Saturday, June 30, 2007

Water Buffalo - Veggie Tales

Lest anyone might assume I am in anyway deep, intellectual, or mature (O:

Friday, June 29, 2007

Contagious Compassion

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"Deadly epidemics and social traumas haunt the news and test the limits of our kindness and courage. How should Christians respond, when the church itself is so divided? Perhaps we need another St. Catherine of Siena."

Intro to an article over at Christianity Today's Christian History & Biography
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Proof

"
"The Unbelieving Mind would not be convinced by any proof,
and the Worshiping Heart needs none."
A.W. Tozer;
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Sloop John B - Relient K

One of my favorite bands covering one of my favorite bands.
My sister and brood are at the Creation Fest as I type, enjoying the brilliant powerful pop of Relient K ,and about 50 other Christian bands,
and hopefully remembering to buy Uncle Monk a t-shirt or two.
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Top Ten not listed on Late Nite

Found this in a comments section over at Warren's very fine blog, and as I am entertaining the thought of entertaining possible dates in the near future, found this rather useful.
Feel free to add to the list, as I'm gonna need all the help a maybe notso wannabe monk might need (O:

From Patrick Madrid, over at Envoy Magazine,

Pat's Top Ten: Orthodox Catholic Pickup Lines

10. May I offer you a light for that votive candle?

9. Hi there. My buddy and I were wondering if you would settle a dispute we're having. Do you think the word should be pronounced HOMEschooling, or homeSCHOOLing?

8. Sorry, but I couldn't help but noticing how cute you look in that ankle-length, shapeless, plaid jumper.

7. What's a nice girl like you doing at a First Saturday Rosary Cenacle like this?

6. You don't like the culture of death either? Wow! We have so much in common!

5. Let's get out of here. I know a much cozier little Catholic bookstore downtown.

4. I bet I can guess your confirmation name.

3. You've got stunning scapular-brown eyes.

2. Did you feel what I felt when we reached into the holy water font at the same time?

1. Confess here often?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

St. Irenaeus

"If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live upon the earth, much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word
give life to those who see God"
.

But, I didn't really want an answer

.
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"A deep and genuine concern for other people will remind us that the discovery of truth is not to be a victory for some and a defeat for others. Unless all can claim a share in that victory, truth itself will continue to be rejected by the losers, because it will be regarded as inseparable from the yoke of defeat. And so, confrontation, controversy and the like might yield to a genuine united search for God's truth and how it can best be served."

First, sorry my blogs are a little lacking lately (say that three times fast "little lacking lately", and now ask yer self, why the heck did I just do that? . . .oh, the power of the blog-monkster is growing ), as my blog-love has created another monster, in that I am now responsible for two blogs for my company.

But I digress (as well, as digest, as I just had my morning oatmeal), and now share with you once again my feeling that God is not only very loving, but also prone to a kind of playfulness that one often finds with a Father and His children.

Wednesday, as I have mentioned, is my parish's weekly time of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and where you can always find your monkster between 6 and 8. This is one of my favorite times of the week, although I do sometimes wonder why I don't go to other parishes, or the Shrine, during the week.

My church, like many in DC, is on a circle, which also faces a Baptist church (the church I go to bible study is also on a circle, but with four other churches). Last night the Baptists were rocking out on the lawn, with what I am guessing was the youth group practicing for a July 4th event, and were singing "We Will Worship". I entered St. Anns with a smile, knowing that Jesus was inside, and could hear the sound of his kids' joyful noise from across the street.

To be honest, the music was still audible inside, and even a bit annoying at first, until I had the image of the marble Jesus on the cross, flying off to be with the kids who were singing of their love for Him (no, not a real "image", but a joyful ecumenical thought). After my prayers of thanksgiving (man, I am a lucky guy!, and a very loved one too!), prayers for those who have left us, and prayers for prego friends with ailing moms; I then started asking God what He wanted from me.
"My People"

All I heard was the still small voice repeating that. "My people", with me somehow feeling it did not just mean all people, but the splintered body of Christ that longs to be united. "My people" at this time meant all who call on, and trust in, the Name above all names, the risen Son of God, who longs to have His family together again.

So why aren't we united? Is it doctrine? dogma? musical tastes?, or is it simply Pride?
I kinda am leaning on the pride answer myself, although we may decorate it with doctrine, so as to continue to appear pious . . .but I fear it is Pride (and it's master) that is what keeps us apart.

But Monkster what can unite us?

well that's easy, the answer (in case ya missed the bumper sticker) is JESUS! 'cause no matter how hard we try, if we do it without him, we really are up that stinky creek with out a paddle (or even a boat).

So again I ask you all to pray that God will put the desire for unity in our hearts, as He at the same time destroys the pride in us that keeps us apart.

"I have given them the glory that You gave me,
that they may be one as We are One"
John 17:22
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hey Ya! Charlie Brown Style

The Juliana Theory

"This is our Lord's will, ... that our prayer and our trust
be, alike, large. For if we do not trust as much as we pray,
we fail in full worship to our Lord in our prayer; and also we
hinder and hurt ourselves. The reason is that we do not know
truly that our Lord is the ground from which our prayer
springeth; nor do we know that it is given us by his grace and
his love. If we knew this, it would make us trust to have of
our Lord's gifts all that we desire. For I am sure that no man
asketh mercy and grace with sincerity, without mercy and grace
being given to him first."
Juliana of Norwich (1342?-1417)
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Affirmations

You Rock!!!!

