Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, David!!


David Benjamin

8 lbs, 11 ozs, 21.5 inches

March 24, 2015
Traditional Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel





We love you so much, little big fella!!! 




On our side of the family, this is a massive baby! We are just awestruck, ha ha! Thanks for all your prayers, dear friends, and for sharing in our joy!

Praise God that mother and baby are doing fine!

Now, I am going to be absent from the blog for a bit, while I get to know my new grandson and help the growing family adjust to life with a BABY!!!






Sunday, March 22, 2015

Little Shares from the Bubble!


Because trying to hit "seven" is too much for my brain (seriously, not kidding, really) and trying to hit "Friday" was even worse (I only hit Friday about twice in all these years!), I am giving my old self a break and taking all the pressure off. Thus, we now have...


+++++++


File this under "Where have all the grown-ups gone?" Stuff like this, you just can't make it up. Yes, apparently we are that far gone.


I'm guessing it had to go through many adult-appearing people, from the ad folks to the executives, to get approval. I mean, really? This happened?

+++++++

So, this is interesting for those who want to dive into the philosophy behind the two sides of the marriage debate. Professor Robert P. George of Princeton (co-author) is one of my favorites. The piece, "Natural Law and the Unity and Truth of Sexual Ethics: A Reply to Gary Gutting" begins:

Gary Gutting is a Notre Dame philosophy professor who thinks that what counts about arguments is whether they “work.” And so his complaint against natural-law arguments for Catholic teachings about sex is that they “no longer work (if they ever did)”. His New York Times “Opinionator” post of March 12th (“Unraveling the Church Ban on Gay Sex”) names us as two people who are “still” exponents of such arguments. For us what counts about an argument is whether it is sound, i.e., whether its premises are true and its logic valid. If a line of thought about the morality of sex is reasonable today, it was reasonable in the time of Jesus or Plato or Abraham or as far back as we find men and women and their children. Whether arguments “work” persuasively in one era but not another is philosophically irrelevant, as any philosopher should take for granted.

Continue reading, here.

+++++++


"Gay marriage doesn't hurt anyone!" We hear it time and again, but many voices and ill-effects are ignored. Here are a couple of examples:




I personally know that the story about the Navy chaplain is accurate.

But believe it or not, there are voices in the gay community who agree with us that marriage is not genderless, and that children need a mother and a father. They do get burned when they dare to speak what we all knew just a few years ago, and what we still know in our hearts:



Bravo, Dolce & Gabbana! And as much as Elton John protests and boycotts them, he himself once said of his first son, born of a surrogate, “It’s going to be heartbreaking for him to grow up and realise he hasn’t got a mummy.” You see? He knows

+++++++


My younger daughter's due date was today! And she's still pregnant! We are waiting no-so-patiently for this little boy to make his appearance, because we soooooooo need to love on him as much as we love on his little cousin, who just turned nine months old. And that reminds me, you haven't seen a picture of sweet Felicity on this blog in a while! So, here ya go:




Why yes, I do think she is the cutest girl in the world. Doesn't everyone???


+++++++


Finally, if you can support our own Kara as she prepares to travel back to Eastern Europe to adopt another very special and oh-so-precious little orphan, please do! Go here (or click his picture) and find more information. Donations are tax-deductible!


"Truman"

I cannot wait to kiss and squeeze this little man!!



Have a lovely Monday, everyone! I hope my next post will be an announcement that a certain grandson has arrived!






Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Protestant "comes out"


For the first ten or fifteen years after my reversion, my main apologetical interest was in debating and discussing with Protestants. These days, I rarely engage the Protestant/Catholic debate, and I focus more on the "culture wars" by debating secularists and atheists. Protestants are fellow Christians, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and the Church is very clear on that.

However, every so often, I revisit the issues that divide Protestants and Catholics because Truth matters, and because the Church is a stronger witness to the world when we are undivided. At the Last Supper, hours before His death, Jesus prayed that his followers all be one. Not some loosey-goosey "oneness of fellowship", but a Trinitarian oneness. True unity, no dissension, no separation. 

