The Church and The Christian are “the Yeast”

The Church and The Christian are “the Yeast”

“The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast …”

In February of this year, NPR relates this story originating from the Washington Post: The man who walked into Dave Cutlip’s tattoo parlor near Bal­timore was hard to miss. His face bore a gang tattoo. The man sought Cutlip’s help in literally covering up his violent past. “I could see the hurt in his eyes,” Cutlip says.

Dave Cutlip couldn’t help the man — the tattoos were too close to his eyes. But it got him thinking. Many young people get tattoos that they come to regret —a few, like the one-time gang member, can mark them for the rest of their days. Inking over a tattoo can cost hundreds of dollars — and getting one removed by laser is even pricier. So Dave Cutlip and his wife Elizabeth decided they would donate their services to help indi­viduals hide racist and gang-related tattoos. The Cutlip’s put out the word via Facebook: “Sometimes people make bad choices and sometimes people change. We believe there is already enough hate in this world, and we want to make a difference.” Continue reading

A Humble Approach to Adoption

A Humble Approach to Adoption

“… although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned you have revealed them to little ones.”

A relatively recent January, Parade Magazine article by Rosemary Zibart, entitled Their Faces Spoke to the Heart, states that there are nearly 130,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted — most of them are the hardest to place: older children, minorities, and brothers and sisters. Many of these kids have known only abuse and neglect all their lives; they’re angry, they’re afraid, and they’ve suffered every kind of physical, emotional and behavioral problem imaginable.

Ten years ago, a social worker in New Mexico came up with a new adoption strategy. Tired of the same static, expressionless snapshots that she would show prospective parents, she asked some professional photographers to shoot portraits of these children that would capture the spirit and personality of each child. The photographers readily volunteered. Families consid­ering adopting were then invited to a special showing of these stunning photographs at a local gallery. Continue reading

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”    

For more than fifty of his more than eighty years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States House of Representatives. Nurney Ma­son cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building — his little stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capitol itself. And every day, he brought to his job not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement He would greet everyone — whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staffer — with a solid handshake and a knowing smile. Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the half century he worked.

He was asked by one of his Congressional customers how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time.

Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make (joy) right here. I create joy where I stand.Continue reading

Fear Not!

Fear Not!

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father.”

It’s not very often that the Vatican gives approval to a film showing at the cinema, but it happened in 1997 when the Italian movie Life is Beautiful was first released. It’s an unusual film which deals with a sensitive subject, that of the Nazi Holocaust and the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Although it won an Oscar for best picture, the movie has its critics as well as its admirers.

The film tells the story of a Jewish Italian man named Guido, an attractive clown-like figure who falls in love with Dora, the woman of his dreams. His humorous personality wins her affection and eventually they marry and have a son. The little boy is about six years old when the Nazi persecution takes over. The Germans round up Guido and his son and, because Dora refuses to be left behind, all three are taken to a concentration camp. When they arrive the couple is separated in preparation for hard labor. Any children are killed, but Guido hides his son and persuades him the whole business is a game in which he must co-operate if he wants to win a prize. The scenes unfold with a mixture of comedy and drama, exploring the rich themes of love, of sacrifice, and of courage. Continue reading

An interview with Roger and Louise Nilles.

An interview with Roger and Louise Nilles.

 ProLifeCorner.com  –  Freeport Il.-   Louise and Roger Nilles live in a modest R n L 275xhome in the shadow of a high rise apartment.  Roger and Louise are a loving couple who have worked tirelessly, over the years, to help others in the community.  There selfless love for family and community is well known.  Because of devastating health problems, they are now the ones in need of a helping hand.  Louise has worked for a local health care facility for over 20 years, but recently her hours have been cut.

Since our previous article about Louise and Roger Nilles there have been several steps forward and a few steps back.

