Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mass Readings 1/26/12

II Timothy 1:1-8

One thing that seems to happen again and again in the New Testament and in the history of the Church is that conversions, especially those leading to great saints, very often are the result of many pains and efforts by others.  Timothy's mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois were both Christians.  As Paul only mentions these two, I assume that his other ancestors weren't.  What must it have been like for these two women to live with pagan husbands and, perhaps, to see most of their children follow paganism?  

I'm currently reading through Story of a Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux, and she too is surrounded by faithful Christians.  Not only her parents, but her four older sisters as well supported her, and later on so did her uncle, aunt, and two cousins.  Her teachers were fond of her, as were the priests and the bishop.  She mentions that she even prayed to her four siblings who died in infancy, as they would be holy innocents and therefore be with God in heaven.  She often mentions that, with her temperament, she might very well have turned out rotten had it not been for all these graces.  I need to take stock of the many blessings of my life and regard them as far more important than whatever troubles I have had.

Lord, You choose who You will, and yet it is so hard to be a Christian unless one is surrounded by good witness.  Help me to recognize and appreciate the blessings of my life, to be a helper to those around me, and to seek the assistance of not only the Church on earth but the Church in heaven as well.

Luke 10:1-9

 "Make straight the way of the way of the Lord."  Just as the Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist helped pave the way for the Messiah by preparing God's people for the Incarnation, the 72 disciples sent out here were sent out to let those in distant towns and villages know of His arrival.  These disciples were sent to sow the Good News, but were probably not going to be able to teach much of the faith or be the ones to reap converts themselves.  For us today, we are also often sent out to those who have yet to hear the gospel in a way they can understand.   Are we willing to trust that God will watch over us and leave many of the worldly things we think we need behind?

Lord, help me to trust in you.  When opportunities arise to share Your gospel, help me to be knowledgeable, wise, and able to truly reflect Your Grace.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It'd Be Tempting to Call It Vera

This is exactly what I'm looking for to use as a home defense gun.  A .300 AAC Blackout AR-15 that will take a suppressor inside the rail and come pre-assembled.  I've put together a few ARs, but for something this important I think I'd prefer it to be done by the professionals.

Here's what I'd been looking for:
AR Platform - It's simply a very ergonomic, easy to use platform.  Parts are easy to find, and the gun is easy to repair and maintain.  I can swap various spare parts that I already have.  Very importantly, I'm already familiar with the AR's manual of arms.  I can also swap the upper portion and either shoot with a full-length barrel or even shoot .223 caliber.
.300 AAC Blackout - This is a round that has the power of 7.62x39, the cartridge size of .223 (meaning I can use the magazines I already have), and which can be had at subsonic velocities without losing most of its power.
Short Barrel - I want to have a suppressor inside my rails, both to protect it and to keep the overall length of the gun short.  This gun will be used indoors, and 9" is enough for that.

Guns are loud without suppressors, and I don't want to sacrifice my hearing (and my family's hearing) if I should ever need to fire in defense. 

Labels: ,

Mass Readings 1/25/12

Acts 22:3-16

Today's first reading, for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, obviously describes the conversion of Saul to Paul.  Originally a young Pharisee of impeccable credentials, a conversion like this would be like a member of the Kennedy clan declaring himself to be a member of the Tea Party (or, if you prefer, Mark Levin suddenly throwing in with the Occupy Wall Street movement).  What struck me today was that Saul was left blinded until a Christian, Ananias, came by and gave him some basic instruction in the Faith.  Are there people around us every day who have been primed for conversion and who need a bold evangelist to help get them started?  How many such opportunities have we missed because we are too wrapped up in our own issues, or because we're playing Fallout: New Vegas, instead?  It's a little overwhelming and a rebuke to think how many such opportunities I've missed, and it gives me hope to remember those times in my past where I have been available and ready to help others.

Lord, help me to learn your ways, to have an answer ready for those who ask, and to do what is right that I may be in position to help when needed.

Mark 16:15-18 

This passage, describing the many signs that will accompany the Eleven, is somewhat challenging for me.  I know Bible and Church history is full of miraculous signs accompanying those evangelizing.  Today, though, not only do we very rarely see such things (if ever), but we're so jaded by televangelists and "snake-handling" churches that many of us have effectively dismissed the possibility of such things happening today.  I've heard stories of some of these things happening today, both from Church teaching and from friends' personal experiences.  I've even been healed of a minor affliction myself, although not by laying on of hands.  What does it mean for us today?  Are there so few signs because we, especially in the first world, would be too cynical to recognize them for what they are? 

Lord, please keep my heart and my mind open to your blessings and your signs.  Surrounded by a culture that despises the holy and the supernatural, help me to stay fixed on you.


What does it mean that Paul became so like Christ that "It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me."  Are we to be transubstantiated into hosts, like the wine and wafers at communion, for Christ?  This would seem to deny our individuality and effectively destroy our selves.  Rather, I think we are called to be conformed to Christ and are thus to be consubstantiated, a hypostasis where we are both Christ within us and yet our true selves as well.

Lord, help me to understand Your call to be one with Christ.  Help me to be like your Son and yet to retain the individual characteristics You created in me for Your glory. 

Labels: ,

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've Moved

This blog is no longer active, but I have begun a new project at How To Boycott China. It's very bare-bones, but I encourage you to check it out if you're concerned about human rights abuses in China. I'd like to eventually turn it into a searchable website, and for now it's just a place to store information I've found.

