22 June 2008

How Should We Prepare for Advent?

Tom Rinkoski, Director of Faith Formation at St. Augustine's, has an answer- adopt a tree.


You know I'm not kidding... because it's Tom.

I've decided to put the offending paragraph here in case you don't want to read the entire article.

Along the path, choose one tree that exhibits a sense of humor. If you can't find one, try another park. Memorize the place where it lives, so you will be able to return often. Name this tree as a member of your family. Give it your family blessing. It will be your Christmas tree! Promise to visit it as often as possible. Pick up trash around it on each visit. Bring it water during dry summer periods. Read it the poem Emily Dickinson wrote about a tree. Think about this tree while at work. As it achieves family status, take a picture and hang it on the wall next to the high school graduation photos of the kids. Start a web blog about your tree. Maybe next year, it can be featured on your Christmas cards!

*Whistles* So, forget the traditional route like retracing the lineage of Jesus with a Jesse tree, or singing hymns such as Veni, Veni Emmanuel. Here's a better idea. Waste time and gas to go to one or several parks to find a "humorous tree." Then, assign to that tree a rational soul by making it a "member of your family." Make yourself an idiot by reading a poem to this tree, and scare your neighbors by putting a picture of it on your wall. Dang.


Blogger Gerald Lamb said...

You'd think that if a Catholic were to advocate any form of adoption during the Christmas season, he might go for something that's in somewhat more imminent danger - like an unborn child.

June 22, 2008 3:56 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

"Name this tree as a member of your family. Give it your family blessing."

Oh come on, why worry about the unborn when we can have fun *?* bringing trees into the family!

in the smiles and songs of bob dylan,

June 22, 2008 4:09 AM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

That was the offending paragraph? I thought it was the one where he went to a Unitarian church. Oh Tom you amuse me, you scare me, "odi et amo".

In the songs and drums of The Lost Safari Band,

June 22, 2008 9:43 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

I forgave him the Protestant church visit since it was a concert. I do, however, dock him 5 points for bad taste. Lost Safari Band's cover of Handel's Messiah... please.

June 22, 2008 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does this have to do with you? How is it that you say you don't try to stir things up? The article does no harm to anyone or anything.

June 22, 2008 1:26 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

1:26, that is what I will call you, the article does no harm to anyone. What it does is show the looniness and fluff that is Tom Rinkoski.

There are many ways that we can prepare for Christmas during Advent. Many of these can build up the family. But adopting a tree? A TREE IS NOT HUMAN! It has no relevance to the coming of Our Lord and only adds to the distraction. Besides just being loony.

June 22, 2008 2:38 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Anonymous 1:48 has been deleted because I will have no vulgar language on my blog. Here is his/her edited post.
Perhaps those who suggest adopting something other than a tree, should try such themselves. Have you adopted a child? Have you talked with a mother and given her the courage to choose life, not with lip service, but putting your own life at stake in service, love and family to that child? Seriously, all the *** about pro-life this and that, so little action.

Jonathan. Really, on any other blog, I could see the humor in this post. This sounds more like stirring up some trouble. Nevertheless, I did laugh.

Questions asking whether I have adopted an at risk child show the general ignorance of the poster. Neither Gerald nor I are in a position to take on a child. I will let you know, however, that I have spiritually adopted unborn children and pray for them and their mothers. On top of praying the Rosary daily for an end to abortion. Not to toot my horn, but I'm not just sitting silently. Your description of "*** about pro-life this and that" betrays your position on the life issue, methinks.

So an identical posting on another blog and you would find it humorous, but since you discriminate against me...?

June 22, 2008 2:44 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

HAHAHHAHHAAAAAAA!!! What the crap?...Where the heck did this guy come from??? I think his parents must have dropped him on his head repeatedly when he was little. There can be no other rational explanation for his lunacy.

June 22, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger Gerald Lamb said...

To Anonymous (though your visceral reaction to this post and discussion thread - as though it were a very personal criticism - certainly does raise some suspicions):

No, I have not adopted a child. I remain a bachelor struggling to support myself while providing financial assistance to my family - including a teenage sister fifteen years my junior - in the midst of addressing personal health problems that are also a drain on my finances. As Jonathan said, I am not presently in a position to adopt a child. I hope that satisfactorily addresses your red herring argument.

