Category Archives: Religion

Angel in the woods of northern Georgia?

John Albrecht, Jr., reports for that a law enforcement officer from the state of Georgia made available to Coast To Coast AM an image of an angelic figure that was captured on a wildlife camera in the woods of northern Georgia. The photo was posted on Coast To Coast AM’s website on June 28, 2013.

Coast To Coast AM guest Dingo posted the image under the headline “Strange Figure on Wildlife Camera”. According to Dingo, he and another officer responded to a call about hunters trespassing on private property, but the officers were unable to locate the suspects.

The next day the property owners set up a infrared wildlife camera in an attempt to catch the trespassers. Instead, the camera captured this — an angelic figure of light, wielding a sword.

angel in North Georgia woods

Dingo said about the incident: “After a number of reports from the complainant and unable to locate any hunters in the area, the property owner put a wildlife camera up. The property owner checked the camera the next day and contacted us to take a look at the pictures. The property owner wouldn’t tell me what he thought it was and I wouldn’t express my opinion of what I thought it was, for fear that we didn’t want the other to think each other was crazy.”

The two officers said they think it was a hunter. They claim to have access to other similar photos collected nearby from a Ranger of the Department of Natural Resources.

Dingo stated in his report, “We (law enforcement officers) believed the light source were in fact coon hunters during the night (very common for the area).”

I cropped and enlarged the light figure:

angel in North Georgia woods

Light figure next to a statue of St. Michael the Archangel:

angel in North Georgia woods

Here’s a video of the light figure:

What do you think?


Sunday Devotional: How we are to prepare for the end days

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”


1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

rainbow of stars

As American culture and society darken by the day, voices claiming we are in the end days increasingly are strident. Those cries came to a crescendo last September, when doomsday profiteers under the guise of televangelists, like Rick Joyner and the disgraced TV fraudster Jim Bakker, hustled gold and “survival food” to the gullible who are unclear on the concept of “doomsday,” as if either gold or food could ensure a person surviving the end of the world. See our Trail Dust’s series of posts on the doomsday hucksters:

September and its super and blood moons came and went, and the world did not end.

So much for the end days hucksters who are so arrogant as to claim to know what Jesus Christ our Lord did not claim to know:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” -Matthew 24:36

The way to prepare ourselves for the end days is not by building bomb shelters, stockpiling gold, silver and survival food. The way to prepare ourselves for the end days and for our own separate deaths at the end of our mortal life on earth is to heed the counsel of Christ and that of St. Paul.

Be good. Strive to be holy, so that we’ll be blameless when we, one day, stand before God and must account for how we have lived the precious life He gave us.

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.

May the joy and peace and love of our most beloved Jesus Christ the Lord be with you!


Third-party reproduction and Nepal’s surrogate baby industry for Israeli homosexuals

surrogate mother - womb for rent

DCG’s post this morning, “Man demands abortion after surrogate learns she’s having triplets,” raises important questions about surrogacy or third-party reproduction.

Third-party reproduction (TPR) refers to:

  • Egg harvesting: the sale of a woman’s fertilized egg(s) for implantation in another woman who is unable to reproduce but who would bear the child; or
  • Surrogacy: the artificial insemination and renting out of a woman’s womb to bear a child who, upon birth, will be surrendered to the renter.

TPR has become a booming and highly profitable “fertility industry” in many countries, including the United States, where there is virtually no regulation.

Another country is Nepal, which experienced devastating earthquakes last April and May. The earthquakes exposed a little-known surrogacy industry in Nepal when Israel sent a Boeing 747 to repatriate Israeli citizens after the first quake on April 25 (in which an estimated 8,000 people died), among whom were 15 babies born to surrogate mothers there. Eventually 26 babies were air-lifted out of Nepal to Israel, but none of the mothers. Another 100 women pregnant with babies for homosexual Israeli clients remained behind.

Michael Cook reports for BioEdge, May 16, 2015, that since surrogacy for homosexuals and single parents is illegal in Israel, they have turned to surrogacy agencies abroad.

India and Thailand had well-developed surrogate-mother networks. But after scandals both countries imposed onerous restrictions on overseas clients. So the Indian agencies moved their clinics to Nepal. Surrogacy is against the law in Nepal, but this only applies to Nepalese citizens. So Indian women have been going to clinics in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to bear babies for Israeli clients.

Alon-Lee Green wrote an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the exploitation of surrogate mothers in Nepal:

“How can it be that none of the human interest stories or compassion-filled posts [about the earthquakes] mentioned these women, who came from a difficult socioeconomic background, some from Nepal and some from other poverty-stricken areas of Asia just to rent their wombs (not sell their ova, since the fathers generally prefer European genetic material)? Who now, like the babies they’ve just had, are also stuck in the disaster zone?

. . . the attitude toward these women, or more accurately, the lack of one, in the midst of the earthquake story sheds light on exactly what’s problematic about surrogacy: The surrogate mothers have become a commodity, yet another product to be bought on the open market. Or to be more precise, these women, their wombs and their time have become commodities for Israeli men.”

