Word on Fire

  • Our Judgment on Simone Biles
    on August 3, 2021 at 5:00 am

    “I got this.” Recently, a medical student was seeing a patient on my schedule who was presenting with anxiety. The student reviewed her chart, knocked on the door, and entered the room with a warm smile. Fifteen minutes later, he was out and presenting her story to me. After glancing down at the chicken scratch on his folded sheet of paper, he looked at me with a confident expression that said it all: “I got this.” There were many patients this student had seen with me that day that had challenged if not confounded him. Unexplained fatigue in one, atypical chest pain in another, brittle diabetes in a third. As a result, we had wide-ranging discussions about how to approach uncertainty in clinical practice—thoughtful questioning, a focused exam, a logical differential diagnosis, and a sensible plan to move forward. But above all, we discussed how good…

  • Take a Walk and Prayers to the Graveyard
    on August 2, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Having grown up in a “mixed” family, if the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs are playing head-to-head, I will cheer for the Cardinals (my dad’s team), but other than that, it’s “Go Cubs Go,” thanks to my mother and my grandmother. I tried to hold it together when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, but I admit, I started crying when I called my mom after the last out. There were just too many great memories that came flooding back. I became especially emotional thinking about my grandma, whose great loves in this life were the Catholic Church, her family, and the Chicago Cubs!  A couple of months later, I read a story that has stuck with me ever since. It was of a man who had lost his dad to cancer. Before his dad was sick, both being true Cubs fans, they…

  • “The Chosen” Just Gets Better and Better!
    on July 30, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Even as the positive reviews poured in and word-of-mouth continued to spread like wildfire, I’m sure that many Christians were—and still are—skeptical of The Chosen. Admittedly, I was once one of them. The skepticism is understandable. For one thing, the independent, crowd-funded, multi-season series about the life of Christ is the first of its kind—a high-risk and experimental production. The series (though its producers encourage viewers to read the Gospels) is also loosely based on Scripture, relying mostly upon the imaginative creativity of its writers—an approach fraught with difficulties and dangers. But most importantly, the series seems, at first glance, like the kind of project geared toward the Christian film market—a market generally saturated with soft-focus sentimentality and formulaic morality tales.  But from the first episode onward, it’s clear that Dallas Jenkins and the whole cast and crew of…

  • Friendship: It’s Essential to the Heavenly Life
    on July 29, 2021 at 5:00 am

    We possess each friend not less but more as the number of those with whom we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious ‘nearness by resemblance’ to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. —C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves Have friends. Live life in communion. Don’t live life alone. (A very bold statement coming from a COVID-19-quarantined 30-year-old celibate living by himself in a rectory, sitting alone in his room.)  We believe God is a radiant communion of three persons in one nature. God is the opposite of alone; he is the antithesis of isolation. The very names “Father” and “Son” imply an “other.”…

  • The Evangelization of Snacks and Common Witness
    on July 28, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Growing up Protestant, the path of life in church was a bit ambiguous. There was Sunday school (classes for all ages), youth group, singles group, and then a bunch of other evangelization ministries for your way to becoming married. When I became Catholic, that same rule of generality applied, and sometimes the line even blurred between youth and young adults. “Youth” seems to refer to anyone between the ages of twelve and eighteen, and “young adult” refers to “late teens, twenties, and thirties.” (Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults, USCCB, 1996) Young adult ministry has long been an uncertain phenomenon. Within the Church, there are often youth programs, but many parishes lack young adult outreach or only start to minister to them once they are married or out of college.  Many…

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