Pearl Harbor Reflection: Why Does God Let This Happen?

by Bill Brenner December 7, 2015 Faith

I know some people who hate God right now. One lost a child to illness. Several have simply had a bad run of luck in recent years. They can’t understand why an all-loving God lets bad things happen to them. I used to be there: When my brother died or when my friend Sean Marley  died. In the aftermath of those events, I wasn’t on speaking terms with God. At other points in my life, like my struggle…  [Read More]

Crosses Suck. But It’s What We Do With ‘Em That Counts

by Bill Brenner April 5, 2015 Faith

Crosses aren’t nice things. We all have them. But they make us who we are. Mood music: Jesus carried his Cross to redeem the world. The way we carry our Crosses define us. We can complain that we are victims and that God is cruel. Or we can carry our Crosses like Jesus did, and turn adversity into strength. We can learn from our suffering and strive each day to be a blessing to others….  [Read More]

The Good and Evil in Every Religion

by Bill Brenner October 27, 2014 Faith

Recent beheadings at the hands of ISIS have caused a spike in news-show rhetoric about the need to profile those who look like Muslims as a way to stop terrorists. My Facebook feed is frequently overrun with talk about how Islam is a savage and evil religion. We’re doing what we do best when scared: painting entire groups and faiths with the same bigoted brush. Mood music: I understand the anger. I absolutely loathe ISIS. Every…  [Read More]

Take Your ‘War On Christmas’ Talk And Shove It

by Bill Brenner November 30, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I’ve written a lot about how my mental ticks give me the holiday blues. But let’s face it: Sometimes the mood is sparked by the hypocrisy I see in capitalism, religion and government. Mood music: Every year in church I hear someone talking about the so-called war on Christmas, where Godless people apparently do everything possible to tear the Christ out of Christmas, from the public schools banning Christmas decorations to people saying “Happy Holidays”…  [Read More]

Jesus’s Drafty, Leaky House

by Bill Brenner September 23, 2013 Faith

During Mass yesterday, the priest repeatedly told us that “Jesus lives inside you.” I couldn’t help but think about what that must be like in my case. Mood music: If I were a house, I could imagine Him grappling with a constant flow of repair bills. There’s more square footage than the heating system can accommodate and the place is drafty as a result. The roof leaks constantly. The place is teeming with vermin. Yet…  [Read More]

9-11-01 Jumpers: A Suicidal Mystery

by Bill Brenner September 7, 2013 Depression

I remember the photo well. It was a man falling to his death in a zen-like pose that haunted me for a long, long time. It haunted us all. Mood music: Yesterday, I came across an entire documentary based on that one photo. The program, like the photo, is called “The Falling Man.” Associated Press photographer Richard Drew snapped a series of pictures of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:41:15 a.m. during 9-11-01. He was one…  [Read More]

Being Catholic Made Me a Better Jew

by Bill Brenner September 5, 2013 Faith

People are always shocked to hear I used to be Jewish but became Catholic. They want to know how the hell that happened. Here’s my story — an important part of which is how my conversion actually gave me a better appreciation for my Jewish roots. Mood music: Truth be told, I didn’t appreciate being Jewish when I was a kid. Our family observed the Jewish holidays on a secular level that had little to…  [Read More]

I Like This Pope

by Bill Brenner June 25, 2013 Faith

As a Catholic who has rebelled against the political structure of the Church, I gotta say this new Pope is giving me a lot of hope. Francis is turning out to be a rebel in his own right, shunning the trappings of power and putting the focus squarely back on Jesus, where it belongs. Mood music: The latest example: Pope Francis skipped a concert over the weekend where he was to be the guest of…  [Read More]

I Forgot to Trust God, Now I’m Paying for It

by Bill Brenner March 21, 2013 Faith

I got out of bed this morning after another rotten sleep and it hit me: I’ve been having trouble sleeping through the night and controlling daytime anxiety because I’m in one of my classic control freak-outs, in which I get depressed because I am anxious about everything and want to control it all. In other words, I’ve been stewing over things beyond my control and forgetting to put my trust in God. Mood music: [spotify:track:7v0mtl6oInUtHOmTk2b0gC] Big,…  [Read More]

Will the Catholic Church Lighten Up Under Pope Francis?

by Bill Brenner March 14, 2013 Faith

After the world got its first gander at Pope Francis yesterday, the inevitable “Lighten up, Francis” jokes started flying. But there’s more than a cheap joke in all this. The question of whether the Church will lighten up under Pope Francis is a legitimate one. Mood music: [spotify:track:7GCBUUTGCGYKwx0kpVay60] I’m a devout Catholic, which is to say I follow Jesus and believe he’s my savior. But I’ve often turned my nose up at the Vatican bureaucracy and…  [Read More]