Over 100 male parishioners attended a men’s conference at All Saints Church yesterday. The gathering was titled “Guided on the Path by the Spirit: Finding Your Spiritual GPS.” I was asked to serve as the emcee. My job was to introduce the five speakers and make announcements about lunch, etc. I did crack one joke because I found it very funny that the caterer chose to serve hot dogs and meatball subs to a men’s conference.
The featured speaker for the morning session was Fr. Michael Sweeney, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Harriman. He revised his topic from “Male Spirituality in a Changing World” to “Spirituality in a Dangerous World.” He said those who are alive on the outside but spiritually dead on the inside are similar to zombies that are currently popular in movies and on TV. Empiricism and nihilism are schools of thought that teach this is all there is, that life is without meaning. Such people only believe in the natural world, without accepting the metanatural, a term Sweeney prefers over supernatural.
After lunch, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Bob Hunt spoke about “The Church at Home.” The topic had two meanings. Early Christians met in homes rather than churches. In our times, fathers must serve as the “pastor” of their families. When fathers attend church regularly, their children are far more likely to attend church regularly. He urged the men present to make sure their children see their fathers pray. Five things we fathers can do are: worship, prayer, acts of service, teach the faith and be Christ-like.
Bob suggested that we look up the teachings of Dr. Peter Kreeft of Boston College, especially Kreeft’s lecture “Good, True, Beautiful,” the audio of which I found on Amazon.com for 99¢. Several of Kreeft’s audio recordings are available on Amazon for 99¢ each. The same lectures cost $1.99 on iTunes.
Hunt announced that his upcoming book, “Thy Word: An Introduction to the Bible for People in the Pews,” had just received received an imprimatur from Bishop Richard Stika. Hunt is currently working on self-publishing the book.