Saint of the Month: Maria Goretti

Born: October 16, 1890

Died: July 6. 1920

Feast Day: July 6

Patron of: Rape Victims

Maria Goretti is one of the youngest martyrs in Catholicism. She was strongly devoted to God and was the daughter of a farmworker near Anzio, Italy.  When she was 12 years old, she was raped by Alexander Serenelli, who was the son of her father’s partner, who lived with her family.  When she refused his advances, Serenelli stabbed Maria to death.

Now, you may think that is the end of the story.  But years later, Serenelli received a vision from Maria, saying taht she forgave him for his crime. Because of this vision, Serenelli reformed his life.

To me, Alexander’s reformation is a true miracle.  I remember being told by a professor that rape was the worst thing you can do to a person, and I agree. I don’t believe that the victim is ever  at fault.  No one “asks” for rape by how they dress or their actions. I have heard people who’ve been raped say they feel vulnerable and that they have difficulty moving past it.  That is why I think Maria can be a role model.  Forgiving those who have harmed us can be difficult, but Jesus called us to love everyone, even our enemies. Loving those who love us back is easy, as He said. Yet when Jesus was mocked, scourged, and crucified, he did not retaliate. Now, does this mean we should not defend ourselves? Hardly. Non-violent self-defense is permitted and expected. Loving everyone is a challenge, but our reward is great.


Why I Am A Christian

By now, you’ve probably noticed I’m unashamed of my Christianity.  It’s time I explained why.

I’m what you call a “cradle Catholic”. It means I was born into my faith. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never doubted or wavered.  If your faith is never tested, it never truly grows.

To be honest, during my teen years, I began to question my faith.  I realized that being a Christian only to keep out of Hell was incorrect. I’d also heard of all the horrible things we Christians have done, like the Inquisition. But I started reading about the saints, I realized a reason to be Christian. If Christianity had inspired so many people to become heroic, it can’t be that bad.  I also realized I owe a debt to Jesus. He did a lot to save me.

Now, I’m not about to tell you that you should a Christian too.  I know I can give you all sorts of reasons, but in the end, it’s not me. I’m just opening the door. God does the rest.

Now I know what some of the arguments are. I will offer some rebuttals.

1. How can I profess a religion that is responsible for bloodshed? Atheists aren’t so pure either.  Allow me to quote Answering Atheism: If Christians have to answer for the Inquisition, Atheists have to answer for Stalin.  Evil is part of human nature. Christianity has nothing to do with it. Everyone who has ever done evil in God’s name has done it through misinterpretation.  Besides, Marxists like Stalin and Lenin believed in their convictions probably as strongly as any Christian. Christians have also done good in God’s name. Besides the saints, there are missionaries who have taught children how to read and write. We have lead charities. We oppose tyranny.

2. How can I believe something science has claimed doesn’t exist? Science can neither prove nor disprove God.  Science can only prove what is tangible.  I feel that religion is proof that there is something beyond the material world. Shakespeare said it best: “There are more things in Heaven and Hell than dreamt of in your philosophy.” If there weren’t anything beyond the physical realm, then why would so many religions exist.

These are my reasons for believing in God. I feel that it is my answer.

One Faith, Many Paths: Shahayla Shadburne

For this month, I am interviewing a good facebook friend of mine named Shahayla Shadburne, who I met on Christian Anime Alliance. She is an interesting person and I think you will enjoy this post.
1. Tell me about your childhood.

I was born on a reservation, I was the only white girl so I got a lot of good and bad attention. I had a pretty good childhood, chasing rez dogs, going on hikes with the guys, and following my 10 kittens wherever they went.

2. What do your parents do?

My parents are the head of a ministry that writes discipleship materiel for Native Americans. They also teach bible studies, and at one point a youth ministry.

3. Why are you Christian?

3. I used to study all sorts of religions and Christianity is the only one that truly teaches Grace and Love. All other religions have a set of rules or practices that you MUST do, or you wont be happy, or go to an after live or so on, Christianity is the only one that I have come across that is clear that Humans can’t be perfect, we need to just give God our life and he will help us with the rest.

4. Favorite bible quote?

I have two,
“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

” I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye” Psalm 32:8

5. Favorite Biblical figure?

I have always loved Ruth, she is the picture of a strong, loving woman.

6. What do you want to do now that you’re out of High School?

I’m thinking of going into YWAM DTS training, or some sort of missions trip, and then going to college at Northwest university for intercultural studies.

7.You’ve told me you have friends who aren’t Christian? Any advice you would give to other Christians who want to reach out to other faiths?

Be a friend, sometimes its good to not preach all the time at them, but just be a good friend, if things come up that you don’t agree with, plainly tell them your opinion, but don’t be judgmental. Also I try to pray for opportunity to reach out, sometimes my friends will ask questions about Christianity.

