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November 12th, 2009


09:25 pm - Homily for my Sex and Marriage Class
Marriage is held dear to God's heart. One can see this by the many times
marriage is used to show God's love in scripture. One can see the total
dedication in the prophet Hosea, where the prophet must be faithful to his
faithless wife. One can see in the Song of Songs imagery of God as the
spouse of Israel. And Christ taking on His Spouse the Church in Revelation.
I can go on with similar examples.


So, why does God show us his love through these images? It's because
there's something special about marriage that doesn't exist in other
relationships. Within marriage there is an intimate union that doesn't exist
in mere friendship. People makes friends and lose friends all the time
without scandal and sometimes even without emotion. However, someone who
loses his or her spouse either through divorce or death cannot help to feel
that they're losing part of themselves.


The source of this oneness and possible loss is the self-gift which
marriage is based on. From the time of their union, a marriage intends to
link a man and a woman together till death. From that moment on the joy of
the husband should be that the wife is happy and the joy of the wife should
be that the husband is happy. However, there is more to this truth. As St.
Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthians, a man must give his
life for his wife as Christ gives his life for the Church. Again, scripture
reminds us that there is no love without sacrifice and Christ is the highest
example of love. Therefore, conjugal love is only true love if it is
self-sacrificing. And I come to warn you today that this love is being
threatened in almost every marriage.


The danger which I come to warn you about is none other than the use of
contraception. For many years many Church faithful have been fooled to
believe contraceptives are not against Church teaching. I come to tell you
today that it is not only against Church teaching, but against the nature of
marriage itself.


One can look at marriage and easily see that it is the union where man and
woman come together. The purpose of this joining together is that the two
will produce a child. If one tries to have this mutual love but excludes the
possibility of procreation, then that love is reduced. It's like saying, "I
love you, except your fertility." Remember that a gift of self reflects
Christ's love which is total. You cannot love just part of a person.


Actions, while physical, always have a spiritual dimension. A pat on the
back means one thing and a smile means another. While if someone hits you,
you can be sure they mean something else. So, what message is being
communicated by a contraceptive act? It's that one wants the pleasure of an
act without accepting the natural result of it.

Some will take this to mean that the real point of marriage is to have as
many children as possible. This could be no further from the truth. We're
not animals, after all, but rational beings. There is a way to regulate
birth that is perfectly within the church's teaching. This way is called
Natural Family Planning. And more information can be found out about it in
the back of Church. But to summarize: It uses signs in the woman's body to
determine with great accuracy when there are times she is fertile and not.
And with communication and self-control, a family can moderate their
pregnancies.


Some will say that NFP is nothing short of Catholic contraceptive. But,
this couldn't be farther from the truth. Imagine that you're planning a
wedding and you want to invite a friend to it. You know that you're friend
won't be in town that weekend, but you invite him anyway. That is natural
family planning. Now imagine that you know your friend won't be home that
weekend, but you send him a note that says that he should not come under any
circumstance. That is contraceptive family planning. One leaves it open for
God to act, while the other demands that he does not act.


It is very easy to be tempted to control life. We want there to be as few
surprises and possible calamities as possible. But, is a child really a
danger? No, a child is a gift that makes a man a father and a woman mother.
And while parents will talk about the burden of parenthood, they will also
say how much joy their children brings them. Raising and loving that child
is their vocation.


I would like to conclude now with the reason why you should take this all
very seriously and pray over it. As Jesus tells us, you can see the quality
of the tree by the fruit it produces. What has been the fruit of
contraceptives in our modern times? Since contraceptives have been widely
used, we have seen an alarming rise in divorce, abortions and children born
out of wedlock. Marriage is being broken in all ways. Marriage is
increasingly being looked upon as a place where one can achieve their own
pleasure and when it's no longer pleasurable it can easily be dissolved.
What kind of sign is this to the world? What if God's love reflected these
types of marriages? A marriage is a realm for raising children and it is
where they first learn their faith and the love of God. So, what are we
teaching the next generation about God’s love through these marriages? I ask
you all to consider carefully these fruits and beg you to be signs of truth
and love in the world. The world needs it.