Are you talkin' to me?

Yep, you do in fact rock!, and God saw every blemish on your face, and on your beautiful soul, when out of perfect and total love, He was pierced for our transgressions.

I have been told that my spiritual gift is that of affirming others, or reminding them of their worth and dignity, of pointing out their strengths, as well as their gifts (I still wish it was turning things to gold . . .but in a way, I guess it is) . Sadly, the one person who I have a hard time affirming is that silly, spare tire equipped, and unshaven guy who frightens me in the mirror every morning.

I am not writing that as an excuse to get free hugs or affirmations myself, although cash is greatly appreciated, but as a reminder to each of you who stumble upon my wacky lil' blog, that not only are you incredibly loved, but that your JOB is to remind others as well, and not just those folks looking gloomy or down hearted, but even those annoyingly peppy folks ya might see who always seem to be happy as they whistle the day away (take it from me, it's likely just the Starbucks or Berger Cookies).

So please just pick some random person today, and tell them about something good that you see in them, or maybe tell them that their smile or laugh brightens your day, or just say "You Rock!"

O.k., seems easy enough, so go forth . . .oh, and repeat tomorrow, and the next day, and the next . . .

In the words of a certain prophetic vegetable
"God made you Special, and He loves you very much!"
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Confident Prayer

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Our brother Frater, has a wonderful post today on confidence in prayer. His posts daily humble and inspire me.
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Behind every great man . . .


"Thou shalt not" is the beginning of wisdom.
But the end
of wisdom, the new law, is,
"Thou shalt."
To be Christian is
to be old? Not a bit of it.
To be Christian is to be reborn,

and free, and unafraid, and immortally young!
Joy Davidman (1915-1960)

Prayer Request

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My wonderful friend Stephanie and hubby Kevin, are expecting their first child any day now. Steph's mom, as I had mentioned previously, is currently in the hospital, where our Lord could call her home at any time.

Please pray for new mommy and baby's health, new daddy's strength and wisdom, and that God would allow a grandmother to see her new grandson before she goes off to rest in her Savior's arms.

Thanks, and God bless,
mike
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"Beautiful day" - U2

"After the Flood, all the colors came out"

Shoulda been in Evan Almighty, but also a reminder ta get yer butt outside today, and enjoy this wonderful world God made for YOU!

a lil' slice of Evan

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Reporter : What makes you so sure God chose you?
Evan : He chose all of us
The above, are a couple of my favorite lines in "Evan Almighty", a wonderful film which opened in theaters on Friday. You all have by now, seen the ads and know the story, so I won't attempt any sort of review.

Besides the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it, I will just mention two other things that might get ya to go see it. First, I took my awesome rocker niece to see it, who also loved it, but more importantly for me, there wasn't one time in the whole movie where the Hollywood tendency towards the easy vulgar, reared it's ugly highly styled head (heck, even the Americanizing of Wallace & Gromit had a couple offensive bits). Nope it was just a charming film, with me only concerned over why God hasn't had His teeth fixed.

The other point is that my buddy Jason, had also wrote to say "Yes, Evan Almighty was great, very funny". This is important because while we are both very devout Christians, our usual choices of entertainment are vastly different. While my bud is apt to be found watching "Nip/Tuck" or "The Sopranos", I am more likely to be caught watching HGTV or "Jimmy Neutron"(also written by Evan's screenwriter Steve Oederkerk). Once, when we were roommates, he found great delight in mocking my choice of "West Side Story"(heh, it was with a date), with him singin' "Maria" in the next room, before going to kill terrorists in his latest Xbox game. While I like music that rawks!, his music RAAAAWKS!

I hope the fact that my friend and I, as well as my 14 year old niece Largo, all liked this delightful popcorn flick, helps to demonstrate that it' has a slightly broader appeal than the silly critics would have you believe. These critics are, after all, the same folks who worship the feet of Tarantino and Scorcese, but thought "The Passion" had too much gratuitous violence.

See ya at the movies . . .well not really, 'cause it's usually kinda dark
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Devil Is Bad - The W's

I think even the most devout atheist might just get caught snapping their fingers to this lil' swing number (O: . . .and no, the band ain't named after that "W".

I got nuthin'

Quite busy today, but if you click on the image, and move the mouse,
I promise you'll have fun for at least a minute or two (O:,
plus, it's abso-lovely out today, so get thee to a park!
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Friday, June 22, 2007

. . . back in the Real World


As I have been over thinking my potential responses for an atheist verbal attack, I forgot that all atheists are not necessarily antagonistic ,but just folks with no reason to believe. My job isn't to argue, but to defend if need be, as well as in all things show love for others . . .to be Christ for them, not just talk about Him.

Yesterday, one of my customers told me about a hellish few weeks he has been going through, since finding out his wife was having an affair, and with a married, with kids, Deacon from her Evangelical church. I let him talk for a lot longer than my average sales call, with one thing he said haunting me the rest of the day:

"I am an atheist, but I have more morals than either of them have shown"

My only response was "I am sorry", as nothing else could be said at this point. I am sure I could have said all kinds of great lines or quotes, but I think I best said what I think our precious Savior would have said "I am sorry".

"They will know us by our love, and judge us by our lack of"

Simple, but true, and a mantra many of us (especially, yer monkster) should remember. We really are "the only Jesus someone might meet" "the only Bible someone might read", and we are called to truly be Christ for this broken world, not just Christians.