So, there was this epic thread that took place on my Facebook page the other day, and while I very much encourage you to read through all 700+ comments (get some popcorn and settle in; it's that good!), I have excerpted for you here some comments from a woman named Renee Joy, who jumped into the discussion and unexpectedly "came out" as a Protestant-turning-Catholic! She had been researching and praying and pondering this move privately, but this was her first public statement! 

Her insights and thoughts on this journey are truly compelling, and I think anyone on either side of the Protestant-Catholic divide will appreciate her intellect, sincerity, and deep faith. Please note, this is not a discussion about sin vs. sanctity (there are sinners and saints in both camps), rather, this is a discussion about doctrinal truth vs. doctrinal chaos.

Read the whole Facebook thread, here (it's public), and meanwhile, here's just a taste of what Renee Joy had to say (I've strung together several of her comments) as she primarily engaged a thoughtful Protestant named Allison. 


+++++++



After 38 years in the Protestant world -- growing up Southern Baptist, under the teachings of Adrian Rogers (and any good S.B. knows who that is), going to a Evangelical Christian school K-12 heavily dominated by Reformed Presbyterians and non-denominational Evangelicals and Southern Baptists in the heart of the Bible Belt, I was frustrated with "church" for many reasons.

A few years ago, I started meeting Catholics, and realizing, oh my goodness, they are not the cult I was taught, and hey, wait a minute -- they make a lot more sense than anything I've seen. If you've lived Protestant then you know that Protestants cannot agree on anything. Sola scriptura my big foot! That's the issue! Everyone interprets everything their own way, and it has led to a complete disaster.

There are more denominations and subsets of those denominations, than is even believable. Independent Baptists eschew the Southern Baptists, who of course teach that the Methodists and Presbys are completely off base, the Lutherans and Episocopalians are totally different, Church of Christ, Church of God, Assembly of God, COGIC, none of them agree on much of anything -- not the way they define the relationship of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, not on baptism, not on what is considered "necessary".

Predestination? Huge point of contention -- so much so that most Baptist churches say that it's just a mistranslation, yet the Presbys insist it's foundational. Some allow female preachers, teachers, elders. Some allow homosexual marriage. The majority are fine with artificial birth control even though we all know that it risks causing miscarriage. The divorce rate is astronomical. The churches tend to be either dominated by men (with women in a completely subservient mode with no opinions or purpose) or dominated by women, mostly single mothers with kids, or married women whose husbands stay home. The average family size is tiny -- and their belief of "prolife" really just translates to anti-abortion. They don't agree on the proper method or function of baptism (sprinkle? dunk? indoor dunk or lake?). Even all the Baptists don't agree with the other Baptists -- you have Southerns, Independents (which can be very conservative or far out there), and a ton of little offshoots.

I've seen more Southern Baptist churches split over the dumbest things: a fight about the new carpet color (blue or burgandy???), adultery with the pastor/secretary, fights about what version of the Bible to use (and don't get me started on the nonsense that is the "Message" or the many discrepancies in the various translations), even one split occurred over the replacement of a steeple. And don't get me started on "cultural relevance" -- the turning of most Protestant churches into semi-heathen pep rally environments mixed with rock concerts, where trashy, revealing clothes are the norm, and the focus is on having a good time, getting "pumped up for the Lord" -- on "experiences" and "feelings", not Truth, not discipleship, sacrificial living, ministry.

I'm not Catholic yet -- but the more I walk, the closer Rome looks on the horizon. The dissension in the Protestant churches, for me, stems from the fact that yes, they were based on "protesting"-- someone saying "I don't like this, I'm taking it out". And ever since then, that's what they've done. Each denomination, purging out the things they don't want/like/understand, until they're all practicing some mutilated version of pseudo-Christianity that leaves the congregants unsatisfied, unguided, and unhappy.

