Fun Stuff

Sent A Jewish Son to Israel

by Steve Ray on November 17, 2017

three-jewish-men-700x525A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, “Papa, I had a great time in Israel . By the way, I converted to Christianity.”

“Oy vey,” said the father. “What have I done?” He took  his problem to his best friend, Ike.

“Ike,” he said, “I sent my son to Israel , and he came home a Christian. What can I do?”

“Funny you should ask,” said Ike. “I too, sent my son to Israel , and he also came home a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi.”

So they did, and they explained their problem to the rabbi.

“Funny you should ask,” said the rabbi. “I, too, sent my son to Israel , and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?”

And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons…

As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the Heavens: “Funny you should ask,” said the Voice… “I, too, sent my Son to Israel . . .”

{ 2 comments }

Evangelicals with Statues?

by Steve Ray on November 16, 2017

A while ago I took off running through a commercial area behind the hotel where I was staying while doing a parish mission. I discovered a nice jogging trail through the woods so I swung onto the trail and headed through the trees. Soon I came into the open to see a beautiful lake. A sign caught my eye. It had an arrow pointing to “Baptismal Pool.” I kept running.

Sure enough a little distance ahead there was an elaborate structure with seats, railings and a ramp down into the lake. It was obviously designed for full immersion baptisms (see pictures).

I was puzzled. Why a baptismal pool in a commercial park? I looked carefully at the large building to the right which appeared to be a large office building – but surprise! it was a large mega-church with a sign “Fellowship Church.”

I looked back at the baptismal pool and remembered my upbringing in modest Baptist churches. They didn’t have lakes with elaborate ramps down to the ducks and white egrets sharing the water. We had huge bathtubs behind the pulpit where people were immersed after church services – all wearing white robes and holding their noses.

But what does baptism do for these good meaning folks? According to their theology baptism does nothing – it’s not even necessary. Jesus commanded it so they do it but nothing happens. It was just an external act we did to show the world (even if it was in the privacy of our little church) that we had believed on Jesus. I know because I was raised this way and later passed on the Baptist tradition myself.

Of course evangelicals condemn Catholics as unbiblical for teaching that obeying Christ in baptism actually does something – bringing about new birth (John 3:5), washing away sins (first words Paul heard from Ananias when he hit the dust, Acts 22:16), and incorporating us into the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-5).

Funny that they make such a costly structure to do something that doesn’t do anything. According to most of them – baptism is unnecessary for salvation and is merely optional since we are “saved by faith alone and not by sacraments.”

Funny that Baptists are called Baptists even though they consider baptism as unnecessary! Originally, after splitting from Martin Luther who believed baptism did something, even with infants, Baptists were originally called “Anabaptists”. “Ana” means again. Since they rejected their infant baptism as Catholics they decided they all had to be baptized again – thus “Anabaptists.” it was actually a way of demonstrating their protest against the Catholic Church (thus the title Protestant). Later they dropped the prefix “ana.”

I continued running around the next curve and stopped again. There in front of my eyes was was a big outdoor statue. I took a double-take, blinked and looked again. Yup, it was a statue! A statue of Jesus ascending to heaven!

Wait a minute? Aren’t Catholics accused of being idolaters because of statues? What is a statue doing in the garden of an

Evangelical mega-church? It brought to mind the inconsistency of Protestants, remembering my Baptist mom’s little statue of Mary and Jesus on our table at Christmas, part of the nativity scene.

If I was staying over the weekend I’d have visited this “church” just as an observer out of curiosity. I’d follow the arrow to “worship space.” I’m not sure whether I’d buy a cappuccino or an espresso to enjoy while watching the worship show entertainment. I would not want to be the only one with an empty cup holder in my theatre-style seat.

After shaking my head and wiping the sweat from my brow I ran back to the hotel to pack and fly back home after giving a Catholic Parish Mission. I prayed a quick prayer along the way – while huffing and puffing – and thanked Our Lord for His Catholic Church and for opening the eyes of one more unworthy servant.

{ 8 comments }

Professor Rose at Amsterdam Airport (with Janet and I)

Good stories originate and are told in airports. Today at a layover in Amsterdam, between Detroit and Tel Aviv Janet was thirsty. The only vending machine took Euros. I had only dollars and shekels. She said, “But I am so thirsty.”

An dignified Jewish man sitting nearby said, “I think I have some Euros I can give you. We traded dollars and got Janet a drink. He was so kind and friendly we talked for a while. We told him we were Catholics on our way to guide a group of pilgrims.

Pope Pius XIII who defended Jews and saved 800,000

He immediately lit into two stories. He is a retired sociologist professor from Massachusetts and went to Israel about fifteen years ago. Sadly he was very influenced by the scandalous book “Hitler’s Pope” which accuses Pope Pius XII of doing nothing for the Jews during WWII. Of course Janet and I jumped right into the defense of the Church. It is a common misconception, especially among many Jews. Unfortunate. Pope Pius XII never collaborated with Hitler and worked underground to save over 800,000 Jews. The head Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Zolli was so impressed he converted to Catholicism.

Abbey of Dormition on Mt. Zion where Mary fell asleep in Christ

The professor told us a story of his visit to Israel years ago. While on Mount Zion at the cenotaph tomb of King David and the Abbey of the Dormition of Mary. The group was Jewish and the guide was saying, “This is the site of David’s Tomb.” At Mary’s Dormition he said, “This is where the Catholic’s have a tradition that Mary fell asleep and went to heaven from here. Who knows.”