Anyhow, after I let my friend vent (yes, most of my customers are also my friends, and all are my brothers and/or sisters), I asked him

"I hope you don't mind, but I'll be praying for ya"

"thank you Michael, I know you really mean it"

That was one of the nicest things this silly wannabe monk has heard in a long time, so with that, I ask all of you out there to join me in prayer for my friend, and for us, that we go forth and "be" the healing hands and feet for our Saviour, and for our family, in this hurting world.
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Hollywood Jesus Freak

"I'm a Jesus freak. I respond to Jesus, the messages of the Sermon on the Mount, to this guy who talked about loving your neighbor and loving your enemy. I know what's moving me, and I know what I want to be true to in my work. And if people pigeonhole me for that, I don't really care."

Evan Almighty director Tom Shadyac, in an interview with Christianity Today

Jesus Freak - DC Talk

This song, and video, changed forever Christian music, as well as hitting an ol' long haired atheist rather hard ta boot. I saw this when I was still between belief and unbelief; but I saw strength, integrity, dignity, and almost pride, in these three guys, taking what was once a mocking phrase (Jesus freak), and turning it into a banner that I would soon see raised high by hundreds of thousands of kids throughout American Christendom.....and that, regardless of your sonic preference, is a beautiful thing!

Separated I cut myself clean
From a past that comes back in my darkest of dreams
Been apprehended by a spiritual force
And a grace that replaced all the me I've divorced

I saw a man with a tat on his big fat belly
It wiggled around like marmalade jelly
It took me a while to catch what it said
Cause I had to match the rhythm of his belly with my head
Jesus saves is what it raved in a typical tattoo green
He stood on a box in the middle of the city and claimed he had adream

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak
Cause there ain't no disguising the truth

Kamikaze my death it is gain
I've been marked by my maker a peculiar display
The high and lofty they see me as weak
Cause I won't live and die for the power they seek

There was a man from the desert with naps in his head
The sand that he walked was also his bed
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn't too much left in the upper room
With scabs on his back and hair on his face
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate
The Pharisee's tripped when they heard him speak
Until the king took the head of this Jesus Freak

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they lable me a Jesus Freak
Cause there ain't no disguising the truth

People say I'm strange does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger
People say I'm strange does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak
What will poeple do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak
Cause there ain't no disguising the truth

What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak
What will poeple do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they lable me a Jesus Freak
Cause there ain't no disguising the truth

What will people think
What will people think
What will people do
What will people do
I don't really care
What else can I say

Cause there ain't no disguising the truth
Jesus is the way
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chuck Colson's Book Review

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Chuck Colson /Anne Morse have an interesting Op-Ed article over at the Christianity Today site, relating to all the anti-Christian/anti-religion books that are out.

"What do several of these books have in common? Apart from the fact that they could be placed in the "hate speech" section of the local bookstore, they received major reviews in The New York Times, and most ended up on the Times's bestseller list, recognized for some time as culturally skewed."
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I dare ya

How Would Jesus Drive?

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A friend sent me this article from EWTN, as she is aware I no longer drive as conservatively as I once did . . .except for maybe areas where I know those darn speed cameras are (O:

(here is an old post where I confess this recent sinfulness)

It seems the Vatican has issued a statement on aggressive driving, which
I am guessing came about because someone tried to cross the street in Rome (they drive almost as bad as DC!).

"Guidelines for Pastoral Care of the Road"actually deals with more issues than CNN and other news sources would have you believe. The official document also tackles how people of faith should help Street Children, the Homeless, and road side Prostitutes ('cause in case ya forgot, they're your brothers and sisters too).

My tip for others like myself who drive a lot, is to always have a cooler of water (some Gatorade in summer too) and food (Energy bars work great as they have a decent shelf life, and our family on the street can save them for later). I once gave a box of Powerbars to someone, and then later saw him distributing them to a few other of our homeless brothers.

Oh, yeah, and I guess I'll slow down too (O:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rand and Lewis

As an ex-Ayn Randite, I was a bit curious to see how the filming of Atlas Shrugged was progressing, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the project's screenwriter,Randall Wallace, is also working on the screenplay for the C.S. Lewis' classic "The Screwtape Letters".

Upon further investigation, it seems Mr. Wallace has also written some Christian inspired fiction, which I just might hafta read (but I gots to finish the Athos book first).

But back to Lewis and Rand, it was actually the fact that "Mere Christianity" read like a Christian Ayn Rand essay, that first helped connect my brain to Christ's tugging at my heart. To look even further back, it was actually Miss Rand's "The Fountainhead", that God used to slowly bring me to him. That book challenged me to look more deeply at what the world considered truth, over what I inherently knew was true, and since Jesus IS the Truth, it really was only a matter of time.
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Reformed now Restored?

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While checking out a Bible Study friend's latest cartoon over at comicgenesis, I was shocked by a pop up ad from our favorite cultists, the Mormons. Their new campaign is entitled "Truth Restored", and boldly builds on their erroneous claim that somehow the "keys" to the kingdom were taken away after the original apostles had died.

