Health/Running

Evangelicals with Statues?

by Steve Ray on November 16, 2017

A while ago I took off running through a commercial area behind the hotel where I was staying while doing a parish mission. I discovered a nice jogging trail through the woods so I swung onto the trail and headed through the trees. Soon I came into the open to see a beautiful lake. A sign caught my eye. It had an arrow pointing to “Baptismal Pool.” I kept running.

Sure enough a little distance ahead there was an elaborate structure with seats, railings and a ramp down into the lake. It was obviously designed for full immersion baptisms (see pictures).

I was puzzled. Why a baptismal pool in a commercial park? I looked carefully at the large building to the right which appeared to be a large office building – but surprise! it was a large mega-church with a sign “Fellowship Church.”

I looked back at the baptismal pool and remembered my upbringing in modest Baptist churches. They didn’t have lakes with elaborate ramps down to the ducks and white egrets sharing the water. We had huge bathtubs behind the pulpit where people were immersed after church services – all wearing white robes and holding their noses.

But what does baptism do for these good meaning folks? According to their theology baptism does nothing – it’s not even necessary. Jesus commanded it so they do it but nothing happens. It was just an external act we did to show the world (even if it was in the privacy of our little church) that we had believed on Jesus. I know because I was raised this way and later passed on the Baptist tradition myself.

Of course evangelicals condemn Catholics as unbiblical for teaching that obeying Christ in baptism actually does something – bringing about new birth (John 3:5), washing away sins (first words Paul heard from Ananias when he hit the dust, Acts 22:16), and incorporating us into the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-5).

Funny that they make such a costly structure to do something that doesn’t do anything. According to most of them – baptism is unnecessary for salvation and is merely optional since we are “saved by faith alone and not by sacraments.”

Funny that Baptists are called Baptists even though they consider baptism as unnecessary! Originally, after splitting from Martin Luther who believed baptism did something, even with infants, Baptists were originally called “Anabaptists”. “Ana” means again. Since they rejected their infant baptism as Catholics they decided they all had to be baptized again – thus “Anabaptists.” it was actually a way of demonstrating their protest against the Catholic Church (thus the title Protestant). Later they dropped the prefix “ana.”

I continued running around the next curve and stopped again. There in front of my eyes was was a big outdoor statue. I took a double-take, blinked and looked again. Yup, it was a statue! A statue of Jesus ascending to heaven!

Wait a minute? Aren’t Catholics accused of being idolaters because of statues? What is a statue doing in the garden of an

Evangelical mega-church? It brought to mind the inconsistency of Protestants, remembering my Baptist mom’s little statue of Mary and Jesus on our table at Christmas, part of the nativity scene.

If I was staying over the weekend I’d have visited this “church” just as an observer out of curiosity. I’d follow the arrow to “worship space.” I’m not sure whether I’d buy a cappuccino or an espresso to enjoy while watching the worship show entertainment. I would not want to be the only one with an empty cup holder in my theatre-style seat.

After shaking my head and wiping the sweat from my brow I ran back to the hotel to pack and fly back home after giving a Catholic Parish Mission. I prayed a quick prayer along the way – while huffing and puffing – and thanked Our Lord for His Catholic Church and for opening the eyes of one more unworthy servant.

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Dealing with Cancer: Amy Carrico’s Story

by Steve Ray on December 28, 2016

This is a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful story of a wife and mom with cancer and how she’s decided to deal with it. She’s a inspiration to us all – living in the heart of her family, God and the Church.

For other beautifully crafted Catholic and personal videos by Fr. Josh and Lolek Productions, click HERE.

For update on her condition, click here.

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Did Jesus Ever Run?

by Steve Ray on May 17, 2016

IMG_6602I posted this awhile ago, but thought it fun to post again. Though my running days are over (Doctors have told me I ran to much and my knees are shot), I still do a lot of fast walking and even have a bike in Jerusalem. But it is good to remember the days I felt like an antelope.

