“We’re Not Christian, We’re Catholic!”

One of my pet peeves, now that I’m Catholic, is the fact that many Evangelical Christians sometimes use the word ‘Christian’ to mean the totality of people who are ‘saved’ enough to go to heaven, and at other times use ‘Christian’ to mean ‘Evangelical Christian’ or even ‘Evangelical Christian like the ones in our church.’ Since I was brought up in an Evangelical-ish Presbyterian congregation and only converted as a mature adult, I resent being sometimes ‘outside’ the Christian fold in the speech of such people.

Sadly, this thinking has gone beyond messing up Evangelical Christians. I have heard of a Catholic husband who corrected his wife, saying ‘We’re not Christian, we’re Catholic!’ Obviously he had imbibed the idea of ‘Christian’ as ‘Evangelical Christian,’ and may have felt that he was sticking up for the Catholic faith against a faith-compromising wife.

OK, here the fact: ‘Christian’ is a term that applies to all followers of Jesus, no matter their denomination. Or non-denomination. Even in groups that both Catholics and Evangelical/Ptotestants think of as ‘cults,’ like Mormons (LDS), Christian Science and Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are folks who are following Jesus. They may have a lot of flawed doctrines (beliefs) in their heads, but if they are looking to Jesus to save them from their sins, they are part of our ‘tribe.’

Some Evangelicals, aware of this, like to use the term ‘Bible Christians’ to differentiate between themselves and between Christians like Catholics and Eastern Orthodox that they consider ‘beyond the pale.’ But from a Catholic perspective, I would resent that. Who is it that preserved the New Testament manuscripts and copied them— not to mention deciding which Christian books were a part of the Bible like Revelation and Romans, and which books, though good, did not make the cut, like the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas? Protestants and Evangelicals didn’t come along until centuries later. So— when Joel Osteen urges listeners who have prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ to get themselves in a ‘good Bible-based church,’ I consider my own Precious Blood Catholic Church to be one.

In my lifetime, popular culture has gone from thinking of Christians as virtuous but dull, to characterizing Christians, particularly those who stand up for unpopular teachings, as ‘haters,’ homophobes, and misogynists. We writers who are Christians need to stand up for Christianity as a whole— not just those bits of Christianity we know from our own denomination or church congregation.

Now, I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with a writer who happens to be Methodist or Lutheran or Pentecostal or Catholic using their own specific faith in their fiction, rather than a generic homogenized ‘Christianity.’ Back when I was a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I would have loved to read a Christian sci-fi or fantasy novel that mentioned the ‘means of grace’ or quoted from Luther’s catechism. And I now have favorite Catholic authors that are explicitly Catholic in their works.

But we need to face up to the fact that Christianity is divided and this is not necessarily good. Perhaps the best thing an author could do is to try to show Christians acting in unity in spite of divisions, and being kind to Christians from other denominations that the writer believes are very wrong. (For example, I have Amish and a Lutheran family on my fictional starship Destine, which is otherwise pretty full of Catholics. And in another work in progress, I have a group of young Mormon missionaries who volunteer to act as messengers for the Pope, who is in exile in Upper Michigan during the zombie apocalypse. The awkward bit comes when the Pope gives them his papal blessing and one of the Mormon missionaries responds by giving the Pope his own priestly blessing.)

What about non-Christian authors? Well, if you are non-Christian and still want to be respectful to Christianity, rather than mocking it, in my opinion you are being fair-minded and kind. I hope you will recognize that all persons in the many denominations and divisions of Christianity have a claim to be called ‘Christian’ even if some Christians think of ‘Christian’ as mostly ‘Christians-like-me.’ And that Christians can be kind and helpful to one another without ceasing to believe that their own denomination is the most correct. (After all, these days it is common for Christians to seek out another, more correct denomination if they feel their own is in error in an important way— that’s what I did— twice.)



Wattpad Ate My Soul this Morning

I had actual plans this morning. My short story ‘The Skin Shirt was ready to be unveiled to the public. Or at least a small group of my Facebook and Twitter contacts. So I logged in to Wattpad, made ready to publish, and pressed the button.

Nothing happened. Repeatedly. I could not publish that story. And so, I decided to unpublish some of my old Wattpad stories. I pressed the unpublish button. More nothing happened.