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April 2nd, 2009


04:49 pm - A simple reason why the Pope is right about Africa
Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that the Pope has received a lot
of flack over his position on contraceptives in Africa. This annoys me
to no end since no media outlet seems to be covering his reasons for
thinking so. They just go on about how wrong he must be. If anything,
they're showing less about the Pope and more about their prejudice and
their complete dedication to contraceptives.

However, I have been doing a LOT of thinking on this subject and have
even entered into an internet debate or two. (Btw, twitter arguments
are uber-pointless.) And, I've come to the conclusion that even if one
thinks there's nothing morally wrong with contraception between two
consenting adults, one would still have to be against it being used as
the means for halting the spread of AIDS in Africa.

How? Well, if one knows that he has a fatal sexually transmitted
disease and there's about a 4% chance with contraception that anyone
he has sex with will catch it, then I argue that he has a moral
obligation not to have sex. Since, one thing we can all agree on is
that risking people's lives for no reason is wrong. And this act is
putting people needless at risk.

The problem is that most people think that people are going to have
sex anyway so you might as well mitigate the damage. However, this is
completely irresponsible. If people were just chaste for one
generation, there would be no AIDS problem! Not to mention that
according to this Harvard researcher condoms have been completely
ineffective at stopping the spread of AIDS:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15445

The thing that boggles my mind though is that no one else is seeing
this. It's like there's some unwritten law that we're not supposed to
think about chastity as an option and that people are unable to
control themselves even when their lives and the lives of the people
around them are at stake. I have sympathy for those with AIDS and for
all those children born with it. I understand that people make
mistakes and that we do not live in a perfect world. But, the question
I'm asking here isn't to blame anyone. I'm simply wondering when we're
going to start acting responsible and solve this problem. Or, are we
just going to try to solve it by mechanical means as if sex spreading
disease means that we have to redesign sex itself to be barren and
sterile. We have a solution that works that is much harder than the
false solution we're currently using. So, why not?

So, am I completely off base here? Let me know if I am!

God Bless!

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February 5th, 2009


10:19 pm - America's relationship with Obama
The Obama administration is like that smooth talker at a party that
has a way of charming women. And who wouldn't like the guy? After all,
he's sincere, acts like he's listening, never bad mouths anyone that
you also probably don't like, smiles, is in good shape and he promises
the world and all the great times in the future if you just trust in
him. America on the other hand is like a woman rebounding from a tough
relationship with a man who meant well, but was distant and as
eloquent as a football player at half-time. So, America vowed to find
a man who is nothing like her previous amour and goes for the smooth
talker who says all the right things. Out of the blue, he pops the
question and America thinks she found the man of her dreams and
immediately says, "Yes, we can!"

So, since he wants to be her husband and act like her husband, they
start acting how a married couple should act, knowing her in the
biblical sense. After all, it's a done deal, right? Love is love and
hope is hope. He moves into her house, starts using her things. She
does whatever he wants her to and refuses to see the flaws in his
crazy get rich schemes or his refusal to defend her honor. (For
instance, one day the crazy neighbor called her a "white devil" and
all Obama did was talk about how America should do better and not
instigate the man.) Still, America was already acting like he was the
president and the wedding was already planned and the guests were
already invited to the ceremony. So, America convinced herself that
she should just go through with it and things will improve afterward.
He promised the world and he's smart enough to deliver and people like
him.

Then, little things started to creep up. First, it's pointed out to
America by her friends that she really doesn't know him too well and
that he never brings his friends around. (For such a friendly guy,
you'd think he'd have more.) Then, he starts to get a little
controlling, ordering your food for America, starts introducing
himself as her husband and gives world tours in front of the Berlin
wall saying that he's going to do help America by helping everyone
else first. But, America keeps trying to tell her friends that he's
really a nice guy and he promises they'll be so happy together. She
realizes that he might be her one shot to happiness and she's not
going to risk that hope for anything less trustworthy.