8. You strike me as a very outspoken Christian. Is there any reason you do this?

Honesty is really important to me, I find that if I’m clear about what I think, things are open more for discussion and then I can learn about what others think and evaluate what I believe based on the bible.

9. Do you have any relations to any Native American tribes?

We have none but I have many family friends that are native American, and living with native Americans so much it kind of feels like I am one myself now.

Saint of the Month: Maximilian Kolbe

Born: January 8, 1894
Death: August 14, 1941

One of the many myths perpetuated about Catholics is that  back in WWII, we did little to nothing to stop Hitler.  In reality, the opposite is true. The pope at the time declared many churches as sanctuary for Jews hiding from Nazis and spoke out against them.  This caused the Nazis to place them in concentration camps as well.  One Catholic who certainly did oppose the Nazi regime was Maximilian Kolbe.

Kolbe was born in Russian Poland. In 1920, he reopened a Polish friary and started a Marian press.  Despite being diagnosed with tuberculosis, he had successful missions in Japan and India before returning to Poland in 1936, three years before the Nazi invasion.  He eventually was captured and sent to Auschwitz. He took the place of a man condemned for execution, causing him to become a martyr.

I feel that Kolbe can be an inspiration.  In today’s world, Christians are still being persecuted for their beliefs. We must oppose tyranny in all its forms.

Interview with a Pagan

Thanks to my Internet connection, I’ve met lots of people I might not have been able to in regular life. I have even met people of other faiths. I realize that there are fellow Christians who, like myself, wish to share their faith even with non-Christians. I feel that this should be done because Jesus also did the same. For this reason, I am sharing an interview I conducted with a pagan named Naomi.
Disclaimer: This is merely an interview to explore the differences and misconceptions of paganism.
1. What was your childhood like?

Personally, for me I don’t remember that much from my childhood due to a severe head injury that put me in the hospital for about 6 months when i was 18 1/2. What I do remember though has both positives and negatives. A negative I do remember was my paren’ts divorce when I was 10. To me, it was a very traumatic event as a kid which stuck in my mind very deeply. A positive was the fact that my dad was a truck driver, we got to go alot of places with him in his truck that we probably would have never experienced otherwise.

2 How did you become a pagan?

I was raised as a Christian, but at the churchs I would go to they would ostracize me like as if I was a horrible person that needed to be avoided even though they would talk to my sister. When my latest boyfriend told me he was a pagan and we openly discussed it, it made sense to me and I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.

3 What gods do you worship and why?

Typically, my worship centers around celtic, norse, ancient Egyptian and Greek pantheons with just a hint of Buddhism and other teachings of enlightenment as well. The Celtic is part of my heritage, The Norse is part of my boyfriend’s heritage and it just makes sense to me. the rest is because certain parts appeal to me for various reasons. Buddhism is because I believe in the teachings of peace and enlightenment.

4 Do you have anything against Christians and why?
No, I have nothing against Christians as a group. There are just specific adtitudes and people I strongly dislike.

5 Have you ever read the bible?
Yes as I said earlier, I was raised Christian so I have read the bible cover to cover several times. I have a lot of Biblical knowledge and i also believe the Bible contains things that are even applicable to me as a pagan.

6 Have you ever read anything by christian authors?
Yes i have. My two favorite all time authors are C.S. Lewis who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote the Lord of The Rings. My opinion is your religious viewpoint doesn’t typically have any bearing on if your writing is good or not.

7 How do you pray?
I usually light incense and go to my specific god or goddess who presides over my specific request. Like when I pray for our soldiers abroad, I go to Athena who is a goddess of wisdom but also a protector of warriors.

8 Do you celebrate any pagan holidays?
No not specifically at this point, I typically light incense at each solstice to celebrate the change of the seasons.

9 What about christianity do you agree with?
I like and agree with the face that Christianity is based on love and tolerance. I also agree with what jesus said to the pharisees, because no matter what your faith and beliefs are you should stand up for them no matter what.

10. What do you believe is the worst misconception about Paganism?

I honestly feel alot of people in society today especially in america which is heavily based on christian beliefs believe and have developed the idea that paganism is strictly devil worship and animal/human sacrifice. There is an element of that most definitely, but my pagan friends and I are normal everyday people who lead normal everyday lives.

How I Became a Brony

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new phenomenon in the Internet. Let me back this up. In 2010, Hasbro bought the Discovery Kids channel and turned it into The Hub, a new children and family-oriented network. To attract an audience, they decided to reboot several of their most popular (and not so popular, in the case of Strawberry Shortcake), one of which was My Little Pony.  To do this, they talked to Lauren Faust, an animator whose previous works include Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Power Puff  Girls. (both of which she co-created with her husband Craig McCracken).  She had actually come to them with a pitch for a cartoon she wanted to do called Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls. When this was leaked onto the web, many people criticized the show, but others decided to try it out.  This created a new periphery demographic: grown male fans called “bronies” (female fans are called “pegasisters”).  When I heard about this, I blew it off.  I taunted some of the bronies who were on Christian Anime Alliance (where I post as rocklobster), mocking them as not being “manly.”

