As any Christian will tell you call scripture is useful for instruction but todays second reading at Mass last Sunday is not only excellent instruction but very enlightening in terms of understanding our current pope:

If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.

To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.’

1 Cor 9 16-19, 22-23

To those christians in general & Catholics in particular who have not been pleased with the pontificate of Francis I this package really explains what is going on.

The primary job of any pontiff is to help lead the flock but to a Pope his flock is not just the Catholic Church but the entire world, for as Christ commanded:

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Matthew 28:18-20

Like Paul Francis is being all thing to all people, and because of this he, while not changing the doctrine of the church, is attracting many people who have either fallen away or have never given Christ, the actual Christ rather than the pseudo Christ of the media a first look.

I’m sure many conservatives like myself will look at this and remark that the foes of the church will simply use Francis’ ways to attack the church, but such people would be attacking us anyways.  Others will say that while some will jump on board while it’s fashionable at this time they will just as quickly fall away, that’s also true, after all Christ said that very thing in the parable of the sower and the seed.

But there will be a fair share who, having found the world & its culture full of empty promises who will come forward and through prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, find themselves taking advantage of the incredible and unmeasurable mercy of Christ.

I suspect very few of them will be those you read about, the big faces, the beautiful people, those who have been the loudest in railing against all the church is, but the job of Christianity isn’t popularity, in fact we are told we shall not be, the job is to, as Paul put it “save at least some”.

Every single person is worthy of the mercy of God, from the cloistered monk who prays all day to the ISIS murder of burns people alive.  Christ is willing to forgive and welcome those two and everyone in between if only they ask sincerely.

And just like Benedict’s methods were effective with some but not others, if Francis methods succeed in saving some of those lost, that’s exactly what he’s there for.

After all the Holy Spirit doesn’t play at dice

One final thing, sharp eyed biblical scholars might have noticed that today’s reading left out two verses that come right before “To the weak…”.  They are as follows:

To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law – though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ – to win over those outside the law.

While in a historical context this reinforces the point Paul is making (after all he often preached in synagogues throughout the Roman world, in terms of our modern times their relevance is limited.  You don’t see a lot of Catholic priests preaching Jewish congregations and even fewer of said congregations are orthodox, that is living under the law.

I suspect that why it’s left out, after all mass runs 45 min to an hour to start with.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Our humble little burg has made national news; as it turns out, big government does not approve of the Little Free Library.

The little library controversy began (in Shreveport, at least), a couple of weeks ago when Ricky and Teresa Edgerton received a cease and desist order from the Metropolitan Planning Commission zoning division who advised that their Little Free Library was in violation of a zoning ordinance regarding commercial activity.  As most of us realize, of course, there is no “commerce” involved with a Little Free Library.

The premise of the Little Free Library is “take a book, leave a book.”  That’s all there is to it.  These units have popped up all over the country; some are “official” Little Free Libraries, and some are simply neighborhood driven.  Official Little Free Library owners are “stewards” who either pay a charter fee or purchase their unit from the Little Free Library organization.  You can do that, or you can just build one yourself or put an old newspaper box outside your house.  There is one near my house, for example: an old newspaper box refurbished, painted, and now serving as a neighborhood book swap.

Apparently someone complained about the Edgerton’s library and thus the MPC got involved.  Via The Shreveport Times:

MPC Board chairman Lea Desmarteau addressed the matter in a message posted to her Facebook page.

“Our current zoning ordinances are antiquated, therefore unfortunately lead to these types of situations. However, there is a silver lining. The MPC is in the process of a massive rewrite of these antiquated codes and ordinances,” she wrote. This has not been done since the 1950s, she said.

The MPC seems to be trying to work out the problem.  Meanwhile, the story went viral on Facebook and last week the controversy appeared in an L.A. Times article.  In Los Angeles a little library owner was told to remove his unit because it was “an obstruction.”

There was a zoning controversy in Kansas City last year.

Nebraska has wrestled with the issue.

So has Wisconsin.

And now Shreveport.

What in the world do these people have against free books?  And community building?  What mean-spirited person would complain about such a thing?

In Shreveport, the support for the library has been positive.  The Little Free Library Shreveport community has printed signs that say “I support The Little Free Library” which people are placing in their yards.  There’s a petition circulating to be presented to the Shreveport City Council this week which now has over 2,000 signatures.  The number of little libraries has increased significantly since the controversy.  The Shreveport Times posted an editorial:  “Why Pick on the Little Free Libraries?”

From what I can tell, these units are small, inoffensive, and usually kind of cute.  They encourage both kids and adults in neighborhoods to read and to share books.  They foster a sense of community in these neighborhoods.  I’ve never seen anything offensive in my local unit. So, what’s the problem?

Seems like a win-win to me.

 Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport

Nidal Hasan mug shot
Nidal Hasan mug shot

By John Ruberry

Last week’s news was dominated–which was as it should have been–by the barbaric burning alive of a captured Jordanian pilot at the hands of the Islamic State, which the terror group videotaped.

While the White House did deem this atrocity as a terrorist act, President Obama has been reluctant to what his administration probably refers to as the “T-word.” That is, terrorism.

Just last month spokespersons from the White House were refusing to call the Taliban terrorists. You know, that group that harbored Osama bin Laden as he plotted the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Nothing to see here, folks…just move on.

In 2009, evil Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, while screaming “Allahu Akbar,” murdered 13 soldiers and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood in Texas. For over five years our military–its commander-in-chief of course is Obama–refused to call this slaughter an act of terror. Instead the Fort Hood shootings were classified as “workplace violence.” This injustice wasn’t just a matter of semantics–some benefits and compensation were withheld from the victims because of the heartless definition.

