Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lk 9:18-22 From Atheist To Fraud

Friday of the Twenty-Fifth Week In Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"  They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'"  Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Who do you say that I am?  If you want to know what people think of you, should you just ask them?  I don't know.  I am not convinced people will give you a very honest assessment, especially if you are their boss!

So what are we to do?  Should we just come out and say it?  Again, I am not so sure that would be very helpful.

Not too long ago, Samuel Friedman of the New York Times wrote an article about a Methodist minister who became an atheist.  

He wrote the Rev. Teresa MacBain would "preach the Gospel every Sunday, only to slip each Monday into tormented doubt."

How horrible! 

The Rev. MacBain:  “For me, the lesson was that doubting is sinful and wrong.  If you have these things come up, you suppress them, you ignore them, you pray them away. This natural inquisitiveness and questioning is just wrong. And if I did them, I was displeasing God. For me, life was about being the person who loved God and wanted to be everything God wanted me to be. That just carried me on through decades.” 

How painful!

Samuel Friedman:  "Growing into adulthood, however, Ms. MacBain ran aground on what seemed like irreconcilable messages in Scripture. In First Corinthians alone, for example, Verse 14:34 instructed women to be silent in church, while Verse 11:5 referred to women praying and prophesying. If text is divinely inerrant, as Ms. MacBain had been taught, how could both statements be true?"

Now when I first came across this, I was shocked.  I thought to myself: How could a minister, who had a Master of Divinity from Duke University, not understand these simple verses?  How could she be so ignorant of Scripture and of the meaning of inerrancy?

My questions were finally answered.

In their hurry to get their new found heroine published and put in the lime light, the secular, liberal and often anti-Christian New York Times failed to verify Ms. MacBain's credentials.

Apparently MacBain "overstated her credentials" in her interview and résumé.  

Leaving this understatement aside, MacBain not only fooled the New York Times and many atheist bloggers, but also her most recent employer, the Humanist Community at Harvard (H.C.H).

In an e-mail to the New York Times, Greg M. Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard, wrote: Clearly we should have verified Teresa’s M.Div. degree rather than relying upon her résumé and the frequent, public references to it as she worked for and with several Freethought organizations.”

Apparently, Mr. Epstein had no problem believing an atheist by faith alone.

His e-mail went on to say, “All of us at H.C.H. are disturbed and perplexed by this situation.” 
Now I wonder, does free thought allow for some bending of the truth?
A popular blogger, who refers to himself as the friendly and skeptical atheist, wrote in his blog:
"The hard truth appears to be that MacBain has no theological degree. The softer truth, however, may be that it doesn’t really matter."

Really???  It doesn't really matter?  Now isn't that convenient. 

I think it matters a lot.  Actually, I think it might very well explain why Ms. MacBain was tormented with doubt.  Think about it, every Sunday she had to preach from Scripture passages she never fully grasped (at least, at the University level).  MacBain may very well have "overstated her credentials" well before her conversion to atheism, which would have made her ill-equipped to properly direct and shepherd souls.  Finally, she may actually have rejected a faith that was never really the Christian faith.  Enough!
Who am I?  I know who I am.  There is only one honest - correct - answer to that question:  I am a sinner. And I know I am not alone.  In many ways we are all frauds; that is, we are not who we claim to be.  But as profound and important as this is, the real purpose of faith - and of God's plan for us - is to help us achieve who we were meant to be.  Who can I be?  With the help of Almighty God, I can be a Saint; that is, another Christ. 

It also helps to not take oneself too seriously.


  1. Father Alfonse --- This is unbelievable!! Wow....I wonder how the Ms. MacBain's congregation feels. Did they take their pastor seriously and truly believe she was God's shepherd? I'm just totally at a loss as to why she would do such a thing. I can only guess being brought up as a "preacher's child" some how made her doubt God's existence. The old saying goes preacher's children are usually wild and defiant. Maybe some sort of mid-life crisis is going on with this woman. ?? Very sad....

    Is all well with you, Father ? For some reason I've sensed you've been a little overwhelmed with ministry this week. But, of course, I may be worrying for no reason. You're always in my prayers....



  2. Great thoughts Father!

    We are all frauds….

    St Augustine said, “To act is to sin.”

    We all have to ‘do’ something in our lives – we must act. It’s the only way to survive; it’s what God intended. God knew that we would sin – actually – He made us that way! Only so that we had to rely on Him for forgiveness!!! He did not want to give us a way out in thinking that we could forgive ourselves (in this sense) so that we would think we have control of our lives. He is telling us directly: you have no control – you can only rely on me to get you out of this mess! If you would only surrender your will to mine, you would see how joyful you will be! It is great to be loved! I am slowly learning how to love back.

    2 of my children were bullied in school. I don’t know if they got it or not, but I tried to find many different ways to explain: the bully’s words do not define you – they only define the bully, what the bully thinks, what is inside his/her heart or just their weaknesses, how scared they are of you in some way, or maybe just to make you feel worse so they can feel better about themselves, somehow to justify themselves. But it is never about the person being picked on! It only reflects the one who said those words. One guy told my child that he was a baby. I asked my child, is this true? Are you a baby? He rolled his eyes and said, no. I said, always ask yourself, “Is what they say true? If it is, then do something about it. But if not, then understand it’s not about you, it’s about them!

    I wish I did not take things so personally either. It’s a journey.


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