Monday, May 15, 2017

Some Apologetics from John Martignoni

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Copied from his latest newsletter:

Q:     Why do Catholics believe the Pope is infallible?

A:     The answer to that, in a nutshell, is: Catholics believe it because the Church teaches it.  I know...I know...I've heard the objections to that answer many times, and you may be thinking one or more of them right now.  "The Church?!  Why do you let the Church tell you what to believe?  Why don't you read the Bible and decide for yourself?"  Or, "I don't care what your church says, the Bible says that all men are sinners (Rom 3:23), so the Pope can't be infallible."  Or, "No man, other than Jesus Christ, can claim to be infallible, regardless of what your church says."
       Okay, first, I want to define exactly what a Catholic means when they say the Pope is infallible, and then I want to look at this issue of infallibility using both the Bible and some good ol' common sense.
       In Catholic teaching, when we say that the Pope is infallible, we do not mean, as some assume, that we are saying the Pope can never make a mistake, or that he can never commit a sin, or anything else like that.  Infallibility has a very specific meaning in Catholic theology, and that meaning is this: The Pope, when he is teaching on a matter of faith and morals, to the entire Church, is prevented, by the Holy Spirit, from teaching error. 
       What exactly does that mean?  It means that the Pope can indeed teach error - on matters pertaining to history, economics, science, sports, global warming, politics, and a whole host of other topics.  Why?  Because those things are not matters of faith and morals.  It also means the Pope can indeed sin.  Every Pope has.  Being prevented from teaching error is completely different than being prevented from committing error, as when you sin.  Not committing sin is known as impeccability, not infallibility. 
       It also means that the Pope cannot, one day, decide to write a papal encyclical saying that, as a doctrinal teaching, Catholics are no longer required to believe in the Trinity.  Or send out a teaching that abortion is no longer a sin.  Or that Jesus didn't really die on the Cross.  Or that two men can indeed get "married."  Or anything else along those lines.  The Holy Spirit will prevent him from doing so. 
       Now, let's look at all of that.  Does it make sense?  Does it make biblical sense?  Does it make common sense?  A lot of people believe, as I mentioned above, that no man, except Jesus, could ever be said to be infallible.  Yet, when I ask these very same people about the infallibility of the Bible, something a bit odd happens.  They all state, without any hesitation, that the Bible is indeed infallible.  It is without error.  Well, let's think about that.  For the Bible to be infallible (or inerrant), that means the folks who wrote the various books of the Bible had to least when they were writing their particular part of Scripture.  They had to be prevented from writing error.  Think about that.  Can an infallible book be written by a fallible man?  The answer is, no.  When they were writing their particular books of the Bible, each writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, could commit no error.  They were - while writing - infallible.
       So, we have instances of a number of men, other than Jesus Christ, who were infallible - at least for some specific period of time.  Anyone who claims the Bible is the Word of God should admit to this.  Because, again, if Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and so on were not infallible - were not prevented by the Holy Spirit from making errors - when they were writing their respective books and letters that ended up in Scripture, then there is the possibility that they may have made a mistake in what they wrote.  So, if you believe the Bible is free from error, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, then you have to believe that the writers were infallible in what they wrote.  This kinda shoots a pretty big hole in the argument that only Jesus Christ was infallible.
       Now, you might be asking, "So what does all this have to do with the Pope?"  Well, here's the thing: the existence of the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God, is evidence that God can, and has, bestowed the gift of infallibility on various men in the past.  So, one cannot argue that the gift of infallibility has been reserved to Jesus and Jesus alone.  Mere mortals have, at one time or another, been infallible.  In other words, we have precedent for the Catholic teaching on infallibility.
       So, we've eliminated the objection that infallibility can only apply to Jesus, and we've eliminated the objection that, since the Pope sins, he can't be infallible.  The question is, though, so what?  "You've cleared up this misunderstanding about infallibility not meaning the Pope can't sin.  And, yeah, okay, the writers of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, had to be endowed with the gift of infallibility, since the Holy Spirit doesn't make mistakes.  But, how does that apply to the Pope?  After all, Catholics don't claim that he's writing Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture, do they?"  Well, no, we don't.  I'm just trying to show, as a first step in my argument, that infallibility is not exclusive to Jesus and has nothing to do with sinning.
