How are we missing the signs?


Today’s readings from Mass are leading us to contemplate what the end will look like.  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus spells out what it will look like.  He says, “And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”  (Mark 13:26-27)

He goes on to say, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.”  (Mark 13:28-29)

I read an interpretation this morning that said that Mark’s gospel was just relating the fact that most people of his time were expecting Jesus to return soon, so this is just his way of expressing that.  Since the person given the interpretation was a Catholic priest, I will accept that this a possible interpretation.  However, I will offer an alternative translation to this reading to say that we are possibly missing the signs that God is giving us through the events of the past few years and his return is now near.  I do not have the time this morning to reveal all of these signs, but I can tell you that they have been revealed to me through both secular and religious channels.

The question is, “What do we do now?”  The answer is, “We repent and continue to preach the good news to all who will listen.”  The time is short now, and the final coming of Jesus is imminent.  If we repent and believe in the gospel, we see it as an imminent joy that is coming, but if not we see it as imminent doom.  Now it is just a matter of choice, as to which perception of his coming is true.

Marketing assignment – Coffee survey



I decided on four questions that were mostly closed end questions. However, they were questions that gives me an idea of what things the respondents find important in their coffee experience. A total of 20 surveys were filled out.

Items on the survey were worded as direct questions, and included the following topics:

  • Ordering coffee
  • Experience
  • New coffee shop
  • Why coffee?

Note: The complete survey questionnaire is included later in this document for reference.


The final survey form asked respondents about their experience with buying coffee. The respondents were parents of our Youth Ministry youth and they were asked to complete the questionnaire and return it to the survey administrator.

Data analysis was completed using Excel.

The Survey

Which of these three things are most important to you when you order your coffee?

a)    Speed of delivery (I want my coffee fast, and I don’t want to wait in a line.)

b)    Quality of coffee (I don’t mind waiting, but the coffee better be good.)

c)    Number of options (I want to have the coffee that I want.)

When you visit a coffee shop, what is the most important part of the experience?

a)    Cleanliness of shop

b)    Friendliness of staff

c)    Other options on the menu (Food, energy drinks, etc.)

If you are looking for a new coffee shop, how would you decide to try one?

a)    Family or friend referral (including seeing your friends or relatives drinking their coffee.)

b)    Advertisement in newspaper or on TV (including their mission statement for why they serve coffee.)

c)    I might just stop in one time to see if they were any good (it wouldn’t hurt if the first cup was free, right?)

Finally, when you visit a coffee shop, what is the motivating factor that drives your visit?

a)    I’m tired and I need a pick me up.

b)    I want to reward myself for something.

c)    I just love coffee.


Conclusions –


After reviewing the survey and the respondents’ answers to the questions, I would change a few things if I did it again. First, the fact that I had options as a possible answer to the first two questions probably effected the results negatively on the second question. I could have eliminated the second question, because it is really obvious that everyone would want a friendly staff.

I would share with my friend that quality coffee is important. Even though people might just stop by and check you out if they are driving by, referrals would be a large part of the customers to start with, and that is more important initially than advertising. Finally, the fact that people were equally motivated to buy coffee by all three factors was surprising. So, if my friend was to advertise his coffee shop, all three factors should be included in the ad.

I have thought about offering coffee to the parents who are dropping off their kids for our youth programs, as a fundraising opportunity for the Youth Ministry. I am thankful for this assignment giving me this valuable information, if I actually can talk my pastor into it. (I wouldn’t mind having the coffee for myself either, because it seems that I never have enough time to stop and get one when I need it.)

Hell, it is a Hot 1…


Heaven or hell…It is our choice!

I was reading a blog that normally takes a pretty negative view of the church this morning.  However, today the post was very positive about the prospect of how many people are headed to hell.  I know you are supposed to capitalize the first letter in proper names, but I just don’t consider hell a proper place and I really do wish to de-emphasize the place, so less people will consider it as a destination.  Unlike the blogger, that you can read here…So Much Has Happened since I started this blog in 2013…I wish to stay positive about the possibility of more people avoiding this place, rather than see it as a destination that is a predestined target for all unrepentant sinners.  I am sure that if you ask most people, they would prefer not to spend eternity in hell, but like the blogger says, and I’m paraphrasing…What are they doing to avoid it?