Sola scriptura, which clearly is not supported by Scripture itself, since it would mean that we could only use the Old Testament, has resulted in at least a dozen different translations of the "Bible" -- many vastly different than the others, and hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny "churches", each thinking they have it all right, none in agreement with others, and a lot of folks walking around saying "I'm saved" but having lives that look no different in functionality than the people walking around saying "I don't believe in anything except being good to fellow man."

The confusion that has arisen from everyone trying to interpret things their own way, has led to a disaster. And if Protestants truly believed that the Holy Spirit alone interpreted Scripture, and that church meetings were for fellowship (let us not forsake assembly), then there wouldn't be preachers sharing anecdotes and interpretations. There wouldn't be denominations.

And I will say, my husband and I were both raised very heavily in the Southern Baptist/Protestant world -- with my husband's family in the ministry in multiple generations, both of us raised in private Protestant schools, etc. There's a lot of false teaching that we've received over the years, about Catholicism, that we're having to research and refute, if that makes sense. But the more Church history we read, the more we confront the reality of what we see happening in Protestant churches (like the claims that Catholics are wrong for reciting prayers, despite the fact that Protestant churches not only recite the Lord's Prayer, but also typically have an altar call where people are led through a "Sinner's Prayer" to "get saved," etc.), the chaos and collapse of so many families, the blatant disregard for so much of Scripture that Protestants just can't reconcile with their particular denomination's beliefs and so they just ignore/discard it. The more my husband and I talk about it and put it out there, the more obvious the answers are.

And if you ever ask a Protestant, how, if they believe the Catholic Church was in error all those years, and that the Apostolic traditions are invalid, how the Protestant churches went from the New Testament housechurch pattern, to the set-up that exists today, which is often more like a corporation with tiered levels of authority, or conversely, is completely separate from all other churches, neither of which is true to New Testament teaching, they have no answer. If they truly believe that the Bible alone defines everything, then how do they reconcile those differences? If teaching stopped with the books in the New Testament, then how can it be correct to have what they have now? They have no answer.

I think two of the biggest issues were the "Romans Road" (i.e., Cliff Notes version of the Bible?) and the reality of what "salvation" was described as being in the Southern Baptist church, versus the reality of how that played out. For one, if all we really needed to understand salvation and Christianity was the handful of verses from Romans that most Protestant groups use to persuade people into joining their church, then why did God provide all the other books? Why is everything else necessary or important? You can't whittle away at it, taking away all the rest, pulling things out of context, and expect it to mean anything.

I think to be a Protestant, you have to be able to just say "it doesn't make sense but that's ok." I'm serious. There's so much you can't question -- or you're treated like an outcast. There's no consistency, no firm answers. It's all subjective. To be honest, I was talking about this earlier with another Catholic convert, and she pointed out that being Catholic isn't easy. In contrast, being Protestant is. Especially Southern Baptist. Once you've "prayed the prayer" and "gotten saved" (which are very important phrases), then you have your fire insurance. Anything you do, from then on, well, do your best but it's ok regardless. You can't get "unsaved" in that denomination. You're good to go. It's easy, in so many ways.

For years, I was taught that Catholics believed and taught things contradictory to Scripture. Purgatory, for instance. The respect they have for Mary, as another thing. In fact, there was a whole list of "violations." So, I started digging- not just to see if Catholics were right or wrong, but to see if the denomination I belonged to was also right or wrong. Because I grew up influenced by so many different "religions" (paternal grandfather, Southern Baptist; paternal grandmother, Methodist; maternal grandmother, Roman Catholic; maternal grandfather, Church of Christ. Went to a school taught by Reformed Presbyterians, non-denominational Evangelicals, and Southern Baptists. Went to Southern Baptist church. Nannied for a Jewish couple, worked a college job for a Sikh, had Muslim customers in Saudi Arabia and UAE, etc., and had a few Mormon friends. Worked in the inner city, where most worshipped at COGIC or Missionary Baptist denominations. You name it, I've heard it) -- I knew they could not all be correct. Someone has to be wrong. I don't want to be part of the ones that are wrong!