Later that day Professor Rose saw the same guide with a group of Catholics and a priest in his collar. Out of curiosity he followed the guide again. This time the guide said, “Nobody knows where David was buried but this is where the Jews have a tradition.” At the Dormition of Mary the guide said, “This is where Mary fell asleep before she was assumed into heaven.”

Our friend confronted the guide asking, “Why did you tell two different stories to those two different groups?” “Ah,” said the guide, “it’s a job and you say what you have to say.” In other words: lie, truth, make something up—who is the wiser for it. It is a job and I try to make people happy and get my tip.

This infuriates me but I see it every day too in Israel. The Jewish guides are unbelieving skeptics and don’t believe what they tell the Christians. Jewish and Christian groups get very different stories.

JW's handing out their magazine

He told us another funny story this time (not sad like the one above). Jehovahs Witnesses came to his door and his nine year old daughter was there. The ladies handed him their magazine. He said, “We are not interested— we are Jewish.”

They left their Watchtower Magazine on the doorstep and the girl asked, “Why did you throw it away dad?” He said, “Because it is not true and it’s from a fringe group of people with crazy religious beliefs.” The girl was very interested and asked a lot of questions.

He finally ended up saying, “We don’t agree with them. They are JW’s. I threw away their magazine because we don’t believe it. We are Jewish.”

A few weeks later they went to Israel and due to lack of funds had to stay in the seedier part of Tel Aviv. It was the “Red Light District.” When they were going to their hotel a hooker approached him with her advertisement. The innocent young daughter intervened and stepped up to the hooker and said, “No thanks. We are Jewish!”

{ 1 comment }

“Life is about the Journey, not the Destination!” Huh?!

November 10, 2017

“Life is all about the Journey, not the Destination!” (paraphrase of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.) I saw this sign at the airport recently. Imagine! In an airport of all places! What stupidity! Grab a passenger arriving at the airport to catch a flight and shout, “Hey, take any flight you want sir, it […]

Read the full article →

Did Jesus Ascend into Heaven from Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) or from Bethany (Luke 24:50)?

November 4, 2017

One of our past pilgrims wrote with an apparent contradiction in the Bible and what I had said in Israel. The wording in the two verses below is what caused the confusion. Acts 1:12  “[After the Ascension] they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.” Luke […]

Read the full article →

Our Conversion Story in Easy-to-Read Format with Lots of Pictures

October 29, 2017

I can still smell the green vinyl of the used couch in our living room as I knelt with my mom, with my face buried in my hands and my nose pressed into the vinyl. She had decided I was old enough — after all I was four years old. She didn’t want to wait […]

Read the full article →

Tears Singing Good Ole Baptist Hymns

October 25, 2017

The old Baptist hymns still stir me and bring tears to my eyes. They take me back to my childhood when the family would dress up, us kids in our little suits with cheesy ties and short-legged pants (I’m the one in the plaid jacket). Dad would always give us candy during the service and […]

Read the full article →

Excellent Riddle: Can You Discover What God Made?

October 23, 2017

This puzzle was written by a lady in California in 1890 in response to a gentlemen in Philadelphia, who said that he would pay $1,000 to anyone who could write a puzzle that he could not solve. He failed to do so, and paid the lady $1,000 (a great sum at that time). The answer […]

Read the full article →

The Literacy and Spirituality of a Day Gone By; A Tattered Yellowed Page; A Poem I Found from my Great-Grandmother

October 16, 2017

I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.) […]

Read the full article →

Choirs of the Angels in Three Hierarchies

October 9, 2017

Clever little diagram to show the choirs of angels. We have a pack of dogs, a flock of birds, a forest of trees – the word used for groups of angels is “choir.” According to many theologians, like St. Thomas Aquinas, there are 9 choirs of angels in 3 hierarchies. Visit https://churchpop.com for more things like this.

Read the full article →

How you can tell if Steve and Janet Ray are at Mass

October 1, 2017

Since our group is riding camels today in Jericho, I thought I would post this funny picture. Check your church parking lot. See a camel? Steve and Janet may be there for Mass :-)

Read the full article →

A Limerick for a Questioning Grandson – Did Jesus Really Exist?

September 23, 2017

My grandson Josh asked, “Did Jesus really live? Maybe he didn’t and it was just a good story someone made up.” So I sat down and wrote him this limerick and gave him a stack of books from my library. The topic has not come up again since. Was there really a man named Jesus? […]

Read the full article →

Me Getting into Line! Funny!

September 12, 2017

You may have seen this already but it’s funny every time I watch it. My wife said this is definitely me!

Read the full article →

KLM Airlines Foolish LGBT Ad – Unintentionally Points out the Obvious

August 11, 2017

I fly KLM through Amsterdam about 20 times a year. Yes, I wrote to complain about their ill-advised and stupid ad promoting the LGBT movement in Holland. The image they used on their Twitter account ironically promotes unsafe practices suggesting that no matter what you do with seat belts you will be smart and safe, […]

Read the full article →

What a Shot Off Our Porch on Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

God bless America and thanks to all of those brave and heroic men and women who have made our freedom possible. May God richly bless them and their families. I love being an American!

Read the full article →

Stunningly Beautiful and Well-shot Nature Commercial – “What a Wonderful World”

May 28, 2017

This is eye-candy with some of the finest nature shots with animals and scenery. Published as a promo to a new series on the earth, David Attenborough did a fine job of showing the magnificence of God’s creation. What a Wonderful World. Enjoy!

Read the full article →