I've also begun a new blog at TribalPundit. It's meant to be something of a sequel to HokiePundit, and to carry on in the same tradition. I began this blog in 2002, and being from a military family that's a long time to be in one place. Look for TribalPundit to have more of an emphasis on law and perhaps less on politics, but with occasional musings on faith and perhaps life in Williamsburg (as opposed to Blacksburg).

Friday, November 10, 2006


Well, it's been a good run, but I don't think this is the right medium for me. I blog more infrequently and do better with commentary, so the format of trying to post interesting stuff to build an audience just isn't going to work. I've been writing a few Notes on Facebook, and I'd be open to joining a group blog (or starting one with others who are interested, especially about issues of morality, ethics, justice, faith, religion, politics, etc.).

Thanks for reading, and be looking for me in comments boxes around the 'net.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Birth Control

Okay, enough lack of controversy. Darn it, this is supposed to be a blog, the web equivalent of...well, a lot, I guess.

I recently got to thinking about the subject of birth control (being the glutton for intellectual punishment that I am). Apparently, until the 1920s no denomination approved of it, and you get one guess as to who first allowed for its use. It seems odd that this is such a modern trend; birth control has been around since ancient times, and there have been plenty of times and places where the desire to limit the number and timing of children was present.

One of the most common ideas of when life begins is that it begins at conception, when egg and sperm unite. This seems logical: the fertilized egg, or zygote, is neither genetically the same as the mother or as the father; it is something new. However, the fact of the matter is that we don't actually know when life begins or ends; we can only say with certainty that life has begun or ended, not the precise point when this occurred. Medical science even allows for a person to be clinically dead and yet be revived.

Let's take an example. An egg and sperm unite, and by pressing fast-forward we find out that this egg divides into separate organisms and identical twins are formed from the one zygote. If ensoulment occurs at conception, then there are three possibilities. The first is that there is no soul present in the newly-formed zygote, the second is that there is one soul, and the third is that there are two souls.

If there is no soul present, then destroying the zygote is little different biologically from removing a wart. Keeping a fertilized egg in cryonic storage might even be considered the equivalent of donating blood. If ensoulment occurs some time after conception, then we really have no idea of when we are making choices over our own bodies and when we are making choices regarding others.

If there is one soul present, then when does the second soul arrive? Is there perhaps an elder and a younger soul in pair of twins, with one twin being a sort of lateral offspring of the other? Could the soul divide and grow into two, much as the cell itself did?

If there are two souls, then they are present in one body. God knows that, left alone, the cell will develop into two human beings and thus provides two souls. Two souls in one body isn't a new idea: Siamese twins are two people but share one body (and perhaps we could count pregnancy, although this would seem to be more of one body inside abother body).

It even seems possible that souls may be formed prior to intercourse. Perhaps the deliberate intention of the parents to produce a child creates a new soul before there is even a vessel for it. Do we really know that this isn't the case?

A large number of pregnancies result in spontaneous abortions. If these organisms do not yet have souls, then this is not a serious problem. If they do have souls, then perhaps we as Christians should be devoting a lot more energy to fixing this. If life begins at conception, then a spontaneous abortion is no different from an induced abortion or infant mortality in terms of a life being snuffed out.

Abortion is wrong for several reasons, but the fact that a human being is killed is secondary. There are times when killing is condoned, and even times when God commands it. Thus, killing is not intrinsically wrong. The primary sin of abortion is pride: we put ourselves in God's place as arbiter over life. If life begins at conception, then obviously those methods which destroy the fertilized egg are murder and those which prevent implantation are, at the very least, homicide. Again, though, it isn't beyond the scope of reason to imagine that life could even begin before conception. If so, then contraceptives are abortifacients. Regardless of these, however, the fact remains that we don't objectively know when life begins. By using contraception, we place ourselves in God's position and thus are out of line. The result is different from that of murder, but the sin of pride remains.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Couch Potato Meme

Okay, I've had enough reading of doctrine and theology for the moment time for a break.

Bold (or change the color) of all of the following TV shows which you’ve seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Bold and Italicize a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it. If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Allo Allo
American Idol/Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America’s Next Top Model/Germany’s Next Top Model
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: CrusadeBattlestar
Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Brady Bunch
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle’s Show
Charlie’s Angels
China Beach
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci’s Inquest
Dawson’s Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons (old cartoon)
Earth 2
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Falcon Crest
Family Guy
Family Ties
Fantasy Island
Fawlty Towers
Flamingo Road
Full House
Get Smart
Gilligan’s Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey’s Anatomy
Growing Pains
Happy Days
Head of the Class
Hill Street Blues
Hogan’s Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
John Doe
Kath and Kim
Knight Rider
Knots Landing
La Femme Nikita
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle
Married…With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Night Court
Northern Exposure
One Tree Hill
Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
Perfect Strangers
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Samurai Jack
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo Where Are You?
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
Small Wonder
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Square Pegs
St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate SG-1
Teen Titans
That Girl
That 70’s Show
That’s So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three’s Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace
Wonder Woman
Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

Monday, September 18, 2006


Apparently our SDI program is further along than I'd thought before!

Either that, or the NRA has really stepped up its lobbying efforts.

(Picture via Drudge Report)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?