Now, I have to explain something. I’m not against cartoons for girls.  I’ve enjoyed two girl-themed anime Sailor Moon  and Princess Tutu.  But I liked these cartoons because once you took away the girl stuff, you actually had a good story.  So why did I blow off this one?  Because I’d seen the previous versions.  When it was on in the 80’s version was awful. Sure it had a nice fantasy backdrop, but the potential was wasted.  The voices were horrible and the characters were cardboard. I never gave it a second glance.

Then my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to watch a couple episodes, just to see if I could stand it.  Surprisingly, I liked it.  What impressed me?

First, it was the voice acting. There’s quality work here, not cringing, high-pitched voices like the original.  I think the best voice work is from Tabitha St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball.

Second was the animation.  I’ve seen Flash animation before, and except for Homestar Runner, Iw asn’t impressed because it’s so simplistic.  Here, it’s done so well, you overlook the simplicity. Everyone is so expressive, I feel like I’m looking at classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

Next was the characterization and writing.  At first, everyone seems like stereotypes: the obsessive nerd (Twilight Sparkle), the Southerner (Applejack), the diva (Rarity). But as you watch, you start to see the complexities.  They have both positive and negative traits. The point of the show is that the cast is learning about how to improve social interaction. I think the fact that the characters actually have flaws shows children they have to accept their friends’ traits, even the negative ones.  And then there are the morals. Now yes, there’s the standard stuff: racism is bad, cheaters never win, etc. But some also have morals I certainly didn’t expect. The episode “A Friend in Deed” teaches that not everyone has to like you.  “Feeling Pinkie Keen” teaches that it’s okay to believe in things that can’t be explained.  Other episodes I recommend are “Dragonshy”, “Chronicles of the Cutie”, “Suited for Success”, “Winter Wrap-up, “The Best Night Ever” and the epic season 2 finale, “A Canterlot Wedding”. I mostly like it for this image:

So, I’m now new officially a Brony.

One Faith Many Paths: Carla Lapre

For this month, I am interviewing Carla Lapre.  I met her on Christian Anime Alliance.  I think she is a very interesting person, and I admire her frankness.  For this reason, I thought she’d be an excellent person to interview.

1. Why do you believe there is a God?
That’s a challenging question. The Bible makes it clear He was and still exists. Plus if you look at the wonders of animal, bird, and plant life, how can you not say there is a God? Beauty and creativity couldn’t have happened by chance. Also, amidst the chaos, Someone must be in control or else things would escalate far worse then they may seem or have been in the past.

2. What was your childhood like?

I grew up in a home where both my parents were dedicated Independent Fundamental Baptist Christians. Early on, it didn’t seem so bad. Had lots of friends who went to Sunday School with me, and later on AWANA meetings. I accepted Christ at the age of 7 and got baptized a couple weeks afterward. Plus I went through elementary and high school in a private school that was located in the church I attended for most of my life.

You’d think school was fairly pleasant. Hardly. I got bullied a lot for no particular reason. Personally I think some hated the fact that I have a good memory (and at the time read a LOT) and could spit out facts like nothing. Plus I didn’t understand a few things about what was happening to me physically as I approached my teen years. I think part of it was due to the culture clash between me and my mom. She was born and raised in the Philippines, not to mention her body is different than mine, so there were certain issues regarding personal grooming and being attractive that she didn’t bring up with me, let alone grasp why it was important.

Before my sister was born, my dad stayed home to take care of me, so we grew very close. Still, even he couldn’t understand my “rebellion” that cropped up countless times as I got older. Maybe it was because he was a bit of one himself and he didn’t like seeing it in me. I don’t know.

I know it seems like my childhood sucked, but there were some fun times. Making up stories and pretending with my childhood best friend before she moved away. Learning how to swim (and later teaching my sister what I knew to the point where she learned to swim). Staying up late at night with my sister ’cause we thought an 8pm bedtime on school days wasn’t fair. There were a lot of good memories as well.

3. How did you meet your husband?
We met while in college, long before he decided to enlist in the Navy. At the time, I was in my last semester completing requirements to get out with my associate’s degree, as well as to be able to transfer to a state university. Aaron was just into his second year. Around that time, I was hanging with a group of other students my husband and I refer to now as “the drama squad” (and I don’t mean a theater group). One evening, shortly after my 19th birthday, I sent a pretty stupid text to a guy I thought I was in love with. He showed it to his friends and, well, they turned on me. Until things cooled off and they accepted me again, I was alone. I first saw Aaron during a game session before this fallout, but it was a few days after they didn’t want me around them that he saw me by myself and joined me where I was sitting. The rest is pretty much history .

