My Conversion Story (cont.) — Part 7

My journey with Christ really began when my wife and I stopped contracepting. We were both still in school. Bottom line: not a “good time” for a baby. My wife welcomed me home from the second day of the Illinois bar exam with a book, “The Expectant Father”. I knew then that God knew what He was doing with me. I did say a lot of prayers asking God to let me pass the bar, though.




A hobbit does not mind to chew, even when bone and teeth are few.

He has his ‘past with fruit of vine
And soul and wit and given time

And when the clock doth run slow
And fire and kettle both run low
And frost begins to creep on in
He will recall the feast within

And give thanks to the Maker who
by an utterance
Made it so

Do you tweet? Use #LettertoNancy

I recently started using Twitter.

A few weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi was asked a question about Kermit Gosnell during a press conference. She said that what Gosnell did was “reprehensible”. Then she was asked a followup question: what’s the moral difference between what Gosnell did and what normally happens during a 23-week late-term abortion. Naturally, she evaded giving an answer after making a ridiculous statement along the lines of, “I bet you’re savoring that question”. I bet that she was hoping that one would go away.

Well, it hasn’t gone away yet. Fr. Frank Pavone wrote her an open letter, asking her to stop insulting Catholics and renounce her claimed Catholicism. She dismissed the letter, calling Fr. Pavone hysterical: “The arrogance of it all! It’s like something ancient, medieval“.

If you tweet, you might tweet @NancyPelosi with the hashtag #LettertoNancy and ask her to simply answer the question.

Beer Review: Russian River’s Pliny the Elder

I don’t taste a lot of commercially available beers. A couple months ago, I read an article about Pliny the Elder from Russian River. It gets a lot of raves from enthusiasts who like highly hopped beers. I decided that it would be worthwhile to give it a try.

Problem is, Pliny is in great demand and is rarely stocked in stores. Couldn’t find it anywhere nearby. A few weeks ago, we took a day trip over to the coast and stopped at a place called HopMonk in Sebastopol. Great place for food and beer lovers (I always get the mussels and fries; the preparation is usually a bit different each time, according to what they have fresh). They have it on draft!

Does it live up to the hype? In a word, yes. If it’s on draft and you’re on a quest for one of the ultimate Imperial IPAs, it’s not to be missed. The impressive thing about it is that unlike other beers in the style, Pliny is balanced — there’s just the right amount of malt character: toast, hints of caramel. It’s rounded it with bold pine and citrus, but it’s not so over the top or overly harsh that you don’t want to drink, rather than sip, the beer. Or have a second one (watch out, it’s over 8%!).

Zymurgy Magazine readers recently voted Pliny the favorite beer, for a fifth consecutive beer. What’s awesome is that the folks at Russian River aren’t keeping any secrets about the recipe!

Franciscan Ale: Franciscan Approved


A few months ago, our pastor hosted a group of Franciscans from New Mexico for a youth retreat in the area. He suggested that they could come for breakfast on their way to the airport for their return flight. It was awesome to have such a holy group in our midst!

As they were getting ready to leave, they thanked us for breakfast, and our pastor says, “He makes beer too!” With that, before departing we walked out to my “brewhouse” so they could sample my “Franciscan Ale”. With the taking of the picture below, I was told I could state that it’s “Franciscan approved”!

Catholic Joy: Beer!


I didn’t realize how “Catholic” the joy of beer is until I started brewing it and learning about it. The ingredients are elemental, organic, natural: water, grain, hops, yeast. Making beer requires some attention and skill. It’s also hard work to make. Sanitation is important.

But, as Ben Franklin says, beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. There are few things more joyful than a table set for friends and family, with good food and good beer!

What’s the Deal with the Weird Name?

Quartermaster of the Barque.
The “Barque of St. Peter” is a term for fancy Catholics who like to refer to the Church in weird ways. St. Peter, of course, was the first pope. Symbolically, each Holy Father after St. Peter continues to steer — or captain — the ship. He sets the course, in collaboration with the apostles — the bishops — who serve as officers.

On naval ships, the quartermaster was important, but in a different way. He wasn’t usually an officer. He served below deck. He was in charge of monitoring the ship’s stores and meting out the rations for the crew.

Aboard the Barque of St. Peter, the quartermaster might be a faithful lay Catholic who wishes to dispense the joy found in the Church. That’s me. I have some things to say, but my principal mission is to be an orthodox Catholic husband and father, and to share the profound joy in living for Christ.

Regarding the SCOTUS Decisions on Gay Marriage

Marriage has fallen, and with it, we see the near end of Christendom. Christians shouldn’t blame gay people for redefining marriage. The redefinition began long before the idea of “gay marriage” ever took hold. It didn’t happen just this week, or last month, or last year, or even a decade ago. It happened (inter alia):
  1. When Christians embraced no-fault divorce.
  2. At the seventh Lambeth Conference when artificial contraceptives were approved by the Anglican communion under certain circumstances.
  3. When Christians embraced Griswold v. Connecticut.
  4. When pro-life Christians fell into consequentialism and supported abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
  5. Whenever Christians made use of IVF, had a selective abortion, or supported embryonic stem cell research.
  6. Every time a Christian engaged in sexual activity outside marriage.
  7. Every time a Christian remarried after divorce.
  8. Every time a Christian used artificial contraception.

Christians who oppose the redefinition of marriage MUST stop with the focus on labels, and strategy, and “winning the war”. We’ve lost. It’s over.

What’s the difference between a contracepting, divorced and remarried straight couple and a SSA “married” couple? Almost nothing. The fact that one sin is more visible than another is not a valid basis for keeping the focus on the visible sin while ignoring the other less visible (and potentially personal) sins. Upping the harsh rhetoric makes ignoring this fact easier than admitting the actual reason for the failure.

If we feel comfortable condemning same-sex marriage but we would not tell a friend or family member that it’s wrong to get married for a third time, then we need to shut up. It’s hypocrisy and it’s killing our “message”.

It’s time to save our souls by living as Christians, loving one another, caring for the least of these, speaking the truth in charity when prompted by the Holy Spirit. It’s time to actually live marriage so that our words match our examples. It’s time to stop expecting the civil law to privilege a concept that we fail to uphold in our own actions. The expectation that we should have it both ways is part of what has led to this failure.

My prayer is not to be the guy who tells people that gay marriage is wrong, but to be the father and husband who — by his hospitality and love — shows people what marriage actually is. If we can’t give them an example, we might as well describe color to the blind.