Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth: The Christian Edition

The Guts to Be a Christian
It's not easy being a Christian. 
Did anyone ever say it was?  Some of us today think that being a Christian is as simple as reciting a "Sinner's Prayer" and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  I don't recall that formula in the Bible.  As a matter of fact, I seem to recall a lot more.  Denying yourself. Carrying your cross.  Leaving family behind.  Dropping all your possessions.  Becoming the "last", so that we may become "first".
It's not easy being a Christian.
To call yourself a Christian means that you don't check your faith at the door.  This is called being a "Convenient Christian".  There are politicians who espouse this as a virtue.  There are even those among us - in our own community - who preach Christianity (for their monetary benefit) when it suits their business plan.  Today I am calling for a boycott.
It's not easy being a Christian.
KFIS, FM 104.1 (The Fish), call themselves a Christian music station.  Recently, on their popular morning show, Pete and Brenda, the couple had a segment called "The Mystery Morning Voice", where a very short clip of a celebrity's voice is played, and the listener attempts to identify who it is for a prize.  On one morning, the voice was that of Daniel Craig - currently appearing in the anti-Christian film, "The Golden Compass".  Pete and Brenda made an off-the-cuff comment about the movie and that it looked fun.  The very next day, "The Mystery Morning Voice" was Nicole Kidman - also appearing in the same film.  And again they made a comment about the film.
It's not easy being a Christian.
On a recent Sunday morning, The Oregonian asked locals what they were going to do with their state kicker check.  Sho Dozono, owner of Azumano Travel, stated that he was going to distribute his among various charities.  One of these charities was Planned Parenthood.  Azumano Travel has been a big advertiser on The Fish for quite some time.  Sho Dozono's wife, Loen Dozono, is even a member of the Planned Parenthood Board of Directors.
When I confronted the staff of KFIS (specifically Dave Arthur) they denied the on-air comments, stating that I should listen to the program and not to what others say.  I again told him that not only did I hear both comments, but that I have been a listener since the station went on the air over five years ago.  He also denied that Azumano Travel is still an advertiser.  I ask you to go the following web page and tell me what you see.
It's not easy being a Christian.

KFIS, and their parent company Salem Communications, have chosen to be Christians when it is convenient to them.  So far as their advertising dollars do not suffer, they are willing to mention Christ.  We cannot allow this sort of pick-and-choose Christianity to prevail.
I am asking you, on the day of the birth of our Lord and Savior, to boycott any and all services of Salem Communications, including the following Portland area radio stations: KTRO-AM 910, KPDQ-FM 93.9, KFIS-FM 104.1, KPDQ-AM 800, and KRYP-FM 93.1.  I also ask that you go to the above referenced advertisers' page and cease doing business with all those companies listed.  If you have a FISH bumper sticker on your car - take it off.  Take the station pre-set off your stereo.
Lastly, please contact Salem Communications' Denise Davis (Director of Communications at:, or KFIS' Music Director, Dave Arthur, at:
It is not easy, convenient, or comfortable to be a Christian. but it is what God calls us to be.  Will you please join me in making a stand for our faith? 
Thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

2008-The Year of Real Catholic Men?

A blessed Advent to you all! As 2007 draws to a close, I am looking forward to a new year and new challenges.

2008 is going to start off with a BANG for Real Catholic Men. On the weekend of January 18-20, I will be in Gold Hill, Oregon, hosting their 26th Annual Men's Retreat. This is my first foray into this arena, and I'll be giving 3-4 talks over the three days. I'm not sure what I'm getting myself into, but I know the Holy Spirit will be with me every step of the way.

On January 22nd, I will be joined by Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Jesse Romero on local Catholic radio, KBVM (, to discuss the RCM ministry, the June conference and men's spirituality in general. The interview with KBVM's Dina Marie Hale will air at 8:10 a.m. that morning. If you are not in the Portland area, you can listen in on the Internet.

Then, On January 26th, I will be attending the Life Is Sacred conference at the Portland Expo Center. This will be RCM's first big "public appearance." I will have a table set up with literature, conference registration forms, t-shirts, bumper stickers and a great big "Real Catholic Men" banner! It is going to be a great event. Please make your plans to attend.

See, this is just the first month of the year. Who knows what God's has in store for the other eleven months? I don't, but I'm sure excited to find out!

May God bless you all, and may you have a Christ-filled 2008.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Reality and Real Catholic Men

God loves to make sure that we are relying on Him.

For two-and-a-half years, my wife and I each worked part-time in order to raise our two girls ourselves. While it allowed us to forge a great bond with them as parents, it caused other stresses in our lives. When we decided that it was time for me to go back to work full-time, it was easier said than done. During that time, I began Real Catholic Ministries and all the work that we intend to do for God.

This week I started a new job. I think it's going to be great, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid that RCM will suffer. As you can imagine, I don't have as much free-time as I used to have. We now have to put the kids in childcare - another financial obligation that we have to account for. Will they adjust to the new people and place?

