Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rapture - the end is near, or not?

Have you Heard About the Rapture?

Cell Phones Internet Search Engines Blackberry’s I Phones
all this technology and we still have no clue when Jesus will return.

As a Baptist pastor I preached and listened to numerous sermons on the second coming of Christ. For most Baptists the Bible is the source of authority for all doctrinal questions. Well if they are all using the same source why can’t they agree on the return of Christ?

I have never heard a Baptist preach on or off the record that they know when Jesus will return. They do how ever claim to have the inside track on the sequence of events related to the end times.

Terms like rapture, tribulation, angels of death, seals and vials are cast about with abandonment. Scripture taken out of context is twisted and manipulated to weave a magical tale of half truths.

The lynch pin of this amazing tale is the rapture; a belief that Jesus will return unexpectedly and take all the Christians out of this world. Leaving the lost souls behind to suffer through great tribulation.

The rapture supposedly takes place between chapter 3 and 4 of the book of Revelation. The first three chapters deal with the seven churches of Asia Minor. The opening of chapter four deals with the great white throne judgment. Misguided reasoning leads to the belief that the church has been taken out of the world and the judgment is taking place. The rapture has occurred. All the Christians are gone.

What would be the result of the rapture on our world? Well planes piloted by Christian pilots would crash. Cars driven by Christians well you get the idea. Not to mention commerce and life as we know it would be no more.
I confess that I preached this rapture nonsense more times than I like to remember. More out of obligation than honest heart felt belief.

If there is no rapture does that mean that Jesus is not returning to earth? No Jesus made it very clear that he would return and you can count on it. But don’t waste time trying to figure out how and when the Lord will return.

So, as Catholic Christians what are we to do about the end of time and Jesus second coming?

Be spiritually prepared for the Lord’s return and be vigilant, remember the ten foolish and wise virgins?

Be ready for the Lord will return like a thief in the night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lord teach us to pray

Lord Teach Us to Pray….

Our gospel reading for Sunday July 29th is taken from the eleventh chapter of the gospel of Luke.

An unidentified disciple of Jesus observed Jesus in prayer. When he finished praying the disciple approached Jesus and said Lord teach us to pray.

In preparing to read the gospel the following observations came to mind, I pray they may speak to your spirit as well.

Jesus prayed and his example caught the attention of the disciples. Jesus taught by example but he followed his example by providing instruction. In many cases our example is not sufficient to lead others to follow our example. Instruction is required. Parents set the example for their children when the children see them pray. We follow the example with instruction by praying with the children.

Jesus instruction is simple yet profound. We pray the Lords prayer each Sunday during mass. The instruction Jesus provided to his disciples is still teaching us today.

Jesus taught us to call God our father.

The name of God is to be reverenced.

God’s kingdom come, your will be done.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive others.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

The Lords prayer is so profound a life time of reflection would only scratch the surface of the lessons waiting to be discovered.

Jesus uses a parable to teach us about the benefit of persistence in prayer.

A man has an unexpected guest and discovers he has no food to offer his guest. He goes to a neighbor and asks for some bread to share with his guest. It’s late and the neighbor is in bed and refuses to get up. Jesus tells the disciples the neighbor will not be compelled by friendship to get out of bed but will get up and give his friend some bread if the man is persistent in his request.

We must be persistent in prayer. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened.

For an example of persistence in prayer read the first reading for this Sunday Genesis 18:20-32. Abraham intercedes for the people living in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

We have numerous examples of prayer to choose from found in scripture as well as examples provided by family members and friends. We don’t lack for instruction with regard to prayer, books and CD’s and numerous web pages provide hints and helps with numerous methods of prayer.

We don’t have any excuse we must follow the example and instruction set before us. You may be thinking you might not have an excuse but you have no idea what my life is like. Work family and the pressures of life in general don’t provide a great deal of time to pray.

You are right I don’t know specifically what your life is like. But we are all in the same boat. Circumstances may differ but we are all pulled in a hundred different directions. It is a struggle for me every day to pray the liturgy of the hours. My deacon brothers confess they struggle to find the time to pray. The answer for me is getting up thirty minutes early, driving to work getting a cup of coffee near where I work and using the time saved in commuting to pray.