For me, the first step towards repentance is a good confession.  If you are Catholic, this should be to a priest, who can give you absolution, so you can hear the words from a representative of Christ who is forgiving you.  If you are not Catholic, you could confess to God, the ways that you have failed to follow His Son.  The first thing you might want to confess is that you are not following His will, in favor of your own, by not being obedient to His church.  After that, you may want to tell him all the ways that you have failed to live up to the vocation that he chose for you.  (ie-father, pastor, child of God)  After that, you could tell him that even though he gave you a way to become more like him, in his body and blood in the Eucharist, you choose to be your own person, and not pay any attention to the real presence of His Son that is Holy Communion.  Finally, you can talk about all the ways that you serve other gods, like money, sex, power and prestige, rather than bowing at the altar of the One true God on a regular basis.

If all of this sounds really harsh, good!  It is meant to, because the truth is that I cannot understand how a “good” Christian can live without a “good” Confession.  Reconciliation is meant to be an opportunity to be “eye to eye” with God, in order to know, not only that He forgives you, but also that you are worth more than living out your life with all the resentment that comes from a lack of repentance.  You hear those words, “I absolve you…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and it has an eternal impact on your soul that cannot be denied.  The only response to His great gift of Reconciliation, is:  Amen!

The Meaning of Serial Arguments…


Part of the serial argument example, not necessarily related to the paper…

A Higher Meaning of Serial Arguments

Jason M. Roebuck

Northwest Christian University


The established models and schemes have been used to help define the basic structure of an argument.  Extensive analysis has been done to shed some light on the reason serial arguments happen and what determines their chance of continuing.  The studies used for this paper are the hypothesized model which considered rumination, conflict intensity and perceived resolvability, as well as the conflict linkage model and the Conversation Argument Coding System (CACS).  The research that I used mostly studied romantic partners, so my review will consider that relationship exclusively.  It is my intention to show that the will of God, as well as his mercy and love, that provides a similar explanation to much of the research that has been done on serial arguments.

A Higher Meaning of Serial Arguments

It is funny how the first article I read uses plenty of examples to illustrate the importance of context.  In the end, the article mentions that consideration of context is a limitation to the results of the study. (Hample, Richards and Na, 2012, p. 462)  The study of serial arguments is important to understand the nature of how arguments evolve over time.  It is the focus of my paper to show that the work of many researchers agrees with the work that was begun by God in at least two serious people over 17 years ago.

In order to start my argument, here is an example that will illustrate the power of serial arguments:

A husband tries to make a comment to his wife about how blatant references to sexual content on clothing or the revealing nature of some outfits, can only lead to lust in people’s minds.  To which, the wife will respond that she does not think that way, therefore it doesn’t matter what clothes she or other women wear, especially if they think the outfit is cute.  The response is she denies the truth and the argument escalates into a debate over whether or not Christians are responsible for the salvation of others.

Hample et al. (2012) suggested that the degree to which the argument will continue is based on the imagined interactions that might be taking place between arguments.  Also, the suggestion is made that imagined interactions between episodes of the argument are a determining factor for how the conflict will proceed.  The conflict linkage model discusses at length the research that shows how the different variables to the argument effect the ability to not only continue the argument, but produce a positive outcome.  (Hample et al., 2012, p. 475)  It is clear that the results show that this model creates a way to analyze the imagined interactions, as well as the actual episodes of arguments.  The results allow you to see the reasons for an argument’s continued nature.  The limitations of the conflict linkage model are that the sample size is limited in this study and the nature and content of the argument was not factored in to the study.  Obviously, the sample size of my one argument would be too small to add any more truth to the study.  However, the nature of the argument and/or content give me reason to believe that this argument will continue, and nothing that I read in this study contradicts that idea.

