December 2009

Interesting article at

This president is WAY over his head — and we still have three years to go. Lord, have mercy!

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Hot Air Blowin’

by Steve Ray on December 30, 2009



Favorite Books of 2009

by Steve Ray on December 27, 2009

Carl Olsen of Ignatius Press always asks authors for their favorite books of 2009. The lists he has compiled will be posted in a few days on  IgnatiusInsight. I offered my own unconventional list, as follows:

Hello Carl: My list follows. Since I have been writing Scripture commentaries for and studying the lands of the Bible — especially since we lead groups through these lands — that is where my interest has landed this year.

One other thing as well. Since I am turning 55 this year I again realized how important it was to take care of the one body God has granted me, so I have been reading about health and exercise and nutrition — and putting it into practice. I have lost 30 pounds and am running over 1000 miles a year, and biking a thousand miles too.

My list will probably be quite different than most of your other authors, so I might add some variety. So, here goes:

One book on nutrition and food that I read and used a lot this year: SUPERFOODS RX by Steven G. Pratt, MD. A good book for us gluttonous American Catholics :-)  I know this is not the typical “Catholic book” you are looking for, but I think we Catholics need to focus more on these kind of things and become better examples. OK, I’m off my soapbox and here are the “religious” books.

There are three relatively new Bible commentary series, and one that has been around for awhile. The first two sets are based on quotes from the Fathers of the Church — unhappily they are both by Protestant publishers. The third is a Catholic series and the fourth is a Jewish series.

IMG_5127Of all the books I have used this year, the vast majority are electronic books. I have Logos Bible Software 4 on my computer and have it running constantly. I couldn’t live without it. I have almost 3,500 books and resources in its electronic library and there is nothing else like if for those interested in studying the Bible. But, let’s get to actual turn-the-pages kind of books.

The first is ANCIENT SCRIPTURE COMMENTARY ON SCRIPTURE published by IVP. The second has only three volumes released so far but I am using the one on 1 Corinthians which is exceptional. It is THE CHURCH’S BIBLE series published by Eerdmans. They follow Scripture verse-by-verse and provide quotes from the Fathers to enlighten each passage of the Bible. VERY helpful.

There is also an excellent new Catholic Commentary series edited by two friends of mine (wish they were published by Ignatius!) — Peter Williamson and Mary Healy. It the CATHOLIC COMMENTARY SERIES and is published by Baker Academic. They have three volumes out so far: Mark, Ephesians and 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus. I covet the whole series and can’t wait for the other volumes to be published. Hey, is “coveting” always bad?

Another series I have found extremely valuable — actually brilliant — is the JPS BIBLE COMMENTARY series. The JPS stands for Jewish Publication Society. Having a scholarly Jewish commentary series adds a whole need deep dimension to Old Testament study. I used the volume on Genesis while writing the commentary on the first book of the Bible and found it extremely insightful and brilliant.

So much for health and commentaries.

I also have enjoyed Kenneth Howell’s new translation and commentary on the Apostolic Fathers with his first edition: IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH & POLYCARP OF SMYRNA (Early Christian Fathers) published by Coming Home Network. I love the Apostolic Fathers because — to be honest — they were the ones that brought me into the Catholic Church. These two were very influencial. My friend Ken did a fantastic job of bringing them to light again for a modern audience. Can’t wait for future volumes.

Regarding Biblical Lands I have enjoyed three older books but relevant in their own way of revealing the lands of the Bible before they became too modern. They were written by Henry V. Morton and published by Da Capo Press.

IN THE STEPS OF THE MASTER following his travels in the Holy Land

Well Carl, there you go. Sorry no IP books this year though there have been some very good ones. I have had little time to read for fun since I am busy in certain areas and focusing thusly.