So here's the thing: I agree there are false teachers within the religious world. No doubt. That's obvious. The question is, who are they? So I started looking at that specifically -- across the board.

Presbyterians rely on Calvin, and to be honest, Scofield. I have a Scofield Bible on my nightstand, actually, and had used it for years. They set the standard and wrote the belief systems, pulling out the Scriptures they needed/liked to formulate what was "right" vs. "wrong." But who gave them that authority?

Most independent Baptist churches are pretty insistent on KJV. Why? I've even been in a church where I was carrying my Scofield NIV, and the church elders politely informed us that we couldn't read aloud in the Bible studies from the NIV, we had to use the KJV, and to help us "no longer be in error" then they had purchased us KJV's and left them in our pew. What gave them that authority?

None of the Protestant denominations agree foundationally on the majority of their religion. Even though they might say that "anyone who believes in the Trinity, in the fact that we are all sinners in need of a savior, and then confesses the name of Jesus Christ as Lord" is "saved," do they practice that? Is there unity between the churches? NO. Not at all. They are fundamentally different, and if you stay in any denomination for very long, you'll hear how/why they believe they have the "correct" interpretation of Scripture. The problem is, they seem to evolve with time, with this cultural relevancy concept. I cannot fathom how a church can believe that homosexuality is fine, acceptable to God, that gay marriage should be performed -- and yet, last year, the Presbyterian USA voted to allow it, it's up to the individual churches. Without a standard of interpretation and teaching to hold to -- that "tradition" that is mentioned in 2 Thess 3:6 -- this is what happens. Everyone comes up with his own thing, something that suits him. And the scary thing is, they all contradict.

Every Protestant denomination thinks they have it right. They can all cite Scripture to support their own doctrines, often pulling things out of context, or ignoring other Scripture that clearly adds to/supports/mitigates the tiny little bit they've decided to pull out and build a religion on -- like the importance of baptism, or the function of taking the Lord's Supper. Without the teaching from the apostles to round things out, to explain things, it's like looking at the framework of a house being built. You need the drywall, the shingles, the wiring, the plumbing, to make it a home. That's why we're not supposed to forsake gathering together. that's why we're supposed to not just go off on our own and read the Bible and think that's sufficient.

When I first posted on my Facebook wall over a year ago that I was frustrated beyond belief with the Protestants, I had no desire to become a Catholic. None. I was firmly convinced that the Pope might be the anti-Christ, as I had been taught from the pulpit, that they worshipped Mary, talked to dead people like witchcraft, etc etc etc. I had trouble reconciling that with the Catholics I knew, though, including my grandmother and the many Godly, faithful, peace-loving, kind, inclusive, "die to self and live for Christ" women I had met through Reece's Rainbow. I was looking for the "best" Protestant denomination to join. But over and over, people in various Protestant churches were commenting and PM'ing and emailing me to say they had the same struggles -- and over and over Catholics were saying "I think you're looking for us" and "I think you're Catholic and don't know it yet" haha.

I started studying not to become Catholic, but to disprove it, to find that fatal flaw that allowed me to cross them off my list as a viable option. But the more I dug, the more I learned and the more it made sense. I had to learn to separate what I had drilled in my head for years, decades really, by the teachers/preachers in my life, the code phrases that were programmed in -- the "compare everything to Scripture" (but not necessarily Scripture in context, but Scripture as interpreted and presented by the leadership of that denomination, hence the major debate over sprinkling vs dunking, predestination vs foreknowledge, etc). It all really does come down to the apostolic tradition, and the verses in the New Testament that refer to that being relevant. How we interpret anything is dependent on who is doing the interpreting and what criteria they use, what bias they have. The fact that the Catholic Church can trace the Popes all the way back, and the fact that Jesus renamed Peter and then in the same sentence said that on that rock He would build His Church, is huge. It was minimized in the Southern Baptist church, written off as a coincidence of naming -- but why would Jesus do that? Why would God want to confuse us? He's not the one that's the author of confusion! If He had wanted to rename Peter, He could have done that at any point, and not followed that with "and upon (the new name I just gave you that means Rock, i.e. foundation that is not sinking sand) I build My Church". When I realized that -- realized that it made more sense that Peter was named Rock because he would be the first Pope, just like Abraham was renamed to "Father of Multitude" because that was his role -- it started all making sense....

