Retropost: Confessions of a St. Patrick’s Day Curmudgeon


In honor of this special day let’s revisit one of my favorite posts. While most kids look forward to Christmas, when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day (along with Thanksgiving) was one of my favorite days of the year.  It was a big day in my family usually involving going to the parade in…

Retropost: Epiphany


The sixth day of January is the Feast of Epiphany- also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings Day, and Little Christmas.  The lyrically odd but wonderful “Cherry Tree Carol” contends that it is Jesus’ birthday, a belief shared by some early Christians and Eastern Churches.  It is also the beginning of the Carnival season building…

Things I Learned This Week


I learn a lot everyday and probably forget as much each day as well. As a new feature on Panorama of the Mountains, I’m going to write down some things I’ve learned. Like many things on this blog, I am my own primary audience, but if you find it interesting as well, all the better….

Book Review: Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth A. Johnson


Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J. explores the many ideas of God that have emerged in the past century in Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (2007).  The book functions as a quick summary of these many “new” theologies of God – albeit rooted in ancient tradition and faithful to scripture….

Confessions of a St. Patrick’s Day Curmudgeon


While most kids look forward to Christmas, when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day (along with Thanksgiving) was one of my favorite days of the year.  It was a big day in my family usually involving going to the parade in New York and seeing family and friends we hadn’t seen in a while. …

Book Review: A Portrait of Jesus by Joseph Girzone


In A Portrait of Jesus(1998), Joseph Girzone uses a similar approach that he uses in his fictional series of Joshua novels to understanding the historical Jesus.  That is, to avoid theology, doctrine, and Christology and look at Jesus as a real person who came to earth to spread His message of love and freedom through…

Book Review: Faithful Dissenters by Robert McClory


Robert McClory puts the Catholic church under the historical lens in Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church (2000) to show instances when individuals have stood up against official Church teachings and hierarchy.  These dissenters are sometimes punished in their time, but all have been revealed to be prophetic…

Christmas Eve


It’s Christmas Eve.  As you wrap (or unwrap) gifts, sip eggnog, and/or get ready for Midnight Mass, you’ll want to start off by clicking the youtube link below: Then you’ll want to click this youtube link, and replay it in a loop for about 3-4 hours. If you need more music, check out these podcasts. …

All Saints Day


Last year when I went through a liturgical year with posts on my favorite saints, inspired by Fr. James Martin’s book My Life With the Saints, I failed to make a post for All Saints Day.  I spent that day otherwise occupied witnessing the birth of my son Peter (an appropriately saintly name for my…

Peter & Paul


Since I made it through the cycle of saints last year I haven’t been writing as many Catholic things on this blog, but I do want to touch on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul even though I wrote about it last year in a hasty manner. Peter and Paul are cornerstones of the…

Papal Mass in Washington


Yesterday, I watched Pope Benedict celebrate Mass with 48,000 people at Nationals Park in Washington. I wouldn’t usually do this because like fireworks, there’s something about Mass on tv that just isn’t the same. I’m also something of a “low church” kind of Catholic, to use an old fashioned term. But I was home from…

Book Review: Googling God by Mike Hayes


I’m a fan of Mike Hayes from the BustedHaloCast so I read his book Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in their 20s and 30s (2007). This thin volume is basically a guide for ministers to young adults in the Catholic Church, although I read it more as a young adult looking for ministry….

Book Review: The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill Levine


The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (2006) by Amy-Jill Levine is like Jesus Before Christianity in that it puts Jesus in a historical context of his time.  Levine is a Jewish scholar with a lifelong interest in Jesus and Christianity.  Her simple thesis for this book is that Jesus…

Book Review: The Rapture Exposed by Barbara R. Rossing


Revelation is a difficult book of the Bible to understand so I turned to The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (2004) by Barbara R. Rossing for some insight. I was particularly intrigued by the subtitle since Revelation is known for his scary, albeit symbolic, imagery. First order of business…

Book Review: Jesus Before Christianity by Albert Nolan, O.P.


Jesus Before Christianity (1976, 2001) by Albert Nolan, O.P. is a book which removes the lens of Christianity from looking at the historical Jesus, and provides the context for the times in which Jesus lived, walked the Earth, and taught His people. Interestingly, Nolan minimizes Jesus’ supernatural acts and even his divinity, but in a…

Book Review: Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints by Thomas J. Craughwell


Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints (2006) by Thomas J. Craughwell is a collection of short essays of Saints who lived rather unsaintly lives. Usually this was before their conversion, of course, but sometimes even after turning their lives to God we see that even the saints…

Book Review: How Big Is Your God? by Paul Coutinho, SJ


How Big Is Your God? The Freedom to Experience the Divine (2007) by Paul Coutinho, SJ is a book about relationships, specifically the relationship each one of us has with God. Coutinho is an Indian-born priest, his worldview greatly influenced by Eastern religions and mysticism. Yet, if that’s not your thing, don’t let it keep…

Puzzling Through Lent


It’s hard to believe that we’re already three weeks into Lent.  Of course, Lent snuck up on me this year and I have confirmation (Father Lasch, for one) that it is unusually early.  That is because Easter is a movable feast that occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first…