I don’t have a specific solution for you but I encourage you to find a solution. I discussed my time problem with my spiritual advisor and his sage words of wisdom are still ringing in my ears “We don’t have a problem making time for what we want to do”.

So maybe it’s not a time problem after all but a priority problem.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just wondering

Just Wondering Why

Some parishioners get up dress get to mass and leave early.

The priest has no chance (even with a new pair of track shoes) to get back to the gathering space before some folks are pulling out of the parking lot.

So many people can’t get to mass on time.

I asked a good friend of mine what mass he was attending. He said he was going to the eleven o’clock mass. I reminded him that mass started at 10:45.
He said I guess that explains why everyone was sitting down when I came in.

Some folks in the communion line are dressed like they are going to the beach.

I have never been in favor of a dress code but it maybe the only reasonable answer to a very disturbing trend. I am not proposing wearing burkha but a bit of modesty would be appreciated. Oh and by the way teens are not the only guilty parties.

So many don’t know the proper response to the statement the body of Christ.

All together now AMEN! That’s correct, the proper response is AMEN
Not thank you, yea Jesus or I am hip. Or my favorite, SILENCE, no response nothing nada. I fear we have lost the reverence which should be evident during the holy moment of receiving the body and blood of Christ.

The Bible is a number one best seller and the least read.

We all have a Bible some of us own several but we read the paper more often than the Bible. Many have said they don’t understand the Bible. Maybe the opposite is true we know the truths the Bible contains and don’t want to confront them.

When it comes to our Protestant brothers we tend to focus on our differences.

We need to defend our faith practices and traditions. I have no problem explaining our faith but it seems as though recently we are going out of our way to pick a fight.
Jesus started one Church the Pope believes it is the Catholic Church and I agree. Think about it do you really think the Pope would say the Catholic Church is number two. It seems we are proclaiming what we all believe, we know were number one, they know we believe we are number one so why continue to point out the obvious. Are we afraid that if we don’t say we are number one we will slip to number two?

We do some of the things we do during mass.

I am not talking about the liturgy but some of the things I see going on during mass. I have a great seat during mass that allows me a view of the Parishioners. Remember the song Santa Claus is coming to town? He knows when you are sleeping he knows when you are awake. Some Sundays I feel like Santa Claus. Enough said.

Just Wondering Why

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We'll keep the lights on for you!

A phrase made famous by a national motel chain Motel 6.

When I read the parable of the good Samaritan found in the gospel of Luke I am reminded of the Motel 6 phrase we’ll keep the light on for you. I guess an explanation is in order.

The parable of the good Samaritan is one of my favorite passages of scripture and I utilize the passage in my evangelization presentation.

Robbers attack a traveler and leave him lying on the roadside half dead. A Priest sees the man and passes by on the other side of the road. A Levite likewise sees the injured man and passes by. A Samaritan sees the man and stops attends to his wounds takes him to an inn. He pays the innkeeper and instructs the innkeeper to care for the man until he returns.

I have heard numerous sermons and homilies regarding the good Samaritan and without exception the homilist exhorts us to be good Samaritans. Well I have always had difficulty accepting the role of Samaritan, because it requires an aggressive personality.

We all are called to be evangelists but the aggressive style adopted by many evangelicals is not for everyone me included. So what am I to do I am obligated to share my faith. Well I found the answer when I discovered we are not the good Samaritan or the Priest or Levite in the story. We are the innkeeper. Think about it. Jesus is the good Samaritan he finds the wounded and brings them to us to care for.

We don’t have to seek out the wounded Jesus finds them for us. We don’t have to fret about having the required resources to meet the needs of those Jesus sets before us. Why?

Think about the modern day innkeeper, people seeking rest and refreshment stop at the inn present their request and the innkeeper fills the needs of his guest.

The role of evangelist is much less intimidating when we accept the role of the innkeeper.

If we are not out actively seeking people to share the good news of the gospel with how do they find us? How do weary travelers find a place to rest? The motel has a sign that indicates the innkeeper has rooms available it is a Vacancy Sign. Those weary from travel can see the sign glowing in the distance and stop.

Do we as Christians have a sign that leads lost souls to us? Absolutely it’s not a vacancy sign but the Holy Spirit. Christians spiritually prepared to meet the needs of others find they don’t need to seek people out people needing help find them by following the light. We are the light in a dark world.

