Category Archives: Faith

Supreme Court – Death of the Martyrs

June 30, 2014

US Supreme CourtToday is an interesting juxtaposition of the modern effort to “kill” faith fought through the U.S. Supreme Court as compared to a similar first century effort of Nero, Emperor of Rome, to “kill” faith.

“Killing Faith” is always accompanied by victims. Today, June 30, on the Calendar of Saints, is set aside to remember the early Christian martyrs who followed the fate of St. Peter and St. Paul, victims slain under Nero’s command.

Victims in the battle against faith are often beheaded, crucified and burned at the stake.  Joan of Arc

What about the victims of this modern American battle? Liberals maintain that these victims are the more “progressive” people in the country who “deserve their choice” to handle embryos, fetuses and the pre-born “according to their conscience.”

Liberals would have us believe the Supreme Court decisions announced in the past week are a tragic loss for America. Liberals denounce Christian opponents as the radicals…trying to impose their faith on the culture.

If only those pesky, noisy, irritating Christians would go home and pray in their bedrooms! They should consider themselves lucky for being able to wear their silly crosses at work (for the time being). Don’t they realize they could be living under Nero…or Hamas?

Clearly, Christians are a thorn in the side of secular “humanists” who see nothing wrong with partial birth abortion, much less contraception. Up to now, these “humanists” have succeeded in maintaining partial-birth abortion as a “choice.” And if they have to rewrite the American Constitution to achieve this? It seems they consider this a small price to pay.

Ultrasound 32 wkMaybe one day, we will be able to honor the blood of millions of tiny martyrs in the battle to defend the dignity of human life in the Land of the Free. Does anyone remember what was revealed in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell?

In 2011, Gosnell and various co-defendant employees were charged with eight counts of murder:

The murder charges [against Gosnell] related to an adult patient, Karnamaya Mongar, who died following an abortion procedure and seven newborns said to have been killed, by having their spinal cord severed with scissors, after being born alive during attempted abortions. In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder in the deaths of three of the infants and he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar….He was sentenced instead to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

What did the Gosnell trial teach us? How does this illuminate the tremendous victory today at the Supreme Court for Christians who are able to truly live out the foundational truths of their faith? And what does this portend for the future?

  1. Free speech – Yes, even Christians have the right to speak in America. Remember that wonderful liberal “right to choose?” Yes, you can choose to listen…or not. Ear plugs can purchased at your pharmacy even as you pick up your prescription for birth control.
  2. No – According to Webster’s, Christian is not yet synonymous with bomber. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared it legal for Christians to “walk about the country,” you will have to meet them with honest, factual information instead of court orders. We have established…once again…that America is a land where the free can battle freely on the field of ideas.
  3. Yes – Maybe one day Christians…and many other non-Christian people who value life…may convince the culture at large that killing even one little infant in Gosnell’s clinic is evil. If that horrifies a liberal…you can look back to the days when Christians said that owning even one slave was evil. Evil is evil. Evil is not defined as a democratic “choice.”Flag Bible
  4. Finally – Evil…when it is legal…is still evil! Evil…when it is approved by the majority…is still evil! Does anyone remember Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini?

Thanks to the hard work and steadfastness of all the fighters in the battle to defend religious liberty! It is this very liberty that founded our country. And one day, liberals may open their eyes and realize that it is this same religious liberty that can save our country.

Vaya con Dios, Papa

March 1, 2013

Nearly eight years ago, in the late evening of April 2, 2005, the world said goodbye to Pope John Paul II. Vaya con Dios, Papa.  As a non-Catholic who was preoccupied with my own busy life, I made little note of his passing.

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

His pontificate lasted nearly 27 years, but the only real memory I have of Pope John Paul II was seeing him standing in his Popemobile, waving to us as he sped up Central Avenue in Phoenix, just a block from my home.  He made 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy, and we felt lucky to witness history.

In the past month, one of my great joys has been watching the EWTN channel’s historical review of Popes.  I lived for over a quarter of a century during the lifetime of one of the world’s most popular religious leaders, but until this month I had seen and heard essentially nothing about Blessed Pope John Paul II.