I’ve run a lot around Israel in the last year — along the shore of Galilee, from Nazareth to Sepphoris and back (click hyperlink to see on YouTube video), around the walls of the Old City and then back through the Stations of the Cross, from Jerusalem to Bethany and much more — I love it! But while huffing a puffing along I’ve often wondered if Jesus ever ran. I concluded YES and NO.

Primarily I run to to do the right thing and to stay healthy, and secondarily because I love it — especially the ability to see things up close and to experience places and things and people like you can never do from a car or a bus. At right I am running with my son Jesse’s family and you can see Maria Faustina racing along beside me. I like to do this too!

I don’t think Jesus or others of his time (except children playing and athletes training for the Olympics) ran for reasons of health nor to see places from the ground. They saw everything that way already since they walked everywhere out of necessity.

My suspicion is that people did not run when they could walk and didn’t walk when they could sit down. They tried to conserve their energy. Life was tougher in those days as it was. Nothing was automated. Even getting water was not simply turning a water faucet but walking a mile with a heavy jug on your shoulder. People did not exert energy for the fun or it or to stay healthy or to see the countryside. They walked or ran only when they had to.

screen-capture-1Walking and running tend to be unusual in our day to. It take too much energy and we tend to take the path of least resistance. We drive here and there. We take escalators or elevators to avoid the stairs. We park our car as close to the front door of church as we can to avoid walking an extra fifty steps.

I’ll never forget the scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy when the lady in curlers jumped in her car, backed it out the 30 foot driveway, got her mail and drove back up the driveway.

I did a word search in the Bible to see how many times the word RUN or RAN were used in the Gospels. It happens that in the RSV-Catholic Edition the words are used 17 times. All of them are about others running, not Jesus. Mary Magdalen ran to tell the disciples that she had seen the risen Christ; Peter and John ran to the tomb (see picture above to left). The father of the prodigal son ran to greet his wayward son returning home. Some ran to Jesus and some ran to tell others about Jesus.

screen-capture-2I think Jesus ran as a boy. All boys run. In our house we have a rule — “No running!” Yeah, right. Tell 12 grandkids not to run in the house! They are full of life — how can they walk? Jesus ran as a boy and had fun playing kick ball or chase through the dusty paths between caves in Nazareth. Mary watched him run and laugh and tumble many times. I have no doubt of this.

But did he run as an adult? When he and his father walked back and for to work every day from Nazareth to Sepphoris — did they walk or run? I ran back and forth but I don’t’ think they did. They were up before the sun and had an hour to walk to work where they probably labored in the heat for 10 hours or more before walking back uphill to Nazareth. I think they conserved their energy and walked, taking the easiest paths.

But there may have been times when he ran too. We are told very little about his actual life and day to day activities. Even John tell us the purpose of his gospel was to convince us to believe in Jesus as our savior, not to tell us what he ate or if he ran to work. He wrote, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25).

gal_grk_oly_runningSt. Paul mentions running quite a bit. He uses it as a metaphor for living the Christian life. We must run the race, he says. He refers to Olympic runners who run for a leafy laurel which will wither and fall off in a few days. How much more should we run the race to win the crown of eternal life (1 Cor. 9:24; Heb. 12:1). Olympic runners ran stark naked so as not to be tripped up or slowed down by his robes. Paul tells us to cast aside any encumbrance — like sin — that will keep us from winning the race. He is right!

Sometimes I wish the biblical authors had written more — for my curiosity’s sake. I wish Luke had told us more details of the discussion on the road to Emmaus or what Peter and Paul talked about for two weeks alone in Jerusalem. Maybe that is just my own problem since I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity.