How do we keep our vigil lamp shining brightly? By reception of the Sacraments specifically Holy Communion and Reconciliation. We must have spiritual food to feed our souls. God will use a broken vessel but he will never use a dirty vessel. When we receive the grace and forgiveness imparted to us by the sacrament of reconciliation our light shines brightly. When we have un-confessed sin in our lives our light is dimmed, un-confessed mortal sin cuts our power connection totally. Our vigil lamp remains dark until we receive absolution.

We are innkeepers in a lost world. For the sake of all seeking rest in a weary sinful world we must proclaim

We’ll Keep the Light on for You

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Gospel according to ............

The Gospel according to….

Have you noticed that each year around holy week the Christian community and specifically the Catholic Church are confronted with television specials that call into question the beliefs and practices of our faith.

The ideas and questions raised are not new as a matter of fact they are centuries old, but come packaged in wonderfully colored wrapping paper that attracts many.

The gospel of Judas and the Da Vinci Code are examples of Gnostic gospels. Gnostics teach that they have acquired a special knowledge that only they possess. This mystical knowledge attracts many but this secret information lacks one very important element truth.

Gnostic gospels are not the only gospels in our society that keep inquirers from the true gospel. Our society today is inundated with a number of false teachers who garner multitudes of followers.

The Gospel according to Physical Fitness:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with watching our weight and exercising to help maintain a healthily life style. The practitioners of the gospel of physical fitness however are consumed with being fit and ignoring the spiritual well being of their soul.

The Gospel of Finance:

Being a financially responsible individual is a goal we all should strive to achieve. Being good stewards of our resources helps us maintain a balance between the spiritual and temporal gifts of time talent and treasure.

There is nothing wrong with having money. There is nothing wrong with having a great deal of money. Managing a great deal of money however carries with it a tremendous amount of responsibility.

Followers of the gospel of finance are single minded in their focus. Their focus is to acquire as much money as possible. No it’s more than just having money they want all the money.

They risk family, their health in fact they will risk every thing to make a dollar. Their focus is so singular they are spiritually blind.

The Gospel of Happiness:

Do we have a God given right to be happy? Can we pursue happiness at all costs? We have two misconceptions about happiness. First we think happiness is obtained apart from ourselves (external gratification) happiness equals things. We have so much stuff we have to rent storage space because we can’t get it all in the house. We search and search for the one thing that we think will make us happy.

Secondly we have no idea what constitutes true happiness. Happiness is within not without. Jesus said my peace I give you. To be happy requires that we find peace. Psalm 1 says happy is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners but his delight is in the law of the Lord. If you don’t know what you are looking for it’s hard to find.

Those who are proponents of the gospel of happiness will try any number of addictions in the pursuit of happiness. Only to find that happiness is not found in addiction.

So if the Gnostics don’t have the answer, physical fitness, finance and the pursuit of happiness aren’t the true gospel where do we look.

Well my money is on Jesus, based on the teachings of the Church, tradition and the Bible there is ample evidence that the teachings of Christ is the one true gospel.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Welcome Deacon Greg

Welcome My Deacon Brother

It is my great pleasure to present to you my Deacon Brother Greg Kandra.
Greg like me is a newly ordained Deacon and like me he has developed a blog page.

Greg’s blog is called the Deacons Bench, I visit often and rumor has it the Pope drops in from time to time. I encourage everyone to visit the Deacons Bench. And to make it easy I have included a link to Deacon Greg’s blog.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to visit my blog and web page. The kind words and visits are an encouragement.

Peace and All Good Things
Deacon Tom

I'm a Roman Catholic deacon serving the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. When I'm not preaching or serving mass, I'm the editor of "Couric & Co.," a blog at CBSNews.com. A 25-year veteran of CBS News, I've written for projects as varied as the acclaimed documentary "9/11" (Peabody, Emmy, Christopher and Writers Guild Awards) and the prime time news magazines "60 Minutes II" and "48 Hours." My essays have appeared in "America," (Catholic Press Award, 2003) "U.S. Catholic," and "Catholic Digest," as well as two best-selling books, "Deadlines & Datelines" by Dan Rather, and "People of the Century." But I'd rather be praying. My wife and I live in the beautiful borough of Queens, New York.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For Sale the Vatican

Proceeds from the sale to be distributed to the poor.