It is easy to forget that the first commercial access to the Internet only happened in 1990, twelve Pope John Paulyears after the election of Pope John Paul II.  And YouTube did not officially debut until December, 2005, fifteen years later, too late even to provide live video coverage of his funeral.

From the evening of April 2, until his funeral on April 8, 2005, more than three million pilgrims went to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of Pope John Paul II. Some of them stayed in line for up to 24 hours to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. That would have been worth seeing.

Today, as I witness St. Peter’s Square filled with pilgrims, I am amazed at the Pope’s significance in our world.  Perhaps I should have understood this long before today.  But in an instant, being able to soak in the coverage of today’s events and revisit them on YouTube, I see for myself what the news has been reluctant to admit.  The world is lucky to be able to look to the Pope for leadership.

What an absolute joy to be liberated from the stranglehold our press has held on religious news!  If unable to contain positive Christian news in a black hole, main stream reporters have managed to intone darkly with their questions.  On NBC, a sober news anchor suggests that the Council of Cardinals might bring the church out of the dark ages and reward the liberal non-religious by reversing the church’s position on birth control.  Snide, all-knowing chuckles follow.

Changing channels, on EWTN, buoyant commentators revisit the high points of Pope Benedict XVI’s years in the papacy.  They love this gentle patriarch.  They pray for his well-being.  And cameras scan the vast crowds who love him, too.St. Peter's Square

In Pope Benedict’s Farewell Audience on February 27, he opened his heart to the crowds and shared fond greetings and memories with them:

They write to me as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters, with a sense of a very affectionate family bond. Here one can sense palpably what the Church is – not an organization, an association for religious or humanitarian ends, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, which makes us all one. To experience the Church in this way and to be able as it were to put one’s finger on the strength of her truth and her love, is a cause for joy at a time when so many people are speaking of her decline. But we see how the Church is alive today!

The retiring Pope encourages the Church:

We are in the Year of Faith which I desired precisely to reaffirm our faith in God in a context which seems to push him more and more into the background. I should like to invite all of us to renew our firm confidence in the Lord, to entrust ourselves like children in God’s arms, certain that those arms always hold us, enabling us to press forward each day, even when the going is rough. I want everyone to feel loved by that God who gave his Son for us and who has shown us his infinite love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being a Christian.

Pope's Last DayAnd, with his farewell, he leaves us with his great assurance that God will endure even as we each will eventually make way for a future generation.

At this moment I feel great confidence, because I know, we all know, that the Gospel word of truth is the Church’s strength, it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews, it bears fruit, wherever the community of believers hears it and receives God’s grace in truth and charity. This is my confidence, this is my joy.

Love, faith and hope…the Pope gives everyone a parting message that all faiths can cherish.  He is willing to open his arms wide with a humble embrace large enough for even his critics.  In the modern world of communication, his light cannot any longer be hidden under a basket.  It is a beacon, shining on the hill.

The crowds waving goodbye to Pope Benedict XVI reaffirm our trust in people and in the God of their faith.  From each face representing all nations, cultures and generations, love is transmitted to their beloved Papa.

We can see it.  We are a witness to truth.  We can share it with those who missed it.  And we can return again via the Internet to see it again, our visual memory of a cherished relationship that will pave the way for the next Pope.

Thank you for your service, Pope Benedict.  Thank you for your love.  And may you be greatly encouraged in knowing that we feel much loved, knowing you will fulfill your vow to pray for us into Eternity.

Vaya con Dios, Papa.

Cooooooool, Man!

January 15, 2013

  The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  ― Isaac Asimov

There are not enough “o”s in Cooooooool to describe the absolutely delicious ten winners of the 2013 Cool Science Image contest sponsored by The Why Files.