       Next, I want to show how the Scriptures support the Catholic belief in the infallibility of the Pope.  For example, do not the Scriptures say, in Luke 10:16, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects Him who sent me?"  That's pretty powerful!  The Apostles were speaking with, and by, the authority of Jesus Himself.  So much so that Jesus tells them, "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me."  If they were speaking with Jesus' own authority, would you say that there was the possibility they were teaching error?  Of course not.  If they could teach error, then that means there was the possibility of Jesus being identified with error.  Which means these disciples that Jesus is referring to were speaking infallibly on His behalf.
       "But," someone might say, "that was when Jesus was alive and still with the Apostles.  What assurance do we have that that was still true after Jesus ascended into Heaven?"  Well, in John 14:16-17, we have our answer.  It says, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you."  The Apostles received the Spirit of Truth - the Holy Spirit.  And then in verse 26 of John 14, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."  And in John 16:13, "When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth..."  Jesus ascends into Heaven and then the Father sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus' name to be with the Apostles and to guide them unto all truth as they go out to teach all nations.
       So, the Apostles were able to teach on faith and morals without error - because they were guided by the Holy Spirit.  In other words, they had the charism, or gift, of infallibility, because the Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes.  In the Acts of the Apostles, ch. 8, there is the story about an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the Book of Isaiah.  In Acts 8, verses 30-31 it says, "So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?'  And he said, 'How can I, unless...[unless!] someone guides me?'  And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him." 
       Scripture is plainly telling us that we need a guide to understand Scripture, and which would God give us - an infallible guide who could not lead us astray, or a fallible guide who could, possibly, every now and then, teach error?  And listen to what the Bible says about those guides who preached the gospel: 1 Ptr 1:12, these men are those who "preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven".  They preached through the Holy Spirit!  There were men who preached with the authority of God the Father as given to them by Jesus Christ, Himself, and they were aided in using this authority by the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.  In other words, they taught infallibly!
       Think about this: Jesus founded a church.  He sent the Holy Spirit to guide that church.  That church, as the Bible clearly shows, was led by men who were infallible in their teaching.  That's why the Bible could say that the church is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," (1 Tim 3:15).  So, you need to think about this question: Could a church founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit ever teach error in matters of faith and morals?  If you say, "Yes, it could," then you are left with the prospect of never being able to really know the truth.  And if you can't know the truth, then you can never be set free (John 8:32).  A church that can teach error in its doctrinal and moral teaching is a church that is not guided by the Holy Spirit.  
       But, if you say, "No, a church founded by Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit cannot teach doctrinal or moral error," then you have just admitted that there is a church out there that has to have at least one person, or a group of persons, who are infallible - who cannot teach error in matters of faith and morals.  Because you cannot have a church that teaches infallibly if all the teachers in it are fallible.  It just doesn't work that way. 
       So, given that we Catholics believe our church was founded by Jesus, and that it is guided along its path by the Holy Spirit, that is why we accept the doctrinal teaching of the Church on this matter, and on all matters.  It doesn't make sense not to.  Either Jesus left us with an infallible guide, or He left us, each one, to our own devices, with no assurance of what is or is not the truth.  The former makes a lot of sense, the latter does not.
       One last point I want to make on this - I have heard, hundreds of times over, individuals claim that when they read the Bible, they are guided by the Holy Spirit in their interpretation and understanding of the Bible.  Yet, they claim that they are not infallible, because no man is infallible.  I have always wondered about that.  If a person is guided by the Holy Spirit in their interpretation of the Bible, then that interpretation has to be infallible...because the Holy Spirit is infallible.  If a person claims to be guided by the Holy Spirit, yet also claims to be fallible in their interpretations of the Bible, then they are essentially claiming that the Holy Spirit is fallible in His interpretations of Scripture.  If you're guided by the Holy Spirit, you are infallible in your interpretations.  If you are fallible in your interpretations, then you are not guided by the Holy Spirit.  It has to be one or the other.
       Infallibility makes good biblical sense and good common sense.  Without the gift of infallibility, we are simply left to hope and pray that we've gotten things right when it comes to faith and morals, because we can never really be sure.  