What I did not do was delete my whole Wattpad account to get my stories down. But it’s frustrating. I actually thought Wattpad would be a great way to get some opinions on some of my writing before I self-published it.

But if it isn’t functioning regularly, if I can’t control whether my stories remain available to the public there, what good is it?

TheSkinShirtMeanwhile I still have the problem of my short story. The picture above is the cover I hastily designed for it on Wattpad. I had planned to get some eyes on the story before I published the ebook version on Smashwords. But Wattpad doesn’t seem to work for that. And I wasted time writing a description of the story on Wattpad that didn’t register. I know, I should have cut-and-pasted the story description somewhere safe. Or written it in advance.

What I wanted out of having my story read was not getting a professional critique. Or even whatever it is that other writers’ beta readers do.

I wanted to know that some human beings (or intelligent alien life forms) had actually read the story. If they felt so inclined to ask a question about it or make a statement (‘That story is peculiar.’ or ‘What medication were you on when you wrote it.’ or ‘It made my eyes bleed.’) that would be good, too.

I’m going to go ahead and work on preparing the story for ebook publication soon. I will be sharing the details about it on my Facebook author page and here on my blog. I hope at least some people will be interested it the story.

Writers: what do you do to find beta readers or just some one who will read your story and maybe react to it? Readers: have you ever been a beta reader/First reader for some writer’s unpublished story? How did that work out?

Trump: Great for Women’s Health?

TrumpPresidential candidate Donald Trump clarified his policy on ‘women’s health’. He says he would be great for woman’s health. OK, maybe he hasn’t had time to put together a comprehensive plan. Or a sketchy plan.

The problem is that ‘women’s health’ in US political discourse is most often a code for abortion and abortion-causing ‘contraceptives’. Perhaps he is too new to being prolife to be aware of that.

Here are some things I’d like to hear from Trump on ‘women’s health’.

  • He should question why women’s health is a different issue from men’s health and children’s health. Isn’t that discriminatory? Shouldn’t ‘women’s health’ be covered in the same way as health care in general?
  • He should point out that if health care hadn’t been nationalized through Obamacare, most women could have choices about their health care coverage.
  • He should read up on Planned Parenthood so he will realize that this is a scandal-plagued organization that is all about abortion and advocacy for abortion. They also seem to encourage teen sex— even teen kinky sex— rather than take the common-sense approach of encouraging teens to NOT have sex.
  • He should be willing to defund ALL of Planned Parenthood so that poor women can get their health care from a full-service clinic not an abortion mill.
  • He should apologize for criticizing Jeb Bush for his controversial remark (or verbal miscue) on women’s health. Trump may not be aware of it, but he’s said a controversial thing or two himself.

Since Trump is not Hillary Clinton or the other socialist candidate, Sanders, he is certainly worth taking a look at. But in interviews and the debate his ideas seem so sketchy. He needs to be prepared to flesh these ideas out enough so that his many supporters can feel more confident that he really has a plan.

I believe part of the problem is that when confronted with an uncomfortable question, he tends to either ramble on with not-quite-related subjects, or blame the person that gave the question for being unfair. Trump must realize that campaigning for president guarantees that no one will be fair. That’s the name of the game and even candidates favored by the media can at a moment’s notice be shot down. And questions tend to run from the unfair to the absolutely vicious. Remember that debate when the anti-death-penalty candidate was asked what position he would take on that issue if his wife were raped and murdered? Since the man answered the question about his political position instead of breaking down and crying at the idea of a murdered wife, he was declared a big debate loser.

I believe Trump has brought a new excitement to the presidential race. But if he doesn’t get his act together, it will be one of his many rivals who will benefit from that excitement.

Saint Therese Doll from Kiczek Family

theresedollHave you ever gone into the doll department and seen the dolls they offer little girls? It’s like they are encouraging them to grow up to be hookers. Here is a doll that’s an antidote to that.

The Saint Therese doll is produced by the Kiczek family, a Catholic family that ‘works for the Kingdom of God by bringing others to Jesus’.

The Saint Therese doll comes with a little book telling of the life of Saint Therese. The book and doll set is $100. Yes, a lot more than the latest Barbie-in-hooker-clothes. But it’s such a lovely and faith-affirming doll and many parents and grandparents who have the money might wish to consider the doll as a Christmas present.