Every realm of scientific study is represented in the field of winning photos.  At the macro level, Earth Atmospherea satellite image from October 28, 2012, shows the amount of water vapor in the Earth ’s atmosphere and sea surface temperatures. Brilliant colors of orange and red pass over cooler blues and greens, all of these colors wrapped in a blanket of white cotton fluffs, highlighting the unmistakable brown land of South America in the center field.   [Source: Rick Kohrs, staff, Space Science and Engineering Center]

At the micro level, under the microscope, slime mold becomes decidedly Amoebaemore attractive than its name suggests, revealed as a social group of multicellular organisms rising from the ground in a fluid modern dance of single-celled amoebae. [Source: Sheryl A. Rakowski, staff, Bacteriology]

Monkey BrainAnd in the mysterious interior realm of a living creature, we can only wonder at the images of neural pathways tracing the brain activity that produces the physical and emotional activity of the brain’s owner, a monkey.  [Source: Christopher Coe, faculty, Psychology]

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from its Why Files headquarters, the goal of the contest is to highlight the aesthetic aspects of Scientific imagery obtained in the search for data that “can yield important and sometimes striking insights into nature and the way things work.”  In its third year, the contest produced 105 submissions and has now gained support from the Madison-based Promega Corp.

Science, seen as a field of analysis quantified in number and calculus is often reduced to the Magellanic Clouddispassionate exploration of the world we see, touch, hear, taste and smell.  What a mistake!  Consider the photos from the Hubble telescope.  Named with dispassion as STScI-PRC2013-17, one can only marvel at the glory of stellar material hurling through space, larger beyond imagination in a photo, yet a speck of the totality of the universe. [Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC and the University of Potsdam, JPL-Caltech, and STScI]

How amazing is this universe that contains humanity!  Yet, the unfortunate result of our accumulation of this large body of scientific information is our creation of an even larger number of people who lack appreciation for the unknown and of the magnitude of human ignorance.

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be. ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

We are so wrapped up in the “pile of data” we have amassed, that we turn our back on the mysterious, the things we may never know.  We continue to map DNA.  But when the map is complete, will we be any closer to understanding the intellect that created DNA?  Sadly, the spheres of knowing and wondering have moved further and further apart.  We are a world of brains that analyze and synthesize separated from the world of the spirit that trembles with humble amazement.

The Knowable and the Unknowable…how vast the distance between the two!  We live in that vastness, our intellect confined as much by hubris as by gray matter.  The advantage we have at hand with our telescopes and electron microscopy is more than matched by the humble openness of a man who scans the skies in wonder.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? [NIV]

Science and spirit are not enemies.  They are both part of the created existence.  Science can reveal both the limits of man and the realities of the absolutely extraordinary universe that is our home.  Without this understanding of the unity of science and spirit, a scientist is merely caught up in enumerating the number of genes in a homo sapien, the measuring the circumferance of the moon, and the illustrating the structure of DNA.

What a marvelous gift we have been handed in the third millennium to be able to spy into creation and share our vision through these beautiful photographs.  Most importantly, may we stand in humble awe of what we see!Bird Flying Sunset

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. ― Albert Einstein


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Be Still

June 9, 2008

You are sad. Why? — Because you are living in yourself and not in God. Remember that God is present. You are not alone for a single moment. He surrounds you. He sees you. He bears everything with you. He wants to help you. Always live in the assurance that God is present. The awareness of His presence will transform everything for you, and your sadness will disappear.

Mother Basilea Schlink, Daily Meditations

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Unplugging…it speaks of stopping…even of taking steps back, but the very word itself…unplugging…is a word of modern times, of action, of being electrified, charged up and holding voltage…even as the end of the cord lies on the floor…out of the source of juice…unplugged.

I have absorbed the static electricity of our times, not knowing that the very first step of unplugging was just that…the very first step.

Modern life has taken on a visceral quality.  We are propelled forward with our first breath in the morning, a schedule sounded by the alarm, children and school bells, snarls of traffic and a push on the gas at the first open stretch, having mastered the one fluid motion of bumping-wheels-to-the-curb-turning-pulling-key-opening-door-feet-out-and-down-closing-a-click-of-the-key-as-it-drops-into-purse-door-locked-almost-early-again-one-minute-late.

But it’s not just the activity of the day.  It’s the activity of the mind…of the spirit…of the soul.

The more I unplug, the more I find I need to unplug.  I exchange my radio and television for music.  I exchange my music for melody…lines of quiet musical poetry that aren’t improved by bass.

No longer needing to respond to the latest Fox News Alert, confident that next week will be soon enough to know who won the primary, silence beckons with her promise of a door that opens into a different world…and I turn the dial to fade the last diminishing flute tone down and out of sound.