I thank God far more for friends than for my daily bread - for friendship is the bread of the heart.

~Mary Mitford

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pie Jesu Domine, Dona Eis Requiem

Father, into Your hands I commit my friend Coemgein, who believes he is above friendship. Have mercy on his soul, give him peace in his heart, forgive his sins, and let him know to-day how much you love him.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Blue skies with white clouds on summer days.
A myriad of stars on clear moonlit nights.
Tulips and roses and violets and dandelions and daisies.
Bluebirds and laughter and sunshine and Easter.

See how He loves us!

~Alice Chapin

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Recipe #420 Napoleon Pizza

I do some sort of pizza every Wednesday when Survivor is running on CBS at 8:00; lately I've been trying different dough and sauce recipes and I think I found my winner-winner-pizza-dinner last night.

The dough starts with two packages or 4 1/2 tsp of yeast, two tsp of sugar, and 1 1/2 c warm water and let it rise.

Then, mix three cups of flour with two tablespoons salt. Wisk it, wisk it real good.

Add the water/yeast to the flour and combine until you get a ball. Remove to a floured surface and knead for about about three minutes.
Let it rise covered in a warm draft-free environment til it is doubled in volume.

Punch the dough ball down, and cut in half. It will make two 16 inch pies this way. Let each proof again in a warm area (or overnight in the refrigerator) until you are ready to bake.

My sauce this time was about one third tomato sauce, one third tomato paste, and one third from a Chef Boyardee pizza kit, embellished with dried oregano, garlic, basil, black pepper, and thyme. Not too demanding, the tomato flavor really came through.

I grated some fresh Monterrey Jack cheese to go with two cups of shredded mozzarella

Pepperoni is mandatory, as are mushrooms, but I wanted to not do the entire pie with everything:

So green pepper, white onion, Kroger sugar ham fried nicely, and ground sausage topped about 65% of the pie. At exactly 18 minutes cooked at 450 degrees she was done.

'It's probably the best drawing I've ever done.'

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

1. Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
'Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, 'tis He! 'tis He!
'Tis the long-expected Prophet,
David's Son, yet David's Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
'Tis the true and faithful Word.

2. Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

3. Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
Son of Man and Son of God.

4. Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

"Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted"
by Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #153
Text: Is. 53:3-5
Author: Thomas Kelly, 1804
Tune: "O mein Jesu, ich muss sterben"
1st Published in:_Geistliche VolksliederTown: Paderborn, 1850

 "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that harm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

3. See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a tribute far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #175
Text: Gal. 6:14
Author: Isaac Watts, 1707, ab. and alt.
First Tune: "Hamburg"
Tune based on First Gregorian Chant
Arranged by: Lowell Mason, 1824
Second Tune: "Rockingham Old"
Composer: Edward Miller, 1790

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

TLH #648 I Am Jesus' Little Lamb

This song has been running through my mind lately. Another hymn from The Lutheran Hymnal I probably sang a thousand times as a young lad in Detroit.
The video I just found on YouTube, and you couldn't have made a more precious movie scene.
God is good, no?!?

1. I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,
Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

2. Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;
When I thirst, He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

3. Who so happy as I am,
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Hymn #648
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: John 21:15
Author: Henriette L. von Hayn, 1778
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"
1st Published in: Brueder Choral-Buch, 1784
Tune: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"

"I Am Jesus; Little Lamb"
by Henrietta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782

Monday, April 10, 2017

Recipe #13 Easy Baguettes


2 packets (1/2 oz, or 4, 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
2 tbs sugar (honey, if you have it available)
2 cups water

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt

corn oil for the rising bowl
corn meal for dusting the pan

Start the yeast in one half cup of warm water and then add sugar. It should rise a bit and get frothy.

