What Kind of God Do You Want?

Even if you don’t know if God exists, even if you don’t believe God exists, you can at least think about what kind of God you would like to exist, right? It’s like daydreaming: even though I’m no billionaire, I can at least fantasize about what kind of billionaire life I would like to live…

So play along and think about this: what kind of God would you want?

A powerful God? A God who is master of all?

Don’t misunderstand me, I do want God to be powerful and masterful. By definition, God is Power itself and Master itself. But think about it: if God was first merely Power, then what’s keeping Him from using that power to intimidate, to manipulate, to oppress and dominate us? Same with God if He was first merely our Master — what’s stopping Him from being a tyrant, a slave-driver, an abuser?

There are religions out there (I’m thinking specifically Islam) that believe God is Power and Master first, before He is anything else. But like we saw above, if God is first merely those things, or anything else along those lines, then what’s keeping Him from abusing His almighty authority, power, omniscience and etc.?

GodIsLove

Because God is first, before all else, a father… Our Father.

Not the kind of father you and I have, because human fathers, earthly fathers can make mistakes, can be selfish, can be ignorant and even evil. But the Father in Heaven — the Father who all other lower fathers are meant to imitate and symbolize — is Love. Our Father is Love.

And as Father, as Love, God will not abuse his authority, not enslave us nor intimidate nor manipulate us. As loving Father, He will not use omniscience, wisdom, or anything to hurt us. Instead, He will use all that He is to love us and help us…

He even sent His Son to be a man and die for us.

So I don’t know about you, but I’d want a God who is Father, who is Love. And I’m grateful this God is ours — the one and only.

For more, check out Dr. Scott Hahn’s excellent discussion on who God is to us:

Blasphemy with Breakfast

Abba or Allah?

Slaves and Sons

An Exorcism Experience

IMG_20141003_145844By now, most of America is in Halloween mode.

And I’ve been saving a special something for Halloween mode.

A few months ago, a dear friend shared with me about her exorcism experience. Now, just to be clear, she did not undergo the Ritual of Exorcism. What is meant is that she experienced the power of the exorcism prayers in the Medal of Saint Benedict (do yourself a favor and click the link!). And when I heard her story, I felt she should share it with others also, and so I offered her the chance (and SO glad she responded generously! Thanks, Sarah!). In many ways, it reminded me of the Exorcism of Emily Rose, and ultimately because both Emily and Sarah became witnesses not to the devil’s tricks, but witnesses to Christ’s power and love.

But that’s enough from me. Have a look and a listen yourself:

 

Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

Hello Holy Smack Readers!

On this Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, may I present to you the first Holy Card I had the honor of designing for Saint Paul Street Evangelization [SPSE], a group of Catholic Apologists and Evangelists who volunteer to introduce Jesus and His Church to others in public, across the United States! I’ve even heard that this card itself has been slowly spreading throughout America’s cities.

One of the priests here at seminary asked if I would be interested in helping with this mission, and needless to say I was humbled and grateful to God for such a chance to offer my talents to this work. I only hope the Holy Spirit continues guiding me in the good fight against hatred and ignorance of the Faith.

Thank you for reading, and I’d like to especially thank the artist who shared her work so generously for this project: Nadia Kelaidinova (please visit her gallery here). May God bless her ever more abundantly!

Lastly, if you would like a card or so, please feel free to leave me a message on the Holy Smack FaceBook page, or email me at EvanPham@HolySmack.com (Of course, you’re also welcome to support SPSE by ordering from their site. The cards are sold for non-profit purposes only to keep the ministry running.)

 

JesusAtDoorCardSample

 JesusDoorBack3Sample

Re-post: He Doesn’t Need Your Sext: a Response to Jennifer Lawrence

I loved this post from Matt Fradd so much that I’m re-posting it here for your ease of access:

HE DOESN’T NEED YOUR SEXT: A RESPONSE TO JENNIFER LAWRENCE.

Why are you still on this page? Click the link above! Do it now (in Schwarzenegger accent)!!!

And if you need another supporting argument:

DESPITE WHAT JENNIFER LAWRENCE SAYS: MEN DON’T NEED NUDE SELFIES

Final thoughts: How sad the woman who thinks she needs to do such a thing to keep her relationship going, and how much more tragic the man who made her think this way.

Lord, give us the grace to love, forealz.

Stay Strong Hong Kong!

It’s another David vs. Goliath story. If you haven’t heard of the anti-communist protests taking place right now in the city of Hong Kong, here are a few articles to bring you up to speed:

But bringing you up to speed ain’t the purpose of this post. Instead, I want to share with you how stupid I once was (thank God I’m so much smarter now… right…).

When I was a high schooler, first learning about different kinds of government,

I did what most teenagers do: think they know everything. And so we get to the topic of Communism, and being omniscient, I believed that it was a great idea with only one flaw: humans were involved, and since it involved people, it would fail because people are usually greedy, stealthy and selfish.