4. Have there been any moments that have tested your faith? Have they made you stronger? If so, how?
There have been several moments in my life where I had what I call a dry spell in my faith, the most recent being the loss of my unborn baby. In each case, I slowly had to remember that God never failed and each time, He brought me through. In light of the miscarriage, I was part of a women’s Bible study, going through the different names given to God throughout Scripture. The night after the miscarriage happened, I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, my husband snoring softly beside me. I was angry. How could God have allowed this to happen? But I knew it was foolish to be mad at Him and slowly recalled everything I learned in previous study lessons, and what the names we covered meant. Finally I was able to tell Him how I felt, that I was hurt, angry, and confused, but that I trusted He was God and would take care of me.

5. Is there anyone in your life that inspires you to be a better person? How?
My in-laws. I’ll not go into detail, but my husband’s family has and is still going through something that would have easily torn them all apart. Even though they believe differently than I do in some areas (they’re Catholic), I’ve noticed they demonstrate a lot more love and openness than I’ve seen in some Believers growing up. As far as how to live my faith, I would call them, especially my mother-in-law, role models.

As far as being a Navy wife goes, it’d probably be my best friend Ann Marie, whose husband was (at the time) an officer on the ship my husband is now assigned to. We met during the long deployment last year. She helped me understand how things operate, and she’s definitely an amazing woman in that she and her husband have been apart longer than Aaron and I have during our (almost) 2 years of marriage and the love and trust between her and her hubby is still strong.

6. What is your current profession?
You mean a job? I’m currently a consultant for The Pampered Chef.
7. Do you have a favorite biblical figure? Why is this person your favorite?
Having just finished 2 Kings recently, I would say my favorite is King Josiah. When he heard the message contained in the book of the Law they found in the temple, the first thing he did was tear his clothes in anguish, knowing how screwed the nation was and how fierce God’s judgment was going to be. I think that was a big deal that the king–the king!–rent his own royal garments and humbled himself in that manner, rather than protest or try to justify his own actions. The other thing was that when he told the people it was time to get serious about worshiping God, he meant business. Destroyed EVERYTHING that pointed to false Gods. We need more people like Josiah.

8. What is your denomination, or do you just consider yourself a Christian with no specific denomination?
I go to Calvary Chapel Newport News. I don’t label myself (e.g. Baptist, Lutheran, etc.) ’cause labels limit and divide.
9. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
John 16:33, especially the last part.

10. What do you think is the worst misconception of Christianity?

That is another hard question. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding Christianity, and for many of them I can understand why the person saying so would believe such a thing. I think what I would say is the “worst” is that Christians are all about filling butts in the pews and converting everyone they meet into a complete clone of themselves. Unfortunately for some churches and/or denominations, that is their mindset. The minute I sense a church or even a Believer who cares more about having more people in the service or “changing” someone from the outside, I’m immediately outraged, because that is NOT what Jesus said. Is it any wonder people think “I’ll get right with God AFTER I clean up my act”, when it’s really the opposite?

It’s one thing about the IFB church that my sister and I hated. We had to go door-knocking with our parents every weekend, dressed in Sunday best (though I tried to break away wearing jeans eventually). While I won’t disagree that some people have gotten to know the Lord by that method, I’m not a big fan of it. As my sister once put it, that method of “witnessing” treats people no more than tally marks in the “number of people I led to the Lord” column. Um, clarification. YOU (the person) don’t lead anyone to the Lord. The Holy Spirit calls and directs them. He just chooses to use you as the instrument. It’s not about the holy roller.

11. Does it bother you when people criticize Christians for being hypocrites?

I actually think it’s pretty stupid when people call us “hypocrites” ’cause ANYONE can be a hypocrite in some area of life, not strictly religion. I know I was for a time, and I’ve no doubt I have the potential to do it again, but that shows I’m human and as a Believer, I struggle with a sin nature.

12. Have you ever had any moments of doubt? How did you overcome them?

I’ve had plenty of doubts growing up. I think the biggest ones involved whether or not my sweetheart and I would have a future together, and then later, the miscarriage. Part of the reason was I believed what people (specifically my Fundie parents) tried to drill in my head instead of looking directly to God and what He has revealed about Himself in the Word. In regards to losing our baby, I had to remind myself and accept once again that God knows what He is doing and His plans are for the best, even when they don’t make a lick of sense to us.

Would you like me to interview you for this project? Email me and I’ll interview you! My e-mail is: You’ll notice when you click on that, the subject “interview” is in your subject heading. I will only accept interviews if “interview” is the subject.