Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Laid off Electrician Stands by Pro-life Values

How many of us would stand by our principle when it cost us 100 dollars? How many would do the same if it cost them 1000 dollars? And how many would do it if they were nearing the end of unemployment and it cost them 70,000 dollars? Well that is just what electrician Tim Roach did.

Faced with the end of his unemployment he received a call from his union rep with a job offer as a foreman for eleven months with a salary between 65,000 and 70,000 dollars. But Tim turned it down...because it was part of the building of a planned parenthood clinic.

Any quotes used from this point on are from the article found here.

Tim did not even pause. They would find other ways to alleviate the tight budget and hard times. They would find ways that would not involve taking a life. Tim's wife, Nicole, tried at first to justify taking the job. They both, however, quickly saw that the excuse of "it's just a clinic" would not sit right with their consciences. Nicole is proud of her husband:

“What struck me most is that he turned it down immediately, He had within himself that sort of moral upbringing that had him immediately recognize that this was not the right thing to do."

The rest of Tim and Nicole's story, about how the whole ordeal of job loss has strengthened their faith as both individuals and a family, is in the link above. I want to focus for a second on what it takes to make such a decision.

First, it takes awareness.  A pro-life person needs to be aware of where their money goes and what if funds.  In this case the link was direct.  He would have been helping to build a place that killed and led people to kill.  No amount of money was worth that.  But there are subtler things for us to remember in how we spend our money.  Do you choose Pepsi or SoBe, from abortion supporting Pepsi Co or Coke, Vitamin water or the local knockoff that does not support it?  What level of involvement is alright?  Is it alright to buy from a company that contributes to general dispersal organizations like the United Way who allow people to choose Planned Parenthood as a place to donate?  Or are direct contributors like Pepsi and AT&T.  Each person needs to look at the involvement of the companies they support and determine what that means.  Some people are uncomfortable with boycotts and a case can be made for more effective methods depending the level of involvement from the company and how it hurts the workers as well.  It is a matter of making a moral decision based on the awareness of the issue and what we know to be right.  Awareness means not being lazy about finding out where the money is going and how it gets there.    It means facing what that money train means and how we are a part of it.  But awareness needs something else to make it a force.

Second, it takes Courage.    Awareness needs courage to be active.  We can know, ponder and decide to do a large number of things...but the action of doing them in the face of hardship, ridicule and derision takes courage.  Tim turned down a 70,000 dollar job when he and his family were facing a bleak set of options.  That takes courage.  But that courage comes from something else. 

Third, it takes Faith.  Tim had the faith to know and believe abortion is wrong.  He also had the faith to look right into the presented solution to his problems, vacations for his children and comforts for the whole family, and have the faith that God would provide.  To place the situation in God's hands rather than do what he knew was wrong. 


Awareness, to know the situation.
Courage, to act on what is right.
Faith, to guide us in knowing right from wrong and sustain us in our courage.

Dear Lord, as lent continues help us have the awareness to see how our lives effect everyone around us.  Give us the courage to make difficult choices and give us the faith to know you will help us in all our hardships. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Using your Kindle To Teach CCD


For the last few months I have been using my kindle to carry my lesson plan and references for teaching 8th grade CCD.  For those non-Catholics who don't know and those Catholics who never asked ; CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.  It is the name for the classes Catholic children who are not in Catholic school take in order to learn the faith. 

I favor using more modern tech if  I can.  A few weeks ago we all did our own fake facebook page (on a paper template) for Jesus to cover concepts such as who His friends were, what people would ask as intercession, how saints pray for us (by seeing what intercessions they would post) and omnipresence by showing Him attending many masses at the same time with the events function.

So I thought I would post on how to use the Kindle as a lesson planner and reference holder.  First I write a lesson plan.

Here is a bullet pointed version of my lesson plan for this week based on our textbook. I often use the bullet pointed version and use the text as a guide to the main points of the plan in addition to what I have memorized about the text. (Page numbers in parentheses from the teachers manual):
Lessons 8 And 9 Combined
Part 1: Suffering Servant and the Passion

Opening Prayer

Engage


  • What is a prophet?
  • Why is it important to get messages to people accurately, safely and on time?