+++++++


Renee knows more about Catholicism as a Protestant than most Catholics know about their own faith! Again, to read the entire thread, which includes a lot of other voices, go here. It was a real barn burner, and I heard from Protestants who enjoyed it and learned a lot. Go give it a look. And remember the words of Jesus to the Father on the night before He died, after consecrating the Apostles to go forth and teach in His name:

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." -- John 17: 20-23

Trinitarian unity of Christians is what God desires, and it's what Christ chose to pray for for in the precious hours before His agony. It cannot be minimized. God bless Renee and the countless others who have heeded Jesus' call to unity, so that the world may believe that He is Lord, sent by the Father. 









Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"I will only ask God to forgive them"


As an Arab-American, I grew up around my Christian Arab relatives, a vibrant, loud, and colorful bunch! My father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins spoke Arabic around me all the time growing up, and to me it is a beautiful sound. 

So, to hear this 10-year-old Iraqi girl forgive her ISIS persecutors in the familiar language of my own extended family, and then to hear her speak my religious language as well -- the language of Christ, forgiveness, trust, and love -- well, it hit me at my core! My heart nearly burst as I listened to her, so pure and innocent in the face of untold suffering. This reporter, this little girl -- these could be my relatives. I know these people in my heart, and I love them. And I am so proud of Myriam. 

My friends, please never forget that our Christian faith began in the Middle East. It is truly our home, even as we are being displaced. 

Watch our brave little sister in Christ, pray for her and all the Christians in Iraq, and emulate her:






But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.  -- Luke 18:16








Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fearful? Surrender your will.



This post is going to be pretty stream-of-consciousness, because it's the stuff that has been, well, streaming through my consciousness for many months now. So hard to put it down in words when so many spiritual lessons are pouring down. It's all so amazing and I want to talk to everyone about it all the time, but that is simply not possible. I do think it's easier to talk to people about it one-on-one, rather than write about it. But I will try to write something coherent.

First: If you are full of fear, cede control. Actually, even if you are not full of fear, cede control! Give it up. You are not in control. The only thing you can control is your will. That is all. Nothing else. Nothing else. You certainly cannot control other people, you cannot control circumstances, you cannot end suffering, sickness, disaster, and death. The illusion of control is a detriment to your spiritual life, to your interior peace, and to your relationship with God.

At some point, if you don't give up control, it will be forced from you, and painfully. I had my huge spiritual turning point and near-breakdown last July which snuck up on me in the middle of my very charmed life, quite unwelcomed. I have promised to tell you about it, and I will, but it's a bit like writing my mother-in-law's conversion story -- big and awe-ful and beautiful and terrifying and hard to express and oh yes, it may turn into a three-parter, just like that one. Because it's that HUGE in my life. My "breakdown" was the greatest spiritual lesson I ever received. It was both the darkest, most terrifying time of my life and the experience for which I am most grateful. (I hope I learned enough that I never, ever have to repeat anything like it, but I'll leave that decision to God.)

In the aftermath, I keep pondering and learning and processing, talking to others who have had amazingly similar experiences, thinking about the way so many of us move through the world with such fear (even those of us who never consciously knew that we did fear) -- fear of not being in control, fear for our families, our children, our financial security, fear of sickness, of suffering, of loneliness, and ultimately a fear of our own death, which is a subject we love to ignore in this culture of materialism, comfort, convenience, and pleasure-seeking. Anxiety and fear seem to define so many of us (though not all of us, and that is part of the story I'll tell, too).