Next, let’s consider the concept of rumination, or ‘‘a class of conscious thoughts that revolve around a common instrumental theme and that recur in the absence of immediate environmental demands requiring thought … ’’. (Carr, Shrodt and Ledbetter, 2012, p. 483)  This concept relates to the idea of imagined interactions directly.  At the beginning of the article, it is proposed that the conflict intensity is the one variable of the three considered; rumination, conflict intensity and perceived resolvability, which would have the greatest impact on whether the argument will continue.  However, throughout the analysis of the three factors that are presented in this article, it shows that the perceived resolvability is a much more important factor in determining the probability of the argument continuing.  Since this model uses the hypothesized structural model, it starts out with some ideas that could be proven false.  The results of the study show that the fourth hypothesis, which says that conflict intensity is negatively associated with the likelihood of continuing the serial argument, is mostly proven wrong.  (Carr et al., 2012, p. 485) This study draws some great conclusions about the way these three factors can determine the probability of and motivation to continue the argument.  Finally, it states that it is limited by the nature of this study, which took responses from only one of the participants in the argument.

The Conversation Argument Coding Scheme is not used to specifically study the impact of variables in serial arguments.  (Johnson and Averbeck, 2010, p)  However, the same rationale that makes the conclusion about the noteworthiness of interpersonal partner communication over a specific topic, can be made about the communication over a specific topic during a series of arguments.  It was unfortunate that this study did not consider the impact of computer-mediated communication in its analysis of the argument.  However, the article states that it would be interesting to see if computer-mediated communication would have an effect on the way two people enact an argument.  Finally, the idea of chronemics creates another variable which was not studied, although it is similar to the serial argument.  It would be interesting to see the results related to the impact of patiently waiting to get to a conclusion.


Reading the articles about serial arguments was exciting because there are plenty of serial arguments in a marriage.  The serial argument example that is mentioned at the beginning of my paper is one that comes up often between me and my wife.  Most likely, the perceived resolvability from an outside observer is not very high, but nothing is impossible with God.  If two people in a relationship are led by the Holy Spirit to work together, they will allow God to bring them to a more perfect union.  After researching the concept of serial arguments, it seems to me that considering ideas like rumination, conflict intensity, perceived resolvability, and imagined interaction, might just be the key to more integrative arguments.  This knowledge of the anatomy of an argument will be a link to a better connection to the perfect will of God for our marriage.   Conflict in the future will be an example to our four children of what a marriage that has God at the center looks like. The two serious people that began to form a family over 17 years ago, have God to thank for the grace to live together in harmony.  It is through the mercy of God, as well as his love that has formed our consciences for dealing with conflict in the past.  It would be interesting to study, if couples that study these variables and their effects on serial arguments, actually do argue better than those that have never studied them.  There is no doubt that God can supply the patience married couples need to love each other through any conflict.


Carr, K., Schrodt, P., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2012). Rumination,            Conflict Intensity, and Perceived Resolvability as Predictors        of Motivation and Likelihood of Continuing Serial Arguments.        Western Journal of Communication, 76(5), 480-502.

Hample, D., Richards, A. S., & Na, L. (2012). A Test of the               Conflict Linkage Model in the Context of Serial Arguments.          Western Journal of Communication, 76(5), 459-479.

Johnson, A. J., & Averbeck, J. M. (2010). Using the                          Conversation Argument Coding Scheme to Examine                     Interpersonal Conflict: Insights and Challenges.                            Communication Methods & Measures, 4(1/2), 114-132.

Good news…A little to much for Twitter today!


I didn’t read the readings today, but I watched the reflection on the gospel.  You can watch it here if you want to…REFLECTIONS

It was the message that we hear at the end of the gospel today when Jesus says, “But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”  (Luke 11:41  NABRE)  Whatever we feel convicted about today, as far as our sinfulness, we can make up for it by giving alms.  It is still a good idea to make it to confession at your earliest opportunity, but regardless of how off base we have been in our understanding of our following the will of God, we know that Jesus has given us a way out.

Obviously, it is not good to make plans to give alms because we know we will disregard the will of God.  However, when we realize that we have fallen short, which we will, it is important to know that there is a path to repentance that should include a radical look at the needs of others.

Finally, it is not enough just to give alms, but we must plan on making the world a better place through our work and our ministry.  This video I found makes a bridge from my last post about modesty and lust, as well as what else we must do besides give alms to make up for the wrongs that have been done to society.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!