Once the surrogate babies are brought to Israel, they face further difficulties. Because their biological mothers are not Jewish (the ova were purchased from the US, South Africa and other countries), the babies must undergo conversion to be considered Jewish. But most rabbinical courts are very reluctant to allow the children of single-sex couples or single parents to convert.

Kathleen Sloan, in her article “The Dark Side of Third-Party Reproduction” for The Public Discourse, warns that third-party reproduction entails serious health risks and costs for the women involved. 

Normally, a healthy young woman produces only one or two eggs per month, but third-party reproduction calls for more — the goal is to generate as many eggs as possible, sometimes dozens, at once. To do that, women who sell their eggs must undergo weeks of painful self-injections of carcinogenic synthetic hormones and other drugs followed by surgery for egg retrieval.

In the case of women who rent out their wombs as surrogate mothers, they must undergo a similar regimen of dangerous and painful procedures to prepare their bodies for implantation and gestation.

All of these procedures to which the egg provider and surrogate are subjected pose serious health risks.

Short-term health risks include:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), characterized by difficulty breathing, excruciating pelvic pain, swelling of the hands and legs, severe abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, low urine output, and diarrhea. OHSS can be fatal.
  • Ruptured cysts, ovarian torsion, blood clots, chronic pelvic pain, premature menopause, infection, difficulty breathing, allergic reaction, bleeding, kidney failure, stroke, and even death.

Long-term health risks include:

  • Cancer, especially cancer of a woman’s reproductive organs—ovarian, breast, or endometrial cancers.
  • Intracranial pressure from ingesting Lupron, which is given to both surrogates and egg providers. Lupron is not approved by the FDA for fertility use (it is used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer). Lupron is a Categorical X drug, which means that if a woman gets pregnant while taking the drug, the fetus will be harmed.
  • Future infertility.

Then there are the problems for the babies birthed by surrogate mothers. Sloan writes:

Surrogate births intentionally sever the natural maternal bonding that takes place during pregnancy. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a study in June 2013 that found that “the absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be problematic.” The study also noted that children’s problems may be underreported by the procuring parents who wish to “present their children in a positive light.” The biological link between parent and child is undeniably intimate; when severed, there are lasting repercussions for both parties. […]

For the sake of donors’ privacy, the children have no right to information about their genetic history, despite obvious life-long ramifications for their health and medical care. In addition to frequently not knowing who their biological parents are, they have no way of knowing about any siblings they may have.

Lastly, but not the least, there are the problems for a society that engages in third-party reproduction. They include:

  • The sale of women’s bodies (eggs & womb) for profit. How is third-party reproduction different from prostitution?
  • The commodification of human life: The selling of children is illegal in the United States and many countries. But isn’t surrogacy the sale of children as well?

Despite considerable health costs and risks to third-party reproduction women, there is virtually no regulation of the fertility industry in the United States. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) issue recommendations that are strictly voluntary and therefore unenforceable. For example, they advise that women undergo no more than six stimulated cycles, yet some undergo ten. There are no national registries to track the health of the women who sell their eggs or rent their bodies as surrogates.

For the above reasons, the U.S. has become a popular destination for international fertility “tourism.”

Federal and state governments meddle and interfere in just about every aspect of life in the U.S., but not the fertility industry. Sure makes you wonder why.


The Bible’s Other Creation Narrative

We all know the 7 day creation narrative in Genesis.


But there is another profound and revealing creation narrative in the first chapter of John’s Gospel 

1In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Giving Thanks

prayer of thanks
Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved holidays in America. But did you know that unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is explicitly religious in nature?

In 1789, in his first year in office, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because —

“it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

In 1815, President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness.” After Madison, however, Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in New England for 48 years.

In 1863, magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned the Lincoln administration that “a day of Thanksgiving now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

President Abraham Lincoln called on Americans that year to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”


The United States of America is one of only ten countries that set aside a day to give thanks. In so doing, our forefathers displayed not only virtue, recognizing God’s bounty, but also practical wisdom. We now know, from scientific research, that gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy and healthy. Research shows that happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

We of the Fellowship of the Minds want to take this occasion to thank all our readers and especially our faithful regular commenters who contribute so much to this blog with their intelligence, trenchant observation, righteous outrage, and wit.

God bless you, and may God have mercy on America,


The Big Thank You

Thank you Lord Jesus…


for what you did for us 2000 years ago.

Thanksgiving: Not just a holiday, but a command

A guest post from Steven Broiles, former high school teacher, now a voice-over artist and cab-driver in New York City.

Steven Broiles

THANKSGIVING: A Holiday and a Command

By Steven Broiles

I returned home from my freshman year at Boys Town in 1971. That Thanksgiving, CBS had a news report about a high school girl who won a prize for her Thanksgiving essay. (She read it on air). The question she asked was, “What do we have to be thankful for?” She went on to list the reasons against gratitude—a never-ending war in Viet Nam, political corruption, a high crime rate, inflation and all the rest.