In a larger bowl, combine flour and salt. Then add the yeast mixture, and stir in one more cup of warm water. Add more flour or water until the dough comes together and is workable.
Knead for 3 or 4 minutes. I don't know what this does, but I read it is necessary.

Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place to rise.

When it has doubled in volume, punch it down ( I like that), cut it tin half, and roll each half out into cigar-shaped loaves. Score the tops, and put on your baking pan dusted with corn meal.

Preheat your oven to 425 F and cover the loaves for the second rise. When they've doubled in size, or after about 20 minutes, they are ready.

Bake for 20 minutes (keep an eye on them) and allow to cool before you indulge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Opening Day at Comerica

Had to scrape about an inch of frozen snow off the windshield this morning, but the sun is shining and according to The Great Voice of the Great Lakes @WJRRadio, the crowd downtown is growing.

The Tigers are honoring Mr. I this season with the grass, and uniform patches

Wish we were there...bundled up, of course!!

Thank you, Mr. I

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Out early this morning to run errands on a beautiful Saturday and the robins stole the show. Hop hop hopping on the grass, sitting in our bare crab apple tree or on the rooftops, or even hopping on the pavement - their song is a song of joy!

Tweet tweet tweeeeeeet; the new day is here!
Tweeeet twit tweet tweeet; rise and shine oh sleepy heads!

Right now, though, the red bellied woodpecker is looking for food in our chimney stack: the vibrating metal gives his error away.

The starlings and red-winged blackbirds have massed in the trees across the street, like a gang of sweet-singing thugs in the middle of their pillage-planning. There goes a starling chasing away the crab tree robin! What a bully!

I have a squirrel baffle over my suet hanging right off our deck - the thugs don't like to eat with something overhead like that. It has done the job well, as has the safflower seed - which they do not like for some reason (I think it's too hard for their beaks to crack open. The chickadees, cardinals, blue-jays, house-finches, and downy woodpeckers eat the safflower seeds. The little chickadees are so cute this morning. Two at a time, they will take a seed from the feeder, hop up to a branch, and peck at the seed they hold between their feet :- ).

The sun is coming out from behind the clouds and it is a beautiful sight. I think we will have un-stuffed cabbage in the crock pot to-day, with some mashed potatoes on the side.

Now the robin was investigating a nest from last year, and the starling was not having it.

Last night was my MLB fantasy baseball draft, and overall I am pretty happy with the results (except for the one time the cheap laptop began 'not responding' to my clicks and I mistakenly turned on AutoPilot, causing Neil Walker to become my second second baseman.

C Sal Perez (I had him on and off a couple three years ago, I was going to take Posey in the fourth round but the guy right before me got him.:-(
1B Freddie Freeman (oodles and oodles of homers last year, over 100 RBI each of the last three)
2B Daniel Murphy (can play first or second base, a big bat in the lineup if he stays healthy)
SS Xander Bogaerts (the one Red Sox I wished I'da had last year, along with Pedey, Papi, and Mookie)
3B Jose Ramirez (Indians third sacker - a young guy hopefully under-estimated)
OF Mike Trout (I had him two years ago and never took him out the lineup - the overall #3 pick)
OF Charlie Blackmon (this guy did damage against me all summer last year)
OF Yasmany Tomas (nicknamed El Tanque - 'nuff said)
U Adrian Gonzalez right now, but he'll have to perform to stay in the lineup, as the bench consists of

OF Billy Hamilton (lots of sb, career best obp of .321 last year)
OF Dexter Fowler (.393 obp last year, and it seemed every night he was on MLB Quickpitch)
OF Joc Pedersen (he hit a ton of homers two years ago before the break, then fell off the map. hopefully he'll continue his resurgence from last year)
OF Keon Broxton (a young Brewer stud I don't know much about, but he's ranked really high amount OF, he's my replacement for the aforementioned Mr. Walker)