Hong Kong_pro-democracy_protest_092814.jpgI was only partially correct — and the worst lies are those that are partly true (because that little bit of truth masks the deception from being obvious).

The real corrupt core of Communism only became noticeable to me years later, and when I noticed, there was no way to un-notice: Communism is atheist. And not only is it atheist, but it is anti-Catholic, anti-God, and anti-freedom.

Communism holds that there is no God, and so there is no religion… none except one: Communism itself. A devout communist has faith in his party, is devoted to the party’s principles, and worships its supreme dictators: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong-il, etc.

So the Communist party is pretty full of itself. It believes it can last forever and can control everything and everyone. It believes it has the authority to give life and to take it, to grant freedom and to cancel it, because if there is no God… then what’s stopping any one from trying to be a god? This narcissistic outlook has led from atrocity to atrocity:

  1. The Iron Curtain
  2. Cold War
  3. Fall of Saigon
  4. Division of Korea
  5. Failed Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward campaigns in China
  6. Millions of aborted Chinese children (mostly girls)
  7. Infanticide, forced abortions and sterilizations
  8. Tiananmen Massacre and the Tank Man (seriously, have a look at this documentary)

[Do you see him? The lone man against the column of tanks?]

[Do you see him? The lone man against the column of tanks?]

And Hong Kong has had enough. After merely 17 years of Communism supervising it, the city of seven million is demanding free elections and a democracy. It is a tiny pinch of China, but a really important and influential pinch — and its pinching back. The rest of China has suffered for over sixty years, and I’m hoping this little pinch becomes a Holy Smack.

Pray for Hong Kong, please. If the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre taught us anything about the Communist Chinese bully, we may be seeing another atrocity soon. May God raise saints from this good fight.

HKProtest

[Has there ever been a protest this high-tech before? Can the communists cover this up at all, like they did with Tiananmen 1989?]

Modesty at Mass

Recently I received a thoughtful question from up the TNTT vine…

“If the Theology of the Body teaches that our bodies are beautiful and reflect God, why must we be modest in Church?”

audrey_hepburn_type_1

[Audrey Hepburn's quote illustrated by Alicia Vasquez.]

Modesty is not about covering up something because it is ugly. Instead, it’s about cherishing and protecting the beautiful, especially about safeguarding love and respect. Since Woman (and all things women) is the more beautiful sex, there is an emphasis to safeguard her. Women do this by dressing and behaving appropriately to help others see that there is more beauty to them than just their skin and hair (because it’s so easy to stop just there).

Since women are so attractive, it is easy for men to get caught up in the physical and external looks. By dressing and behaving modestly, they are helping others find where their true beauty is. I like to remind myself with this quote: “The most beautiful part of a woman is her.” Meaning ALL OF HER. The moment we focus on just one aspect of her person, is the moment we objectify her and abuse her. Her whole person (body, soul, mind and heart) is beautiful, and modesty helps us find that total beauty by guiding our attention to her as a person instead of getting caught up in and stopping at the external beauty. Modesty helps us treat others and ourselves with the dignity and respect we all deserve. Modesty done right, it makes us free and happy!

At Mass, we also dress modestly* to help others find where the true beauty is… where Beauty Himself is: Jesus (God). After all, God invented beauty itself! He is Beauty itself! And everything that is beautiful is only beautiful because He knows how to make it that way. So if we behaved and dressed immodestly, we are not just disrespecting ourselves, but God (because we’re distracting others from realizing where Beauty is).

Here are two posts I wrote before addressing this question:

Even the Blind See Her Beauty

How Women in Veils Inspire Males Like Me.

I hope that helps!

*Note: dressing modestly does not mean making yourself look ugly! It means having good taste, class and dignity. For tips about this, I recommend these:

1) Verily Magazine (yes, I do read this once in a while and not ashamed about it!)

2) Leah Darrow (once competed on America’s Next Top Model)

3) And a whole bunch of short articles about Modesty from ChastityProject.com (by Crystallina and Jason Evert)

Dancing at Dusk

LastDancing HT weekend, a strange group of young Vietnamese Catholic adults gathered beside a lake in rural Wisconsin and found themselves dancing for the Lord at dusk. The following is video footage providing evidence of the ocurrence, and that Evan has learned to shed his shyness of the camera (with much gratitude to the fellow dancers and videographer!)

Yet, before (or after) you enjoy the evidence, please consider why it is that we dance? Why is it that we find it difficult to sit idle and still when a good song comes on? Why can we not brush off beautiful music, or ignore terrible music either? Why do we respond with shudders or dancing?

These are questions for the Theology of the Body to answer, and without drilling into the depths, I’ll say this for now: we have bodies. We were made body-soul, and our body makes visible our invisible soul. Music is a special art that cuts easily into the soul, and depending on the type of music (yes, there are types we should avoid), we respond physically and in certain ways that make sense.

So with these two songs presented below, I’d like to say that I did not sit down and draft out the movements in a technical and premeditated way. Instead, I listened to the music and moved the way the music steered me.

And many others can move way better than I. But this is my blog, so hah…