From: Elita Mary Telles
In response to Mary Lou Baier and the picture of Our Lord, I wish to say thanks.
I cannot help and am compelled as I read about the happening in the woods. I want to share my thoughts with you, Mary, and many persons here in Winona.
Daily we have the opportunity not only to see pictures of Our Lord, but can actually be in His presence by stopping by for a few moments in any of the beautiful, peace-filled and welcoming churches we have here in Winona. We find Him waiting with open arms and ready to listen to us as He remains always in the tabernacles.
In our world which holds for each of us deep concerns about our lives as we try to live each day, the personal needs, health issues, relationships that may need mending, knowing the need there is to find answers to the politics of our time and so many more needs, we can take a moment to be with Him who has given us this special way to open our hearts to Him on this earth.
Thanks for sharing the picture, Mary Lou. May He bless your life in special ways.
The elephant in the sanctuary
From: John Rupkey
It seems to me some recent letters to the editor in Winona have highlighted a basic problem in Christianity today: It is a religion that has failed to integrate evolution into its theology and spirituality.
Paul believed the creation story in Genesis was history. He thought original sin - Adam’s disobedience - was an historical event. The gates of heaven were closed. Human nature was cursed. We needed a redeemer, a savior, a second Adam.
But today we know that the real creation story is evolution; Genesis is a divinely inspired myth; and the first Adam never existed.
So how do Christians who accept evolution (like Pope John Paul II) bring Christianity in line with evolution today?
When we think scientifically, we have one view of reality, and when we think like a Christian, we view a different reality.
Christianity is stuck, and unable to change as our understanding of the world in which we live evolves. As a result, Christianity has become disconnected from the real world.
Most Christians today live their entire lives schizophrenically, jumping back and forth between the real world and a fictional Christian world.
But for many, one view of reality wins out and the other becomes increasingly irrelevant. Some choose to live in the evolving reality; others live in a mythological Christianity fantasyland and reject some important science.
And if Jesus’ mission wasn’t to save the inhabitants of earth from the effects of a mythological event, then what was his mission?
Few Christians today spend much time considering the reason Jesus gave for his being born on earth, because all the big bucks support Paul’s misunderstanding. And I believe the Catholic bishops never have been very fond of making “to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37) the central doctrine of Christianity.
Christian theologians today who try to remove the elephant from the sanctuary by integrating evolution into Christian theology and spirituality are politely marginalized and ignored.
Select your superpower
From: T.M. Schoewe
Our age is filled with “superhero” movies like Ironman, Batman and Superman to name a few. Our kids, young people, are asking one another “what super power would you like to possess, or would you like two?” A young boy says “I would like to fly like the birds.” His sister says “it would be ‘cooler’ to be invisible!” And so they started to argue about the merits of invisibility versus those of flight, telepathy versus magic, laser vision versus x-ray vision, etc.
They finally agree it doesn’t matter if the power is “cool.” What matters is whether or not the power makes life easier.
Then they turned to their parents and asked “what super power would you select?” After a pause the mother said, “Perseverance,” “patience” and “prayer.” “Those aren’t superpowers,” the children said! Well that may be right! But it is human power that is or certainly seems to be in short supply these days. Nowadays there doesn’t seem to be a great call for persistence, endurance or simple tenacity! And it seems by nature we prefer the easy way out and want a quick and simple solution to our problems, the same way in which superheroes use their powers to circumvent reality and triumph over impossible odds.
So if things aren’t going well, if it isn’t working or just stopped; whether it concerns our work, our job or our relationships, bank credit card accounts or other possessions, we just give up, quit and move on. These concerns create a situation in which some think they must make a quick choice and collect unemployment and/or rely on food stamps or some other charity before it is really necessary, before we have exhausted all other means and have tried to work our “own” way out of the situation. Obviously we aren’t going to turn to Batman or Superman to come to the rescue and so then our government becomes the super hero.
There is a beautiful story in the famous 7th chapter of the gospel of Mark that applies to our day and times. Read it! It will open your eyes about our world and yourself. Tucked in just five verses is a short story about a wonderful lady and her persistence, patience and prayerful conversation with a stranger she had heard about, who had just crossed the border of her country, Tyre and Sidon. She was a Syro-Phoenician lady who was married to a Greek. This stranger was a Jew which she had heard performed seemingly impossible acts. She also knew that Jewish men often referred to foreigners like her as “dogs!” Now, her daughter happened to be possessed by an unclean spirit. In her desperation she finds the house where this Jewish stranger was hiding out. She begs and keeps on begging him to cast out the demon from her daughter. But the stranger rebuffs her saying “it is not right to give the children’s meat to dogs!” At this point she addresses Him as Lord! “Lord, you know that even “little puppies” eat the crumbs that fall under the table.” WOW! This was a knock out blow! The Lord of heaven and earth replies: “for saying what you did, you may go home, “the demon has left your daughter.” Her insistent begging, her persistence and her prayerful perseverance became a power that changed her day!
So we return to the original question: “what power would you select?” And the mother’s answer: “perseverance!” Maybe the better way to put it is “hang in there!”
And now when our country is going through tough, hard times, and when we as individuals suffer difficult days, of course we wouldn’t look to or run after some super hero or super power on the TV or in the movies to solve our problems or change our life situation. But it is important that we don’t just quit or give in and give up on the situation and rely on the government and jump to some social safety net right away.
But if you still want a super power, the lady from Tyre found it! It was the Lord, hidden in that house in Tyre! The same Lord who is hidden in this country called America. His blessings like a good rain shower have covered this land. He remains a very present help in this time of trouble. He could be your “super hero.”
P.S. The Greek word for “dogs” used by Jesus was used by the lady but in the diminutive case (little puppies), which does not appear in the English translation. What a persuasive difference that makes in her plea to Jesus.
P.P.S. There is another account of this story in Matthew chapter 15 (v. 21-25).