This idea was presented to me as I greeted parishioners leaving mass. I did not offer a comment but the proposition has been running around in my head for a week. Have you ever had a song get stuck in your mind that continues to play over and over? Well that’s the position I find my self in, sell the Vatican give the proceeds to the poor. It just sort of lingers waiting for some sort of resolution.

Just suppose the sale of the Vatican became a reality would the proceeds from the sale make a difference in poverty? The answer is No! Why?

Because the government and many agencies have thrown money at the poverty problem for years with limited to no positive results. So it stands to reason that throwing more money will produce the same dismal results.

The war on poverty is the name for legislation introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his state of the union address January 8, 1964. Many programs and billions of dollars later we still have people standing on freeway exits holding signs that read Will Work for Food.

Over forty years later the war on poverty is unfortunately still alive and well. Poverty is much more complicated than a lack of money. There are numerous reasons people find themselves living below the poverty line. Lack of sufficient education, insufficient job training are just two reasons why many can’t get out of poverty.

Jesus said the poor you have with you always. Does that mean we are to throw up our hands and give up on helping those in need? We all know the answer.

So do we sell the Vatican? Money no matter the amount won’t eliminate poverty. But a concerted effort by every Catholic through Catholic Social Services for example can make a difference one soul at a time.

Jesus ministered using a one on one style when ever possible. He addressed the specific needs of those who sought His help. I think a one on one grass roots movement is the answer to elevate the poverty problem.

Local parishes reaching out and addressing the spiritual and temporal needs in the community. Moving up a step the diocese moves in and addresses needs it is prepared to address.

We have the message and the means to address the poverty issue. The task is a daunting one but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God we can address the poverty issue without selling the Vatican.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Was Jesus a Capricon?

Based on the song lyrics written by Kris Kristofferson in 1972 many may believe Jesus was a Capricorn.

The first verse goes like this:

Jesus was a Capricorn he ate organic food he believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes, long hair beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends, recon we’d just nail him up if he came down again.

Well the lyrics might take us back to a place of fond memories but we are not any closer to identifying who Jesus was.

This topic has been pondered by thousands over as many years. As a matter of fact I think Jesus started the whole thing by posing this question to his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”

Well the answer seems simple enough or does it. I don’t know about you but I would have loved to have been present for the responses by the disciples. Imagine the looks on their faces. The boss was giving a pop quiz and no one wanted to be the first to answer. Remember how you felt as you settled into your desk for first period. Not quite awake, trying to just get through the first class and you hear the dreaded two words Pop Quiz.

Well finally someone says “some say John the Baptist”. Bolstered with courage another offers “Elijah” and someone else throws out “one of the prophet”.

Jesus remains silent, a sure sign that no one has provided a satisfactory answer.

Than Peter steps forward and saves the day. Remember the one kid in every class who no one liked very much but always seemed to take the pressure off the class with the right answer.

Well Peter saves the day please “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God”.

Makes you wonder what all the theological fuss has been about. God revealed the identity of his son through the first Pope of the Church Peter.

Well now that’s settled, oh wait I almost forgot. It’s time for a Pop Quiz.

Who do you say Jesus is?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Closure in 90 Days

An Update on the Formula Blog

Tony Davis who was scheduled to be executed today at 7:00 PM has received a 90 day stay.

Witnesses who identified Tony Davis as the killer have recanted and now say he is innocent. My heart goes out to the victim’s family. It must seem to them an affront to the memory of their loved one.

As I stated yesterday this bad dream seems to be never ending. 90 more days seems a small price to pay if it might prevent a mistake that cannot be reversed. DNA has saved six Georgians from death. Wonder how many were innocent and ran out of time.

That’s the problem with the death penalty if a mistake is made it cannot be undone. Laws have been passed to limit appeals by inmates. It seems having someone sit on death row for 20 years is a problem. We say we seek justice and closure for the victim’s family. I suspect it has more to do with money than justice and closure. Why should the taxpayer fit the bill for up keep of a stone cold killer. Because the gospel teaches us to be compassionate and merciful to others.

Tony Davis has 90 days it is unclear as to the outcome of this case. It looks like it’s a no win situation.

Monday, July 16, 2007

There is no closure.

A Formula for Justice, Revenge or Disaster

The Formula: One Condemned Man + The Dark of Night + One Lethal Injection = ???