The good news is that the much needed downstairs bathroom is almost completed, work has begun on a wheelchair ramp, and to everyone’s delight, Roger has an artificial limb.  He’s on his way to his goal-to dance with Louise again. Continue reading

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

A true story told by writer Auburn Sandstrom at The Moth, the acclaimed organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytell­ing:

In 1992, Auburn was 29, the mother of a three-year-old son, trapped in an abusive marriage — and a drug addict. One night she hit bottom. She was curled up on a filthy carpet in a cluttered apartment, in horrible withdrawal from a drug she had been addicted to for several years. In her hand was a little piece of paper. For hours, she kept folding and crumbling it. It was the phone number for a Christian counsellor her mother had given her in one of their rare moments of contact. Finally, the desper­ate young mother punched the numbers on her phone. It rang. A man answered.

Hi, I got this number from my mother. Uh, do you think you could talk to me?,” pleaded Auburn.

Auburn heard some shuffling at the other end of the line. A little radio in the background was snapped off and the man who answered became very present. “Yes, yes, yes. What’s going on?”

For the first time, Auburn poured out her story. She told him that she wasn’t feeling good, that things had gotten pretty bad in her marriage, that she had a drug problem, and that she was real scared. Continue reading

God sends us “Enough” with the Holy Spirit our Consoler

God sends us “Enough” with the Holy Spirit our Consoler

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate…”

A father and his adult daughter are saying goodbye at the air­port. Her flight’s departure has been announced. They hug one last time at the security gate.

The father says, “I love you, honey, and I wish you enough.”

The daughter hugs her dad again and says, “Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.”

They kiss and she boards her flight, waving one last time before disappearing down the ramp.

The father then walks over to the window to watch his daughter’s plane take off. Tears are beginning to stream down his face.   Someone sitting nearby walks over to him and asks, “Excuse me sir, I don’t mean to intrude, but are you all right?” Continue reading

Unfolding the Holy Work of Creation

Unfolding the Holy Work of Creation

Parent is a domestic minister, a domestic prophet, a domestic priest.

“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these,”

Scrubbing the pan in which Sunday’s pot roast was roasted, getting your children to and from school, doctor’s appointments, rehearsals and practices, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook are hardly inspiring, exhilarating experiences. But they are holy acts.

The details of being a parent — cleaning, teaching, driving to and picking up, paying tuition, guiding, counseling, feeding, clothing — take on a spiritual character when they are part of the work of transforming a child into a sacred and thoughtful and engaged adult. Continue reading

Walking With Those Who Need Us

Walking With Those Who Need Us

“And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them …”

Tim was nine when the last of many foster-care placements began to break down and he was placed in a home where children received special care and help. Tim was a sad and angry young boy who, having been put into care by his mother when he was six, hated the world. He was often sullen and aggressive, though occasionally he revealed a wicked sense of humor and some sparkle.

During his time at the home, his care-givers would arrange for Tim to meet with his mother. Each time it would be the same. Tim would be excited, full of hope and plans, confident that this time things would be different and his mother would want him back. It was a very normal reaction for any child. Each time, however, the pain would be greater. Tim’s mother would express her pleasure at seeing him, give him sweets and they would go off for the day. Then it would end and Tim would return, agitated, withdrawn and angry, refusing to talk. His hopes and dreams were once more dashed. It took a great deal of being alongside him, listening to him and helping him to make sense of what had happened to him, before he could move on and begin to live with a different kind of hope. Continue reading

Transformation into Something Greater

Transformation into Something Greater

“Do not be frightened. He has been raised up, exactly as he promised.”

Silicon dioxide — aka sand.

Purify it, remove any traces of iron, and bleach it. Add limestone and sodium carbonate.  Heat it at 1700 degrees, until the sand melts. The result: glass.

Glass that can inspire as part of a cathedral’s brilliant stained glass window, or glass that can illuminate when blown into the form of an incandescent bulb, or glass so beautiful it takes your breath away in the form of magnifi­cent crystals.

But it starts with sand — sand that has now ceased to be sand and has instead given over its properties to create something even greater.

Tonight (Today), the Church celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His appearance to the women at the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, is a fact which all the evangelists state clearly and unequivocally. Continue reading