Yes, I'm rambling.

But guys, this is so big! After I came out of my crisis, God opened up a wealth of knowledge about things that hadn't mattered to me before. I am not special; this has happened to many of you, too. Providentially, things were put in my path that had the exact application for my life at the exact moment and season that I needed them, including a book that I had picked up years ago and put down in boredom, but then picked up again last fall and subsequently had my socks knocked off. I already gushed about that book, here. I have given away many copies, recommended it to countless friends, and I now return to its principles daily hourly.

It's so brilliantly simple. It's about ordering our spiritual life around one central idea, and in doing so we change everything.

From the Forward of this book, Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us, by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen (emphases mine):

... [As Christians] we are told to deny ourselves, forgive one another, carry our cross, fast, and give alms. We must also love our neighbor, pray with others and in private, bring our troubles to the Lord, and be peacemakers. All of these things have their place, and nothing may be overlooked, but they may cause us to feel confused and divided, and we might even ask ourselves where we will find the strength to do all that is required.... We are pulled in different directions, and instead of finding peace, we become restless. What we need most is a central idea, something so basic and comprehensive that it encompasses everything else. In my opinion that central idea is surrender

Surrender.

Total abandonment to the will of our Loving Father.

But, what is God's will? It's whatever circumstance you find yourself in right now. The life you are living today is God's will for you today. The people you are in contact with today, the work you are doing today, the cross you are carrying today -- all these are God's will for you, today. You needn't dismiss your current duties, tasks, or interactions, nor look past your current dissatisfactions and restlessness in order to go seek God's mysterious will somewhere "out there", because God is always present to you in this moment -- not only in the joys and satisfactions, but even in the tediums, confusions, aggravations, and grave sufferings.

Live with God in the present.

If you are someone who wallows in the past: You need to stop.

If you are someone who worries about the future: You need to stop.

We are not to live in the past or the future, we are to live in this day and in this moment. If one thing has guided my Lent this year, it's a commitment to live in the moment and not fret about the future ("What if...?") that was my tendency.

Do we trust God or not?

Another thing many of us need to hear: Stop trying to save the world! We are not responsible for that. If you need both living Popes to tell you that straight out so you'll believe it, then here you go, starting with Pope Francis' Lenten Message for 2015 (emphases mine, in light of the theme of surrender):

"The suffering of others is a call to conversion, since their need reminds me of the uncertainty of my own life and my dependence on God and my brothers and sisters. If we humbly implore God’s grace and accept our own limitations, we will trust in the infinite possibilities which God’s love holds out to us. We will also be able to resist the diabolical temptation of thinking that by our own efforts we can save the world and ourselves."

And from Pope Benedict XVI (again, emphases mine):

“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: 'The love of Christ urges us on' (2 Cor 5:14).”

You got that? You are not in control, and you cannot save the world or even yourself for that matter. So, take that weight off your shoulders and feel peace.


To wrap up today's ramblings:

Stop dwelling on the past (right now!).
Stop worrying about the future (right now!).
Stop trying to control everything (because you can't!).
Stop searching for God's mysterious will somewhere "out there" (because His will for you can be found right where you are!).

Start trusting God in everything. He's got you!
Start abandoning yourself totally to His will.
Start realizing that every person and every circumstance in your life is there for a good reason.
Start seeing God in this moment, right now, because this moment is where He meets you.
Start to feel the peace that Christ gives, the peace that surpasses all understanding. It's real!


Abandon yourself to the God who loves you. Cede control. Surrender.

He can be trusted.

Jesus saves Peter





Sunday, March 1, 2015

My interview with Abby Johnson!


Over the years, I have posted about Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Texas who had a massive change of heart and became passionately pro-life. Her book, Unplanned: The dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line, is riveting. And like many of you, I could not put it down. Since then, I have linked her work on this blog often (including here and here), and I was thrilled to finally meet her in person last fall.