Of course Obama could have added to his plethora of executive orders by righting this wrong. But he didn’t.purpleheart-vi

But on Friday, thanks not to Obama but to a change in the legal definition of terrorism by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, the Fort Hood shootings are now classified as terror acts–and the wounded will soon be awarded Purple Hearts.

Hasan, who is now imprisoned on death row at Fort Leavenworth, had communicated with Anwar al-Awlaki, who until his 2011 death was leader of Al Qeada in Yemen. The shrink also had business cards printed with SoA after his name–an acronym for soldier of Allah.

Last year Hasan wrote to the leader of ISIS, telling him, “I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State.”

Now will Obama himself finally call the Fort Hood murders an act of terror?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

“God protects fools, drunks, and the United States of America. Of course we were a much more devout nation when (Otto von) Bismarck made that observation.”

Glenn Reynolds (quoting Jerry Pournelle) USA today

“I gave you a land which you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.

“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:13-15

 

One of the recurring themes of the bible is the rotating nature of the relationship of God with the people of Israel.

They would suffer and call on God, God would answer and deliver them, then after a short period of time the people would fall away into sin and disobedience and when the inevitable trouble would come (because like the loving father he is what God instructs is not for the sake of ego but for the good of his children).  And when trouble would come they would in their suffering cry out to the Lord and lo and behold the Lord would hear the cry.and once again come to their aid.

The people of Israel went through cycles and America as a nation had cycles as well.

We have had cycles of wealth, or war of internal strife, but we didn’t have a cycle of faith, until now.

From the earliest times of the settling of America by the colonists to the days of the Mountains of Korea republic to the start of the Vietnam war, America was a country of faith.

There were times when we didn’t do it well, there were times where we failed but never did we deny or abandon God, as Lincoln put it:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Not even the terror of civil war and the blood that poured from it could stop America from what it was.  Yet today this is no longer true.  While the cultures splits in the civil war did not include religion we have now divided between a culture that still has faith in Christianity and one that despises it, and the later controls the media, the popular culture and increasingly the educational system.

And America is falling and failing, our enemies are advancing on all fronts, our friends are deciding we can’t be trusted and our people are becoming weaker, unable to cope with troubles that prior generation would have shrugged off.

It’s not a surprise, like the children of Israel in the speech of Joshua all of us were given cities we did not build, land we did not till, and power we did not earn.  All of the rewards that our fathers and mothers, and their fathers & mothers fathers back to the founding had earned from their blood, their sweat and their willingness to sacrifice for us.

And while part of society endures in their beliefs, the loudest voices do not and as more of the Joshuas who stormed Normandy Beach, and Okinawa die away the end result is not surprising:

Joshua, son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, was a hundred and ten years old when he died; and they buried him within the borders of his heritage at Timnath-heres in the mountain region of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.

But once the rest of that generation were gathered to their fathers, and a later generation arose that did not know the LORD, or what he had done for Israel, the Israelites offended the LORD by serving the Baals.

Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had led them out of the land of Egypt, they followed the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth, the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel, and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them. He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about whom they were no longer able to withstand.

Judges 2:8-14

The same is happening here because a culture of narcissism convinced that because one’s technology is superior once society is.

What our friends today forget is that people have been born, living and dying for centuries before they were ever born and will be born, live and die centuries after all of those who are reading this today are dust.

I’m convinced that this cycle will end and turn, our Joshuas might be dying but we will have our Othniels our Ehuds our Shamgars and we will endure, because a culture of narcissism eventually eats itself and when it does the remnant will still be here.

By Steve Eggleston

Two Sundays ago, Peter declared it was time for a national Conservative Party at least somewhat separate from the Republican Party. Earlier this week, A.P. Dillon said that a redoubling of the effort to take (back) the GOP was the prescription. It’s my turn to add my two cents.

On the national level, the GOP has become the mostly-minority half of what I have termed the bipartisan Party-In-Government, in conjunction with the Democrat Party, with the goal of an ever-expanding and more-intrusive federal government. To be honest, it has been since the turn of the century.

As Pete pointed out, if there is to be a break in the near future, the time to make the break is now, not just before an election. However, a full break, even this far out from the next election, won’t result in instantaneous victory. It took the plurality of former Whigs 6 years to build the Republican Party into an entity that could challenge (just) a deeply-divided Democrat Party. It took a generation, and the breakup of the Democrat-Republican Party, for the Whigs to emerge as a semi-effective opposition party after the Federalists melted into the Democrat-Republican Party.

Moreover, the inevitable criticism that a group that couldn’t even get the majority of one party, and indeed just got thrown all the way out of power in said party as it searches for a new base, can’t possibly beat the combined remnants of that party and the other party, which will have the support of the still-influential Mainstream Left Stream Media has some merit. After all, who can argue with numbers, and the many carcasses of various attempts at a third party, right?

Actually, I will. Even as the GOP was busy purging its candidate list of conservatives last year, they had to continue to at least appear to be conservative, as conservates still represent the plurality of the voting populace. Given the general trajectory of the country and desires of both halves of the Party-In-Government to create tens of millions of voters dependent on an ever-growing federal government, that’s a situation that won’t last much longer if left unchallenged.

As for the pain of going back to full Democrat control while a 50-state Conservative Party usurps the Republican Party’s role as the main not-Democrat Party, how much worse can things get compared to either a split government or full liberal Republican control? Do Medicare Part D, McCain-Feingold, or No Child Left Behind ring a bell?

I would like to believe that conservative control of the various state GOP apparatuses would reverse the national move to transform the GOP into the Democrat Party of 1998. It has not. The time has come to, in states where conservatives still control the state Republican Party, delink from the national party, and in states where conservatives don’t control the state Republican Party, form a Conservative Party. It may well fail, but continuing to do what has been failing is the Einsteinian definition of insanity.

The other alternative is giving up. That only works until the late-night knock on the door.