As for the issue of intervening with pregnant women and offering assistance to newborns, the answer is yes. To what extent is something to which I shall be held accountable by God alone. One thing I can tell from my experience in dealing with such women is that all many of them need is someone to sow a seed of hope for them amidst all the seeds of despair that are planted by others - such as yourself - who are prone to mocking the efforts of the pro-life movement. If people like you spoke as hopefully about the future of the unborn as Tom Rinkoski speaks about making a tree part of your family, there would be far fewer abortions and far fewer women who bear children unwilling to swallow their pride and ask for help with their children who - as you and so many other critics of the pro-life movement conveniently neglect to mention - are every bit as deserving of a chance to live as you or me (regardless of whether they have a secure financial future, which has nothing to do with their intrinsic worth and their inalienable right to life), and infinitely more deserving at a chance at life than any tree the Tom Rinkoskis of the world choose to hug.i

June 22, 2008 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, isn't it a bit twisted that someone who challenges others to "act" pro-life (or should I say, anti-abortion?), makes others immediately defensive?

Your post is quite humorous Jonathan. You've found a good one. I followed the link and the article seems about 5 years old. Where do you get this stuff?

Nice job cliff notes quoting Catullus. How many latin scholars read this blog?

June 22, 2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow to one and all. I didn't see the other anonymous post, but I have to say that it's wrong to challenge the pro-life actions of people who appear to be actively pro-life... in the same vein as it's wrong to post hateful stuff about someone's harmless personal opinions. Again, why are you out to stir up trouble? If you've got a cause, by all means, stick to it, but this strikes me as thoughtless and immature.


June 22, 2008 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this paragraph offensive? you forgave him for the protestant church visit? wtf? are you saying the catholic church is superior to the protestant church? isn't it the same religion? It sad how you think yourself superior to others and think of other denominations inferior to yours. grow up. You don't act like jesus at all, your not at all accepting of others. Your so up tight its ridiculous. you definitely try to stir things up. you need to loosen up.

June 22, 2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...


Google works wonders. Haha!

Regarding the Latin- go back to Suscipiat Dominus in March 08. I love all the Latin that goes on here.

June 22, 2008 9:47 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

1:26, Thanks for ID'ing yourself in your subsequent post! I think that is my biggest issue with anonymity. Keeping everyone straight! I'm not going to answer your question, because, well, it was thoughtless.

The paragraph is offending. It's only offensive in that it's stupid and waste of space for a Catholic newspaper. There are so many, I don't know, valid(?) items that could be discussed.

And yes, the Catholic Church is superior because it was founded by Jesus Christ. It alone has the means of salvation and outside of her there is no salvation. I love my Protestant friends and family, but they're wrong. Oh so wrong.

June 22, 2008 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your wrong just shut up already. let people write about what they want in papers. no everyone has a stick up their butt

June 22, 2008 9:59 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

Are they the same religion? How can the same religion be both true and false at the same time? JPII was wise when he said "truth cannot contradict truth"

June 22, 2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

"You're wrong just shut up already". I know there's a name for this fallacy, I just can't place my finger on it.

June 22, 2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no body is contradicting anybody. every religion is the same just different view points and customs. Every religion has been the cause of death for so many people throughout the centuries especially christians. all the christian denominations are the same they all worship and praise jesus. some are just more uptight than others. Like baptists and apparently you. I'm pretty sure all god wants is for you to praise him and not do bad things. Jesus was a jew practiced jewish traditions, you should keep with those. mohammed was a prophet who spoke good things. allah and yahweh and jehova and god are all the same person. Muslims believe that jesus died on the cross for our sins also they just don't see him as a messiah. the bible is full of contradictions. when they take jesus to pontious pilot and trade him for the "criminal" barabbas, they trade him for Jesus Barabbas (son of the father) another man who was slated to be the messaih and was arrested for trying to attempt a coup because the description of the messiah is he is a military leader and a saver. I don't see how any denomination is "wrong" whe they all preach of serving god and keeping god first in your life and to do good things and to give thanks to god for life. I just don't see it

June 22, 2008 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fallacy? what fallacy do you speak of? what are you god? no your human just like me, skin blood and bones and tissue. your not infallable. If I speak against you and go against your word I go against yours not gods and your word is not infallable. get off that high horse. Your not better than me were all the same.

June 22, 2008 10:16 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Frank, while all Christian groups share some teachings in common, they are different. For example, Catholics believe Jesus when He said "This is my body." Protestants deny this. Catholics believe we are saved by grace through faith and works. Protestants believe grace through faith alone. Mohammedans deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. Christians believe Jesus is God. The differences are immense.

