Monday, February 11

In the final stretch. With just a few more good days, I should be able to finish Prove It:Prayer by the end of the week. I have about three more chapters to write, and I've already revised everything up to this point three times, inserted quotes, and so on, so those last three chapters should really be it. I'm excited. I'm ready to move on to my Loyola book on Jesus' parables, as well as the thrilling sequel to The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints.
Padre Pio, All the Time, Any Time. This piece is a must-read:

An Italian town dubbed the Roman Catholic Las Vegas has set up a television station devoted to Padre Pio, a monk credited with performing miracles who is expected to be canonised in the next few months.

Capuchin friars at San Giovanni Rotondo launched Tele Padre Pio at the weekend in the first phase of a plan to beam the monk's face around the world.

The town apparently draws about 7 million pilgrims a year, and hundreds of hotels have sprung up to house them. In addition:

A £1m bingo hall has opened near the crypt and some pilgrims are accused of seeking Padre Pio's intervention to guarantee the right numbers.

Science and religion: The Never-Ending Story. This article highlights a recent, 800-patient Mayo Clinic study on prayer and healing that appears to undercut the results from previous studies, which had indicated a positive connection between prayer and healing. The author also touches on Lourdes miracles and studies tracing meditative states to brain chemistry:

For example, another recent study found that by brain scanning the spiritual while they were meditating, it was possible neurologically to account for the religious sense of transcendence - oneness with nature or unity with God. The brain scanner showed that during meditation the part of the brain responsible for orientation of the body in physical space, the parietal lobe - near the top of the brain - went to sleep

What the author, and most people writing about this, don't understand, is that the Christian view is not that God's work occurs outside of human nature - it occurs within it, and uses it. Christianity is not angelism - it's a faith that is centered on the Incarnation, for pete's sake. So our answer to "discoveries" like those above should be, "So what? That's how God works."

Planners in D.C. failed to notice that the date they'd selected for a high-profile marathon also happens to be Palm Sunday.

.At Asbury United Methodist Church, located at K and 11 streets, worshipers will accommodate the runners, said the Rev. Eugene Matthews. "We have worship at 8 and 11 a.m. I'm hoping we can come to some accommodation. I'm not too happy that a marathon dictates how we worship."


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