Monthly Archives: June 2009


Alternative Medicine: Real Benefits and Real Problems, Part Two

ALternative When the various attacks upon alternative medicine are considered it should be pointed out that mainstream physicians are not trained in alternative medicine. The exception, and these are growing by leaps and bounds, is that regular physicians are increasingly embracing alternative medicine as they learn the benefits it offers to patients. But they come to this view in a way that is outside their actual medical school training. This is, of course, less true for those who were trained outside the United States or in a less mainstream practice of the healing arts, like osteopathy. If you are a fair-minded reporter, and you want good information about anesthesia, who should you ask? Obviously, you would seek information from an anesthesiologist. If you want information about the benefits and problems of alternative medicine then it seems only fair that you would interview physicians who have developed an appreciation of alternative medicine by actually studying it and using it with their patients.

Another problem

By |June 30th, 2009|Categories: Science|

Alternative Medicine: Real Benefits and Real Problems

Ecover-medicine300x461 In a recent two-part post on this site (June 18 and 19) I wrote about the new physics and the new medicine. I am very aware that this conversation has some strange extremes to be found at both ends of the spectrum. The mere mention of “new” medicine makes some people react with intense passion, pro and con. I am not on the extremes of this debate thus I want to explain how I have come to appreciate alternative medicine without buying into the “hype” that so often surrounds this subject.

One of the first questions people ask when this subject comes up is very basic: “Why are so many competent and good physicians so negative about complimentary, or alternative, medicine?” If this is really beneficial why are so many opposed to it?

If my non-scientific sense of things is accurate the mainstream media presents a lot of negative information about the flaws of alternative medicine and the

By |June 29th, 2009|Categories: Science|

Success Is Never Final

We are often too focused upon our success and not enough upon our failures. We can major, as I said previously, on our fear of failure and never try to do what we should do. We can deny our mistakes and live fruitless and self-centered lives. But we must realize that success is never final. Even when we have enjoyed our greatest success there is the opportunity to fall and fail again. This should drive us to Christ alone. Only there will we find any hope of lasting success.

By |June 28th, 2009|Categories: Personal|

Michael Barone Analyses the President

Images Michael Barone is one of my top five favorite writers on politics and American culture. He is sensibly conservative without being on the fringe. He is willing to see the good in those he disagrees with but he doesn't throw out his mind in the process. This is what made his recent article "Dodge Facts, Skip Details, Govern Chicago Style" so engaging. I urge you to read it.

Michael Barone makes three telling criticisms of President Obama. In the process he significantly corrects my expression of good will about the president's approach to international tensions that I posted late last week. He refers to the president's policy toward Iran as "propitiating" our avowed enemies. I like that term better than some of the other criticisms I have read. I also think that after my piece appeared a great deal of new information suggests that Obama's "coolness" is potentially miscalculated. Barone writes that the president's "friendly words" are based on an

By |June 27th, 2009|Categories: Politics|

Alice: A Modern Monk?

Photo Today's blog is written by my friend Ed Holm from Newport, North Carolina. For 33 years Ed taught school, first in the Baltimore County Schools in Maryland and then at Gramercy Christian School in Newport, North Carolina. He left teaching to become a parish administrator at his local church. Recently he returned to teaching by working at a home for troubled youth sponsored by the Methodist Home for Children. Ed is a graduate of St. Mary's Seminary & University (Baltimore) and holds a Masters in Theology degree. Ed is also a Third Order Franciscan monk in a group called The Company of Jesus. This article "Alice" is about a woman Ed worked with over 10 years ago. I found it so appropriate, following my own posts over the last four days, that I couldn't pass on letting others read it.