The site the ad links to is rather well done, and builds it's heresies slowly with each page, starting with very simple, almost Christian proclamations of God's love. Each page also offers you a little video, each done in a very P.C. way, by a person of a different race or gender, each touching on elements of the Truth, as they simultaneously deconstructed it to fit Joseph Smith's fantasy.Anyhow, I don't think it's really very safe for us to just go about our way, thinking the LDS folks are just those wacky Donnie and Marie watching polygamists from Utah anymore, as they, along with the Muslims, are the among the fastest growing churches in the world. They are far better, and more diligent, about sharing their faith, than the most Christians, with American Catholics often among the worst at "giving a reason for our hope".

I make that last statement not to offend, but to raise the call that John Paul the Great had started, as he spoke of this current time as one of a new Evangelism, starting with the Ecumenical mending of bridges with our Christian brothers and sisters.

The really great thing that we can take from the Mormon/Muslim/New age whatever successes, is that it demonstrates that people really are so hungry for God, and so thirsty for Truth, that they'll take counterfeits. So, since we got the "real thing baby", let's go out share it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Exercises while Exercising

I wrote previously of a little exercise I had started, of only looking at people from the neck up, as a way of noticing less the wiggling of the opposite sex, or coveting the more toned bodies of the sex I happen to belong to . . .and basically to just learn to see people as Christ would have.

Lately, I have added to that, a little mantra if you will, of saying in my noggin' "My sister" or "My brother" as I pass people on the street. Constantly repeating that, until the truth of it really becomes the truth in me. Rich or poor, beautiful or notso beautiful, athlete or wheel chair bound; everyone I meet is family, and I pray that this exercise will help me develop a more humble heart.

On this, as I was practicing this new little exercise, while also exercising on my bike in lovely Rock Creek Park, a woman who rode by me while I was looking at the image of God in her face and thinking "my sister" , suddenly looked back at me and said "What?"(but kept riding).

I guess I may have been focused a little too much, but also if I had been better prepared, I coulda shoulda responded:
"God Loves you !"
maybe next time (O:
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Stifle it !?!

"Stifle, Paul said that you stifle him,
again and again and again"

Cadence - Anberlin
Anberlin, one of my absolutely favorite new Christian bands, has this above lyric in a tune from their first album. I have yet to figure it out, but of course I am looking at it as if the "Paul" they are referring to, is in fact St. Paul. If anyone can shed some light on this, or wants to just ponder, pleeeeease do so.

Write down,to remind yourself on how it can be
Heartstrings, you're tugging at my heartstrings
Helpless, I have become so helpless to your touch
touch me somehow
Restless, you leave me restless
breathless wait for me

The closer I come to you
the closer I am to finding God
You're a miracle to me
The closer I come to you
the closer I am to finding God
You're a miracle to me

Burning, like Joan of Arc to see you, just to feel you
Cadence,well I dance with the dead cause I believe
yes I believe, yes I believe
Stifle, Paul said that you stifle him
again and again and again

The closer I come to you
the closer I am to finding God
You're a miracle to me
The closer I come to you
the closer I am to finding God
You're a miracle to me

And if these are my parting words
Then this, my last request
Hold me here, until I sleep
If I burn, then I burn for you

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Surprised By Design

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"Someone once said that if you sat a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, one of them would eventually type out all of Hamlet by chance. But when we find the text of Hamlet, we don't wonder whether it came from chance and monkeys. Why then does the atheist use that incredibly improbable explanation for the universe? Clearly, because it is his only chance of remaining an atheist. At this point we need a psychological explanation of the atheist rather than a logical explanation of the universe. We have a logical explanation of the universe, but the atheist does not like it. It's called God."

Peter Kreeft lecturing on C.S. Lewis' Argument from Design
Which you are free to read or hear, at his website.

"I've never worn a Versace, But his Designer fashioned me"
Who I Am by Seven Day Jesus
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Monday, June 18, 2007

On another note

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The Flight of the Conchords is a new show on HBO, in the dry style of the British import The Office. Unlike the NBC show, Conchords is a musical little comedy about a two man band from New Zealand, living in New York. A scene can turn into a bad music video at the drop of a hat, with the first musical interlude being an ode to the "most beautiful girl in the world".
"You're so beautiful, you could be a part-time model
....but you'll probably have to keep your normal job"

While there is a smidge of bathroom profanities, and a passing mention of "heavy petting", I must admit yer monkster hasn't laughed this much in quite a while. You can watch the whole episode for free over at Yahoo videos.

*click pic to watch them rawk out (O:
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If I were a Rich mon'

On the very tail end of my sales territory is the lil' too overly friendly lil' city of Richmond, Virginia. On my long ride down, I can feel the multiple layers of DC pretentiousness slowly peel away, along with the stress of passionless customers who only care about "a deal".

In the Richmond area, even if the customers aren't interested in my moulding, they still just might take me to lunch . . .or at the very least, waste a half hour talking about the best fishing spots (no yer monk is far too anal retentive to do anything as dirty and smelly as go fishing).

Last week's trip afforded daily Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located downtown, right next to VCU. Although designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, the predominate use of green, with highlights of gold along with touches of red, made this monkster feel he had stepped into an Irish cathedral (granted, I have never actually seen an Irish cathedral). The Bronze relief Stations of the Cross were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen, as striking as any I had seen in my visits to Italia.