When I get to heaven I am going to RUN up to Jesus and after I worship him and thank him for my salvation — I am going to ask him if he ever ran. And since I will want to explore heaven (and I will have new knees), I might as him if he would like to go out for a run and show me around. Well, maybe…

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How Long Will You Live? A Longevity Calculator

December 31, 2015

Watch your age in the upper right corner! Kinda’ fun to watch your age go up and down as you answer the questions. It’s interesting, so give it a try….  How long will you live? This is a calculator that estimates your life expectancy. It was developed by Northwestern Mutual Life. There are only 13 […]

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Womb 2 Tomb; Bethlehem 2 Jerusalem; Biking on Christmas thru the Holy Land

December 26, 2015

I am back in Israel now! Greetings from the Land! I posted this blog a year ago — but I am posting it again so you can see Bethlehem from a unique perspective, from my bike. I think you will enjoy this fun and educational adventure riding through Bethlehem and Jerusalem today. We are in […]

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First Days in Portugal

April 9, 2015

The first video is me on a hiking tour along the waterfront of Lisbon. I look at a lot of the people, places and things as I go through this beautiful city. I end up at the Monastery of St. Jerome. Built in the 1500s it is now under the control of the government and […]

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My Bike Ride from Tiberias to Magdala along the Shore of Galilee

May 8, 2014

Our group just arrived in Galilee and I jumped on my bike and took off for exercise and adventure. The Legionaries are building a “Spirituality Center”, whatever that is, at Magdala so I am off to check it out. I’ve been told they built a Protestant chapel there so I have to see this with […]

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Video of Pre-Canonization Rome

April 23, 2014

Janet and I arrived a few days early in Rome before our group. There will be 63 pilgrims arriving on Friday. We like to make sure everything is in order and ready for their arrival. And it is! We decided to take a walk around the walls of the Vatican and get a feel for […]

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On My Bike from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and Back: Living the Bible in the Holy Land

December 3, 2013

On our last day in Jerusalem last week Janet suggested I ride my bike to Bethlehem which I did. Getting old you know, and I need to keep up my health with physical exercise. But I am also have an insatiable curiosity and love adventure, discovery and doing things no one else would do :-) […]

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Bike Ride to Town of Mary Magdalen

November 17, 2013

We arrived in Tiberias yesterday and our driver brought my bike up from Jerusalem. It wasn’t very hot today so I decided to take a nice long ride and explore some new things. First, the Tanureen Restaurant which has built a new section where we will bring our groups in the future. Then I went […]

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Our New Christian Health Insurance Provider

October 9, 2013

Thanks to Obama, our health insurance was canceled with Blue Cross & Blue Shield. We had this for many years but now it is gone due to our president. We found a new Christian insurance company which will give us good coverage and we will not be participating in abortion contraceptives. You may want to […]

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Join Me and My Wife Janet on a Walking Tour of Rome with Interactive Map, Videos and Pictures

June 18, 2013

It was a great 5-mile tour visiting great churches and historical sites. Enjoy the maps, pictures and videos. Hope you love Jesus and the Church more as a result. Remember that Rome has over 800 churches and we cannot visit them all in one walking tour :-)

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Just Passed the 500 Mile Mark Today!

May 29, 2013

For the year 2013 I just passed the 500 mile mark today! Whew! I might hit 1,200 miles this year. Janet just hit a personal record today of 30 miles on the bike. Five years ago Janet and I decided to change our lifestyle. It would mean 1) daily exercise, 2) cutting our diet in […]

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Join Me on a Walk through the Old City of Jerusalem

April 30, 2013

Today I took off in 90+ temperatures to get some exercise and to share the Old City of Jerusalem with all of you. I took a little different course than usual to provide new pictures and videos.  I also tried to capture pictures of interesting people. I don’t walk up and click my iPhone in […]

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Jackie’s Story: Why She Missed Running the Boston Marathon this Year; Why She Runs… Not a Dry Eye on the Bus!

April 30, 2013

Jackie was one of our pilgrims on this trip to the Holy Land. She is a marathon runner who’s achieved great success. Even while here she would arise early and run several times around the Wall of Jerusalem. Deacon Jim was also on our trip along with his wife and daughter. He is struggling with […]

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My Hike Up to Susita across the Sea of Galilee: Area of Decapolis Mentioned in Mark 5:20

February 27, 2013

Mark 5:18–21 “And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. But he refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy […]

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