June 22, 2008 10:17 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

By fallacy I'm referring to your blogging bullying by telling me to sit down and shut up so falsehoods may abound. And that is something, by God's grace, I'll never do.

June 22, 2008 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know what I wanna apologize. Everyone has their own views on religion. I need to respect other peoples views just as you should. I personally don't believe one denomination is necessarily true or false. I just think everybody needs to believe in god. Do excuse me for my behavior. My stress with school can be over powering at times. Preach as you wish

June 22, 2008 10:21 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

"Muslims believe that jesus died on the cross for our sins also they just don't see him as a messiah." That is true enough, but the Qur'an also says plainly that God can have no son. Yet the true God, which is the God of the Jews and the Christians, has shown us without a doubt that He can have a Son and indeed does have a Son.
The three Abrahamic religions are not equal, I'm sorry. God doesn't say one thing then contradict Himself later. At least between Judaism and Christianity there is continuity, agreement and harmony. I'm not going to act like Jack Chick and say Allah is some kind of moon idol, but I will tell you it is not the God of Abraham, it is something deceitful and sinister.
But Jon I do hate to go off topic on your blog

June 22, 2008 10:29 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

.... Yeah, because we were on topic. lol.

Apology accepted. In this country, everyone has a right to say what they want about their religion, even if they are wrong.

June 22, 2008 10:31 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

I found another great Tom quote thanks to the power of Google, "I contend that one of the last remaining sacred places available in the known universe is the bathroom."

Odi et Amo, Tom!

June 22, 2008 11:02 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

lol! That one is the best.


Create an Advent Imagination Station!!!

June 22, 2008 11:28 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

We also have this article

In which Tom teaches us that "Tongue Twisters are an excellent Holy Week discipline."

"Maybe instead of theological formation, we need tongue twister training."

So that's what they do at St. A's?

June 22, 2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

He's starting to sound less like Tom and more like Dumbledore

June 22, 2008 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this breaks my heart. What is your deal? What is Catholic about this???

June 23, 2008 12:08 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

What is Catholic about what? About any of Tom Rinkoski's articles? There's absolutely nothing Catholic about anything he's ever written that I've read.

Mr. Rinkoski has several times shown that he is not an orthodox Catholic. He has written in correspondence on more than one occasion that he stands on his theological understanding that we may address God as "God our Mother." That is wrong, wrong, wrong. That is not just wrong, it is heresy. Someone who publicly believes in such manifest errors is in no place to be in a teaching role at a Catholic church.

June 23, 2008 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Judy Wibbelsman said...

Doesn't this sort of thing amount to Internet cyberstalking?


June 23, 2008 4:41 AM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

I hardly think this counts as cyber stalking do you Jon? We are simply using the internet to search things that other people have decided to make public by publishing their own words online. Its no different than searching for news about this or that politician.

Besides, Jon and our friends are regularly searched on Google these days, as if we were the ones who were doing wrong. So many of you have accused Jon of making trouble, but I tell you he's just reporting the facts. The real trouble is made by the people he reports on, yet Jon gets all the blame.

But I do hate to go off topic on your blog Jon

June 23, 2008 9:17 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Hmm, I don't know. Looking at my stats page and seeing 50 hits in one day by probably about 10-15 people, with some people spending about 20-30 minutes (one person up to 66 minutes) after searching "jonathan knox" catholic on Google is closer to cyber stalking. Especially when the last page they view is my picture. But I don't mind, because I put all this information out there for everyone to see, just as Rinkoski did.

June 23, 2008 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I'm glad you don't mind that people google you before writing in your blog, since that's exactly what you did to Mr. Rinkoski...

I agree though, there's no real point in this post. There's so much in the Church to legitimately discuss, I'm surprised that you picked something like this that has no bearing on anything... these are articles published by a diocesan newsletter... that means that if people found them offensive, the bishop of that diocese easily could have had them removed from the internet.

I'll leave the "God our mother" thing alone, since that's already been discussed in another of your posts. That also has no relevance to these articles. How do you know what he teaches in his classes? Does he teach about God our mother, or anything that is in any of these articles? Are you a student of his?

His writings may not be to your taste, but they're not heretical or offensive. There are actual offenses to complain about if you'd like,

June 23, 2008 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Judy Wibbelsman said...

From wiki on cyberstalking:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Internet stalking)
Jump to: navigation, search

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone.