What a dynamic speaker! She was so well-received at the First Way Pregnancy Center banquet that night that First Way executive director Christine Accurso (a hero, by the way) has invited her back to speak. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Phoenix, you do not want to miss her talk, this Saturday, March 7, from 10:30 to 12:30, in Gilbert, Arizona.

+++++++

Abby has been asked a million questions, but these are some questions I've always wanted to ask her:

Q.  Abby, in several articles and in your book, Unplanned, you have beautifully expressed your own feelings about doing the work you did for Planned Parenthood and how you've grappled with things since you left. I’d like to hear more about how those around you felt when you were working at PP. For example, what did your parents think? How did they reconcile it with their Christians beliefs? And what advice would you give to those whose family members might be caught up working in the abortion industry today?


A.  My family is and always have been very prolife. I know that I am at this prolife point in my life in huge part to my praying parents. They never stopped praying and they never stopped believing that one day I would leave. I know there were times when they questioned God. But I think they kept going back to the scripture in Proverbs that talks about training your child up in the Lord. It doesn't say that they will never depart from His ways, but God promises that our children will come back to that foundation when they are older.

My husband was also prolife, which made things tense in our marriage at times. But I know he was also praying. He has told me before that he had confidence that I would one day leave. He says that he saw how much I genuinely cared for these women and that his prayer was that one day I would be able to see how taking the lives of their children was hurting them. He said that he knew once I made that connection, I would leave. And he was right.


Q.  Did you ever avoid telling people where you worked, or did you wear it as a badge of honor? If there was any discomfort in telling, was it because of your own unease or because you sensed that others might not approve?

A.  It was honestly a little bit of both. Internally, I was very proud of my work. But I just didn't want the hassle. I didn't want to have to defend what I did. I believed that what I did was right. But defending abortion is not an easy job. And many times, I just didn't want the fight.


Q.  If I had met you back in your PP days, what should I, a pro-lifer, have said to you? I know it’s a strange question, but I’d love to know the “right” thing to say if someone I meet informs me that she works at PP.

A.  I tell people that you should always speak the truth in love. But I think the most important part of that idea is actually listening more than you speak. Ask questions. "Why did you decide to work at Planned Parenthood? What do you love the most about your job? Are there any challenges?" I think what you will find is that many of these workers fall into two categories...

1. They don't really care about the politicized part of it at all. They just needed a job to pay the bills. 

Or

2. They have had abortions themselves and working in the industry is the easiest way for them to justify their own actions.

It's all about listening and asking genuine questions. It's not about being "right."



Q.  You worked often in the POC ("products of conception") room, counting and piecing together small body parts. Did you ever bring that home with you, or were you able to compartmentalize enough that you did not think of your work when you were at home?


Q.  Somehow, I was able to really keep that separate from my life outside of Planned Parenthood. I can't really explain how that work didn't bother me (really at all) except to say that when you are immersed in that type of evil, spiritual blindness is real.


Q.  Finally, I am so excited about your apostolate to abortion clinic workers and former clinic workers, And Then There Were None. Please tell us a little bit about your mission and what we can do to help support those courageous souls who wish to come out of the abortion industry once and for all.

A.  We are the only national ministry that offers comprehensive resources to abortion clinic workers. We have multiple ways that we can assist workers who want to leave their jobs. We provide professional resume writing, professional recruitment services, job training, one-on-one counseling and advisement, healing retreats, spiritual guidance and support, and limited financial assistance to help ease the burden after they leave their job inside the clinic.

We are working very hard to rehumanize the abortion clinic worker. I think for many years, we have looked at these people and blamed them for abortion. We have looked at them as our enemy. But they are not our enemy. Our enemy is sin. They are misguided sinners just like you and me.

I had someone say to me one time, "So what, you just think you are going to love these workers out of the abortion industry?" My reply was simple. "Yes. I absolutely believe we will. And we are." We have 141 former clinic workers who have come through our ministry. We feel like God has blessed us more than we could have ever imagined. But that's just how God is. He's in the business of conversion.