There was only about a 7 or 8 other folks at this Mass, which is a something that I admit makes me a little sad. We eat everyday, we sleep everyday, and heck, some of us even go to the gym everyday . . .but neglect this more important, and more beneficial daily exercise. I wonder how much different we would be, and how much different the world would be, if the faithful attended daily Mass. I also have noticed, as a sometimes reluctant single (singular) person, that I rarely see couples at daily Mass; yet I can think of no better way to grow in the love than a daily visit to the Source of true Love.

as I've now run out of quarters, I will get off my high horse, (O:
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Whenever God Shines His Light - Van Morrison

As promised, this is a live clip from an old Laserdisc I have, and just a perfect version of this tune (and in my humble opinion, better than the studio version). Funny thing is, I used to skip over this tune back when I considered myself an atheist.

Whenever God shines his light on me
Opens up my eyes so I can see
When I look up in the darkest night
I know everything's going to be alright
In deep confusion, in great despair
When I reach out for him he is there
When I am lonely as I can be
I know that God shines his light on me

Reach out for him, he'll be there
With him your troubles you can share
If you live the life you love
You get the blessing from above
He heals the sick and heals the lame
Says you can do it too in Jesus name

He'll lift you up and turn you around
And put your feet back on higher ground

Reach out for him, he'll be there
With him your troubles you can share
You can use his higher power
In every day and any hour
He heals the sick and heals the lame
Says you can do it too in Jesus name

He'll lift you up and turn you around
And put your feet back on higher ground.

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Introductions : Billy Woody, Woody Billy

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Three Cheers for the three 'teers (Porthos in this case) for posting a hidden video gem:Woody Allen interviewing Billy Graham. Oh, for the days when such discourse was civil, to even friendly, as opposed to the modern Jerry Springer style of "journalism" found on Fox News and The View.
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Monk +No +More?


Correct me if I am wrong (heck, half the time time I get corrected when I am right), but Monk's generally don't go on dates?

Well anyway, after some thought and prayer, yer monkster decided, that while I am still discerning my true vocation, it might be O.K. to have dinner with someone of the opposite sex, whom I think is rather nice and quite pretty. Part of my decision was based on the fact that I was royally destroyed last year by a rather sweet, although thoroughly mad as a hatter, young woman; and that I might be making my choice (of the religious life) partly from the possibility that "all" women, are in fact, mad as hatters (yes J', we have secretly agreed on this bit of universal male truth).

Worse, although last year's folly was rather devastating, I find I still very much miss the red headed object of said folly. I have also become increasingly aware that I long to have someone with me at Mass, at Adoration, to pray the Rosary with . . . .someone to share all of this with (and my imaginary friend Bob is still a devout Calvinist
. . .well, a little more like Calvin and Hobbsist).

So, the other day, I surprised a rather talented artist I know, by asking her if she would like to have dinner one night, and after she replied that she likes to have dinner every night, I mentioned more specifically, if there might be a chance she would like to share one of those particular evening meal times with me. . . .and that heck, I'd even buy!?!

"YES" was the answer, and "yes" loyal readers, I'm even more shocked than you.

Anyway, this doesn't change anything yet, as part of discerning is,well, um, discerning, so that's what I'm doing, and now I ask all of you to please say a prayer for me, that I will know His will for my life, and continue to live in the love He has given us.
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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happiness from the Normals

."The checkout at the grocery, the girls in the magazines
Skinnier than subscription cards that fall to the floor
And get dusted under shelves and shelves of candy
Sweet like a nothing whispered in an ear
Sweet like the words we all want to hear
Like: "Love, Joy, Patience, Peace, Kindness, Understanding..."
Happiness - The Normals

God of Wonders - Third Day / Caedmon's Call / Leigh Nash

This weekend vid is just a "wonder" filled reminder of the beauty God has placed us in the middle of . . .regardless of the mess we've made it.

I don't think I have ever heard this song without being drawn to my knees, hands raised up, with only the words "Thank You" and "I love You" coming forth from my lips

so on my knees I say:
"Thank You God, I do love You!,
maybe not well, but as best as I can today"
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Christ vs. Christian

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Paul Cat has an interesting little video showing people's opinions of Christ, versus their opinions of Christians. I personally would also like to see Christian vs. Catholic, as I fear there might be some even more disturbing revelations in the average Joe or Josephine's misconceptions of the Church and it's Roman flock.

Living in DC, and seeing first hand the lack of intelligence among most folks in the media, as well as a general lack of integrity or work ethic, I lay the blame for these misconceptions at their feet, more than I do at the sometimes dirty feet, of those who bring the Good News. It also helps me to see that Jesus ALWAYS keeps His promises
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death,
and you will be hated by all nations because of Me."
Matthew 24:9

From Want or Need?

Have you ever almost bought something, but assuming you could just pick it up later, set it aside, and on the way home find your self wishing you had picked it up. So the following week you contact the store, only to find it sold, and so begins a quest that would even leave Samwise Gamgee more confused than the desire to throw some silly ring into a fiery pit (although the quest I speak of seems similar to any wouldbe collector).

Well, your monkster generally has three types of films I feel the need to actually own, with the first type being any film dealing in someway with the Christianity (this could be "The Passion" to "Spitfire Grill " to "Sergeant York"). The second type, being that I am the Musical Monk, would be anything music related (this could range anywhere for "Almost Famous" to "Hello Down There" to even "A Knights Tale"), with me generally passing on most musicals (exceptions for me are "West Side Story" and "Godspell"). The last, as I am also a wee bit of an artist (and as a metaphor, I guess we are all a bit of thee Artist) would include films with animation (although, Hayao Miyazaki excluded, most anime is crapola). This is a bit broader a category, as it can range from classic Disney to my pals Wallace and Gromit, to finally the film of which this post is about.

