons the individual to conversion –the awareness that one has to radically change and base their life on something greater than themselves. Consequently, conversion shakes the core of the self, disorientating it while the self’s illusions are torn down and exposed. It is an awakening.
If not ourselves, who awakens us from our sleep? God incarnate – namely, Christ. He is the person that calls us out of our slumber, challenging us to follow Him. He is not welcome in our society because He asks us to change and conform ourselves to a good that is at odds with the goods of the world. His path is not the path of the world...
Today, Ellyn von Huben offers her commentary on the book Spoilt Rotten:The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality, speaking of the way in which our desire for a non-threatening Jesus prohibits us from experiencing the depth of His truth.
The rather vulgar movie Talladega Nights, despite its raunchy humor, was not without a moment which shone a light on a trap in the popular theological mindset. As with many effective moments of truth, it was delivered with a wallop of humor. The protagonist, NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, portrayed by Will Farrell, begins grace at the dinner table by addressing the baby Jesus:
Ricky: Dear Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden, fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawin' at the air...
Chip: He was a man! He had a beard!
Ricky: I like the baby version the best, do you hear me?
How many of us like the baby version best? The soft, squishy, marshmallow Jesus. Jesus safe and familiar and conformed to our desires. The Jesus of sentimentality run amok; a sweet, pliable Jesus who bears little resemblance to him by whose cross and Resurrection we have been set free, the Savior of the world...
Today, Father Steve Grunow reviews an article from Commonweal contributor, Peter Steinfels, in which he analyzes statistics documenting the exodus of a large number of cradle Catholics from the Church. Father Steve challenges Steinfels' interpretation of the perceived departure.
Peter Steinfels laments in a recent issue of Commonweal
the results of a Pew Forum study that indicated that one in every three Americans who were raised Catholic have left the Church. If this statistic is true, a religious denomination comprised of former Catholics would constitute the second largest in the nation. Steinfels has reason to be concerned. According to the Pew Forum study “Catholicism has lost more people to other religions or no religion at all than any other religious group.” Steinfels’ lament goes on to identify not just the drifting away of so many from the Church, but the state of affairs that these people have left behind. The bishops, Steinfels contends, remain silent, and recent studies also indicate the Church’s ability to inculcate the teaching of the Church in new generations of believers have not only faltered, but have completely failed. In terms of general knowledge of the basic tenants of their Faith, young Catholics score lower when compared to adherents of other religions or members of Protestant denominations- not just lower, but way
lower. In terms of comprehension of Catholic teaching by young Catholics, ignorance prevails. If they are rejecting the Church, or will one day do so, do they even know what precisely they are abandoning?...
Word on Fire programs are now being featured on channels in the Philippines! A friend of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
, Arnedo Lucas, sent several pictures to show how the gospel message is being conveyed through the new media-- all around the world. St. Therese, Patroness of Missionaries, pray for us!
Father Barron is being interviewed on WGNtv.com Midday News
today. You can listen live by visiting www.WGNtv.com
In addition, read about Immaculee Ilibagiza's recent visit to Chicago
on the Blog.