I didn't take a starting pitcher until the seventh round (after Kershaw and Max, who I'm gonna take?!!?) so I kept grabbing sluggers. I'll need to trade one of the relievers for a starter after 4/20 for sure
SP Carlos Corassco (Indians should be good again this year, he's their #2 guy)
SP Julio Teheran (Atlanta's ace, he was an all-star last year)
SP Lance McCullers (#2 behind Keuchel in Houston, strong LOB #s last year)
SP Kenta Maeda (Dodgers #3 behind Kershaw and Hill, added 10 lbs of muscle in the offseason)
SP Matt Moore (Giants #3 behind Bumgarner and Cueto)

RP Kenly Janson (picked him in the fifth round, my first pitcher; career best in WHIP, ERA, and S)
RP Jeurys Familia (he's suspended until 4/20, but he's been a great reliever for my in the past)
RP Tony Watson (Pirate's closer, but I really just needed someone until 4/20)

Friday, March 24, 2017

And no one dared to ask Him any more questions

To-day's Gospel reading is from St Mark:

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Mark 12: 28-34

And from this morning's Loyola press 'Living Lent Daily':

Over a decade ago when I became Catholic, I felt like God lived at St. Gregory’s Church. I’d walk my dog and look up the street, trying to catch a glimpse of its red bricks, imagining God flickering in the sanctuary candle. Earlier, when I was little, I felt like God lived in the trees. Both times it was a sense that God was not far, just up the block or above our heads. But today Jesus tells a scribe he’s not far from the kingdom because he’s understood the centrality of loving God and loving your neighbor. In other words, the kingdom is present wherever love brings what is inside us into communion with what lies beyond. So if only I could hold these things together—my heart, the trees, the church—I think I would not be far indeed.
I too remember the red candle burning at the front of the church every Sunday, and I knew that meant that God was with us. It signified His presence. We who were gathered together at Detroit Greenfield Peace Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenfield Avenue and West Outer Drive were indeed in the presence of almighty God!
Later, and I don't know exactly when, I came to truly associate my quiet time with the Lord and the wildlife He would send near during those times. At the lakehouse there were squirrels and all manner of songbirds, loons, cranes and geese, swans and fish and salamanders and turtles. At our home up north, there were the numerous deer, always not very shy and quite inquisitive. There were the wild turkey calling and showing off their colors. There were eagles there, and hawks - both of which would soar on the air currents. There were little red foxes and precious wood ducks that we rarely saw. (The cats were ours and didn't really count, but they were cute.)
My summers spent in the potato fields brought other delights: grouse and pheasants, more foxes and deer, songbirds enjoying a drink from the growers' irrigating sprays.
At our home in Whitmore, we have chickadee and sparrows, robins and red-bellied woodpeckers, house finches and cardinals, nuthatches and downys and red-headed woodpeckers and hummers. The hawks still soar, and the killdeer's song is an evening blessing in the summer.

Through all these, God is saying to me, 'I am with you, be at peace.'
He gives me the time to pause, and thank Him for the wonders of His creation.

Through Your Spirit, help me to remember that I am not far from the Kingdom of God.
Help me to remember always to love my neighbor.
Help me to remember always to love with all my understanding, with all my strength.
Grant this Lord, unto us all.
Lord, in Your mercy; hear our prayer.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From Loyola Press, on Unity

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

I recently read an essay by Holly Taylor, a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism. Her central reason for converting was unity. Many churches fragment over conflict. But she claims that for a community to thrive, it must be committed to those it opposes. “In the mysterious calculus of the divine economy,” she writes, unity “allows the possibility that it is precisely the love, the goodness, even of someone with whom I am at odds at the moment, that brings me to God.”

Salvation happens in community. When that community scatters, we lose bits of ourselves and some of the ways God planned to reach us. So we must gather together, despite our differences, for as Taylor says, “Our best chance may be hanging on to one another’s heels.”


I feel the same way: the unity is compelling. The concept that what I do affects all my brothers and sisters in the faith is so profound. Never was I taught that before. Oh, I knew that wasting water wasn't good for the environment and neither was throwing my McDonalds garbage out the car window. But for years I sang along with Paul Simon:

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I've built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island

Don't talk of love
Well, I've heard the words before
It's sleeping in my memory
And I won't disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

Dearest Father~
Let me not forget the greatest commandment - to love You and my brothers and sisters.
Let me not miss another opportunity to smile or encourage to-day.
Let me not continue with regrets, but let my heart be softened by the sweet touch of Your grace.