The Kiczek family needs to sell $100 of the dolls before manufacture can begin. Currently they have sold 6. If you cannot help them out by buying a doll, perhaps you could help the project by spreading the word, as I am doing. If you just share this blog post on Twitter and Facebook— or the Dolls from Heaven page, or both— that will help.

Find out more about the Therese Doll at the Dolls from Heaven page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dolls-from-heaven#/story

Don’t know much about Saint Therese? She was born in 1873 and lived a life devoted to God. She became a Carmelite nun at an earlier-than-normal age. Her sisters also became nuns. When she became ill, her older sister, who was also in the convent, asked Therese to write about her life. What Therese wrote became the book Story of a Soul, which described Therese’s ‘Little Way’ of serving God through doing small things with devotion. Her book became very popular. Therese died at the age of 24.

St Therese of Lisieux – Catholic Online

Saint Therese, “The Little Flower”

Therese of Lisieux – Wikipedia

While the life of Saint Therese is mostly known to Catholics, other Christians can also be inspired by this woman who lived a short life but spent it serving God and teaching others that they did not need to do great things like become a foreign missionary to live their life for the Lord.



IWSG: Blogging Secret— How May I Serve You?

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2This is a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop.

Our writing insecurity of the month: ‘If I have what it takes to be a writer, why does no one read my blog?’

Blogging. We do it— those of us that do it— because we hope that it will help build a platform. Maybe to sell more books, or maybe just to make connections with our readers.

But not only is blogging hard, it seems like it’s gotten harder for a blog to find new readers. And so we blog, and hope desperately that THIS blog post will generate a comment. Just one comment. One word is fine. Even a hostile comment is better than nothing— I was thrilled recently when I got a new commenter who accused me of being an idolator, based on the fact that I admitted to being a Catholic. I said a Hail Mary for the guy.

I think I am beginning to learn a little something about blogging. It’s not enough to have great ideas for posts and to write them well. Blogging is about interactivity— that’s why comments are so important.

The way to encourage interactivity is to forget about yourself, and be determined to serve others. So I ask, what can I do for you— the reader of my blog, or potential reader?

Number one, I can comment on your blog. That’s one reason I’m participating in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop today— it gives me a LOONNGG list of other blogs to comment on. Enough that I can spend the whole month visiting blogs from the list. I will try to comment thoughtfully on what you posted about— but if all I can think of is a slightly longer version of ‘great post’, I’ll give you that.

Two. I can be open to helping you. No, I can’t buy all of your books— there are economic reasons. I can’t even accept free copies of every book offered for review, because I’m a slow reviewer and I’m backlogged. But I will welcome your offers and if you describe the book in an interesting way, if it sounds like something I could be enthusiastic about reviewing— well, I will consider it.

Three. I can visit your blog. Now, if you have ‘adult content’ I’ll have to hop right out again. But I’m willing to check your blog out to see what you have to say. We may well have a lot in common. Or maybe your kitty pictures are almost as cute as my kitty pictures.

Four. I can forgive you. It’s easy, in the internet world, to say the wrong thing, even when you are trying to be nice. And some people have never been taught that being nice to others is important. Sometimes people feel inspired to write unpleasant or angry things about me. Like the guy who said my disabled kitten was ugly, or the ones who respond to the fact of my same-sex attraction and my support of traditional marriage by calling me a self-loathing, crazy moron. As a Christian, I’m well aware that I’ve been unkind to others myself, many times. And so I will be willing to forgive you if you come to my blog with a bit of an axe to grind. Perhaps in time we can become friends in spite of a rocky start.

I think that in a way is what human interaction is all about. We do something kind for others. They feel happy about it, which makes them want to interact with us again. If enough kindness is generated through our interactions, the world becomes better.

I suppose some may feel my attitude is too religious. But my faith gives me sound reasons to be kind to you and to others, even when it costs a lot of effort and I don’t really feel like it. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without crazy Christians building homeless shelters, setting up food banks, and going overseas to provide medical and material relief to the poorest of the world’s people? Secularists may decry random acts of kindness as illogical, but those acts may rationally be described as socially useful.