Last year 53 men were executed in the United States. The state of Georgia is scheduled to put Tony Davis to death tomorrow night 7/17/07 pending the out come of a clemency hearing held this morning.

Based on the aforementioned formula what do we conjure up when we mix a condemned man a dark night and a lethal injection?

Some might say justice, others closure or maybe if we are honest revenge. The formula will provide a different result depending on who is doing the mixing.

The Catholic Church teaches that society has a right to protect its citizens. The method used to provide this protection may include jail time, probation or any number of resources in an attempt to bring about rehabilitation.

The Catholic Church has long been a herald for the right to life. Not only for the unborn but for the elderly and condemned. Life is sacred for all including victims of violent crimes.

When a life is taken it is difficult to bring about a resolution that will satisfy all parties concerned. The sentence is to harsh not harsh enough and expectations are seldom met. Life in prison is far from realty. Parole and time off for good behavior anger many. The answer is Life means life. A life sentence means death in prison.

Putting someone to death might bring about an end to a bad dream for the victims family or does it. It seems to me the bad dream shifts from the victims family to the condemned mans family. In the end the dream continues for both families.

There are a number of reasons given for the use of the death penalty and conversely a number of reasons to abolish the death penalty.

I was a strong proponent of the death penalty for a number of years. After much soul searching I believe the death penalty needs to be abolished.

1. If life is sacred it must be protected.

2. The death of the condemned won’t bring life back to the victims.

3. The execution eliminates any and all opportunities for the condemned to seek forgiveness and redemption for their soul.

The formula no matter who is doing the mixing never brings about the desired result. We don’t find justice or closure but a feeling of loss that seems to linger.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

To be or Not to be - there in lies the rub!

To be or not to be that is the question: To sleep: Perchance to dream: Ay there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil.
Must give us pause Hamlet

William Shakespeare remember him? Yes I remember that I did not care when I was younger, then and why after all these years should I care now?

Well because he was relevant then and now. And he was right on with the question “To be or not to be.”

German philosopher Schopanhauer offers these comments regarding Shakespeare’s question to be or not to be.
That our state is so wretched that complete non existence would be decidedly preferable to it. There is something in us however which tells us this is not so. This is not the end of things that death is not an absolute annihilation.

There is the rub indeed!

If death is not an absolute annihilation, the ultimate end if you will, then we must give heed to the words of Shakespeare and give pause.

Human nature may be the reason we push aside any thoughts of our own death but human nature cannot put off the inevitable. So we must give pause to what we know deep in our hearts that death is not the end.

So if death is not an end it must be a beginning. A beginning, that is totally foreign to our current experience. Exploring a concept that we find distasteful and difficult to get our mind around gives us ample reason to think about more pleasant things. But if we procrastinate we run the risk that death we catch us unprepared.

I am not so concerned that we make all our final arrangements, get the will and insurance in order and do what ever is necessary to leave our families financially set. Being financially responsible is admirable in all of us and an obligation as Christians we must take seriously.
But to focus solely on earthly things leaves us little time to reflect on our soul.
We have a God given inclination that tells us death is not the end. When we take the time to listen God uses people and circumstances to bring the realization to us that death is not the end but the beginning.

And there is the rub said Hamlet. We must give pause, to the new beginning all of us must face called death.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It was a dark and stormy life I mean night!

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Snoopy began many an unfinished novel with this phrase or similar words, followed by--- and a shot rang out….

Charles Schulz, Snoopy’s creator and others have utilized the phrase or similar words to achieve a mood or effect to get a laugh or make a point.

So not to recreate the wheel I to shall borrow the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night”

My mind quickly gets a glimpse of a tree lined lane with large trees over hanging the lane. A car is parked in the lane and the lone driver is standing in front of the car staring at the hood. That is what non mechanical types do when their cars won’t run. No need to open the hood they have no clue what’s under there any way.
The wind picks up and the trees begin to sway and rain drops the size of quarters begins to fall. Suddenly the driver realizes he is not alone……

For many the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night” is much more than a phrase in a book. It is how they view life. It is their reality.

For reasons far too numerous to discuss here, our world is full of people who suffer from fears and phobias. The term “unhappy” does not do credit to the measure of miserable they experience and often spread to others.

Christians have an obligation to share the good news of the gospel. The good news that God loves us and brings a peace to those who accept His unconditional love.

