The big announcement is…

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…delayed.

Sorry, but it’s out of my hands. I was told something would be available today, but now it’s not available today, but might be available any day now. What is this thing I’m talking about? I can’t tell you. But feel free to guess in the comments area, and if you’ll get it right I’ll just (subtly nod head.)

Meanwhile, last week I renovated my office. It’s a lovely collection of religious/academic/sci-fi stuff, just like my brain is. Come on in and take a look!

Alive Again

It seemed that my previous blog about “getting better” was a bit pre-mature. The bronchitis came back with a vengeance, and was only relieved by the two things that Jesus says are necessary to expel serious demons: prayer and steroids.

I just finished the last conference yesterday and I’m on a plane to see my family, who got a jump start on our vacation by heading to New Hampshire last week. So I was sick and lonely. But now I am healthy and about to be surrounded by those I love. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see them! Well, I guess I just did.

I’m also excited to share some amazing things God has done this summer, as well as my usual pithy insights on faith and culture. And big news tomorrow!!! But you’ll have to come back to find out what that is.

To sum: I’m back.

I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better…

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This is the summer of sickness for me. Allergies attacked in June, now bronchitis in July. I think it’s safe to say I was sicker yesterday than I remember being since receiving Pete the friendly parasite (yes, I named him) from Haiti in 2009. Probably at about 60% today and would appreciate your prayers as a conference starts tonight. Yikes!

Zombies Vs. Jesus, commentary

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Let me begin with a disclaimer: I don’t like zombie movies. 

That’s not to say I’m biased against the undead. I just don’t like horror movies in general. Or tear-jerkers. The way I see it, terror and sadness are two emotions I try to avoid in my daily life, so why would watch something that would induce them?

And yet I wrote a script called “Zombies Vs. Jesus.” Let me tell you why.

I was asked to write something that dealt with the theme of, “The Healing Power of the Eucharist.” My first script had a boy wake up one morning and everything the faced turned into a battle of some sort. The mother said he couldn’t have a car and then threw a grenade at him. His girlfriend broke up with him and then he had a ninja sword battle with her. At the end of the day he crawled into the chapel and cried, “Medic!” A priest came and gave him the Eucharist, healing his wounds and giving him strength to go and fight the “battle of his life.”

But that was deemed too violent. So I wrote about zombies.

Honestly, I didn’t think in a million years it would be accepted and was already trying to figure out another script idea when I got the call that they loved it.

The heart of the script was that sin makes us “the living dead” but through the Eucharist we are restored. Knowing that zombies like to eat flesh, I thought there was a cool parallel that our souls desire to eat flesh, too—the flesh of Jesus Christ.

Many of the scripts I write end up verbatim on the screen or with minimal changes. I would say of all the scripts I’ve written so far this one went through the most changes. And in this case, I think that’s a great thing.

Like I said, I don’t watch horror movies and I don’t do zombies. My original script was more of a parody of the genre. But the team that put this film together (Spirit Juice Studios and Outside Da Box Productions) did an excellent job of taking what I wanted to say and creating a tenser and grittier film that I would have been able to write on my own. It’s the result of a great artistic collaboration and I’m happy to have been a part of it.

But I’m really interested to know… What do you think?

Because imitation is the highest form of flattery

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Had a wonderful time in Virginia Beach last weekend, and was especially honored when the youth group of Christ the King Parish in Norfolk presented me with a music video that parodies one of my songs! No one has ever done that for me before!

So here it is, in all it’s glory:

Also, at the last youth conference I met a teen named Colin who said he used me for an art project at school, and then was kind enough to email what he did:

Honestly, I’m really flattered. Thanks!

Greetings from Virginia Beach

In retrospect, June was a pretty hectic month. I spoke at conferences in both Halifax and Phoenix, and did five Steubenville Conferences, one of them being a week long. So this week I’m relaxing with family and friends in Virginia Beach and we’re having a great time.

If you’re in the Virginia Beach area, I’m playing some music at Christ the King Parish in Norfolk at 7 PM tonight. I’ll sing a few songs, talk a little, and then play music for a time of adoration. Should be really cool! No cost, though donations are accepted. If you can make it, I’m sure you’ll be blessed.

 

Rest in Peace, Tyler Peltier

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If you are not a part of the Franciscan community, then you might not have heard that one of our recent graduates died last week. His name was Tyler Peltier. Apparently he died of a heart attack while biking. He just graduated in May with a Theology degree and two weeks from now he was going to Africa to do missionary work. Tyler was 22 years old.

I did not know Tyler. But as a professor I feel a kind of patrimony for all of our students and he has been on my heart and in my prayers ever since I heard the news.  Today, as I looked for a picture of him to use for this blog, I realized that, though I didn’t know him, I certainly know many of his friends. I’m praying for everyone who is experiencing his loss, especially his family.

Yesterday the Mass on campus was offered for him (as was the Sunday Mass at the Youth Conference.) Fr. Gregory mentioned Tyler’s last Facebook message was something to the effect of, “I’ve got my tickets now. There’s no turning back.” He was speaking of his upcoming trip to Africa. But in light of his death, the spiritual meaning of what Tyler wrote is obvious.

When I was a freshman in high school, a senior who was very active in my youth group died in a car accident. In my sorrowful prayer for him I opened up my Bible and God led my eyes to see this passage from Wisdom. When I heard of Tyler’s death, it was the first thing I thought of:

The upright, though he die before his time, will find rest. Length of days is not what makes life honorable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. Having won God’s favor, he has been loved and, as he was living among sinners, has been taken away… Having come to perfection so soon, he has lived long; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has hurried away from the wickedness around him. —Wisdom 4:7-10, 13-14

None of us knows the time or manner of our death. As Christians, we are all called to be ready for the coming of the Lord, whether that be individually or when Jesus comes again in glory. From what I’ve heard about Tyler, he had his “tickets,” not from an airline, but from leading a holy life. And he was ready to go, even though those who love him might not have been ready to give him up.

Rest in peace, Tyler Peltier. I hope to get to know you better in heaven.

I’m on EWTN

Quick note: I’m the guest on “Franciscan University Presents” and the topic is “Benedict XVI and the New Evangelization.” I haven’t seen it yet but it felt pretty good in the studio when we taped it. For those of you who’d like to see the “professorial” side of me, tune in to EWTN on Tuesday, July 3rd at 1 PM and again Thursday, July 5th at 5 PM.