Fun Stuff

Pope w Janet.jpgJanet and I had an incredible meeting with Pope John Paul II in 2000. My wife had a special prayer request for him.

We told the story for the first time while on the air with Spirit Catholic Radio this morning.

Here is a picture of Janet asking the Pope, now St. Pope John Paul II to pray for her. Little did she know….Click below to listen to the 15 minute story.

{ 1 comment }

34A8D4E9-74C8-4F95-98E2-35786A76BA97There are three “truths” I have been asked about many times. Often people tell me these as though they’re explaining to me something I’ve never heard before. However, in each case, there is no historical, biblical or actual basis to any three of them. In each case they started being taught in recent times and because their side so often they “become true.”

In each case, they started being taught in recent times and because they’re sad so often they “become true.“

1) BREAKING THE LEG OF A WANDERING LAMB

The first of these is that shepherds in the Middle East break the leg of a wandering lamb to keep it close by. And being close to the shepherd makes the lamb very affectionate.

This does not happen and there are no traditions or incidents known of it happening. In fact, there are a good number of reasons why it would not happen. It is simply a manufactured myth.

2). THE “ EYE OF A NEEDLE” IS A GATE

FE7E50AF-5E9C-4045-B107-0FDAFCF875A9The story is lovely for preaching because it graphically explains how a camel cannot get through the small door in a wall to enter a city. With all the merchandise on it’s back the camel driver hast to remove everything from the camel’s back so it can stoop down and we go through the small gate.

However, there is no historical, written or archaeological evidence there was ever such a gate. The camel was the largest thing people usually saw and the eye of the needle the smallest, therefore, it made an excellent visual image about how a rich man could into heaven only by offloading his wealth and possessions. But the idea that the “eye of the needle” was a gate – is a myth.

3) THE FOLDED NAPKIN IN THE TOMB MEANT JESUS WOULD COME BACK

4515AF0D-50CE-49A7-98D1-A4D808F76F07 The Gospel of John tells us that the napkin or face cloth of Christ was rolled or folded up in a place by itself. Some have invented a custom that never existed, that a man would crumple up his napkin and toss it aside if he was done with dinner but would fold it neatly and set it aside if he was leaving but would come right back.

Therefore, since Jesus‘s face cloth or napkin was folded up in the empty tomb, it was a signal that Jesus would return.

“It has been rumored that folding the napkin at the table is a Jewish custom that means the person folding the napkin intends to return. Numerous Bible study sources have been checked, but there is nothing about this alleged Jewish custom of the folded napkins. The only references to this story seem to be from internet postings and emails that appear to have originated in 2007…. The truth is that table napkins, such as we use today, were not used in Jesus’ day. Jews would do an after-meal hand washing as part of the eating ritual….The folding of the napkin as a sign that a dinner guest was finished may be good European custom, but it appears this custom was unknown in the land of Israel in the time of Jesus.” (Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2013).

The folded napkin, like the other three, is a myth.

4) JESUS COULDN’T HAVE BEEN BORN DECEMBER 25 BECAUSE SHEEP AREN’T OUT  IN THE FIELDS IN WINTER

A5754794-4161-4869-9DBB-C8D5C4B0F68EPresumably wool is not enough to keep sheep warm so the have to stay home during winter. Not true. It can get cold in Bethlehem and on rare occasions I’ve even had snowball fights with local children. But Bethlehem is not Alaska and the temperatures are usually very mild even in December. I have often worn a light jacket even on New Years Day.

Even in inclement weather there are plenty of caves outside of Bethlehem and we often celebrate Mass in Shepherds Field where the shepherds kept the sheep overnight on the first Christmas Eve. Caves are abundant and on a cold night sheep can enjoy the warmth of the caves.

With my own eyes, I tell you, sheep are in the fields eating year-round.