Come let us bow down and worship!
If to-day you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jot and Tittle i j

From Loyola Press, this morning's thought during Lent:

To fulfill means to fill to the full, to supply what is lacking, to bring a promise to completion—and what has he come to fulfill? Everything. The myths, laws, mathematics, civilization, stories, our lives—everything that has always been insufficient and reached out for more. And yet we are not fulfilled.
Those who came before us looked forward in hope. We who have come after look back in faith. We stand, mirror images of each other, around this moment in history. Every lacking, incomplete, promising thing that has ever been is not abolished but reaches out, forward and back, to the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Christ is the fulfillment, but we are here, caught within time. To us he is still being born and still rising, filling up the world like a slow, imperceptible flood.

  Matt 5:17-19:

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I want to say thank you to my teachers who had an impact on my life:

Mrs Kenny who was nice
Mr. Schultz who taught math well
Mr. Blakemore who whipped our asses with his belt
Mr. Debelak who played guitar and let us sing songs during class
Mrs Scharfenberg who taught me what a preposition was
Mr. Fluegge, who made boring government classes fun
Coach Heil, who called our third baseman a woman during a game
Mr. Splitgerber, who taught me to really appreciate music
Pastor Ed Williams, who was a nut and taught math well
Mrs. Finzel, who just seemed to love everyone
Mr. Trapp, who was another nut teaching math
Miss Hedt, who had the balls to be necessarily plain with me: 'Baldner, shut up.'
Mr. Ziele, who taught me to be yourself, no matter what anyone tells you
Mr. Tuomi, who broadened our physical comfort zones
Miss Trapp, who enjoyed Latin and shared that enthusiasm
Dr. Hirsch, who showed me you can be many things
Mrs. Guidemann, who asked me why I miss class so often
Dr. Wang, who taught me a lesson about cheating
Dr. Straw, who taught me about mnemonics

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Recipe #319 - Pork, Taters, and 'Sparagus

I had been waiting all winter to wrap up a nice pork loin and barbecue it - to-day was the day. I had some Aldi asparagus to go with our favorite mashed potatoes; I wanted to have dinner ready right before the MSU -Kansas second round NCAA game.

The pork slept overnight in a brine: four quarts of water, a teaspoon each of ground black pepper and granulated garlic, a half cup each of brown sugar and kosher salt, and also several pinches of dried herbs from last years garden.

My whipped potatoes (I always leave the skins on - you don't lose all those vitamins you know) I boiled along with several garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. This makes the house smell very garlicky.
I then mashed and added a stick of butter, a half cup of whole milk, a quarter cup diced onions, and about a half cup of shredded cheddar cheese. 

A few asparagus stalks got wrapped up in the meat, but most of them went in heavy duty foil with a couple pats of butter, a couple garlic cloves minced, and a small can of sliced mushrooms.

The foil packet of asparagus cooked as long as the meat but it didn't need to go that long. 

The meat I butterflied and then pounded flat. I seasoned it with a Montreal chicken blend, then laid in five or six asparagus, some mushrooms, and about half a cup of grated Muenster cheese. The mushrooms and cheese I spread over the entire piece of meat, but the asparagus I gathered at the end I started rolling from. I would do it different next time.

I set up the grill with coals on the south side. When the coals were ready, I seared all sides of the meat over the coals, and then moved it to the north side for indirect heat. I turned the meat every ten minutes or so, checking the temp until it reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

A warm Sunday afternoon, a great day for cooking on the deck


Yestreday morning we had two inches of snow covering everything

I started inside dicing the potatoes for my special whipped variety. About six good size russets, 

a couple cloves of garlic chopped, 

and a pinch of salt in the water. Boil til the fork goes in easily

Aldi Asparagus

Make sure the carving knife is sharp!