Well, here we are, 44 years later, and we have TWO never-ending wars and more turmoil than it seems we can handle. And from the looks of it, we’re about to be drawn into a conflagration with Russia. Suffice it to say, things do not look good.

So what do we have to be grateful for? Most of us will stuff our faces, get drunk, go to bed and join the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. Thanksgiving has devolved into a feast of gluttony and consumerism gone mad!

But I have stopped to think about my own situation and how thoughtless I have been. Every day is like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: Wake up, go to work, come home and eat, drink a six-pack, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We have an obligation to be grateful. Gratitude is not merely a virtue; It is a command. As I have said before, I believe I have a spiritual condition known as acedia. I have been told I am intelligent and articulate. But I cannot seem to break out of my rut. Every day is the same. There is a certain sadness at the work required to improve my situation. Then there is the sadness at the opportunity to do that work! It’s “damned if I do and damned if I don’t!”

And from the news I’ve been watching, the talk shows I’ve been listening to and the customers I have in my Uber car, it seems to me that most people are suffering from the same condition of acedia, to a greater or lesser degree. People can tell what is wrong with the country, or the City of New York, or their own situations. They say great things or have good ideas, but they can’t seem to do anything about it. People, myself included, seem to be crippled by indecision.

It seems to me as if almost everyone, at least as a corporate whole, has been beaten down to a state of demoralization, not quite on the state of despair, but seemingly hopeless, nonetheless. Not to be grotesque, but it is like nausea! For all of my Catholic education and all the sermons I have heard for over 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of things. But I have never heard the word “acedia.” If I had, I would have remembered it. The closest thing I have ever heard similar to it is “sloth.”

But then I thought about it. WHO is the author of confusion? WHO is the author of indecision? WHO is the author of despair? Of the resulting spiritual dry rot and cynicism? Certainly it is NOT God who wills these things. It is NOT God who creates and nurtures this spiritual torpor, this feeling of being stuck in a straightjacket! Is it no wonder I have been stuck in this attitude, and go about it, day after day? Is it no wonder I cannot seem to get out of this rut and transcend my problems?

I thought of the Serenity Prayer, and how it is a call to ACTION. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” My past unwillingness to do what this prayer says is the cause of the prolonging of my problems! It is an accountant’s prayer: I have to stop the chatter inside of my head. And I have to identify those things I cannot do anything about. (Fortunately, that list is rather short.) Then I have to identify those things I CAN do something about, or at least what I can do about my own situation. And I have to make my plan and stick to it, not being discouraged by the length of time it will take to achieve those things I have to achieve. Long story short: I make a T-account—a sheet of paper with a vertical line down the middle. The left column is the negative column, and the right column is the positive one.
And I have to bear in mind that my imagination can be my own worst enemy—of how easy it is for me to dwell on the negative and get carried away with it.

This is what I look for when I am listening to other people, whether they’re in my car or on the internet. Going negative is really easy. I think we’re all prone to it. God knows there is plenty going on right now to be negative about. And then I think about the logical conclusion to negativity gone mad: It ends in the insane asylum or in suicide!

I think that the daily exercise of the Serenity Prayer leads me to gratitude. We are COMMANDED by God to pray for our own affairs. So we stop everything and identify what we have to endure. Then we identify what we can do about it. We stop our wild imagination and its catastrophizing and get ahold of ourselves. And then we have gratitude for being able to do this much. We feel gratitude for the ability to endure another day, another problem, for the ability to think clearly. And that gratitude propels us into the next day.

My friend Eric was very kind in allowing me to keep my boxes of books in his house when I moved out of my apartment shortly after 9/11. I got those boxes out of his garage this past summer. I kept a few of those books—a very few. One of the philosophers I used to read was Gabriel Marcel, who wrote “Creative Fidelity.” (I gave the book away: I placed the boxes of books—one or two boxes a day—on the stoop to the house. People would come by and take what they wanted.) Marcel has said that there are problems and then there are mysteries, and that one of the problems he noticed in life is how we treat everything as if it is a problem. Then we treat each other as if the other person is a problem. Then we wind up treating ourselves as if we are a problem! The answer, he opined, is to look at life and our participation of it as a mystery, and to participate in that mystery.

This is what I think is our primary spiritual problem—a lack of gratitude. We have been and are very fortunate, despite what we must endure. And things do not look good. Let us practice gratitude and count on it to get us through things. Let us not wind up like a certain Presidential candidate (cough! cough!) who insists upon “being treated fairly”! Let us continue to be grateful for what we have—and what we have been spared—and participate in the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith.

Let me always remember that Our Lord told His Apostles, before He Ascended into Heaven, “Behold! I have overcome the World.” Let us always employ the Serenity Prayer as the Road to Sanity and Gratitude!

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday and in the days ahead.