Speaking Out

I love movies. I have experienced and learned a lot from them, from historical dramas, action-packed thrillers, suspense, romance and more. But there is one thing about some movies that I have problems with: misleading information and stereotypes, especially when it comes to religion.

Movies based on religion can have rewarding consequences, opening the viewers’ eyes and minds to new ideas, teaching them things about religion that they otherwise would never have known. However, there are some movies more than willing — I would say eager — to take a bite out of religion and portray it to the world as a joke or a hoax.

Bringing faith to politics

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Religion and politics are two highly contentious realms. But many people see them as even more problematic when combined, which could be why this is usually avoided at all costs in Canada.

A democracy is supposed to ensure representation of widely varying views, but believers know that things often seem stacked against any expression of faith in politics.

Finding joy in everything is heroic, counter-cultural

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Everyone has had one of those horrible days.  You wake up late, burn your toast, forget to call that person, get screamed at by a grumpy pedestrian, pull into the gas station the wrong way, spill tomato sauce on your white shirt—the works.  And then you’re standing on the sidewalk by a puddle and a truck speeds through it and you’re drenched.

I had a day like that, with a different sequence of events, some of them worse than burnt toast, but which had the same puddle-drenching finale.

Making a gratitude list

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As an impatient child who wasn’t very fond of standing out in the hot weather, I absolutely loathed waiting in line for amusement park rides. Not only would the most obnoxious kids be the first ones in line, but the smaller children who weren’t even old enough to ride would cut though people’s legs and get further in front.

My mother told me it was rude to cut in line so I was forced to reluctantly wait my turn in the face of a cruel childhood injustice. While I was waiting, I glanced in front of me to see how many people were left. There were about eight million. Unsatisfied, I turned around to look behind and was shocked to find that the number of people waiting was much greater.

Feminism for men

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When I tell people that I’m an aspiring male feminist, they can’t help but raise their eyebrows. Their surprise is understandable, but I’ve always thought it a little uninformed. What they don’t understand is what constitutes feminism in the first place and how men can contribute.

Amid cultural confusion, the feminist movement is mistakenly identified with reactionary ideas. The feminist movement is more than a reactionary cause, but is usually identified as such because of the way it’s been overtaken by secular values.

Valentine's Day calls us to search for true love

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Valentine’s Day always brings a plethora of images to my mind. The first is a picture of a bishop, ministering to young couples through the streets of third-century Italy — though, I have to admit, I didn’t know it was third century Italy I was imagining until I read more about St. Valentine.

As I was reading, I was surprised to find that we know so little about this saint except his name and that he was buried beside a road leading to Rome on Feb. 14.

Figuring out prayer

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I desire it. I fear it. I use it. I misuse it. I love it. I neglect it. I change it. I am changed by it. What is it? Prayer: the lifting of the created creature’s mind and heart to its Creator.

Take the leap of faith in God and yourself

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Faith. Recently, I have been puzzled with this five-letter phenomenon. This tiny word is loaded with huge potential. Faith is belief, a leap, a trust in a force beyond ourselves. Mother Angelica, an American Roman Catholic nun, said “Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”

During times of hardship, our faith is challenged. We look towards God, others and even ourselves to find comfort in our pain. That is why I initially thought there was a profound difference between faith in God, others and ourselves.

Women and men need to take purity seriously

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The monthly e-mail I share with a group of Catholic friends was sent recently following a disturbing personal situation where I was reminded of the sickness of impurity, even in our circle of faith.

Just a few days prior, at a Catholic function, I was made very uncomfortable by a married man’s questionable behaviour towards me. Though many might have trivialized the incident, I felt objectified in a setting where I expected safety and protection.

Resolve to follow Christ

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With a new year upon us, many of us find ourselves seeking new methods for self-improvement. Often we make resolutions to either end our bad habits or pick up better ones.

Yet by late January, most of us have either given up on our resolutions or simply forgotten about them altogether.

A real threat to humans

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I find the circumstances of my birth quite interesting in light of public efforts to pass Bill C-384. When I was born 15 weeks prematurely I weighed less than two pounds. I also had underdeveloped lungs and experienced extreme pain. To ease the pain, my doctors gave me morphine which I had a bad reaction to. I stopped breathing and my condition became critical. The doctors said I wouldn’t survive. If I did I would have a disability.

Fortunately, while I did acquire cerebral palsy, I did not die. I was nursed back to health by dedicated doctors and nurses.