In the end, what I’m saying to you is this: Welcome to my blog! Who are you? Where are you at in the struggle of the insecure writer’s life? And most of all, how may I serve you?


Las Cruces Church Explosions: A Sign Of Things To Come?

This Sunday there were two mystery explosions at a Catholic and a Baptist church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. As this time there is no information on the bomber or his motives. It could be the random act of a crazy person. But it could also be a sign of what is going on in the world.


In Africa there have been a number of instances where Muslim terrorists have attacked Christian worship services, often killing large numbers of the Christians. I have read of instances where the church was burned down with the congregation inside.

In the US, in the aftermath of a California political struggle revolving around same-sex ‘marriage’, in some places angry left-wing gay protesters interrupted church services.

In more recent days the government has attacked small businesses for refusing to take part in same-sex weddings. In some cases the businessperson has lost the business, or been fined massive amounts. A husband and wife who owned a wedding chapel have been threatened for not performing same-sex nuptials. And an order of nuns who want only to serve the elderly poor have been ordered to violate their faith and provide health care coverage that includes abortifacients and contraceptives.

And so I wonder, when I hear of things like the church explosions: is it random, or a sign of troubled times ahead? The only thing to do is for all Christians to do what they can to deepen their prayer life and strengthen their faith— which includes learning more about our faith. (In other words, grab your catechism— and read it.)

Does Evidence Matter in the Global Warming Hoax?

I’ve just read an interesting post over at author John C. Wright‘s blog. It states that according to the temperature data at the USHCN, the US is on a long-term cooling trend. While the recorded temperatures at NOAA show the required global-warming-supporting warming trend.

John C. Wright’s Journal: A Question about the Global Warming Hoax

Wright says: “The hoax was clear from the beginning for those with eyes to see when the same parties, in one case the same man, called for curtailing fossil fuels and modern industrial technology, bigger government and global government, in order to stop Global Cooling in the 1970s. “Opposite problem, same solution” is not the slogan of sanity.”

I don’t think that the evidence matters to the Global Warming pushers. They feel Global Warming is a great tool to force people to accept restrictions on their use of technology, bigger, more intrusive government, and population control— required use of contraception and abortion to hasten Earth’s population into a population shrinkage phase.

Using the fear generated by the Global Warming hoax, governments can do previously unthinkable things such as legalize abortion and same-sex marriage in heavily Catholic Ireland. Obama’s efforts to force Catholic institutions to defy the Church’s teaching on abortion and contraceptives, such as the attempt to destroy the charitable order Little Sisters of the Poor, are applauded by Global Warming true believers.

But the question is, how can America survive when we jettison the things that made America good? Once we were a haven for people fleeing religious persecution. Now our government is engaged in persecution itself. And if the mainstream news media does not report when a city threatened ministers with imprisonment for refusing to violate their faith, did it really happen?

But even people who obediently accept the Global Warming dogma sense what is going on. Writers of all points of view are coming out with dystopian novels, such as The Hunger Games. The zombie apocalypse theme is also wildly popular. This shows that even people who don’t really know what’s going on sense something.

I’m afraid that what is being sensed may be the death of Western Civilization, and the Christian-derived moral rules that made Western Civilization civilized in the modern sense of that word. And what can we do about that? Write!

Author Daniella Bova has written Tears of Paradox and its sequel, The Notice, which tells the story of a young Catholic married couple and how they fare in a society with bigger government and a government run health-care system that has population control as its major goal. I think it is well worth reading by authors and aspiring authors, because it shows what a skilled writer can do with some real-world events, extrapolated into the future.

Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke have written Agenda 21 and its sequel which tell of a society with all the personal freedoms of North Korea, all an extrapolation of a UN plan called Agenda 21. These books have extensive notes on real-world events which foreshadow events in the book. These books also are worth examining by writers.

But the most important thing that the modern writer must do, in my opinion, is keep an open mind. When people in authority demand that you become a true believer in Global Warming or be condemned for the heresy of being a climate change denier, don’t stifle your demand to see some evidence first. After all, if Global Warming were science and not a dogma, wouldn’t asking for evidence be considered the right thing to do? And wouldn’t tampering with the evidence to prove Global Warming be considered, well, WRONG?