+++++++


Thank you Abby, for your courage and witness!

And again, if you are in the Phoenix area, don't miss her talk this Saturday! Tickets are priced at only $7 so that this event can be accessible to all.

If you are unable to attend, consider buying a ticket to donate to a medical student, as we certainly need those students to hear what Abby has to say. Email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com for more details on how to get your ticket(s) to them. 









Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Russell Brand on porn.... Whaaat? He even quotes the Pope!



This is completely unexpected! Whoa. Way to go Russell Brand!

You see, this how Natural Law works. We can understand the universal moral law by the light of human reason. Almost every word he says here is in harmony with Catholic teaching (the "priest" of whom he speaks is none other than Pope St. John Paul II):





Don't be thrown by the fact that he is apparently naked in bed. He's making a point: He himself is not free of the scourge of porn in his life.

But he totally gets the big picture. 

Wow!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What a weekend!


I just had one of those transcendent weekends that only come along once in a blue moon!

First, on Friday I was privileged (understatement) to take part in the Mini-Synod on Masculine Identity and Mission with our wonderful Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and 18 august and faithful presenters. 

I.am.so.flipping.excited. 

This is something so needed, so important, so necessary for the  health of family and culture, and right now this initiative of the Holy Spirit is in the germination stage, sprouting right here in the Diocese of Phoenix. I cannot wait to see where the Spirit takes it. Trust me, you all would have been blown away and so happy at what is percolating here. We had presenters from all walks of life, from scholars to generals to ordinary folks like me, some who flew in just for this gathering. I will keep you informed as things develop, and I ask for your prayers!





Then on Saturday, I was so honored to be a speaker at the 5th Annual Phoenix Catholic Women's Conference! What an amazing gathering of 500 beautiful sisters in Christ! The theme was "That Which is True, Beautiful, and Good". 

The speakers were gifted with these beautiful, commissioned icons
of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Such a blessing! 

My talk focused on the "True" for the most part, but I was struck by the talk on "Beauty" by sacred artist Ruth Ristow, a recent convert, who blew everyone away (and I was stunned and thrilled to realize that she is a member of my parish!). Former model and America's Next Top Model contestant Leah Darrow had everyone rapt with her powerful reversion story (baby #2 due soon!!), and Sr. Alison Conemac, SOLT, took us deep into the transcendentals (Truth, Goodness, Beauty). 

Dear friends, there is so much good happening. The Spirit is moving powerfully. Trust me on this. 

Okay, back to my regular life now! I hope your Lent is going well. :)





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Getting ready for Lent!



It's Ash Wednesday, everyone! No, it's not a Holy Day of Obligation, but yes, attending Mass and receiving ashes is a profound and wonderful way to begin Lent. And yes, today is a day of fasting and abstinence (more about what that means, here).

I'm going to focus on spiritual posts this Lent, as usual. The last two years I posted some of Blessed Fulton Sheen's reflections on Jesus' Seven Last Words on the Cross, and you can find that again here. Those words can never be meditated upon too much!

For a simple but thorough look at the meaning of Lent and Lenten practices, go here:




If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear what you're doing for Lent this year!




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Remember my correspondence with an abortionist?



As I read yesterday that prolific abortionist and sexual predator Brian Finkel had lost his appeal (thank you, Lord!), it occurred to me that newer readers of this blog may not have read the personal correspondence I and my friend Kim Manning had with Finkel long before his arrest and conviction.

In addition to the tens of thousands of children he killed, Finkel sexually abused at least 60 women during abortions and exams, even as he told Kim and me that he was "much loved" in the community, a "servant of women" and his "only regret is that their are so many women that need my help, and that there is so little time to help them."




Indeed. And those women's testimonies helped to put him behind bars.

This a very sick man. Pray for him. We cannot concede even one soul to the devil.

And to get a glimpse into a very dark mind, go here: