Where Do You Stand? Part One

So what exactly has the Obama administration done to create a culture where the taking of innocent human life is a “normal” everyday activity? He has appointed two very pro-choice justices to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Kagan helped direct a political strategy preventing the enactment of a ban on partial-birth abortions while Sotomayor helped direct litigation projects of an organization that filed multiple pro-abortion lawsuits, including challenges to parental notification requirements. Also whenever there is a threat at the federal government level or state government level to cut-off funding of Planned Parenthood, the Obama Administration continues to step in and run interference for this organization that has repeatedly been irresponsible and negligent. In March of 2009 President Obama issued an executive order to allow federal funding of research that requires the killing of human embryos. Common sense again would dictate that the constant killing of unborn children weakens our families and society in general. Karol Wojtyla, the late Pope John Paul II, knew quite well that governments will claim benevolence on behalf of doing whatever it thinks it needs to do in pursuit of its own goals. The Obama administration is doing just that, claiming good will and no harm when in fact there is much harm and irreparable damage being done to our society. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

A Human Being with Potential

As a counselor we often become advocates for our clients. We also might be called upon to advocate for those in our society who are helpless or treated unfairly such as the homeless or even those who might become drug addicted. So I would like to also mention the unborn children, those who are aborted and point out the current administration’s shortfalls in the area of protecting life. Abortion on demand was legalized on January 22nd, 1973 (38 years ago) and though there is enormous opposition to this Supreme Court ruling, the current administration under President Obama continues to wage war against the unborn. So much so, that it has become obvious that it is destroying our economy because we are eliminating individuals who would not only contribute to the growth of our economy but also contribute some very unique talents. “A child in the womb is not a potential human being, it is a human being with potential.”  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

The Conscience

So where does conscience come into play with this issue of whether one complies or not with an unjust law? Conscience is the interior voice of a human being, within whose heart the inner law of God is inscribed. Moral conscience is a judgment of practical reason about the moral quality of a human action. It moves a person at the appropriate moment to do good and avoid evil. Consider these words of John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Conscience is a messenger of Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal vicar of Christ.” Man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. Our conscience is man’s most secret core and sanctuary. Here are three things to consider: A conscience must be “informed” and moral judgment “enlightened”; the education of conscience is a lifelong task; and in the formation of conscience the “Word of God” is the light for our path. Now for three simple rules that apply in every case: 1) One may never do evil so that good may result from it; 2) Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; and 3) “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience…you sin against Christ.” (1 COR 8:12) Anyone who is confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decisions difficult must seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law. To force the Catholic Church in the United States to comply with the HHS mandates is to force evil upon people whether they are believers or not because these mandates strike at the heart of the dignity of each and every human being. Catholics are not only fighting for their God-given rights but are also fighting for those who do not have a voice, the unborn and innocent. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

Oppose This Proposed Mandate

Catholic Christians (and for that matter all people serious about the dignity of the human person) face a very serious attack on individual conscience rights and religious liberty undertaken by the Obama administration. The Catholic Bishops of the U.S. (including Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas) oppose a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that is part of the 2010 federal health care reform act-the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. Under HHS rules, all private health care plans will be required to cover contraception and sterilization as preventative care for women. All contraceptive methods-including certain abortifacients-would be covered without co-pays or other cost sharing. Thus Catholic employers will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. This is an impossible situation that Catholics (and I hope other serious minded Christians) cannot accept and must resist. This is an unjust law and Archbishop Naumann has stated that “We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law.” I am reminded that in the Gospel when faced with overwhelming evil, Christ cajoled us to pray and fast. Also please contact your congressman or senator and insist this legislation be overturned. To borrow the words from a recent movie release, Christians need to unite and be “extremely loud and incredibly close” to this situation. Even if you think your political representatives believe what you believe, they need a show of courage and strength on the part of believers. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

The Weight of Your Behavior

If we are not careful we will find ourselves accompanied often by some of the most cherished, but dangerous, earthly companions: Power, Prestige, and Pleasure. Dr. Rob Gilbert notes, “First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they will eventually conquer you.” Pietri Bandinelli was an attractive young man with clear eyes and a kind face. Leonardo da Vinci chose him to be his Jesus model for his painting “The Lord’s (or Last) Supper.” Years later Leonardo had not yet completed the painting but one day was finally moved to go to the slums of Milan, Italy and look for a model for Judas. After looking for about an hour, he found the perfect man. His eyes were cloudy and his face was harsh. A short time later while the man was posing he was asked by Leonardo if they had met before and the man responded that yes indeed they had, he was in fact the Jesus model. He went on to reveal that much had changed in his life since then, not much of it for the good. We can grow very weak under the weight of our misdeeds but they are being noted, tied all together, hung around our neck, and we will grow very weak beneath the weight of these deeds. Look carefully at power and control issues in your life. Are you overreaching? Do you seek notoriety to bring attention to yourself? What personal vices do you need to rid yourself of? A vice can seemingly start out as very pleasurable and rewarding but it soon can become a source of serious concern and trouble for a person. Excessive drinking, drugs, pornography, promiscuous sex, shopping, and gambling are all very serious vices and not easy habits to discard. These become vices because the individual is attempting to replace genuine human relationships with “things” that produce a fleeting reward with troubling consequences. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

The Hard Drive in Our Minds

Albert Camus said, “I shall tell you a secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.” Some time ago it was reported that a Dr. Wilder Penfield of Montreal’s Neurological Institute discovered that certain sites in the brain when stimulated electrically led one patient to hear an old melody he thought he had long ago forgotten and another patient to relive the experience of having her baby (oh boy!). His findings convinced some scientists that every action of our life is recorded in our brain and that even our thoughts and feelings about our actions at the time we did them are also recorded. Could there then be solid psychological support for the biblical teaching of judgment after death? A lot of people would rather try to forget certain things but the memory is etched on the hard drive of your brain much like wherever go on the Internet is also recorded on your computer’s internal hard drive. It sure does matter what a person does with the time given him/her by God. The very famous sportswriter Grantland Rice said, “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He writes-not that you won or lost-but how you played the game.” We should be concerned about God’s judgment when we die because no one escapes it and no one will get the VIP treatment. A way to start with examining your conscience is by spending a few minutes each day replaying your day and picking out a high point and then a low point and recognizing the need for God’s forgiveness and the grace to respond better the next time. Finally look ahead to tomorrow and focus on a critical point like a difficult thing you must do, and talk to the Holy Spirit asking for guidance with that difficult thing. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

Gustav Mahler’s 2nd Symphony by the Kansas City Symphony

I recently attended a concert by the Kansas City Symphony of Gustav Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. Mahler is a very unique composer in the history of classical music though some might say his music is much too long and drawn out while others revel in his ability to develop so many facets of a musical theme. His music requires a large orchestral force, including a lot of brass, and there are moments when the entire force of the orchestra is unleashed and moments when there is almost a “chamber music” feel to the orchestration. The balance of this range is quite a challenge for the very best of orchestras and the Kansas City musicians were up to the challenge. The 2nd symphony by Gustav Mahler also includes a chorus and two soloists, a mezzo-soprano and a soprano and it is has been given the name the “Resurrection” symphony because it asks (and tackles) the profound question of what happens when we die, when we cease to exist. This is no small matter in a day and time where there seems to be so much senseless violence and disregard for human life including from conception. Happily the triumph of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is displayed with true beauty in the Mahler 2nd Symphony. There is innocence lost, struggle with sin, transformation through forgiveness, and finally the courage to face death while finding the deeper meaning of the passageway from an earthly physical death to a spiritual eternity with Love itself, the The Blessed Holy Trinity. Wow! What worked for me as a listener was the majesty of the orchestra’s playing and the attention to detail in the quieter “chamber music like” passages. A couple of times there was a lack of synchronization between the orchestra and the conductor but these were fleeting moments. The solo woodwinds, brass, and strings were all excellent and the percussion, especially the tympanist, were superb. Good music and great performances are a gift from God in an age where there is so much “mindless clanging” and obscenity in music. Take the time to study classical music, your brain and soul will be better for it. Also get tickets to the Kansas City Symphony. It is a great way to spend an evening. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

Movie Recommendation

For a good time at the movies go see “The Artist.” It is creative and fun, the way a movie should be. Also, attending a concert of the Kansas City Symphony is well worth it. The new concert hall has great acoustics and the orchestra sounds great. What a blessing for Kansas City! If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

Today’s Temptation

The word to “tempt” is not always used of an evil person or situation urging a good person to do wrong. When Jesus is tempted by Satan while in the desert he quotes Deuteronomy 6:16 by responding with “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” where the verb “tempt” has some such meaning as “try God’s patience” or almost to “ask for trouble.” However when we say we are tempted, it means that our free will is attracted. In Scripture, to be tempted means that the will is being subjected to a test, not that our free will is attracted. So was Christ tempted in the modern sense of the word? Christ’s temptation in the desert can be seen as one of Satan “thrusting” and Jesus only warding off the thrusts much like in fencing. In the episode of the temptation in the desert, Jesus uses His own words only once (the rest he quotes all from Deuteronomy) as he says, “Begone, Satan.” Satan did go away but only “until the time” when he returns for Jesus’ Passion. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.

The Healing of Forgiveness – Part Eight

Some people hinder the hard work of forgiving by smothering confrontation. In other words, when they are in charge, they never let people heal conflict through forgiving. Parents can often be guilty of this by shushing us or soothing us and assuring us that whatever makes us mad is not worth raising a fuss about. Parents can get in the way between us and those who did us wrong by either always protecting, always pinning down the arms of our rage, or forever pacifying us. Parents say, “Forgive and forget” and what they really mean is, “Don’t make a fuss, I can’t stand the noise.” Don’t confuse the technique of smoothing things over with the high art of forgiving those who transgress against us. Smothering conflict is not the same as helping people forgive each other. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.