Ephesians 5 Is Driving Me Mad!

Ephesians 5 Is Driving Me Mad!

I’m not a procrastinator.  That being said, tonight I reached out to a dear friend and asked him: “Quick give me a topic for a post I need to write.”  That post is the one you are now reading.  About an hour later he replied simply “Ephesians 5”.  “Great, now you’re going to make me look up Scriptures and stuff…” I took out my phenomenal new iPhone 6 and opened the browser, heading to the Bishops’ Conference website.  I clicked on “Bible”, “Books of the Bible”, and then found Ephesians 5.  I started reading it and was completely and utterly lost. Was this some kind of joke?  Had my dear friend meant for me to focus on one specific verse and forgotten to mention it?  With all the determination I could muster I decided to read through this selection of God’s Word to see if there was something I was missing.  I quickly determined that, although I was actually familiar with it, I could not even decipher its meaning in context of the whole chapter! Try this one on for size.  “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.” (5:6)  Ooh, it sounds like Paul had inside knowledge of an impending cultic uprising or perhaps the approach of a comet who’s tail would be hiding an army of empty-argument-crushers.  Bizarre. Then there’s this gem.  “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (5:15-16).  This begs the all-important question “Which...
For the pro-choice Christian in your life…

For the pro-choice Christian in your life…

I’m sad to say that my opinion of the popular Big Pulpit aggregator has declined since this week’s Wednesday Edition, when it linked to not one but two of my blog posts, including my T&C post from Monday. Clearly their editorial standards are declining… In its Wednesday Mid-Day Extra edition, though, was a link to a story that caught my eye: “Wal-Mart Sells Bible Helping Planned Parenthood-Funding Komen,” a follow-up to a story from December 2011 about a pink Bible emblazoned with the Komen logo being sold at Wal-Mart via the Lifeway bookstore parent company. This story was news to me, but of course what was not news was the years-long and millions-of-dollars-deep connection between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation (committed to fighting breast cancer) and Planned Parenthood (committed to increasing abortions and contraception, both linked with increased rates of breast cancer). The December story concludes thusly: The bottom line here is that all Bibles are a reminder God has not forgotten you. God loves breast cancer survivors and He loves the unborn. He loves them all, and it’s not likely He’s encouraging anyone to fund death to support breast cancer. All Bibles hold God’s life-sustaining words, but the Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Bible sucks hope from the womb and helps fund the robbery of hope from the unborn. Early on, Lifeway decided to recall the Bibles (after, however, somehow agreeing that a Komen Bible would be a good thing to sell) and apparently Wal-Mart either dragged its feet a bit or it just took a while for the Bibles to get pulled completely. Either way, your trusty reporter was not able to...
What the New Evangelization Must Learn from the Renaissance to Flourish

What the New Evangelization Must Learn from the Renaissance to Flourish

Freely have you received, freely give. -Matthew 10:8 Call me crazy, but I’m a huge fan of the word free. In the last few months, I’ve made my love of religious and political freedom pretty well known. I’d like to turn my attention for a moment to evangelization. Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to perform their miracles and preach the Gospel freely with the maxim “freely have you received, freely give.”  I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts on financial stewardship.  That topic has been done to death. Another form of stewardship remains. I remember sitting in a classroom at Franciscan University of Steubenville pondering the application of St. Paul’s admonition in 1 Tim 6:20: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust!” It was suggested with no little emphasis that, far from sealing the Gospel away safely in a vault, the real way to guard the Sacred Deposit of Faith was to spread it far and wide, to let it be known publicly so well that even laymen could spot a heresy from a mile away.  To guard the Deposit, by paradoxically giving it away, is an invaluable form of Christian stewardship. We must ask ourselves seriously as Catholics: have we done this?  Have we sowed the seed in every field?  Have we made every effort to accomplish that goal? We live in an increasingly amazing technological age.  While the apostles of the early Church stood in the Areopagus and medieval friars in the alleys of plateaued Umbrian villages, today’s evangelists stand upon the rostra at the intersections of the information superhighway.  Effective online...
10 Bible Verses Almost Nobody Notices

10 Bible Verses Almost Nobody Notices

Last week, I posted about 5 interesting, fun things about the Bible. You know how sometimes you’ll be reading the Bible and completely miss something really shocking or interesting? Next up in our semi-gnostic quest for secretive scriptural stuff: 10 Bible verses almost nobody notices. These are the verses (or short clusters of verses) people tend to gloss over when reading the Bible. They miss all the good stuff, but you won’t! Enjoy! Numbers 12:1, 10 – God’s not a fan of racism. Let’s take a look at what happened when Miriam and Aaron mouthed off to Moses. Numbers 12:1 tells us that they used Moses’s marriage as a pretext for attacking his authority. What was it they objected to about his marriage? He was married to a Cushite, that is, an Ethiopian. What you need to know about this story is that Ethiopians tend to be very dark-skinned. How did God punish Miriam? God came down to give everybody a talkin’-to, then He left: “The cloud also that was over the tabernacle departed: and behold Mariam appeared white as snow with a leprosy” (Numbers 12:10). It’s like God was saying, “Oh, you don’t like black, Miriam? Hey, is this white enough for ya?” Genesis 11:4 – Stealing the blessing. Noah’s son Shem was post-modern almost 5000 years before it was popular. An introduction to Noah’s family: “Here’s the cat. We call him Cat. Here’s the dog. We call him Dog. Here’s my eldest son. His name is Name.” Yep, that’s right. Shem means name. It does have significance, though: the builders of the Tower of Babel, descendents of...
5 Interesting, Forgotten Things About the Bible

5 Interesting, Forgotten Things About the Bible

As summer rolls on, I’m starting to prepare lessons for the coming academic year. Here are a few fun and interesting things most people either didn’t know or simply forgot about the Bible. Adam and Eve didn’t eat apples. Well, probably not, anyway. The reason tradition (lowercase ‘t’) tends to give us apples is that, in Latin, apple and evil can both look like the same word, malum. Check out the actual biblical account of Genesis 3. I doubt they ate the forbidden fruit and then, realizing they were naked, ran all over the garden looking for an apple tree just to accommodate a language that wouldn’t exist for at least many centuries. What’s more likely? The forbidden fruit was probably fig and our first parents covered themselves in fig leaves. Fig leaves are not only fashionable, they’re penitential – fig leaves contain latex, which has a tendency to make some people itch. Adam and Eve had a third son. If you didn’t know this, congratulations! You’re a typical Catholic. My recommendation: read the Bible more often, and don’t just skip the parts you think are boring. Plenty of people don’t know the Book of Genesis very well because they’ve written off the whole Torah (that’s the first 5 books). Don’t be like them. The Book of Genesis is a great read that really sets the stage for everything after it. Anyway, Adam and Eve had a third son and named him Seth. Many scholars believe Seth’s descendants are the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2, who married the “daughters of men” (Cain’s descendants), thus corrupting the whole human...