Volare Volere is a early 90's italian made film, in which a lonely man slowly becomes a cartoon character, and also a film that, in the US, slowly became impossible to find. Never being released on DVD, and myself with a great distaste for video tape and/or "Pan and Scan" films, had turned the desire to own this on laserdisc, into a wannabe monkish mini-obsession. I have periodically checked video stores that once specialized in LDs, as well as my ever e-Baying, in the hopes of finding this little oddity.

I have in fact been looking for it for longer than I have been a Christian, and so I had actually forgotten to consider my little quest under that world view. The film also deals with some less than chaste subjects, with the man's love interest being somewhat of a prostitute (although she doesn't really have "sex" with her clients), and if I remember correctly, the man dubs American "adult" films into Italian (yes, I don't know why they call them adult, as only a childish person would have anything to do with them). So, maybe I don't need to own this little film.

The problem is, that I did the above pondering in hindsight, as two weeks ago, I found and purchased the Widescreen LD of the film from an e-Bayer (sounds like over the counter e-medicine), and it arrived the day before my lil' trip to lovely Richmond, Virginia (where I be at present). Before I left, I kept staring at the cover, trying to decide if I should pop it in the LD player (well of course I still have one, why the heck would I buy a laserdisc if I couldn't play it . . . .oh, yeah, I guess that's kinda what this post is about,huh? ). Should I watch it?, should a Wacky Wannabe Musical Monk even own it? This might be a question too great for my lil' under caffeinated brain , and may require the services of the Dawn Patrol and/or the Three Massketeers (although I believe they are presently with Paul Cat, thwarting a liturgical rebellion a little West of Sheboygan).

Oh, what is a Wannabe Monk to do?

Imaginary Reader: um, Did you pray about it?

Oh, well, I was getting around to that.

IR: um, shouldn't that be the first thing you do

Well, of course, but I have been busy with, um this blog, and the hotel has a pool, and . . .

IR: hmmm, the other voices in yer head and I have been talking

Other voices!!!, Talking!!!

IR: yes, and we feel, that as we also converted when you did, except for you know who, we feel that we cannot stay under these circumstances

No, No, please stay, I'll pray now, and maybe even re-sell the film?

Good Gug'gamunda , sometimes having a conscience can be down right annoying (O:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What's up with the "Rose"?

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As I must start my trek down to Richmond, VA, this morning, I thought I'd run this past post, explaining the "Rose" in my name.

I can still hear the chuckle of my nephew Casey, as a slightly perplexed Monsignor Mosley confirmed me "Rose", at last years Easter Vigil. While some men (especially religious) do take Mary as their Saint, most people are confirmed by the name of a Saint of the same sex (info I learned after the fact). I am still happy in my choice (although I now get mail from Catholic charities address to Rose McCleary), and I am humbled to know that this lovely daughter of God is praying for me even as I write.

But why Rose?

Honestly, I had picked Augustine initially, as his autobiography "Confessions" is one of my most cherished books - and I definitely felt a close bond during my first reading of his early "not-so-Christian" life. His transformation truly rivals that of St.Paul (another possible choice), along with that of his superior intellect and piety - a true Doctor of the Church. In either great humility or greater lack of self esteem, I just couldn't let myself be called after someone of Augustine's stature.

It was in my ever quest for humility that I chose a woman, as I do truly believe that woman are naturally humble in spirit - where men (your alpha-monkster in particular) lean towards natural self exaltation (even in their own humbleness). I do not know if this humble nature is societal, or God given (although, you can guess where I lean on that), only that the most loving and self giving people I have known have been women (Christian, Jewish, and atheist alike).

It was actually one of those wonderful "daughters of (the new) Eve", who first shared Rose with me, after I had been stood up for what was to be my first "date" in over a decade. Knowing well that I would likely be taking it as a rejection of my outer self, she shared the story of a humble beauty who rubbed pepper on her face to escape vanity.

Born Isabel, to Spanish immigrants to Peru, and called Rose because of her beauty (there is also the story of infant Isabel's face being transformed by a mystical rose). As a child she was already known for a great reverence, pronouncing love for all things related to God, and this only increased with her age and (outer) beauty.

This beauty, or how she dealt with it, is probably what she is most known for (although I suggest you read more about this amazing woman of God).
Worrying that her appearance could lead herself or others to sin, she was known for wearing coarse clothing, cutting her hair short, and rubbing pepper into her face so that it would blister.

I still remember when I first read about the pepper, and thinking how extreme that was, and that we wouldn't do anything like that now. Living in DC, I soon started noticing how we all do equally extreme acts (tanning, teeth whitening, excessive exercise, starvation diets, $200 jeans, $1,000 suits, $50,000 cars, etc.), but with the difference being we are trying to please the world, where St. Rose only sought to please and venerate her beloved Lord.

Her example, I would have to say, was key to my cutting off permanently, the long hair I had been sporting for 30 years. I had let the hair become my identity, of who I was, or worse, who I wanted people to assume I was. The new look may have made me more "normal" in appearance, but I was to find people still drawn to me, but now because of the person I was, not the person I looked like. I also realized that this was part of me "decreasing, so that Christ may increase", which is my goal, and I hope Saint Rose's prayer for me.