How will I have time for work, family, the ministry, my own spiritual formation, etc.? I suppose that's the reality of being a real Catholic man. We must all rely on God - not ourselves - to meet all of the rigors of life.

Jesus says it very clearly in Matthew 11:28-30 . "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Amen to that. Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Whoda Thunk It

Does anybody out there think that God isn't amazing?

As you may or may not be aware, this blog is connected to the Real Catholic Men ministry and the conference that we are putting on in June of 2008.

Any organization worth its weight - or with a few bucks - knows that it has to have a website "presence" in this day and age. Some use it as a major marketing tool, while others use it simply as a place of information for people to go to on their own, and still others have one so they can appear "legitimate" or professional to those who come across their business.

My reason? I suppose it's a little bit of all of these things, but not one more that the other. But the fact is, where else can people from all over the country and the world find out about who you are and what you do without putting out a boat-load of money to advertise?

I have been amazed at the correspondence I have received over the past 2-3 months. At this point I am doing no major ad campaign (can't afford it, for one thing) and am not even actively promoting the event or the site outside of a close circle of friends. Still, people from Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, etc. have contacted me about the RCM ministry. There is a movement out there which is soft-spoken, but powerful. Waiting to leap out of the darkness and attack the devil anywhere he lurks. The network is forming, strengthening, collaborating.

Al Gore may say that he invented the Internet, but we all know that it was God. Romans 8:28 says, "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."

Who knew? He did.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Disordered - From the Beginning

The Bible is an amazing book.

As I delve into Scripture more intensely than ever before, the Holy Spirit is opening up the Word of God to me in ways I have never experienced before.

Some of us try and "read" the Bible like a novel. A VERY long novel. But the truth is, the Bible isn't "read." It speaks to us and we listen. It is an active relationship. It changes, revealing nuances each time through. Just like any re-telling of a story or experience.

Recently, I wanted to dig deeper into the Biblical role of men throughout scripture. What men did God set apart as role models, and what characteristics are called to mirror? So I decided to start at the start: Genesis. Most people (myself included) like to bypass Genesis, and a majority of the Old Testament, in favor of the possibly more reader-friendly New Testament. But it was early in Genesis that I wan given a revelation! No, not the last book in the Bible, but a new view of an eternal text.

Check this out... if you think that it has only been in recent history that the roles of men and women have been knocked their ears, think again. A disordered relationship between Man and Woman caused the fall of man. You got it! Men not standing up and taking the lead role in a relationship caused Original Sin as we know it.

Just read the text and you'll see. We all know the part about the serpent tempting Eve with the possibility of eating the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Eve took some fruit and ate it; "and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it."

You see, Eve didn't take the fruit to him elsewhere - he was right there with her while she was being tempted. He should have done something! He should have put himself between the serpent and the woman and protect her. He should have said to the serpent, "You want her, you'll have to go through me first." This err in judgement by Adam lead Eve to fall into temptation. It's our fault, guys.

And it's still our fault. We continue to turn our backs to the things threatening our spouses, family and society. We put our wives in harms way. We ask them to take the lead in the spiritual development of our children. We ask them to protect the family while we work late at the office, veg out in front of the television, or join the boys for a harmless night at the strip club. See, things haven't changed so much, have they?

Let's do something to finally turn the corner. Make the commitment to be a real Catholic man, in everything that entails. Be not afraid. It's our God-given duty. He'll give us the strength to prevail. Afterall, it's what he wants us to do, and be, anyway.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

20 Years Later...

This past weekend, I attended my 20-year high school reunion.

I attended a Catholic high school. Actually, that should be catholic, with a small "c".

Sure, we had an occasional Mass and prayed at the beginning and end of the day, but we were just as secular as the school down the street. Kids went to Mass so their parents would buy them a car. Their faith was pretty much their parents' (if even they had any), not their own.

I know what you're saying, "that's the way all teenagers are." Maybe, but the purpose of this entry is to let you know that nothing has changed in the last 20 years for my classmates... or for my school.

The high school now has a non-denominational "chaplain" on campus. The guy who was the big-time party dude in 1987, found it hard to shake hands since he had a beer in each all night long.
Men refused to bring their wives so they could talk more freely about the "good ol' days". Or even flirt with an old girlfriend. I handed out a few Real Catholic Men business cards which got odd looks. I wasn't surprised.

If only a Catholic education guaranteed a Catholic adult. If only good Catholic parents meant good Catholic kids. If kids could grow in their faith in spite of their parents lip-service practice of
Catholicism. What hope to we have?

The hope that is Christ Jesus. Us. His Church. Prayer. Evangelization. Walking the walk. Bearing witness. Being seen. Unapologetic. Faithful.

We are called. You and I. Don't sit on your sofas saying, "Aren't I a good Catholic?" Go out, and make disciples of ALL nations! Even those who are younger. Older. The Same. Different. Answer the call. Our Church needs us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Do Real Catholic Men Cry?

God, I hope so. That's not to say that I am a real catholic men yet, but I'm striving. And as I strive, the growing pains hurt. They hurt in my head, heart and soul. I keep hearing that I'll come out better for it on the other side. I'm not sure I want to "come out better for it" if it means enduring what I endure.