Silence makes me aware of a different noise, the noise of the self, the mind turned inward, feeding on worries, questions, and habits that have pressed out the Source of life.  I am plugged in still, plugged into myself.

I have been struggling to set myself on a more inspired path for the coming years.  I have strained to hear and see God’s vision.  I thought that unplugging would reveal the Word.

It hasn’t.  And I fear it is because I am still plugged into the barrier that separates me from my Master.  I still grasp for control.

Unplugging my desires, my plans, my goals, my pride, my vision of what I think I need to do…I have been led by the challenge laid out by modern motivational speakers, “Make a difference, think big, ask for the sky and lay it all out, like Jabez, before our Father.”

From a quieter perspective, I think I have been trying to build a bridge to heaven.  Not His bridge, but my bridge.  His bridge was given on the cross.  It’s already here.

Laying down plans, unplugging from myself, I set myself down…quiet…chided…chastened…and loved.   The only thing left to do is pray that my every desire and every action will be created and activated from the Source above.

I am still.  Waiting.  He is God.

Cancellation Theory

March 24, 2008

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Cancellation in mathematics was always fun for me, a time when one could rid oneself of numbers instead of being required to create new ones out of sums and quotients.

I was especially grateful that cancellation was useful in the division and multiplication of fractions.  Imagine that a teacher, who heretofore had made me account for every number written in my math problems, now gave me permission to strike through numbers, no matter how large, canceling out any number that appeared both above and below the line.

As I reflect on Senator Obama’s Pennsylvania speech, explaining his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and their separate views on race relations, I find myself flinching.  While I trust that his heart wants to repair the harm done by hateful sermons, I feel Obama is relying on the human cancellation theory, failing to ultimately offer us a solution for bringing Americans together across the vast divide.

Certainly Obama is not alone.  The Human Cancellation Theory has been around since Genesis.

Applied to human behavior, applied singularly to human bad behavior, this cancellation theory requires you to forgive…lets me off the hook…absolves me of my misdeeds…leaving me with the same gleeful feelings I used to get from striking through numbers in math.  There are two functions to this human cancellation theory.

I did something bad, I did something good:  my good cancels my bad.

I did something bad, you did something bad: your bad cancels my bad. 

Obama’s speech, trying to pave a way of understanding and forgiveness for his pastor, relied on them both.

Yes, Rev. Wright said some hateful, spiteful things.  But, on the other side of the line, he has created programs serving the hungry.  Cancelled.

Yes, Rev. Wright has spurred others to reviled their brothers and sisters on the basis of skin color, but on the other side of the line, so did Obama’s grandmother.  Cancelled.

No time is more important than Easter Sunday for considering reconciliation of human relationships.  The good news is that there is a path to canceling our bad deeds.  But it is not as we, as mere humans, would devise it.

As we mathematically consider our actions, both good and bad, we are inclined to divide the impact of our sins while multiplying the sins of others.  From the human perspective, reflecting on our own condition, we use human math to calculate the cost of our sins as forgivable…and cancelled…while those of our foes multiply on into infinity.

One pastor suggested this human math is like looking down on two people trying to jump to forgiveness and salvation across the Grand Canyon.  From the edge of the canyon, I might leap out six feet.  An Olympic star might make it 30. But we both will fail in the end.  Six feet, or thirty, both attempts are woefully inadequate.

Obama’s speech this week dealt with a problem that, if relying on one single human serving as president, will be unsolvable.  While we all want race problems to go away, we know they are founded on human relationship problems that have existed since Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel.

To be fair, we are expecting Obama to do the impossible.  Yes, he has encouraged us to believe he is the savior who will lead us to the impossible dream of reconciliation and peace.  For our part, we have bought into his promises because we wanted to.   It seems the easier path.  But relying on human math, we are all doomed to fail.

Peace that comes through a true cancellation of sin comes at a price.  For Christians, we were bought at a price, a price freely paid on the cross, offering the cancellation we hope for…the cancellation we need…that when freely given and freely received, brings love, brings reconciliation, brings life everlasting.  If there’s a message worth sitting in a pew for twenty years to absorb, this is it.

Happy Easter.  He is risen.  He is risen indeed.