Servite Rosary

This devotion to the Our Sorrowful Mother was originated in the Thirteenth century. It recalls the Sorrows the Virgin Mother of God endured in compassion for the suffering and death of her Divine Son.
How to pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows

1. An Act of Contrition:

O, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, behold me before your divine presence, all in confusion at the thought of the many grievous injuries I have done you.  I ask pardon for them with my whole heart, repenting of them for love of you, hating them above every other evil and ready to lose my life rather than offend you again.  And do you, most tender Virgin, mother of mercy and refuge of sinners, obtain for me the pardon of all my sins by virtue of your bitter pains and help me to so pray as to gain the indulgences attached to this, your most holy Rosary.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of you divine love.  Send forth you spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Enlighten our minds , we beseech you, O Lord, with the light of your
brightness, that we might see what we ought to do and be able to do what is right, through Christ, Our Lord.

2. Announce the First Sorrow; then say the “Our Father.”
3. Say seven “Hail Marys,” while meditating on the Sorrow.
4. Repeat 1 and 2 continuing through all seven Sorrows.
5. Three “Hail Marys” are said at the end in honor of the Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother.
6. Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, for the intention of the Pope.
7. Say “Virgin most Sorrowful, pray for us” three times.

Meditate on the following while reciting the prayers

The First Sorrow:
Let us meditate on the first Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin, when she presented her only son in the temple, laid him in the arms of holy Simeon, and heard
the prophetic words, “This one shall be a sword of sorrow to pierce your own

The Second Sorrow:
Mary flees into Egypt with Jesus and Joseph-
Forced to endure the hardships of a long journey, and becoming a foreigner in a strange land, Mary and her family flee to protect the child Jesus from those who would destroy him.

The Third Sorrow:
Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem-
Jesus disappeared for three days in Jerusalem at the age of twelve, causing his parents, especially Mary, agonizing sorrow.

The Fourth Sorrow:
Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary-
As Jesus makes his way to Calvary, condemned to crucifixion, He meets His mother, Mary.  He is bruised, derided, cursed and defiled and her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags His own cross up the hill of His crucifixion.

The Fifth Sorrow:
Mary stands near the cross of her Son-
Mary stands near her dying Son unable to minister to him as he cries “I thirst”.  She hears him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies.   His last words, “Behold your mother,” charge us to look on Mary as our mother.

The Sixth Sorrow:
Mary received the body of Jesus taken down from the cross-
The passion and death are over but for his mother, grief continues.  She holds His body in her arms.

The Seventh Sorrow:
Mary places the body of Jesus in the tomb, awaiting the resurrection-
The most tragic day in history ends, Mary alone in sorrow, as she lays the body of her Son, in the tomb.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Glory Be
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Thanks to the Grotto, in Portland, OR for the prayer and if you get a chance to visit them and can support their ministry, please do!

History of Christianity II – Final Research Paper


Counter-Reformation for 500 Years

Jason M. Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

The Church of the Jesuits in Rome – Mother Church expelling Martin Luther and other heretics…

According to my research, the Council of Trent issued decrees between 1545 and 1563 that does attempt to make major reforms to the way the church ministers to the faithful, proving that the church was answering the questions posed by the Reformation. So, the question is can we prove that the church was and is attempting to bring Protestants back to the church. I will start out listing some of the grievances of the Protestant Reformation, and then list the decrees from the Council that answers each one of them. Finally, I will end with a discussion of later reformers, and how the church has the answer to even some of the later reformer’s questions as well. I will attempt to keep the Council of Trent and its’ decrees as the guiding force behind all of my arguments.