Now, only two weeks after the wedding, the scales have been lifted
from America's eyes. She realizes that his get rich schemes were
really pyramid schemes that will drive their family bankrupt. What
once seemed eloquence now just seems like droning. His slow thoughtful
speech now just seems like a ruse to say less. And for the first time,
she realizes: he has never had a real job in his life and all his
friends are crooks and racists.

Poor America. May we learn from her mistakes.

P.S. For those of you who are not paying attention to the culture in
general: premarital sex is not a good thing. Why? Statistically,
weddings are much more likely to end in divorce when the partners
engage in it, it opens participants to catching sexually transmitted
disease, makes it harder for them to commit to a long term
relationship and last but not least the whole point of sex is to bring
a child into the world which just might happen no matter how much
"protection" you have. Overall, it just clouds the judgment of those
who participate in it. It's designed to make people fall in love with
and to become more committed to their partner. So when someone does
engages in the act before they've reasonably determined that the
person is worth being committed to for the rest of their lives, those
feelings created by sex may override reason. Or, even worse, one may
become numb to said feelings and become unable to commit. I'm usually
not this blunt with this information, but it needs to be stated for my
previous point to make any sense.

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December 26th, 2008


11:11 am - an anecdote
Yesterday my dad was remarking to me that Obama may be the first geek
president according to some news paper article. It cited examples of
this. Apparently, Obama can't be parted from his blackberry, he has
quoted Star Trek before and has even given the Vulcan hand sign. The
article concludes saying that he reacts to technology like Tribbles
react to Klingons. While I can definitely see Obama as a Star Trek
fan, since they both support a one world order utopian government with
communistic leanings, I can't say that the article was accurate. After
all, Tribbles hate Klingons and scream whenever they are present.
:)