Teach and Apply
  •  The Suffering Servant
  •  Isaiah and prophecy
    •  Read pages 84-85 (152-53)
    • Why was the idea of the suffering servant helpful during exile?
    •  The odds of Christ.  1 in 10 to the 157th power to fulfill 48 prophecies (He fulfilled 324)
  •  Speaking out for justice
  •  Sinless Servant
    •  Christ as Historical figure…He existed
    •  Compare the suffering servant with Jesus
  •  Works of art inspired by the life and work of Jesus
  •  Does Christ inspire you?
  •  Veneration of the Cross p. 92 (p. 160)
  •  Evil in the world
    •  Original Justice
    •  Original Sin
    •  What effects of original sin do you see in the world today?
  •  Where and why do people suffer?
    •  Silently read p. 95
    •  Moral and Physical evil (Did you know p.95 (p. 167))
    •  How does the Paschal Mystery illustrate good coming from evil?
  •  Freedom, good and bad consequences p. 95 (p.167)
  •  Faith Connection activity p. 95 (p. 167)
  •  Jesus the new Adam
  •  Jesus Cross, our Cross

Connect
  •  How does the passion and death of Jesus help us carry our crosses
  •  Without Good Friday, No Easter Sunday
  •  "Unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be the empty tomb--unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light--unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday- Fulton Sheen 
  •  Dealing with Loss and Suffering
    Closing Prayer

    I then take the lesson plan and use Mobipocket creator to convert the Word Document to a Kindle Format..usually a PRC file. Sometimes the formatting gets messed up on the indents of the bullet points...if that would bother you then use a format without bullet points.

    I then bookmark relevant points in the Compendium of the Catechism so I am sure present the material on the major points in the correct manner. If you do not have a Kindle version of the Compendium then go to the Vatican Website and copy and paste the sections you need into a word file and convert it like the lesson plan.

    For this lesson I have sections 118, 119, 366

    118. Why was the death of Jesus part of God's plan?
    599-605
    619
    To reconcile to himself all who were destined to die because of sin God took the loving initiative of sending his Son that he might give himself up for sinners. Proclaimed in the Old Testament, especially as the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant, the death of Jesus came about “in accordance with the Scriptures”.

    119. In what way did Christ offer himself to the Father?
    606-609
    620
    The entire life of Christ was a free offering to the Father to carry out his plan of salvation. He gave “his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) and in this way he reconciled all of humanity with God. His suffering and death showed how his humanity was the free and perfect instrument of that divine love which desires the salvation of all people.

    366. What place does human freedom have in the plan of salvation?
    1739-1742
    1748
    Our freedom is weakened because of original sin. This weakness is intensified because of successive sins. Christ, however, set us free “so that we should remain free” (Galatians 5:1). With his grace, the Holy Spirit leads us to spiritual freedom to make us free co-workers with him in the Church and in the world.

    I then bookmark all Scripture readings in my Kindle version Catholic Edition RSV Bible, and read over any important notes in the Kindle RSV Catholic Study New Testament by Scott Hahn.  I highlight as notes or bookmark any helpful information.  For this week I have the Suffering Servant Isaiah passages and the Passion accounts. 

    I then load any MP3 versions of hymns that are suitable for reflection if I have them.

    Then anything special.  This week I do a short prayer service for the Veneration of the cross in Word and convert it to Prc for Kindle.  

    Now I move the lesson plan, Bible and Compendium (along with any other bookmarked reference material) into one Kindle collection so I have them all in one  place to make it easier to switch between them.

    Then I can use the Kindle one handed while writing on the board, reference dozens of various sources and even use it to play music.  So with the kindle and teachers manual (to reference the textbook) I usually do the whole class while not having to go through multiple books.

    Now in class I use the kindle as the main reference to my lesson plan (always have paper backup),  my Bible (although be sure to keep one on the class altar/prayer space) and portable Compendium of the Catechism.