While researching my topic, I noticed a book that was referenced as a great resource to better understand the period leading up to the Council of Trent. In her book review, Elisabeth Hirsch says, “Jedin himself leaves the careful reader of the book with the impression that a “holier” Pope and less scheming rulers would have done a better job in the interest of the unity of the Church.” (Hirsch, 1958) She was talking about a book called, “A History of the Council of Trent Volume I: The Struggle for the Council”, by Hubert Jedin, and after reading her review completely, I felt I just had to have it. Unfortunately, when I read the book, it was a great historical account of the factors that called for a council before the first reformers came on the scene, as well as the logistical issues that were involved with calling all of the leaders of the church together into one location in Northern Italy. However, the only real insight that I received from his book would be a quote I found at the end of the book, that I could easily use for my own treatment of this topic for this final essay. He said, “Our exposition did not presume to summon to judgment those who bear responsibility-either to condemn them or to absolve them. Our first step was to explain, to understand. This done, it was necessary to appraise, that is, to assess the conduct of men in the light of the historical mission allotted to them. For the appreciations thus arrived at we claim no absolute validity; no such claim can be made, for though based on a firm Catholic view of events all such estimates are not the less conditioned by the writer’s personal conception of history.” (Jedin, 1949) After reading the full history of the events leading up to the Council of Trent, I was left with the impression that the understanding of the Council would be colored by my understanding of my faith, and this celebrated author was making sure I understood that. However, he continued to explain that in another 100 years, we could have a different understanding of these events, as well as the direction the Holy Spirit was leading the church by not providing the answers to the reformers questions in a more timely fashion.

On to the questions of the reformers, and how the Council of Trent was answering these questions. First, the reformers, especially Luther were concerned with how the indulgences were being sold or used to raise money for the church. It wasn’t until the 25th session of the council, after the selling of indulgences was formally condemned by the pope, which the indulgences were explained as to be used for the purposes of all the faithful, and not just those who could afford them. Second, the reformers seemed to question the implications of all of the sacraments, and the 7th session of the council made it very clear that all seven sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ. Finally, as far as Baptism is concerned, the same session of the council defined the sacrament of Baptism to be as prescribed in the Catholic Church in the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was also explained that it is not necessary to be at any certain age in order to receive the sacrament.

There were many more complaints that were brought up by the reformers, but it would be impossible to discuss them all without recreating a good portion of the documents of the Council of Trent in this final essay. Since it was not for another 350 years that another council was convened in the church, it is clear that the church and the world was pretty comfortable with the explanation that the church gave for the way that they wanted to live out their faith. In a research article about the counter-reformation, I read, “In turn, Catholic lay people have begun to emerge not merely as either passive recipients or fierce opponents of Tridentine reforms but as active participants in a dynamic process of cultural negotiation and interaction.” (Walsham, 2005) It is also clear from my research that no amount of clarification of these issues would have ever brought the reformers back from the path that they were already on toward the many different denominations of faith based on the particular movements away from the Catholic Church and the central authority of the papacy.

It was the fact that Jedin explains, where he gives so many reasons that the church was moving toward reform before the issues that were raised by the reformers early in the 16th century, as well the fact that the church was still reaching out to the reformers during the Council of Trent and the councils that followed throughout the past 500 years, that tells me the church will never stop trying to answer the issues that were brought up by the reformers as reasons to break from it. You might assume, as I did, that I would end with a treatment of how we have come so far in our understanding of conciliar movements in the church, that we need only look at the Second Vatican Council to see the many attempts that the church made there at bringing many great minds together to help move the church into the next phase of operations. However, it was a conference that was recently held at the Vatican that I would point to as a better illustration of the fact that the church is reaching out to leaders of all faiths to help explain the issues of our day. Specifically, it was the Humanum Conference in November of 2014 that shows the length that the modern church is willing to go to, in order to make sure the world hears the voices of many different faith leaders, in order to express the solidarity of the church. It was convened for the purpose of upholding the sanctity of marriage. They invited Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church to speak, as well as Princeton Professor, Robert George. They included in the discussion, participants from the Pentecostal church, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and the Church of Latter-Day Saints. One of the fruits of this effort was a video presentation that was a beautiful explanation of the beauty of marriage that was shown to the participants and is now available on YouTube for anyone to view or use for the purposes of instruction. Finally, it is this example that gives me hope that many of the leaders of the Reformed churches will continue looking for ways that all Christians can come together to bring about the salvation of the world, or at least anyone who, by the grace of God, will listen to the Good News.


Hirsch, E. F. (1958). A History of the Council of Trent. Church History, p 378-379.

Jedin, H. (1949). A History of the Council of Trent Volume I: The Struggle for the Council. Freiburg: Herder & Co.

Walsham, A. (2005). Translating Trent? English Catholicism and the Counter Reformation. Historical Research, p288-310.