One Faith, Many Paths: Therese Johnson

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This time around, I interviewed Therese Johnson, mother of a non-verbal autistic boy named Ben.

1. What was your childhood like?
My childhood was amazing. Surrounded by love and laughter and having everything in abundance but my parents always instilling wisdom and knowledge in us. We spent lots of time bonding as a family.
2. When your child was diagnosed with autism, what was your initial reaction?
Ben was diagnosed on Friday 23rd January 2015. Our initial reaction was relief and confirmation of what we already knew.
What caused this reaction to change, if it has?
It hasn’t changed, if anything it’s helped the whole family learn more and more about autism spectrum disorder in order to understand/ help Ben.
3. What methods of non-verbal communication have you been teaching your child? Which one seems the best?
Right now we use speech, but one sentence at a time giving Ben time to process and we speak slower. We also use visual cues i.e.: show him the actual nappy when it’s time to change him and we are using PECS but with our own pictures. As he gets older and understands more then we’ll move on to other visual cues.
4. What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have so many favourites but the one that really touches my soul has to be Isaiah 55: 8-11
Isaiah 55:8-11New International Version (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

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Debunking Myths: Do Catholics Worship Statues?

Michelangelo-Pieta

I am currently an administrator in a Facebook Group for Autistic Christians. I decided that as an administrator, I would do what I could to make sure that this was one Christian group that did not exclude Catholics. I made a rule that anyone who had anti-Catholic sentiments would be removed.  One day, a new member saw a post I typed up about the Virgin Mary and accused Catholics of being idolaters.  This is part of a myth that Catholics worship statues. On the surface, it may seem that way when you enter a Catholic church and see people kneeling in front of statues, especially if the statues are of saints rather than Jesus.  It’s particularly glaring when the First Commandment forbids worshipping false idols. Wouldn’t these statues be an example of the idolatry forbidden by this commandment?

Not necessarily.  In the Old Testament, David was instructed to construct the Ark of the Covenant. God told him to place statues of cherubim on it. (Exodus 25:22) So why is that allowed? Wouldn’t that be revering the cherubim?

the ark of the covenant, with kneeling cherubim on top.
the ark of the covenant, with kneeling cherubim on top.

Continue reading “Debunking Myths: Do Catholics Worship Statues?”

Jason’s Jukebox: The Black Crowes

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I know no luxury
Of knowing what your eyes read
I know one million ways
To always pick the wrong thing to say

A love that you never gave
Always a time zone away
It’s not out of spite
I know what’s right

The early 90’s were an experimental time at best.  Hair metal had waned.  Rap and new wave gave way to more darker versions of their 80’s selves.  There was a good time for something different. It didn’t seem like a good environment for a throwback like the Black Crowes, but yet their Southern Rock sound yielded many hits during the 90’s and early 2000’s. They lasted a good 25 years, and now that they’ve announced they are split up, I’m ranking their discography.

Original Lineup:

Chris Robinson–vocals

Rick Robinson–guitar

Johnny Colt–bass

Jeff Cease–guitar

Steve Gorman–drums

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Shake Your Money Maker (1990)

Singles: “Twice as Hard”, “Jealous Again”, “Hard to Handle”, “She Talks to Angels”

Rating: *****

This album is actually a remnant of an earlier band the brothers Robinson had formed called Mr. Crowes’ Garden. Two of the songs, “She Talks to Angels” and “Could I’ve Been So Blind” were from that era.  The band was voted Best New American Band by readers of Rolling Stone that year.  It’s considered their best album and I’m inclined to agree. It even got into the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. This is a great debut and actually one of the best debuts I’ve listened to.

Best Tracks: “Twice as Hard”, “Hard to Handle” , “Stare It Cold”

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The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)

Singles: “Remedy”, “Thorn in My Pride”, “Bad Luck, Blue Eyes, Goodbye”, “Sometimes Salvation”

Rating: *****

This was an excellent follow-up; no “sophomore slump” here.  The first half of the Black Crowes discography is the best of their material. Marc Ford and Eddie Harsch join the band with this album, and they’re great additions. By this time, The Black Crowes had found a niche as an alternative to the darker bands of the 90’s.

Best tracks: “Sting Me”, “Bad Luck, Blue Eyes, Goodbye”, “Time Will Tell”

Fun Fact: “Time Will Tell” is a Bob Marley cover.

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Amorica (1994)

Single: “Wiser Time”

Rating: ****

This is the band’s most controversial album, mostly due to its cover.  Guitar World chose it as one of the 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994. Is it worth the controversy? I’d say almost.  There were only a couple songs I didn’t care for.

Best Tracks: “Gone”, “She Gave Good Sunflower” Downtime Money Waster”

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Three Snakes and One Charm (1996)

Singles: “Good Friday”, “Blackberry”

Rating: ****1/2

This was the last of the top shelf for me. I’m not saying the Black Crowes stopped making good music, but they never measured to the standards of their first four. You know it’s bad when the Best of Albums come too early.

Best Tracks: “Good Friday”, “Nebechanezer”, “How Much For Your Wings”

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