Greater – Where is God in a World of Tragedy?

Last weekend Michele and I stumbled on Greater – a very good Christian movie now showing in local theaters.greater

Now, I have to admit that I’ve not been a real fan of the Christian based movies of the past few years. Yes, Fireproof, Courageous and even God’s not Dead were wonderful expose’s trying to project the ideals of Christian morality, commitment and livelihood. As good as they were, however, I found them all to be a bit “syrup-ee” when it came to the message of truth and trust in the Gospel. In each of these movies, the stress of the real life situation was just too conveniently and instantly resolved with an “Alleluia”, “Amen” and “Praise Jesus”. They were good movies don’t get me wrong, but they left me less than convinced – and I’m a believer!

We have to face the fact that many people are challenged today with understanding His precious Word. This is particularly evident when people face trials in life. If we want to use movies to reach out and minister to people then the stories must relate to people’s lives and the stories must be believable. We found the movie Greater to do a very good job in both regards.

The movie Greater is framed around the story of Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on football player for the University of Arkansas. It’s a little bit like the movie “Rudy” in that both Rudy and Brandon struggle at great odds to make the football team. However, in Greater the real story is not about Brandon, rather it is the story about his older brother Marty and his struggle of faith. In particular, this movie takes head on the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Naturally, the movie ends with a positive Christian message of hope and encouragement but I did not find it too over the top. Greater made me face again the question of good and evil and God, but instead of thinking for me, I left the movie thinking.

I recommend that you try to go see this movie. Unfortunately, the promotion has been weak and the distribution limited. We found it playing last weekend in Brea and also out in Corona. Don’t wait or you might miss it altogether.

Here is the trailer from U-Tube:

Click here to read a review by Steven Greydanus recently published at National Catholic Register.

Click here to read a story about Neal McDonough, the Catholic actor that played Marty.

Don’t wait… go see the move and let me know what you thought.

Blessings
Tom

 

 

Seeking the Truth? Choose your news wisely.

Most of the time I find following politics to be a complete waste of time. First of all, I’m not sure there is much difference anymore between the good guys and the bad guys inside the beltway. Confused ManSecond, when I consult the modern media trying to sort out fact from fiction,  I often get completely different summaries of the same event. Not just different summaries, but contradictory summaries.
Seeking the truth often makes my head hurt!

I’d like to just throw up my hands up in frustration and ignore the news but during this presidential election there is too much at stake. Let’s face it, like it or not early next year either Hillary or Trump will be our next president.

Continue reading “Seeking the Truth? Choose your news wisely.”

Breaking News! – “Roadtrip” is available

I have exciting news to share with everyone! My first book entitled Roadtrip – A Journey to Forever,  is finally complete and rolling off the printing press. It will be available in just two short weeks.

RT_Final_converted

Roadtrip is a story about a young man’s personal discovery of God, the fullness of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and the Sacramental life that leads to true happiness.

Continue reading “Breaking News! – “Roadtrip” is available”

Catholics: We must stay FOCUS-ed

It’s certainly true that the Church is struggling in many places throughout the world. Look at Europe for example. From 1910 to the present the percent of the population that claimed to be Christian declined from 68% to about 25%! Christian EuropeThese data includes all Christian denominations but the implications of Catholicism in Europe is equally clear. This staggering free-fall is expected to continue.

Continue reading “Catholics: We must stay FOCUS-ed”

Hillary, It depends upon what the meaning of the word IS, is.

I usually wouldn’t blog on general politics, but in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by comeyFBI Director James Comey to not refer criminal charges to the Justice Department against Hillary Clinton, I could not help but to react in writing.

 

You see, I think truth is important. I think honesty and telling the truth is a sound character trait that should be acknowledged and valued. Conversely, when truth is ignored or bent to the advantage of the teller, that also should be noted and properly criticized. Continue reading “Hillary, It depends upon what the meaning of the word IS, is.”

Hiroshima: Tragedy and Hope

I don’t know why really, but I’ve always wanted to go. Certainly not for macabre reasons but I just wanted to see for myself. I’ve read a lot about those years, that eventful day, and the impact to humanity. But reading was not enough, I needed to go… I needed to feel.

Michele and I stepped off the trolley bus last Sunday morning greeted by overcast skies. The calm winds and steady rain added to an odd quietness. Sidewalks were filled with umbrellas and ponchos heading in a common direction so IMG_0726we fell in line with the crowds. Near the Aioi bridge we turned on a path along the Ota River and got our first view of the Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku) in Hiroshima, Japan.

 

Continue reading “Hiroshima: Tragedy and Hope”

Suicide is Rising

About 30 years ago, I read a fascinating article predicting a rise of suicide rates in the United States that would begin near the end of the millennium. This social scientist posited that as the baby boomers reached retirement age, they would struggle to find real purpose in life and, as result, they would begin exercising the option of suicide. The premise behind this theory was that these baby boomers had fashioned their entire life’s meaning around the materialistic acquisition of wealth, and when retirement removed that reason to live, there was nothing left to fall back on.

Two days ago I ran across a recent article [U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High, Sabrina Tavernise, N.Y. Times, 22 April 2016] that also touched on the issue of suicide in our modern society. Recalling the original article, this new one immediately caught my attention. It turns out that the original predictions of increased suicide rates did come true…

suicide1

but entirely for the wrong reasons.

The Simple Catholic Snapshots:

  • Suicide in the United States has Surged to the Highest Levels in Nearly 30 Years
  • The Reasons are Complex and Controversial
  • Many Blame the Economy, Government, Guns or Divorce 
  • But Few See the Recent Trend Away From Religion as Significant
  • Could it Be That Not Having Faith and Trust in God is a Contributing Factor?
  • We are Called as Christians to Extend Ourselves With Understanding and Compassion to All of God’s Children

Continue reading “Suicide is Rising”

The Triduum

Well, in the better late than never category I offer this post. I was hoping to publish this early last week but was delayed slightly in securing permissions from the original authors. My bad for getting a late start.

ITriduum particularly like this presentation because 1) it is very graphical, intuitive and easy to understand and 2) that for each of the three days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday the information is presented in three categories: What happened that day, What you’ll see at Church, and Live the Day.

 

 

Continue reading “The Triduum”

Hallelujah – Easter Version

“Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian recording artist Leonard Cohen, originally released in 1984. Interpretations vary but most agree it is a commentary on broken love.

In 2006 Kelly Mooney, a Catholic musician from Rhode Island, wrote a set of lyrics adapted to Cohen’s original melody. In 2010 she secured the mechanical rights from Cohen’s publishers so that today we can now hear this most beautiful song about the greatest love story of all time.

Have a Blessed Easter!

[p.s. you might have to close any pop-up adds that may appear – sorry]

Continue reading “Hallelujah – Easter Version”

RCIA – Did you know?

Holy Week is a most incredible time of the liturgical year. Palm Sunday and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem followed by the stark contrast of the Passion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection.  But as we walk thru our ‘routine’ of Holy Thursday, and Good Friday and Easter its easy to forget another great victory. At Easter Vigil the Body of Christ will grow as our Catechumens receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation and the Candidates are received into Full Communion with His Holy Church. As a cradle Catholic, I realized that I really didn’t know much about the RCIA process that brings people to Christ so I thought I’d share a quick summary of what I found.

 

The Simple Catholic Snapshots:

  • RCIA is short for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
  • RCIA is a process where adults (and non-infant children) are brought into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
  • Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification and Preparation, and Mystagogy are the four phases of the RCIA program.
  • These four RCIA phases are a good model of basic faith development so understanding them can help us in our Life in Christ.

Continue reading “RCIA – Did you know?”