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Pentecost: Because Fire is Cool, by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak
We like to celebrate the birthday of the Church with fire, fancy, and foreigners…Try these flambé recipes and risky (if not quite risqué) games.

Top Ten Things for Mediocre Catholics to Give Up for Lent, by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak
Did your Lenten penances get lost in the desert? On April 1st, here are one bad Catholic’s ideas for making Holy Week suitably grim.

The Unbearable Reality of Love: The Passion of The Christ, by John Zmirak
In this film we see with unbearable clarity how Jesus descended into the personal Hell each of us carries around - and purged it clean.

Celebrating ‘All Hallow’s Eve’: The Seven Deadly Courses, by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak
This Halloween recall the festival's sacred roots by dressing as your favorite soul in purgatory and serving up these seven deadly courses.

November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day - Go Out with a Bang by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak
Every Nov. 5th the English celebrate the day in 1605 that Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes and friends—a group we might call Al-Chiesa—tried and failed to blow up Parliament. This year marks the 400th anniversary. There's no reason Catholics can't enjoy it too—albeit giving it a bit of a twist.

The President and the Pope: Reading the Signs of the Times, by John Zmirak
Ronald Reagan and Pope John  Paul II shared more than a distaste for communism. They shared an ability to read the signs of the times and act accordingly.

Dark Young Thoughts: A Review of the film, ‘Bright Young Things,’ by John Zmirak
For all his cultural libertinism, director Stephen Fry imbues his new film, 'Bright Young Things'— an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 'Vile Bodies'— with more of a Christian spirit than Waugh’s pre-Catholic novel ever had.

Contraception, Bulimia, and Frankenfoods, by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak
If it feels good—stop it! Is that all the Catholic Church has to say about sex? A Saint Valentine Catechism.

Fathers, Sons, Feuds and Myths: An interview with Alexander Waugh
"Alexander believes that the banana story was true: 'He was a very greedy little boy, and he definitely would have remembered the bananas and he definitely would have resented them. But my point in the book is that you cannot trust the testimony of a very greedy jam tart thief, who would rather have a jam tart than meet his father.'"  [Telegraph]

Interview with Stephen Fry
"'I would, in a sense, not hold my hand up to being a full artist. I think there are artists with a capital 'A.' There are people who are utterly uncompromising. I'm much more of an entertainer. I like to engage and to provoke. I certainly don't want to be formulaic.'" [Onion]

My Lunch with an Old Friend of Dan Brown Proves Revealing About The DaVinci Code, by John Zmirak
Is Dan Brown a convinced heretic hell-bent on bringing down Christianity, or a hack writer who stumbled on a crackpot conspiracy theory on par with alien abductions, Holocaust denial, and lizard men?

Preaching with a Punchline: An interview with John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak, Patrick Novecosky
John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak admit to being bad Catholics. But they're in good company, they say - Mother Teresa was a self-professed bad Catholic, too. Which means they're really good Catholics? Whatever. The duo has teamed up to write 'The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living'— a zany but reverent guide to Catholic life and celebrations.

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The Transfiguration: Trinkets on Mt. Tabor

The Transfiguration reminds us that God left the apostles with no excuse for doubt. The Father spelled things out, as if to ask, “What part of ‘THIS IS MY SON’ didn’t you understand?”

John Zmirak

This holiday, too little celebrated in the West, marks one of the most hopeful—and the trippiest—moments in the New Testament, outside the positively psychedelic Apocalypse of St. John. According to Matthew 17:

"Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And His appearance underwent a change in their presence; and His face shone clear and bright like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, who kept talking with Him. Then Peter began to speak and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good and delightful that we are here; if You approve, I will put up three booths hereone for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am delighted. Listen to Him!'"

The Father was offering Jesus’ three most important followers a miraculous morale boost...
Why did the Father perform this particular fireworks show for three of the apostles—particularly since Jesus told them not to talk about it until after his Resurrection? And what did it mean, anyway? Theologians don't agree, of course. But many suggest that the Father was offering Jesus' three most important followers a miraculous morale boost, before they accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem for his capture, trial, and execution. Looking up to see their teacher elevated between Israel's great messianic prophet and the giver of the Ten Commandments, these apostles were left with no excuse for doubt. In case they missed the point, the Father spelled things out for the slow-witted, as if to ask, "What part of 'THIS IS MY SON' didn't you understand?"

But what does the Transfiguration offer us today? A lesson about the nature of the Church. Notice how Peter, the first pope, reacts to the miraculous theophany of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, flanked by two Hebrew prophets: He tries to open up "booths" for a gift shop. If Jesus had let him, within a few weeks Peter would doubtless have set up a "Feast of Elijah, Moses, and Jesus," complete with sausage and peppers, a Tilt-a-Whirl, zeppole and three big, sticky statues for people to cover with moneyall managed and "protected" by the Roman Mafia. If he'd given Pilate his cut, Jesus would still be alive today, serving as "capo" of the Galilee Family. But history is chock-full of such "What Ifs...."

August 2, 2004

From the upcoming "A Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living" (Crossroad Publishing, Spring 2005) by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak.

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08.06.04   Godspy says:
The Transfiguration reminds us that God left the apostles with no excuse for doubt. The Father spelled things out, as if to ask, “What part of ‘THIS IS MY SON’ didn’t you understand?”

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