I received an email from The Anchoress a short while ago. I perk up when she does this because it's usually something she's sending me (and let's not kid each other, she's sending many people) that is well worth the time it takes to read it.
Tonight she sent me something to not only read... but to watch.
Now before I get into this, let me tell you, very briefly, that I was once a Charismatic Episcopalian. Regulars know that I was raised Catholic and then strayed... only to come back to the church (little 'c') at the invitation of a very good friend who got me to go to his Charismatic Episcopal church in Chesapeake, Virginia, by telling me that in essence, it was... Catholic light... though... very much 'alive in the spirit'. And it was. And I went. And I was changed. Dramatically.
I experienced God in vivid ways. I manifested His presence by speaking in tongues. I experienced being slain in the spirit. I interpreted tongues. I even gave prophetic utterances.
Yes. Full disclosure. I became a full fledged Charismatic, Evangelical, Born Again, Christian... Episcopalian.
I was filled with the Holy Spirit. But... over time... I leaked. I leaked badly. Still don't undersand those years and today find myself questioning much of it but... and this is so key for me now... I am, today, where I belong. I am Catholic (big 'C')... and, thanks to my friend, I am catholic (little 'c') all of which will make more sense if you stick with me here.
So... imagine my surprise... when tonight I received something that I took the time to watch, in its entirety... and that brought so much of what I experienced back to me... in a good way... in a pleasing way... in a holy way.
I'm excerpting The Anchoress here... and I'm embedding the video as she did.
Word of caution. It's a long video... and if you're one who finds pentecostals a little... odd... it may be offputting but it's well worth every minute if you're a believer who takes Christ's call to become one seriously. And we all need to do so.
So hang with it. Watch it all. Don't fall to the temptation to skip through it or give up on it. Once the young man with the collar speaks, you'll be captivated... and then there's a bigger surprise.
Thank you Elizabeth for your ministry to me over the years... and for yet another gift.
Watch it all. Give yourself 45 minutes after supper, tonight, or before bedtime, and watch this strange, fascinating thing that has happened, and pray for where it might lead.
This is why, as I wrote earlier today, I don’t particularly want to write about politics anymore. It’s all illusion and distraction. The reality is all in Christ. The world and its princes mean to divert our attention, and to divide. As Palmer notes, Christ Jesus is not in the division.
Daily Caller: A Buffalo, N.Y. community activist who is well known locally for pushing for a highly restrictive 2013 gun control law has been arrested for — wait for it — carrying a gun illegally at a public elementary school.
The arrested gun-control advocate, Dwayne Ferguson, caused quite a scene at Harvey Austin Elementary School, reports local CBS affiliate WIVB.
At about 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, police acted on a pair of anonymous 911 tips. A battalion of cops quickly swarmed the school. The brigade included over a dozen squad cars, the SWAT team and K9 units. The Erie County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter and what appears to be an armored vehicle also turned up. ...
He said he frequently carries a pistol. He has a license but the license does not matter under the strict state law Ferguson helped pass.
Among much else, the 2013 law, deemed New York’s SAFE Act, made it a felony to carry a gun on school property, according to The Buffalo News.
While it was always illegal to carry a gun on school grounds, the new law bumped the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The New York Times reported: A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.
The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.
Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.
Eight militants were arrested when they tried to escape, the officials said.
The militant who was conducting the training was not identified by name, but he was described by an Iraqi Army officer as a prolific recruiter who was “able to kill the bad guys for once.”
Too many of us think that we can't be faithful Christians because... well... we screw up too often. We don't measure up. We fall short, way short. We don't want to be seen as hypocrites. We're just not good enough.
Into that mindset steps Christopher Stefanick with redemptive clarity:
When Father Fabian Baez booked his trip to Rome, he didn't have an appointment to meet with the pope, so he gave himself ample time in the Eternal City to be able to arrange some way to see him.
A week and a half in Rome seemed like plenty of time to meet up with the pope "because I thought I needed to find a ticket, to get a ticket to a general audience. Instead he found me," the priest told Catholic News Service Jan 9.
Father Baez, a parish priest in the pope's former Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, arrived in Rome late Jan. 7 but did not manage to get a ticket to the next day's general audience in St. Peter's Square.
He said he did not worry about it because he still had another week to try. He still went to hear the catechesis anyway, sending out a message on Twitter saying he was on his way to the square.
Little did he know a short time later he would end up having the best seat in the house: first with the pope on the popemobile, then VIP seating during the audience talk.
Father Baez said: "I had no ticket so I couldn't really come into the square. I was outside the audience area. But he saw me from a distance."
The pope yelled to him, "What are you doing here?" the priest said. And he yelled back, "I came to see you!"
The pope had the driver stop the vehicle. He gestured to the priest to come, "And I ran as best I could," squeezing past the people pressed in front of him, past the large wooden barricades snaking through the square and past a large security detail that is now used to protocol being thrown to the wind.
The pope said, "Come, get on!" and gave the priest an empty seat next to his papal assistant.
The priest said that later, when he thought about it, he felt that phrase "Come, get on" was also meant for the whole world.
"When he invited me, he invited all priests to be near the people," he said, and the pope was also inviting all people "to stand up, rise up and go," and lift their hearts and lives up to the Lord.
To the best of what I've been able to figure out to date, Brandan Robertson is not a Catholic. Which makes this post even sweeter:
I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that even though Pope Francis is indeed a radical, much needed change from the Church of Christ worldwide, he is still a faithful, orthodox, conservative, and very "evangelical" Pope. These radical claims of Pope Francis' newfound liberal theology did not originate from the lips of the Holy Father, but rather from the fingers of the folks over at the satire blog, Diversity Chronicle. (a brilliant traffic-driving strategy, I must admit!) Now, that's not to say that Pope Francis won't ever change any doctrines or dogmas of the Church. That's not to say that if you believe some of those claims listed that you're not "faithful" or "orthodox". But the reality is that Pope Francis is still a Roman Catholic. He is still a "conservative" (in the best sense of the word) theologian. What makes him such an anomaly is that he actually holds to a robust, orthodox theology while living out a radical Jesus-driven orthopraxy. This type of Christian (especially Christian leader) has been missing from the world for far too long. That sad reality is the reason the Church has been dying. Because the faith in the God who became a servant and died as a criminal out of self-sacrificial love has been missing from the mouths and hearts of Christians around the world. But, by the Grace of God, I think Pope Francis is being used by the Lord to drive a radical reformation and renewal of faith.
So, no matter how much the world, which has absolutely fallen head-over-heels for the Pope, desires that he becomes the Unitarian universalist Pope, I have a feeling that this faithful Vicar will remain the radically Orthodox Christian leader that he has always been. And I think we should be most thankful for that. Amen?
A much needed counter to some of the crap being attributed to Pope Francis. Go read the rest then pass it on. Particularly you folks who love to send me things in email decrying the latest thing the man is purported to have said.
And thank you Brandan for pointing out that the Pope is... indeed... Catholic.