Friday, December 29, 2006


I must admit, I'm torn.

My regular readers know I'm a huge proponent of the war on terror, and could never claim to be a fan of the world's rabid dictators like Saddam Hussein. Many people defend the man simply because George W. Bush regards him as an enemy; I refuse to put myself in that camp. He has ordered the execution of far more than the 148 victims he was formally convicted for. He did have weapons of mass destruction. He was a monster, ranking in the same league as Hitler (even if his body count of innocent victims didn't climb as high).

And yet as I said prayers with my kids tonight, I found myself telling them about this bad, bad man who did terrible things to his people, and we said a prayer for him, that he would come to know the love of Jesus and would cry out for deliverance.

We can be fairly certain he has heard the Good News, as a Vatican envoy visited him in the 11th hour before the invasion of Iraq to ask why he wouldn't comply with UN weapon inspections. In March of 2003, Brendan Miniter of the Opinion Journal wrote:

When Saddam Hussein met with papal emissary Cardinal Roger Etchegaray in Baghdad a few weeks ago, the Iraqi dictator responded to questions about why he wasn't cooperating with United Nations weapons inspectors by drawing a long knife. Holding it for the cardinal to see, he ran his finger along the sharp edge of the blade--it was an obvious gesture at intimidation.

But Mr. Etchegaray wasn't stricken with fear. He simply reached into his pocket and drew out a rosary.

"We Christians have weapons too," the cardinal told the dictator.

This exchange gives me hope for Hussein's soul, for even he can find redemption at the foot of the cross.

I find that tremendously comforting when I consider my own fallen state. I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am capable of any & all sin. Who's to say that if I were transposed into Saddam's place that I wouldn't have turned out the same way? I'm as big a sinner as the next guy, so to know that so obvious an example of human wickedness is not beyond the mercy of God gives me courage in my own struggles.

Let us all offer a prayer for his eternal security.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Anticipation Fulfilled

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I don't mean in a shallow, gift-giving/receiving way, or even in a spending-time-with-loved-ones way.

This may come as a shock to my more frequent readers, but I love Christmas because of what it represents for me as a Christian.

This is the grandest feast of Christianity. God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, lowered himself to our form and took on human flesh. This is what we call "incarnation" - from the Latin for "to make flesh." This never ceases to amaze me - the all-powerful Lord of Creation wanted to be close to us, his creation, so much that he became infinitely vulnerable. That is the key to any intimacy - for love cannot be fully realized if any sort of hesitancy of self-preservation exists.

This is the model of love God has given to us: be fully open, and if and when that intimacy is broken, accept - with yet more openness - the pain and suffering that comes with the risk. I find that in marriage the same model must apply. I must love fully & completely, and when those moments of micro-betrayal come, I must continue to love. This is immensely difficult, yet it is the same cross that Jesus himself bore for us. When he sacramentalized marriage, declaring it to be a sign of God's love for his Church, he drew an indelible link between sexuality and the nature of God (for more on this, read up on the Theology of the Body). This isn't creepy or weird; it's profoundly beautiful and glorious.

At Christmas we celebrate the beginning of this mystery; the long road to Calvary began this day. God became man. Man, hoping for years upon years for the realization of the Messianic promise, had his hope fulfilled this day. We can understand why the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace to those on whom his favour rests!" Indeed, let us praise God for his mighty works of salvation this day, and let us rest in his favour, filled with peace - assured of his love for us, and aware of the door he has opened for us.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Advent Prayer

I'm thinking today of my friends from elementary school. I could even go up in grades to junior high and high school, and even through my year of theology studies at Aldersgate College. But even more, I can think of the many friends I've made over the last few years in Winnipeg. Of this vast pool of people, a few people have been (and fewer still are) very dear friends. The majority remain friendly acquaintances who I may bump into at summer camp or in a mall or in cyberspace. [I'm thinking of you, Dr. Love!]