It has been defined as the use of information and communications technology, particularly the Internet, by an individual or group of individuals, to harass another individual, group of individuals, or organization. The behavior includes false accusations, monitoring, the transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and gathering information for harassment purposes. The harassment must be such that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.[1]

Further information: Stalking

Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself. Lambèr Royakkers writes that:

"Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)."[2]

CyberAngels has written about how to identify cyberstalking:

When identifying cyberstalking "in the field," and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.[3]

A number of key factors have been identified:

* False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.[4]
* Attempts to gather information about the victim. Cyberstalkers may approach their victim's friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective. They often will monitor the victim's online activities and attempt to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims. [5]
* Encouraging others to harass the victim. Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim's name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit.

Are you doing any of the above, Jonathan?

June 23, 2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Cliff Notes said...

We may have reached a dead end on this thread. Its not fun to watch anymore. :-( Entertain me Jon, you non malicious cyberstalker

June 23, 2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Judy Wibbelsman said...

I don't think Jonathan is capable of entertaining you, cliff notes. He appears to have no sense of humor, being more obsessed with highlighting what he views as unacceptable in others. I wonder who his next victim will be?

Jesus prayed that we would be one even as He and the Father are One. John 17:21,22 ... Jonathan is set upon creating or at least highlighting divisions. This is not to the Glory of God.

None of us are perfect but this is no reason to harass those you do not agree with.

June 23, 2008 6:15 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

I deleted the latest back and forth between two readers because they weren't central to the issue, and bordered on a lack of charity.

2:00 Anonymous,
That's right. I did state that once you put information out on the open internet- especially if you write it on a blog or a newspaper article, it is fair game for scrutiny.

These writings in the Compass are not heretical, nor particularly offensive. They show a lack of focus. Other writings of his, such as those to my associates and to me, show inclinations to heresy (Magdalene, Mother God) and his attack on "the new conservatism" (See: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dre-talk/message/9019)
which is really the orthodoxy of Pope Benedict XVI, scares me.

June 23, 2008 7:34 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Judy, knock knock. ;) But seriously, that hurt. Boo hoo.

I have a sense of humor enough to laugh at the fact that you used the cyberstalking article on Wikipedia. Besides the fact that you cut short right before the bullet point "Arranging to meet" which is something Rinkoski did in his first e-mail to me... But Wikipedia, come on?

Here is a more authoritative source. The Florida Statues state that "to cyberstalk means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose." That's 784.048.

1) I doubt these posts are causing substantial emotional distress to anyone. 2) I most definitely have a legitimate purpose, and nothing here is libelous. If you disagree, I guess you can sue me. That's a joke. I just think you're taking this way too far, trying to elevate it to stalking.

I am highlighting the division that certain elements in St. A's have already created. These have no place in the parish, as you show from Scripture. So they need to be addressed.

If you have any suggestions, Judy, to my next "victim".... meaning, if you spot any heresy that you want to be highlighted, e-mail me at jonkknox@ufl.edu. We'll send you a free "Testimony to Truth" t-shirt. Again, joking.

June 23, 2008 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yahoo threads? Well you're a thorough googler, aren't you?

What exactly do you find to be heretical in Mr. Rinkoski's attack (read: opinion) on the new conservatism?

June 23, 2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...


June 23, 2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

"New conservatism" is something that is attacked, while the statement on Protestant denominations was not new or "conservative"- it was orthodox and it is an authoritative doctrine of the Church. The fact is that Lutherans do not make up a church like Catholics do. They don't have apostolic succession or valid sacraments (other than baptism and marriage).

He says that his Lutheran daughter is excluded at St. A's??? What do you think that means? Of course she's allowed to go to Mass and I don't see any priests coming into the pews saying "Hey, Lutheran! What are you doing here?" Now if the Pope says her denomination is not a Church, that's just the Holy Father declaring doctrine.

The fact that he calls clear declarations of Catholic doctrine "neo-conservative blather" betrays his unorthodox holdings.

June 23, 2008 8:07 PM  
Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

It's also a COMPLETELY erroneous usage of political terminology. Neo-conservatism as a political philosophy is simply not applicable when you're talking strictly about Catholicism. Again, using such terminology vis-a-vis religion implies the presence of a spectrum of belief, from not believing to wholly believing, which of course is not in touch with the reality of the Catholic faith, which is "take it (all) or leave it".

June 24, 2008 9:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home