I did want people to see Jesus when they looked at me, but not because of the long hair (O:

So, every day, I ask Saint Rose to pray for me, that I would learn true humility, true love for my God, and true love for my brothers and sisters.
Saint Rose pray for us!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

St. Anthony of Padua


"Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars. Soon he was called from that post to preach to the heretics, to use his profound knowledge of Scripture and theology to convert and reassure those who had been misled." From the American Catholic's Saint of the Day.

Thought the above went well with my earlier musings.


St. Anthony Pray for us!

Look and See

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Just darting off to work, but noticed a hummingbird at my feeder, a baby cardinal being fed by mommy, and off to the side enters two fawns accompanied by mother deer . . .for me, this is just a mere glimpse of the many proofs I have of an amazing and wonderful Creator.
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An Arsenal of Truth and Love

Everyone by now, is quite aware of all the trendy anti-God (more anti-believers in God) books that are causing a sensation, most importantly they are showing how ill equipped many Christians (your Monkster included) are at defending their faith, which is literally part of our job description.

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your Hope"
1 Peter 3:15

The Monk's mentors over at 3M, have also raised the call, and pointed to some brilliant links that any, nay all, Christians should give a gander to. I also very strongly suggest listening to Peter Kreeft's audio lecture on "Arguments for God's Existence", as well as finally breaking open that copy of "Mere Christianity" that's been gathering dust on yer self since Aunt Nell gave it to you for yer 15th birthday.

My wonderful 14 year old niece and I spent the day together on Sunday, and she mentioned one of her friends who is a Goth, and with that, also anti-God (I don't like the word atheist, 'cause being an ex-atheist, I've come to see that they don't exist . . .much in the way I did not fully, before I embraced my Savior's love). I asked my niece how she explained God, and she was quite good at explaining salvation and being a Christian, but I asked her "Why should I believe in some God, with all these silly rules?" Sadly, she didn't have a complete answer, but than we went to Starbucks, got caffeinated, and talked for a few hours.

To be honest, even my answers were a little spotty, but more from lack of practice, than lack of knowledge. It has been quite a while since I have had to explain "my reason for Hope", as I fear I have been using the mantra "preach the Gospel, use words if necessary" as an excuse for my not building up a better arsenal of apologetics (also, of late, I have been discussing Catholicism to Protestants, more than trying to help or instruct those without a true knowledge of God).

So, my brothers and sisters, I challenge each of you to, literally, play devil's advocate, and debate with one another about about God's existence, as well as why it is our God, as apposed to all the other religions. Find out the weak spots in your armor now, before the real battle comes (and it will come). Please also remember that we are not at war with the puppets, we are at war with the puppeteer!

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places"

Just as we are to give argument to the Christopher Hitchens and Philip Pullmans of the world, we are also commanded to pray for them . . .a part of our arsenal of love, that they have no counter for.

Personally, when ever one of theses influential idiots annoys me with their latest comment, I pray for them, and imagine the positive influence they might have if they only turned to face the Light. Also, picturing them as cute little fuzzy squirrels in boxing attire, might help ya from getting over heated in a discussion (O:

"Ignorance is no excuse
when we have neglected to learn
what we are obliged to know."
St. Ambrose
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Redemption Song - Cassandra Wilson

sooooo, ya want Jazz do ya? (O:

"From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly"
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Getting' the funk out . .

. . . and letting the Light in.

I found this photo of
Brian "Head" Welch, ex-member of the band KORN, being baptized in the Jordan River. He chose to leave the band back in 2004, after he came to embrace the real Music Maker.
"I think if kids want to go and listen to Korn, then good.
But there's happiness too, after the anger
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There's happiness, and I'm going to show through my actions
how much I love my fans."


I was researching an upcoming post (R'n'R Converts), and the beauty of this picture brought yer sappy monkster to tears, so I now share it with you.

"I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."

Please mention Brian in your prayers

I'd Rather Be . . .

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I am actually considering having these made, but not
for sale, just to give to friends, and the "regulars" at Wednesday evening Adoration at my parish. I thought I'd give you folks a chance to say if it's in any way offensive or tacky, to have something like this on a License plate cover. Being from Baltimore (Bawl'mer, Hon!), I haven't a clue as to what is offensive (we did give birth to John Waters, don'tcha know), and I majored in tacky at university (with a minor in obnoxious).

I do truly love this quiet time before my Savior, and for me there really is no other place I'd rather be. I also thank God for the wonderful Catholic woman who first shared this worship with me.

*this is a re-posting from March, but as I, as well as the satirical blogger extraordinaire, Paul Cat, are sporting new vehicles, I thought I may actually have them made.

247 Musique Videostatic

My Houston sales counterpart, and friend, Billie sent me this link for a site that plays Christian Videos all day. Back when I had satellite TV, your monkster would rock out to this channel on Saturday Nights, after a long day of Wedding DJ-ing (after hearing "Butterfly Kisses" and/or "Wind Beneath My Wings" for the bazilionith time, not to mention "the cha cha slide" , ya got's to rock!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Not my Best Sales Approach


I am in sales, not used cars, but still I am in sales, which generally means a bit of customer coddling (not cuddling, although one of my more attractive customers has been flirting with me ever since I told her I had given up the idea of dating . . .ugh, women!?!). Last week, one of my favorite customers was "in a mood", and decided to berate my company and my boss (oddly, everyone seems to like yer monkster).

"Your boss is a @$&$#!" he said, about a recent decision my paycheck signer had made.