Yet even this select few dear friendships are subject to change, and if God ever calls us or them to new venues, the intensity of these friendships will inevitably diminish.

But there is a group of people who always remain in my life - my family. I'm referring especially to my extended family. Every few years I go to a massive family reunion (around 100 people this year) which is named after the patron & patroness of my mom's side, three generations above me. They passed on more than 20 years ago, yet the family that they spawned continues, and with increasing vigor.

To think that the loving actions of those two founders could produce such a lasting legacy! I'm hesitant to start the math required to calculate the exact number of descendants, but to have seeded humanity with 100 people willing enough to enter into Christmas fellowship every three years is a remarkable accomplishment - especially considering how hard it is to form the character of so many people.

So as I wait out these final days of Advent, I'm surrounded with the familial love which resounds from the love of that first Holy Family, and I thank God for that blessing. I especially pray for those people whose families have been shattered and don't know that love - may God break them out of that cycle and introduce them to the fullness of his plan.


I issue a stern rebuke to my readers who have become impatient waiting for my next post. Does it occur to anybody that I may be away for the holidays, or busy with gift-wrapping and baking, or still working on clearing out the blight-monsters from the mystical island of Morrowind?

Ok, so it's a mix of those. Just don't ask me for a pie chart detailing which amount of time has gone into what. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Infamy Vs. Tragedy

Think about history for a second. Think about big events from years gone by.

Finish this quote from CBC Radio's The Current, Wed, Dec. 6, 2006 (link to podcast):

This is a day of infamy. It was on this day X years ago that...

If you guessed "the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," you'd be wrong. No, that iconic event in world history is sidelined, and the famous commentary from President Franklin Roosevelt is ripped from its context to describe another event.

To continue the quote:

...a man carrying several weapons walked into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique. In one lecture hall he separated the men and the women, and shot the women. He kept going, and all fourteen women were killed.

This was seventeen years ago.

No question, what happened in Montreal was a tragedy, and indeed the day carries horrible memories for the survivors and those who lost loved ones. By no means do I oppose marking this anniversary.

But I must object to the misuse of FDR's famous "infamy" quote in this context. There must be a distinction held between the offenses of a single crazed individual and the offenses of a massive, crazed military. Historically and sociologically, there is no comparison.

Really, I think this was just a cheap trick by The Current's writers to tap into the proximity of the anniversaries, and that's very amateurish in my opinion.

Monday, December 04, 2006


So the story that never was, still isn't.

That is to say, the big to-do earlier this year about Judas Iscariot being a misunderstood zealot, based on the gnostic Gospel of Judas, wasn't all that accurate. The experts who got together and translated the text are now starting to question the accuracy of their translation.

Whoda thunkit?

Well, the Catholic Church, for one.

Turns out, the text was written by a sect called the Cainites sometime in the 2nd century. Says Monsignor Walter Brandmüller of the Vatican's Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences:

The Gnostic sect of the Cainites attributed a positive value to all the negative figures of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, such as the tempter serpent, Cain - hence their name - Esau and Judas.

So way back then the Church had enemies too, and they were organized enough to publish anti-Christian documents. There is a reason the Church rejected such works when the Canon of Sacred Scripture was sealed.

Welcome Back

I've been inundated with email (ok, maybe that's stetching it a bit) asking where the heck I got off to.

Truth is, I've been in Morrowind. Never heard of it? It's an ancient land, filled with elves and sorcerers and dragons, and I'm a Khajit named Brunos who is exploring it at the Emperor's request.

Gotta love that green armor & weaponry, eh? (It's enchanted glass!) I started out with an iron dagger and an old shirt & pants. Look at me now!

As my parents (hi Mom) and my wife (sorry dear) can attest, I tend to get a bit carried away when my imagination is allowed to run wild with computer games, especially such immersive ones as this one.

But the game is nearing its climax, and I'm starting to miss my legions of fans, so I figured I'd say hi to everybody.

So, hi!