5) SAUL OF TARSUS WAS GIVEN A NEW NAME AT HIS CONVERSION OR CALLING

5ECB630B-F0E9-41D9-B3B2-96E5E319B858Abram was renamed Abraham when God formed a covenant with him (Gen 17:5) and Simon was given his new name Peter (Rock) when he was commissioned as Royal Steward by Jesus (Matt 16:18). However, Saul was never given a new name. Saul of Tarsus had duel citizenship, both a Jew of Israel and also a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28). Up until he was called by God to go to the Gentiles, we see him referred to by his Jewish name Saul. After his call, he was referred to by his Roman name Paul (Acts 13:9) because he was now going out to preach to the Gentiles so he used his Roman name.

So Paul was not granted a new name but had two names from birth, his Jewish name and his Roman name.

There’s an old saying that if you say something often enough it becomes true. However, even though these things are said often enough, they are NOT true.

If you’ve heard of other “truths” like this that you think might be a myth, let me know.

{ 7 comments }

The Virus that Stole Easter

by Steve Ray on April 11, 2020

If you have someone who reads well in the family, have them read this poem aloud. You will all love it and it fits right in with Easter and our current isolation.

The Virus that Stole Easter
By Kristi Bothur
With a nod to Dr. Seuss

Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.

People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.

As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.

People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.

April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.

“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”

For the whole poem, click here.

{ 1 comment }

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

April 11, 2020

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 →

(Link fixed) Our Conversion Story in Easy-to-Read Format with Lots of Pictures

April 2, 2020

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 →

In case you thought tourism is dead… clever video :-)

March 28, 2020
Read the full article →

Ray Family Limericks about the Wuhan Virus: Grandkids Wax Exceedingly Poetic

March 26, 2020

I was thinking out loud the other day. I wrote a limerick about the possibility we might be taking the wrong course of action by shutting down everything. My grandkids (son and brother too) jumped in and went on a roll. Proud of these smart and savvy homeschoolers — enjoy! I started out with this […]

Read the full article →

Ray Family Favorite Movies Update (while locked away at home)

March 21, 2020

Janet and I have always loved good movies that are of high quality with good acting. But it must also be entertaining, redemptive, inspiring and challenging us to the good, the beautiful, the human. As St. Paul says, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, […]

Read the full article →

Choirs of Angels in Three Hierarchies

March 20, 2020

We have a pack of dogs, a flock of birds, a forest of trees – the word used for groups of angels is “choir.” Here is a clever little diagram to describe and explain the choirs of angels in all their different categories. (Click on the image for a larger image). According to many theologians, like St. […]

Read the full article →

A Bit of Humor and Sanity about the Virus – Lady in a Grocery Store

March 17, 2020

A little sanity and good humor in the midst of a world gone mad. Janet and I laughed at this 2-minute common sense reaction to hysteria in the grocery store.  

Read the full article →

Excellent Riddle: Can You Discover What God Made?

March 17, 2020

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 →

Girl with the Beard Slated to Win the Race

March 11, 2020

If you aren’t subscribed to the Babylon Bee, it’s a good daily dose of conservative, moral and political satire. It is social commentary and a lot of fun. It is the Christian version of “The Onion.” You can subscribe here.

Read the full article →

Faith is Like a Hotdog – youth group’s fun skit :-)

March 2, 2020

Hi Steve, some of the members of a youth group that I lead watched one of your videos and loved your description of faith being like a hot dog. We wrote up and performed a sketch of it. Here’s a link. Hope you like it, the kids sure do. https://www.facebook.com/NewFireYouth/videos/522482411805777/  

Read the full article →

Funniest Camel Ride I’ve Ever Seen

February 14, 2020

We’ve arranged for thousands of people to ride camels during our pilgrimages. But we’ve never had this happened. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. But I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time.

Read the full article →

Me Getting into Line! Funny!

February 9, 2020

You may have seen this already but it’s funny every time I watch it. My wife said this is definitely ME! I have to agree, but a bit of jocularity is a good thing, as it laughing at myself.

Read the full article →

Cartoon on Protestantism and the Bible

November 21, 2019

When I look back on my experience I find this cartoon has a ring of truth. There were many verses of the Bible that I either didn’t realize existed (though that may seem strange) or that we just ignored. Other verses did not fit our Protestant theology so we kind of set them aside or […]

Read the full article →