Blind Side

December 27, 2009

If you haven’t gone out to the cinema to see BLIND SIDE yet, then get the your keys and your kids and GO! We saw it today with our daughter Emily and her friend Sean. We were moved to tears again and again. It is a very Catholic movie, though it was not produced by […]

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Pope Knocked Down at Christmas Eve Mass

December 24, 2009

Woman knocks down Pope, cardinal at Christmas Eve Mass A woman, apparently deranged, charged at Pope Benedict during the entrance processional at Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, knocking down the Holy Father and Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. Pope Benedict, apparently uninjured, got up and celebrated the Mass; Cardinal Etchegaray, the 87-year-old vice dean of […]

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Very Intelligent Conversion of Francis Kang

December 24, 2009

Francis Kang is a thinker from Chinese heritage. We met in San Francisco. He has an interesting genealogical story here, but you will probably be most interested in his conversion story The Church and I.

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Bravo Bishops! Bravo Majority of Americans!

December 23, 2009

US bishops: Oppose Senate health care legislation until moral deficiencies are addressed Denouncing current Senate health care legislation as deficient because it provides federal funding for abortions and leaves Catholic hospitals and physicians bereft of conscience protection, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasized in a December 22 letter that “until these fundamental flaws […]

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Recommended Book for Next Christmas …

December 23, 2009

… but get it now :-)  A friend named Cheri who joined us on our November pilgrimage to the Holy Land highly recommended this book. Her kids loved it — and so did she. Here is her recommendation: I just had to share this awesome book with you that a friend recommended and I have […]

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Discussing the Nativity On Catholic Answers Live

December 21, 2009

I was the guest on Catholic Answers Live Monday and Tuesday (repeat show) talking about the Nativity. The RealAudio link to the archived show is here and MP3 is here. Click here for other listening options. We began the show discussing what it was like for Mary and Joseph two thousand years ago, how the […]

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Running (& Biking) 1000 Miles Each This Year

December 19, 2009

I turn 55 years old on December 29, 2009. So exercising and a good diet are no longer an option. If I am going to be a good husband, dad and grandpa; if I am going to continue having unbounding energy and enthusiasm to serve the Lord and his Church — I HAVE to do […]

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John Paul II Declared “Venerable”

December 19, 2009

In a series of decrees issued on December 19, the Vatican has approved miracles allowing for the canonization of five people and the beatification of five others. The Vatican also recognized the 1984 death of Father Jerzy Popieluszko as a martyrdom, preparing the way for his beatification. The decrees, approved by Pope Benedict XVI during […]

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Green Pope?

December 17, 2009

Italian journalist reminds reader: Pope is not Al Gore Although the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace places heavy emphasis on environmental concerns, Giuliano Gerrar of the Italian daily Il Foglio reminds his readers that the “green” approach favored by the Pope is very distant from the environmentalism espoused […]

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Nut-case Bishop Finally Defrocked

December 17, 2009

UPDATE 12/19/09 from Ed Peters: Why is this Milingo case getting complicated? A new statement from the Holy See’s Press Office, if it has been accurately reported, is muddying the waters about the Church’s stand on the ability of schismatic bishops to confer holy orders. I’m looking for some clarity: Archbishop Milingo stripped of […]

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Steve Talking about Salvation

December 16, 2009

Someone just sent me a link to a talk I gave about salvation over a year ago. I can tell it was over a year ago because I look fat :-)  I’ve lost 30 pounds since I gave that talk and it is funny seeing me back then. But anyway . . . . . […]

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Christmas Discounts on our Web Store

December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone. Steve Ray here. Almost everything’s on sale at our webstore and much of it qualifies for free shipping. Give your family and friends the gift of the truth, the Catholic faith, and our Lord Jesus. Check it all out at All the purchases help support our ministry and my homeschooling daughter […]

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Jimmy Carter as “Church Historian” (giggle)

December 13, 2009

Jeff Miller posted an interesting commentary on his Facebook account. It regards Jimmy Carter pontificating on church history. What a joke — that’ like me giving a lecture on brain surgery. I have provided the full text below. I agree with Jeff! Frankly, I consider Carter the 2nd worst president in US history (the 1st […]

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