I pulled this pork center cut tenderloin out of the brine I had it in over night, rinsed it off, and toweled it dry. 

I made a horizontal cut, then looped back around,

 laid it flat on a broiler pan, and covered it with plastic. Then I beat on it for about five minutes with a huge jar of Miracle Whip (my meat hammer is just way too wimpy for this much meat)

I laid in some asparagus and garlic, 

(Aldi mushrooms, oh yeah)

chopped mushrooms, 

(Kroger cheese, please)

and some shredded orange rind Muenster.

Then I began rolling

and tied it with butcher's twine.

You nearly had me roped and tied, altar-bound, hypnotized

I then lit the fire

and let the remains of our December burgers cook off.

Potatoes boiling, on the stove

Grill temp was about 450 and I seared the rolled loin over the coals before moving it to the indirect side

I wrapped more asparagus in foil, and threw on a couple of chicken legs and a thigh also.

I wanted the inner most temp to get to 135 - it took about an hour all told
I brought the meat in and tented it for almost 20 minutes. Do not neglect this important step.

I then sliced the meat

It was good. 

With the juice from the meat smothering all, it was most excellent.

in my heart and on my lips as I drove to Mass this morning:

song we sang during the Distribution:

song we sang at the end of Mass:

Hymn I wish we would sing more often:

"God Himself Is Present"

1. God Himself is present:
Let us now adore Him
And with awe appear before Him.
God is in His temple--
All within keep silence,
Prostrate lie with deepest reverence.
Him alone God we own,
Him, our God and Savior;
Praise His name forever.

2. God Himself is present:
Hear the harps resounding;
See the hosts the throne surrounding!
"Holy, holy, holy"--
Hear the hymn ascending,
Songs of saints and angels blending.
Bow Thine ear To us here:
Hear, O Christ, the praises
That Thy Church now raises.

3. O Thou Fount of blessing,
Purify my spirit,
Trusting only in Thy merit.
Like the holy angels,
Who behold Thy glory,
May I ceaselessly adore Thee.
Let Thy will Ever still
Rule Thy Church terrestrial
As the hosts celestial.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #4
Text: Hab. 2:20
Author: Gerhard Tersteegen, 1729, cento
Translated by: Frederick W. Foster, c.1826, alt.
Titled: "Gott ist gegenwaertig"
Composer: Joachim Neander, 1680
Tune: "Wunderbarer Koenig"

One of my favorite songs from my Baptist years:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury

O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you…

You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know you…

I have not yet done that for which I was made….
Teach me to seek you…

I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.

Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.

Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My genealogical struggle of late has been trying to connect our McDuffees with the McDuffees/Arnolds I have found so much history on.

Also, where did Jennie Palmer come from?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Post

What's it all about, Alfie?
confusion, fear, lust, facade
disdain, island, anxiety, hate

clueless, withdrawn, isolated, wondering, wishing

Healing hands of God, have mercy on our unclean souls once again
Jesus Christ, Light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever
Freedom means love without condition without a beginning or an end
Here's my heart, let it be forever Yours,  only You can make every new day seem so new

Reese Roper, Five Iron Frenzy

Friday, February 24, 2017

Listening to our first Tiger game of 2017 on the radio at work and it is a special feeling. Melancholy a bit, I am, with the recent passing of Mr. I. No big signings this year, no huge trades, and I for one am quite optimistic. The Tigers have acquired some huge contracts in recent years, but have no championships. We are ready for a championship in Detroit.