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December 24th, 2008


06:55 pm - A Christmas Homily
One can hardly remember Christmas without remembering what it is like
to be a child. Everyone, even those not particularly religious, have
memories of being excited Christmas morning, of waking up early and
waiting for the parents to get up too. Being so excited to receive
some gift that would be the one thing that would fulfill all desires-
at least for a little while- for children can really appreciate a gift
much more than an adult can. I know as I got older, I became harder to
please and most things that I wanted I could easily go get for myself.
As a child though, if I didn't get that gift on my birthday or
Christmas then I was out of luck. Furthermore, when children receive a
toy they actually play with it and enjoy it. If I receive a toy, it
better be a video game or else I won't know what to do with it.
How appropriate it is that on this holiday we give to children
because this is the day we celebrate our Lord as a child. And being a
child, he took on everything that goes along with it. The hands that
shaped the universe were only able to reach as far as a crib. The mind
that knew the hearts of men still had to learn its alphabets. The will
with authority over all things had to be subjected to its parents.
Jesus retains his divinity, but had to humble himself more than we
could ever dream. At least we now have the Christian notion that
children are people too. In the ancient world, a child was less than a
second class citizen. If anything happened to his parents, he would be
left defenseless and surely die. Yet, as a child, Jesus could do more
for us to fulfill God's will than if he was not. Likewise, we see in
each child there is a potential for growth. Who will this young divine
person grow up to be?
In our first reading, we refer to him a "Wonder," a "Counselor" and a
"God-hero." This is the child of destiny that the whole world longs
for- that he may be the redeemer and save us from sin. He is a wonder
because he is the unique center of all human history. Even our years
are measured from the time of his birth. He is a counselor because he
intercedes for us to the Father. He is a God-hero because he saved us
at deep cost to himself. He is the forever father because he shares
his sonship with all humanity. And lastly, he is the prince of peace
because he brings the end of all conflict caused by sin. So, at this
very night, God's power and will to save his people are fully
realized. Yet, simultaneously, this is when he is in his most basic
form.
This God is the fulfillment of all our desires, but was at the same
time completely unexpected. We needed a savior who experienced the
whole human condition; who would fulfill God's justice; who would
conquer the world and who would make his people holy. Yet, what we
didn't expect was the way that God did it. If we made Jesus today in
our own image with modern sensibilities, he would probably look more
like Superman than Christ. After all, superman doesn't need humility,
he doesn't feel pain and he works 24/7 saving people from everything
that goes wrong while not expecting anyone to change. After all, if
the world really did get better, we would not need superman. Yes,
superman was born too. But, he came to this world in a rocket ship,
having super powers upon arriving. Once he completely arrived, he was
a self-sustaining ubermensch. Jesus, on the other hand, completely
depends on the his Father for everything. And because of this
dependence, he can teach us the true way of holiness and friendship
with God.
So, Christ became a little child literally in order to show us how to
be little children. The world when Jesus lived was anything but
childlike. The Roman empire, though less than a century old, had
conquered the known world and was already cracking from human failure.
The philosophies had grown stale. Religions were degrading themselves
into mystery cults. The ancients thought they saw it all; but
anguished over the hope for something more. This is the world Christ
came in to redeem. Likewise, in our times, we ourselves can be a
little jaded, and our religion can be routine and we can think that
all adventure and newness is over.
But, still, Christ tells us we must become like little children to
enter the kingdom of heaven. That means we should be thankful to God
for all the many gifts he gives us. We should humbly recognize our
dependence on God for all the good in our lives. We should come to the
liturgy with a spirit of wonder and awe. For a child lives with an
undivided heart. He cannot love and hate at the same time or have
mixed emotions. Instead, if things are going well, it's as if all
eternity will last this way. But, if things are not going so well,
it's as if doom misery and unfairness entered the world and refuses to
leave. A child never says, "I liked the movie, but it had it's flaws."
Nor does a child say, "I love you, now change." And so, we must be the
same way.
As you well know, Christmas is the season of giving. Christ gave his
divinity to humanity on this day. In return, I hope we can all give
him the gift of our humility. And just as a child is excited to
receive his gifts on Christmas day, I'm sure the child Jesus will be
equally ecstatic.

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December 2nd, 2008


09:53 pm - a little bit about my conversion
I was working on a homily for class today. In the middle of delivering
it, I came to a sudden realization. Around the time after my
conversion, I had this habit of trying to start arguments with people
in order to bring them to the gospel. I don't think I was as
belligerent as some people I know. But, I still did so. I thought that
if I somehow found the right words that people would realize their
errors and come to the truth of the catholic faith. I saw the world as
merely being stubborn and close minded and I somehow figured it out.

As Fulton Sheen says, the sins we see in others are usually the sins
we have in ourselves. I realize now that I've been the inflexible
close minded one. I didn't convert because I figured anything out, but
because I merely cooperated with a grace God was giving me. Little did
i know that I was a closet rationalist and objectivist. Luckily, the
church has a way of mediating our more extreme habits and I can admit
this to myself.

I still have many friends out there who I've talked to many times
about the faith. I even have close family members that just can't seem
to comprehend why I believe in it let alone want to bet my whole life
on it being true. I don't know why this is and why my life is turning
out different.

Still, I thank God every day for my conversion. The Catholic Church is
more beautiful than anyone looking on the outside can ever tell. That
isn't to say that it is without fault or that it doesn't have it's
ugly churches or liturgies. (And believe me, we have plenty of those.)
What I mean is that I have found Christ in the Catholic Church more
present than anywhere else. He is as inseparable from his bride as the
soul is from a living body. This is so thoroughly my home.

God Bless.

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09:09 pm - Dr. Horrible DVD
The Dr. Horrible DVD has made it to #38 in the Amazon.com sales ranks!
Woot. Behold the power of Joss.

(Leave a comment)

November 29th, 2008


11:50 am - in case you didn't hear
Dr. Horrible's sing along blog is out on DVD! Featuring a musical
commentary. :) Check it out on amazon.