I think of Our Lord's Passion. The Agony in the Garden. "Let this cup pass from me," Christ pleaded... "but not my will, but thy will be done." Placing your fate in God's hands doesn't make the process any less bitter. In fact, it makes it more painful, because you have to have the faith to give it all up to someone, and something, that you have never "seen".

"My God, my God, why have you forsakes/abandoned me?" Boy, this is one that I say to myself on a daily basis. Like Christ, I know that He hasn't, really - but it sure feels that way.

We do "our best". We sacrifice. We pray. We attend Mass. We participate in the other Sacraments, but we feel separated from our God. Why? Is it a dessert time? A time of purification? I don't know, and at times I don't care. I just want it to end. And when it doesn't seem like it will... like the dessert stretches on forever -

I cry.

Christ cried.

I suppose if it's good enough for Him, it's good enough for me.

But still I ask that the cup pass from me - because I am human.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feast AND Famine

Yes, you read that right. Not "or", but "and". What do I mean? Here it goes.

A couple of years ago I left a position at a local cable access center due to a nasty take-over by an inter-governmental agency. Since then, I have had the severe displeasure of being un- and under-employed. This has caused serious stress upon myself and my family. The idea of starting Real Catholic Men while not living up to my Godly duties weighed (and still weighs) heavily upon me. This is one of the reasons why I know this ministry was/is a God-thing. In spite of this "season" in my life, I was meant to do this and learn from it as well. I am called to be the student before I can be a teacher. And boy, has this class sucked!

As I write this, I am preparing for yet another job interview tomorrow morning. I've been through this anticipation before, only to be seriously disappointed.

In the light of this darkness (I guess that makes sense), I am continually amazed at how God is blessing the start-up of this ministry. I could go into detail after detail on how the Holy Spirit is working with me and through me, but I won't take up that much of your time. But today, I had the great fortune of lining up local a Bishop, Kenneth Steiner, to preside over the Mass at our inaugural conference this June.

If this isn't a God-thing, I don't know what is.

Even as we live month-to-month financially, the Lord blesses us in abundance! I am honored and humbled to be a servant.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Do I Need Real Catholic Men?

Before we go on, I want to clarify who this group is for. Why? Because most men's groups naturally gravitate towards dealing with issues of being a father. And while that is noble and necessary, it leaves out any man who does not have children. RCM, while obviously inclusive of fathers, aims to address ALL Real Catholic Men: religious, single, consecrated and married - both with and without children. These men are sons, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and nephews. They are employees and employers. Rich and poor. Saints and sinners. Regardless of where you fall in theses categories, you are called to be the best.

I recently heard a local pastor (evangelical) - as he was hosting his own television program - say that one of a father's major duties was to fund his child's dreams so that they could become "dominant" in their chosen field. He cited Tiger Woods, Michelle Kwon, and even the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. This last one blew my mind, since pretty much the entire planet is aware of their father's obsessive bent towards their tennis futures even when they were small children - sometimes becoming "Coach" before "Dad".

So when I am speaking about being "the best", I am speaking not in an earthly, MTV, professional sports, Wall Street sort of way. I mean it in the Joseph, Mary, St. Francis, St. Therese sort of way. Perfection in the spirit through Christ.

Many people are going to ask, "What does this David guy think he can teach us about being a better man?" The answer is - nothing. I need to learn as much as anyone. And that's the reason for RCM. To study, to pray, to learn and to live how to be what God wants us to be as men. This is a daunting task. One we have abandoned throughout the last half-century. Men's roles have changed. Women's roles have changed. And not for the better.

It's a journey. But we need to go back before we can move forward. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So is His Church (in spite of all come-here-we're-more-hip offshoots). So are His creatures. Male and female He created them. Our souls rejoice with the angels and saints when we are being what we were meant to be. Isn't this what we should be striving for?

This is what Real Catholic Men is all about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Real. Catholic. Men.

Real Catholic Men is here! What is it? Well, let's start at the top.


Okay, now that we have that straightened out, we'll move on.

For a complete description of RCM, please click on the web page link, or go to:

That's where you'll find all the pertinent information about the organization, what we're doing and what we hope to do. You'll find our Mission Statement, Event Schedule and soon-to-be Store.

You may be asking yourselves, "If RCM has a website, what's the point of the blog?"

The answer is simple: I don't want to bog down my webmaster with daily or weekly musings, so this is an easy forum to post regular thoughts and refelctions on things of faith and especially issues regarding male spirituality.

As I plan the first RCM Conference (June 21st, 2008 on the campus of the University of Portland), I'd like to share some of my successes and failures. My struggles and victories. This ministry has been given to me by God, and I will fight the devil tooth and nail to make myself worthy to do so. Some days I'll fall. Some days I'll stand up to the Father of Lies and tell him who his daddy is.

This is my mission. This is my calling. This is Real Catholic Men. This is my blog.

God bless. Be strong in Him.

David Renshaw