I have stumbled upon a rather wonderful little book called Lessons From the Monastery That

By |June 26th, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

Friendship and Ecumenism in the Community of St. John, Part Four

DSC00862 My friend, Fr. Didier Marie, who I have written about in the previous three blogs, stressed time and again during my time with him that we must always move from the existence of a friend to the existence of THE Friend, Jesus. And when we know Jesus as THE Friend we can then move toward one another in His Spirit. The joy of God is found here, in the other. Joy is not primarily found in me seeking my own joy but rather in my seeking the joy of another. This truth is not understood by many Christians in our time, especially in popular evangelical teaching about self-esteem or in seeking to complete or maximize my own joy as the goal of my spiritual life, sometimes called Christian hedonism.

The Apostle John tells us that Jesus calls us His friends. Fr. Didier warned those who were priests that their role was never to entertain people in the Mass. The real priest must learn to

By |June 25th, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

Friendship and Ecumenism in the Community of St. John, Part Three

DSC00861 The rule followed by the Community of St. John says, “Like the Apostles, praying with Mary in the Upper Room, the brothers will not cease to beg Jesus to send the Paraclete upon the Church, so that His promises might be fully accomplished.” Prayer, according to the Community of St. John, is common to all men. We all long to know the same Father, who “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Mt. 5:45). When people begin to know God they adore Him and entrust their cares to him. This is prayer. Jesus desires unceasing prayer from our hearts for everything that concerns us. He wants us to experience the reality that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Prayer envelopes and accompanies our Christian life if we are to remain in the presence of Jesus. This is the central goal of contemplation in the Community of St. John.

Fr. Philippe believed, like so many in this tradition, that silent

By |June 24th, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

Friendship and Ecumenism in the Community of St. John, Part Two

DSC00864 My friendship with Fr. Didier Marie, and the Community of St. John, has become a spiritual treasure to me. One of the reasons for this is deeply rooted in the nature of this order. The Community of St. John began in 1975 when several students of Fr. Marie-Dominic Philippe, who had been their professor at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), asked him to be their spiritual director. Five of these students began to meet regularly with a priest from the diocese of Versailles (France) in the summer of 1975. This priest had been a student of Fr. Philippe and had been authorized by the bishop to undertake studies toward a doctorate in theology at Fribourg, where Philippe still lived. Communal life was begun when these five students, and the priest who was there to study theology, met at 5:30 a.m. each day to pray silently and then celebrate the Mass.

Initially Fr. Philippe was not directly involved with these brothers since he did not

By |June 23rd, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

Friendship and Ecumenism in the Community of St. John

DSC00860 The Community of St. John is one of a number of newer monastic communities within the Roman Catholic Church. These communities of brothers, living a simple, contemplative life in an apostolic (or mission) context, grew significantly during the pontificate of John Paul II. The Community of St. John was founded by a French Dominican, Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, in 1975.

I have visited the Community of St. John on three different occasions over the past four years Through these visits I have made some meaningful friendships with several of these brothers. My original visit was my first retreat taken in a monastic community. It opened my eyes to the way these men witness to the love of Christ through a simple, uncluttered life of prayer and service. The brothers, and sisters (located on the same grounds), have chosen to consecrate their lives to God through silent prayer in a common, constant search for the truth and fraternal charity. When I say this is an

By |June 22nd, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

The Sad Legacy of Sammy Sosa

Leaping SS The breaking Chicago news, on Tuesday evening, was: “Sammy Sosa took performance enhancing drugs to become a superstar slugger.” Surprise, surprise! And this is the same guy who told the U.S. Senate committee that he never took drugs. But the June 16 New York Times report on baseball players who tested positive included Sammy's name. Now we know.

Anyone who watched Sosa’s career as I did, living here in the Windy City, knew Sammy was not built the way he became in the late 1990s because of simple hard work. He went from a slender young ballplayer to a huge slugger within about two years. Following the 1997 season, when Sammy saw Mark McGwire getting all those accolades for hitting big home runs, things changed for Sammy big time. Sammy drank up what he saw in the Cardinal star and Sammy needed the same attention. Says Barry Rosner, a great Chicago baseball writer, “Sosa craved attention and drank it up

By |June 21st, 2009|Categories: Baseball|

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