Also, the second season of the guild has premiered.
http://www.watchtheguild.com/episode-1-of-season-2-now-posted/

If you haven't seen the first season, you really should. It's on that web page.

God Bless.

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November 28th, 2008


12:32 pm - a little bit of thankfulness
Hello Everyone,


I don't like holidays. I think they can be annoying and I tend to get
sick around them. This one is no different since I have a sour throat
and no voice! (I just hope that it comes back soon since I have to
sing for a Christmas concert in a week.) At any rate, we're supposed
to take this time to be thankful for all that God gives us, so here
are some trends that I've noticed that I am very thankful for.

First, I like that car companies have been designing cars to be more
fuel efficient. There's Tesla Motors that wants to build all electric
videos. Then there's Chrysler that is designing cars that will go 40
miles on a battery before using any gas. And there's also the Smart
Cars, which are not only fuel efficient, but inexpensive, eco-friendly
and take up about half the size of a normal car. The last one is my
favorite idea since I like the idea of a car that only takes up as
much room in reality as it does in the overall importance of my life.
:) (I'm not a car guy!) Oh and a friend keeps trying to convince me
diesel is the future, but I just don't know about that right now.

Second, television and radio moving to the internet. Throughout
college I didn't want to watch TV because having cable was expensive,
signals were bad on antenna and most television shows seem like a
waste of time anyway. Now almost all the networks put there shows out
on the internet on sites like hulu and joost. The only networks that
don't are the higher cable channels and the CW, who apparently hates
the internet. This absolutely rocks because I can watch these shows
whenever I want and I don't even need a television that just takes up
an unusual amount of space and focus in a room. (Noticing a theme
yet?:) ) And if you're worried about not getting local stuff, a lot of
local stations have information on the internet and there's always
radio. Also, this February the broadcast standards will change to
digital which means that the televisions that can receive a digital
signal should be able to get much much clearer stations and more of
them. (And the government is giving out rebates for converter boxes,
so there's no real excuse.) For shows on the higher cable stations,
compare what it costs to buy a show on amazon or itunes with what a
year of cable costs. Optimum costs 90 bucks a month so that's over a
thousand bucks a year. On amazon and itunes, a TV shows usually costs
2 bucks an episode to download. So, for the price of cable, you could
watch 500 episodes of whatever you want whenever you want to. Of
course you have to back up what you buy this way (except amazon does
streaming and lets you download multiple times). But with tera-bye
portable hard drive only costing a little above a hundred bucks now,
there's not much of an excuse. So, in short, the internet is replacing
TV in my life and I've very happy.

Third, voice and video chat. Just this week I've been about to
experiment with the google video chat that is available via gmail
talk. It's fascinating how light the application is and how well it
integrates into gmail. Of course, I was only able to try it out with a
couple of people. Two of whom were on the same network as myself, so I
don't think it counted. The only snag I noticed is that there was a
little delay while talking especially if one of us were doing
something else while chatting. But, I'm sure as internet speeds pick
up this will be less and less of a problem. I like this idea because
we will be able to talk to who ever we want in the world and be able
to see them for no additional cost and that's just awesome! No need
for phones or anything. Now, I just need to convince everyone to sign
up for a gmail account and get a web camera and we're good. Some
people have criticized gtalk for not allowing people to send visual
mail, but if you really want to do that, facebook has that feature
already.

Now, what I wish for in the future is an ebook reader like the kindle
that stores graphic novels in color. I enjoy reading them, but they
take up a lot of room, are expensive and they're hard to get rid of.
So, an ebook reader for graphic novels would fix all of that. So, get
working on that, amazon. I'm going to go drink something warm.

God bless and thanks.
--Todd

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November 5th, 2008


03:30 pm - And now for a little bit of hope
"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.... That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for."

-Samwise (thanks to Mr. Tolkien)

I feel much better now. Thanks, Christine, for forwarding this to me.

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