As , I have said before, I very much like and respect my boss, and me thinks I was also in a bit of a mood as well.
"Actually, what he did may have not been to your liking, but there was no malice behind it" explained I.

"Well, he's still a friggin' $#%&@!" he again commented.

O.K., I am from Baltimore, so I gently explained "Keeping in mind, that you are cursing him even after I explained there was no intention to 'cause you harm, I would hafta to say the definition of &#$%^^@! seems to fit you better in this instance"

He glared at me, than laughed "yeah, I guess your right, sorry"

Sometimes, backing down is good, sometimes it's not (o;
of course this customer was a friend, and didn't spend much $ anyway, so if he woulda gotten peeved, it wouldn't have been a great loss to our corporate pockets.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chasing Shadows (live) - Kansas

As I seem to be in a bit of a music video tennis match with my mentors over at The Three Mass'keteers, this is the first serve of the day.

I saw Kansas on this tour, and while I was still an atheist (although atheists are really fantasy creatures), I can now say, that the Spirit was seriously pounding on my hearts door that night, as I remember this song bringing me to tears (as it still has the power to do today . . .sniff). Sadly, one of the Christians who took me to the show, has since fallen away. Please say a prayer for my friend and brother, that he will turn back to his Father's loving arms.

My Jesus, I pray you can use me, to shine Your light,
that all my lost brothers and sisters will see,
and stop chasing these shadows in the night,
Amen!

I will be doing a post soon, on Rock n' Roll converts, feel free to send me any names, so that I be as thorough as possible.

Practicing Catholic

Goofing off a little too much yesterday, I ended up missing confession at my parish, and had to head over to the National Shrine (as it is usually available until 6). I admit that for a long time I liked the anonymity of the Shrine versus my own parish, until the Holy Spirit gave me a gentle nudge towards face to face with my own priest (not judging anyone, but in my case I had worn too many masks in life, and felt the confession curtain was partly allowing another).

The interesting thing about reconciliation at the Basilica is that I don't think I've ever had the same confessor twice, as they are often students, or even just visiting religious. The fact that it was such a beautiful day, had made the chapel rather empty, and so my enthusiastic confessor gave me a very lengthy council (it was awesome, but I wish I could've taken notes).

Part of my council was due to the fact I was told to say the Divine Mercy chaplet as my penance, and I admitted that while I knew off it (actually have the image sitting above my PC), I had never said it. He explained it's history, and also helped me delve more in to devotion to Mary, to greater understanding of the consequences of sin, and the truly Divine nature of God's mercy (he even joked that "yes, there will be a test later").

As he suggested a few books, I couldn't help but chuckle later as I was paying for them in the Shrine bookstore , at how my confessor was also a rather good salesman (takes one to know one). I also bought a "Roamin' Catholic" coffee mug, which he did not suggest (O:

Back at the home, I remembered that I had an audio version of the Chaplet, promptly popped it in my Sony discman, and went for a long walk in the park (I had used the Rosary part of the recording in the same way, as an aid to learn that prayer). I admit that I had never been fond of this prayer, except in the musical version, as it seemed shorter and more repetitive than the Holy Rosary (remember, ex-Protestant, so still trying to shake out my prideful "feelings"). I also didn't exactly know what to meditate on while I was saying the prayer, so I first started by thinking about Christ's "sorrowful passion".

As it was a rather long walk, and I repeated the just over six minute prayer, about a dozen times, with me moving from meditating on His passion, slowly to our Lady's tears at the foot of the cross, to the price my owns sins cost them both, and to what our lives would be like without His divine Mercy. As I was finishing, I also started picturing the faces of people I may not have forgiven fully in my life, as I said "
have mercy on us and on the whole world".

So yes, I have now fallen in love with the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, as of course you knew I would, as it's hard not to love anything that draws you closer to the only True Love, our Wonderful Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yes, still a baby Catholic, and still a "practicing" one, with me learning something new almost daily, and thank the Holy Spirit for His constant willingness to instruct this sometimes (O.K.,usually) lazy student.
Jesus, I Trust In You!
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Saturday, June 9, 2007

not, at the Mall, on the Mall

Just remembered to check to see what movies are playing this summer for the annual Screen on the Green ,movies and mosquitoes, on the National Mall. The choices are O.K., but I kinda prefer comedies or musicals for this kinda event. Being a guy, I of course want to see the second selection, with the last one also being an easy choice (regardless of yer gender) . Maybe we can even get DC's latest transplant to come eat some of Orville Redenbacher's finest with us.

July 16 - Annie Hall (1977)

July 23 - The Thing (From Another World) (1951)

Jul 30 - Wait Until Dark (1967)

August 6 - All the Kings Men (1949)

August 13 - Casablanca (1942)

Trivia : 1)Name the movie the nice folks are watching above
2)Who plays "the Thing"? (and no hitting the link)
See ya at the movies
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Walking on Sunshine - Ghoti Hook

I love covers, I love Christian punk music (local kats from VA), and I love sunshine (so I guess I'll get on my bike and go for a ride)
Enjoy!

Hurricane Sims


"Wind engineers have created the world’s largest portable hurricane simulator, which they will use to blow over vacant buildings with Katrina-strength winds to test how they withstand the fierce forces of a hurricane." From an article I spied on Yahoo.

As a guy, I only have one question: How does I get me a job like dat!?!

"It blew down goood"
"huh huh, yeah, blew down reeeeeal good"