Monday, October 23, 2006

Questions And Answers

Q: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 117

Q: What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 119

Q; Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?
A: Psalms 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118 Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118 Add these numbers up and you get 1188.

Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?
A: Psalms 118:8

Q: Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

Psalms 118:8
"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." Now isn't that odd how this worked out (or was God in the center of it?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Indiana Nun Up For Sainthood

There are nuns and there are nuns. And then there's the Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin. She brought Catholic education to Indiana, endured an overbearing bishop and is believed responsible for at least two "miracles" after her death.

Talk about living life to the fullest, and then some. Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Mother Theodore, along with three others, Sunday in St. Peter's Square in Rome, making her America's eighth Catholic saint. Achieving sainthood is the highest tribute the Catholic Church can bestow.

More broadly, the recognition will affirm what many in Indiana's Catholic community have known for years: This woman lived an exceptional life.

"With almost no resources, Mother Theodore - through just extraordinary vision, wisdom and willpower - set out to make people's lives better," says Greg Otolski, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Her course from obscurity to sainthood makes for a compelling tale - part The Sound of Music and part Dances With Wolves, with a dash of The Sixth Sense thrown in.

Born in France in 1798, she left for America in 1840, having survived smallpox, the murder of her father and the deaths of her brothers, including one who died after sleeping too close to the hearth, according to church officials and her letters and journals.

Traveling by steamboat, canal and eventually stagecoach, she arrived at Indiana's wooded and uninhabited western frontier with no money or English skills.

Undeterred, she started several Catholic schools around Indiana. She also founded a new congregation, the Sisters of Providence, and a girls' academy. The school, a few miles west of Terre Haute, Ind., has since become Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the USA's oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women.

Not everyone recognized her saintliness in her lifetime: The local bishop viewed her as insubordinate, according to her journal and letters. The Vatican later dismissed him.

Typical nun benevolence and intrepidness, some might say. Yet what was said to have happened decades after Mother Theodore's death in 1856 sets her apart.

In 1908, Sister Mary Theodosia Mug was ailing from a crippled arm and breast cancer when she prayed over Mother Theodore's crypt under the Sisters of Providence church. Just hours later, her symptoms subsided; she lived an additional 35 years and died a natural death.

Nearly a century later, in 2001, Sisters of Providence employee Phil McCord prayed in the congregation's church after it appeared he was headed for a cornea transplant. The non-Catholic says he offered a mention of Mother Theodore in the hopes that she would put a good word in to "the big guy" for him. Because of McCord's prayers or for some other reason, the swelling in his eye quickly lessened, as well as his need for a transplant.

In the end, he had some scar tissue around his eye removed and now has 20/20 vision. His physicians have been unable to explain the healing.

"I'm not a theologian. I don't understand all of the implications of what happened to me or how they determine it to be a miracle," McCord said this year. "I just leave it to those who are more learned in that area. All I know is that it's my story. I'm sticking to it."

In recent years, the Sisters of Providence, led by Sister Marie Kevin Tighe, have tried to get Mother Theodore's accomplishments recognized. Their work bore fruit in 1997, when the Vatican - after reviewing old documents, journals and other evidence -determined that Sister Mary Mug's experience was a miracle. The late Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Theodore in 1998, a step on the road to sainthood.

McCord's healing, meanwhile, was formally declared a miracle in April this year. (Among other things, it takes two authenticated "miracles" to become a saint.)
Word finally came in July: The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict would canonize Mother Theodore along with three others: Mexican bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia, Italian priest Filippo Smaldone and Rosa Venerini, an Italian nun.

Nearly 700 people from Indiana will fly to the ceremony, including two students from an Indianapolis-area high school that bears the new saint's name. They will serve as altar boys.

"She truly saw herself as carrying out the mission of Christ on Earth," Otolski says. "When you look at what she did, her work is still going strong today."

By Theodore Kim and Robert King - The Indianapolis Star

Uncle Walt Answers The Question...

by Walt Kelly

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

He Misses Bill, I Don't - Christian Disagreement

From time to time I like to read my friend’s Blogs. Yesterday I read Terry Fisher’s Blog that he does with his daughter. I was a little bit set back by his latest post. Terry has been a dear friend for many years. We grew up in the Jesus Movement together. He graduated from Bible College and he has been a pastor at churches throughout the country. Currently he is a pastor in the Orlando area at Pinecastle Methodist Church.

Terry was commenting on recent television appearances by Bill Clinton. Terry missed those Clinton years. Gasp!!! Marc is stymied and stunned! I am going to lay blame to all the years that Brother Fisher spent out in California. You know the Blue state, Red state thing.

I can think of at least a dozen events that changed the world for the worst off the top of my head that were the result of the Clinton Administration. But do you know what? I got to thinking this doesn’t matter between brothers and sisters in Christ.

As Christians, we had our beginnings from a group of Jews that believed Jesus was the Messiah. They worshiped the One True God as always, but they believed that the Messiah had come to save them.

This group grew from a handful of men and women into the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church became Roman and Eastern Orthodox.

The Eastern Orthodox subdivided into Greek and Russian.

The Roman Catholic Church was challenged by Martin Luther because of practices that he felt were unjust and by Henry the Eighth, who wanted to remarry but could not get the Pope to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine.

Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Roman Church for alleged heresy and founded his own community in Wittenberg in the German city of Halle. He translated the Bible from Latin to German. This allowed anyone who could read German access to The Word of God. His small community eventually grew into the Lutheran Church.

King Henry decided to start The Church of England and proclaim himself it’s head. Hence we had men that protested against the Church of Rome and The Protestant movement was born. Of course it was not as simple as that because we are leaving out great saints such as John Calvin, John Knox, Jan Hus, Ulrich Zwingli and a host of others.

Early on many of these men were murdered as heretics by fathers of the Roman Catholic Church. However life went on and the Roman Catholic Church underwent much change, much revision.

The Protestant Church evolved into many, many branches. We all grew. We may cringe at the tenents of different churches but we can settle on the fact that we are brothers in Christ. In fact the whole foundation of the Christian Church is Jesus the Christ.

Terry and I can disagree on issues of the day and still respect each other, because we are brothers in The Lord.

In 632 A.D. Muhammad died. The preceding decade brought about a division based on familial relationship to Muhammad. Ali, the cousin of Muhammad married Muhammad’s daughter Fatima. The Arabic name for those associated with Ali is Shi or Shi’Ali which was shortened to Shia. Where Shia had Caliphs and later Imams, Sunni had scholars and jurists, but no formal clergy.

I could go on and on about Islam, but my point is that 1374 years ago Shiite and Sunni Muslims hated each other to the point of murder and nothing has changed.

Christianity had it’s bleak, dark years but has grown and evolved.

For two brothers of Islam a difference of political opinion may result in the murder of one of them. That is very sad.

But for brothers in a common bond of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can agree to disagree as long as we agree that Jesus died for our sin.