Dan Dickerson before each break: This is THE home of Detroit Tigers baseball

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Yo toda via espero un milagro
Yo toda via te espero a ti
The sunlight is fading
The longest shadows have been cast
Like songs from a siren
Hurricanes from the past
And I am a failure
Defeated every time
So let me lie here
A sidewalk for the shrine

I am so lonely
They say you were lonely too
Dear God be my savior
I wait for you

My broken spirit
Is trembling slow
Park bench for a throne now
My blanket is the snow
And I'm being haunted
By long forgotten dreams
For hurricanes have
The bluest eyes I've ever seen

I am pining for your mercy
For this storm to break
Lord you are my comfort
The hope for which I wait

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It is Tuesday the 14th of February, in the year of our LORD twenty and seventeen. There is no snow on the ground, nor is there any coming our way to-day - the sun shines beautifully over Whitmore Lake!
We have been blessed with little snow so far this winter - much less than normal for these parts - and mostly warmer temperatures than normal. I've had to plug in the halogen light near the pipes only for two stretches of time, each about two weeks as I remember. As I get older and fatter, I detest shoveling snow more and more. I still find the scenery breathtaking when we get a fresh dusting: the pines covered like in a painting, the little bird tracks near our feeders, the rooftops all white below stacks releasing wood-burning smoke. I am nostalgic that way. But I surely do not long for icy roads and cleaning off vehicles.
We also had a wind attack Sunday night. I thought the house might be swept up into the air and I might see Miss Gulch traveling in mid air on her bicycle. Thankfully, no siding, gutters, skirting, or shingles were laying around the yard Monday morning.
The Super Bowl has been played and I will be drafting my fantasy baseball team soon. 
My dad is having a knee replaced at the end of the month.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Praise the LORD!

Father, I praise You this morning, for the sun is bright, and You a LORD of the UNIVERSE!

I praise You for Your creation

I praise You for Your plan

I praise You for Your Son

I praise You for Your Spirit

I praise You for Your Word

I praise You for Your Church

I praise You because You alone are worthy of praise!!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday 2017

I already cooked the chicken for our chicken mozzarella. Back and forth between Frozen and The Negotiator. Otie playing with my hood strings. FOX interview with VP Pence, then Chris Wallace with Terry Howie, Jimmy, and Michael.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Recipe #12, Cottage Pie

Back in the kitchen last night, with a recipe we both have enjoyed in the past. Thanks again to our hero Ree, aka The Pioneer Woman, who continually shows us how much fun you can have in the kitchen. With minor alterations, this is our Cottage Pie (as opposed to Shepherd's Pie, which calls for ground lamb. Actually, we've made this at different times with pork, beef, turkey, and lamb and all seem to work just fine).

There are two distinct layers to this dish, both added before baking: the meat/vegetable lower layer, and the whipped potato upper. I started boiling the potatoes first, and by the time they were ready, the meat/vegetable mix was also ready.

6 good sized Michigan potatoes
2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
one half brick of cream cheese
a cup of sour cream
one half stick of butter
pinch of black pepper
shredded Colby Jack 

one pound of ground chuck
about two thirds cup diced carrots
about one half cup diced celery
one yellow onion diced
about one half cup diced green pepper
about four ounces sliced mushrooms
one bag and a half (we had a half bag in the freezer from a while ago) of Kroger frozen mixed vegetables
one large tablespoon flour
one teaspoon of fresh thyme
three tablespoons butter
one large tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
one cup of beef broth
one small can of tomato sauce

Chunk up the potatoes with skins on and boil with salt and garlic. When a fork goes in easily, drain the water, smash with a smasher, add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and pepper. They won't be as fluid as you normally like them, but the stiff consistency without milk is just perfect for this dish.

Simultaneously (or at the same time, if you will) brown the meat and drain the grease.
Add the carrots and celery and allow to soften - five or ten minutes. Then add the rest of the fresh vegetables for another five minutes or so.

Add the frozen vegetables, flour, thyme, butter, Worcestershire, broth, and tomato sauce.
Let this simmer until the liquid reduces - maybe ten minutes.

Pam up your favorite 13x9 bake pan, set your oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour in the meat/veggie mixture, then top with the potatoes. I also added a couple handfuls of Colby Jack to the top, and then baked until bubbly and the tops of the taters and cheese brown a bit. Mine went for 35 minutes.

The thicker potatoes tend to stay separate from the veggie/meat bottom - more so than when the potatoes are runnier. The tomato and tang from the Worcestershire bring a bold distinctness to this dish. And the vegetables stay firm if you don't overwork them before you bake everything.

Pax Christi vobiscum