In an effort to share the message of Christ we encounter people from all walks of life. Some we meet will have issues that we may not be qualified to address. The assistance we offer may be a referral to a professional trained to deal with the problem.

It’s not uncommon for all of us to have occasional days when we are stressed or unhappy. We are after all human and every day is not a parade. As we reach out to the world with the message of hope a simple smile, sharing a box of pop sickles with the residents of a local nursing home, will bring about a smile. It does not take a lot to share the joy and hope of the gospel message.

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

On the first day of the week the Son rose from the dead and dispelled the darkness forever for all who believe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

From a Hero Sandwich to a Saint!

Once Upon a Time My Favorite Hero was a Sandwich!

How did I arrive at a place and time in my life where a hero sandwich was my hero? Well I am glad you asked.
It’s quite simple really I was raised in a time when Father always knew best and June and Ward Cleaver had the time and took the time to raise Wally and the Beaver to seek the moral high ground and accept responsibility for their actions.

Sports figures played the game for the love of the game, promoted sportsmanship and we were gracious winners and humble losers.

A time when a neighbor was not only a neighbor, but a friend. A neighbor would step into the role of being my parent when they became aware that my parents could not see around corners. Finding role models and hero’s was a simple process. They were in abundance, Parents, Grandparents, numerous family members, sports figures and TV and movie stars. What little boy did not imitate the Lone Ranger or Mickey Mantel?

Then things changed as they often do and not for the better. Finding a hero became more and more difficult.
Parents became consumed with making a living and allowing a daycare center to raise their children.
Extended family members no longer took an interest in raising children outside the immediate family.
Sports figures were swept up in the big business of sports and succumbed to performance enhancing drugs.
Movie and TV personalities fell from grace by the bus load. Many of them are cursed by a past, present or recurring addiction. Yet the youth of today follow these misguided souls into the depths of Hollywood culture, only to run the risk of never knowing a true hero.

So is it any wonder that a hero sandwich was my hero until I came to the Catholic Church. Of course they don’t identify them as heroes they are called Saints. And it’s once again easy to find a hero, role model, Saint because the Church is full of them.
There are Saints for everyday of the year and thousands to choose from. Books have been written proclaiming the accomplishments of these holy men and women.
Today my hero sandwich is relegated to the brown bag lunch and I have so many hero’s to choose from it’s a difficult choice but a nice problem to have.
If your hero has lost their way try a Saint it’s a heavenly choice.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Confession of a Catholic Deacon

I have a confession to make, this blog was created in a shameless effort to generate hits to my web site deacontomstonecipher.com
After a great deal of reflection I realizied that creating a blog may accomplish a purpose that the website is not designed to do. This blog has the potential to reach an audience vastly different from the web site, and it is my prayer that those who enter may find hope, and opportunity to reflect about our world and life.
There are several reasons that I have resisted blogging, as you can see I am no Hemmingway or Hermann Hesse. And like many others I struggled with the idea that anyone would want to spend time reading my random thoughts.
Along with the confession I want to make a promise to the readers of this blog. I promise that the person represented here is in fact me.
One of the many negative aspects of the internet is that people can create characters and personalities that have no basis in reality or truth.
Sadly the internet fosters an opportunity for us to accomplish what many in real life do every day hide their true self from the rest of the world.
I am willing to share my thoughts concerns and fears hoping that it may encourage others to peak from behind the mask and give the world a chance to see the real you.

God Bless
Deacon Tom

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Former Baptist Minister

In April of 1996 Tom Stonecipher and his wife Beckey became members of the Catholic Church. Tom, a Baptist Minister for 13 years was born in Chicago and raised in Detroit. Tom graduated from Arlington Baptist College with a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. During his time as a Baptist Minister, Tom was pastor of three churches, two in Florida and one in Puerto Rico.

To say that Tom’s journey HOME has been a long and winding one would be to understate the obvious. Tom was baptized Catholic on the day of his birth but was raised in a Baptist home. While attending Seminary Tom continually questioned the truths that were being taught.

Tom’s testimony about his spiritual journey is challenging and encouraging to all who hear him speak. Tom issues a challenge to all Catholics to “Stop Apologizing for being Catholic and learn how to Evangelize”.

Tom and his wife are members of St. John’s in Hapeville, Georgia.