    My Thoughts on Events in Egypt




    Anyone who has followed my blog in the past knows that I have always tried to bring awareness about the sufferings of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Although I am Catholic, these are my brothers and sisters in Christ and they have suffered horribly over the centuries.

    Like nearly everyone in the world I was riveted by the coverage of recent events in Egypt. I prayer fervently for the Egyptians to win their freedom. I rejoiced as Muslims and Christians acted as one, defending each other at prayer and/or Divine Liturgy. But since the end of the revolution covered by the media things have not gone very well for the Coptic Christians.

    The site The Free Copts has excellent coverage of events; so I will only provide a short summary. More detailed information can be had in this article: link

    The short form is that on March 5th a Coptic Church was destroyed after local unrest involving a mixed relationship. Muslims destroyed the Church as the military watched and by many reports aided. Then 2,000,000 Copts and liberal Muslims protested for 9 days outside the TV Building in Maspero demanding the return of the Copts to their village and the rebuilding of the Church.

    Eventually the military agreed, after some Muslims even made the insane accusation of witchcraft against the Copts, to rebuild the Church. That is a short summary, please read the above links for a full account.

    There is cause for concern and hope in the story. One one hand there was death and destruction as the military watched. On the other, there was a united interfaith demand for justice that is being met. But there are still some very troubling response from the military in what I have read.

    There is a long hard road ahead for all of Egypt and her people. May God guide and protect everyone. And may the Coptic Orthodox Church be allowed to worship in full equality.

    Why I've been away for two years

    Why have I been away...self explanatory:

    It's been two years...but

    It has been two years but i've decided to try posting again. Life is good and I have some time here and there so we will see if I can resurrect the old blog in time for Easter. I plan on trying next week.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    It Has Been Awhile

    It's been awhile since I have updated. Life has been a bit hectic but fulfilling. I am a father now and soon I'll be a stay at home dad. This may give me a little more time to keep up this blog since Lily is a fairly calm child. I know that I'll be run ragged in other ways, but time may be slightly more flexible than doing it all and working. So I don't know, but it is possible that after Christmas I'll try to revitalize this blog and keep up with issues of Christian persecution and my other thoughts.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Support Resolution 1303

    The Free Copts has more: link

    Here is the text of the legislation: link

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Rally in Washington DC in Support of Coptic Christians in Egypt

    Link to article: here and reposted below

    American Egyptian Coptic Christians along with activists from Egypt, the Middle East, Europe and the USA, will organize a peaceful rally on July 16, 2008. The rally will start in front of the White House at 12:00 Noon- 2:00 P.M., and will conclude in front of the Egyptian Embassy at 2:30- 3:30 P.M. The purpose of the rally is to protest recent violent attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt.

    The Copts of Egypt are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. They number about 15% of Egypt’s population of 80 millions. Not a month passes by without their churches, homes and businesses being attacked. According to a study made by Ibn Khaldoun Research Center in Cairo, over 240 major attacks against the Copts took place during the period from 1972- 2003. It is estimated that, during the last three decades, more than 4000 Copts were killed or injured. This in addition to damages directed to Coptic properties that could exceed hundreds of millions of dollars. Hundreds of Christian Coptic girls, some are minors, are abducted and forced to embrace Islam and marry Muslim men.

    During the last few weeks, Muslim extremists in Egypt attacked a jewelry store owned by Copts killing four Copts. The extremists also attacked Abu Fana Coptic monastery injuring many monks and kidnapping three. The abducted monks were tortured, humiliated and ordered to denounce their Christian faith. In Fayoum, Muslim extremists attacked homes and businesses owned by Coptic Christians. A Coptic Christian man was killed by Muslims in the town of Dafash, governorate of Minia, in the southern part of Egypt.

    In addition to violent attacks by Muslim extremists, the Copts of Egypt suffer from discriminatory laws and practices imposed on them by the Egyptian government. These practices include restrictions on church building, under representation in Parliament, and discrimination in jobs and promotions. Many high ranking jobs in Egypt are out of reach for Copts.