#109: Why Mary is Not Contrary—Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown

#109: Why Mary is Not Contrary—Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown

 

This week’s guest is a mentor and kind of spiritual mother to Milo Yiannopoulos (whose very candid interview with me was Episode 101) and wrote the bracing Foreword to his latest book (see link below). Dr Rachel Fulton Brown is a tenured professor of history at the University of Chicago, and a renowned medieval scholar with a speciality in the area of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

She is also a fervent convert to the Catholic Faith. In this episode we dive deep into the biblical and historical roots of the role of the Blessed Mother in salvation history, and suggest ways to answer objections to the truth about Mary.

 

In this episode you will learn

  • Why we say Mary is the Mother of God and not just the Mother of Jesus
  • Why all Marian doctrine is Christological in nature
  • How the medieval era got things right regarding the role of Mary in the life of the Church
  • When devotion to Mary went into eclipse and how to revive it
  • Why Our Lady is a powerful intercessor for all mankind, not just Catholics
  • The reason why all the titles of Mary in all the litanies can never exhaust her beauty nor the full truth about her person and mission

 

Resources mentioned in this episode

Join the Conversation

Question of the week: Which scene grabs you the most emotionally and why?

 

 

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108: It’s a Wonderful Movie—Mary Owen and Karolyn Grimes

108: It’s a Wonderful Movie—Mary Owen and Karolyn Grimes

 

This episode debuted exactly a year ago, and I could think of no better show this year to honor my all-time favorite movie, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)  through the eyes of two women with close ties to its creation.

If Mr. Capra didn’t write it, why do I call it “Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life? It’s because that’s how the movie was marketed, which helps explain why the film got only a so-so reception when it was first released. Most of Mr. Capra’s pre-World War II movies were so sweet-hearted that they later earned the moniker “Capracorn,” not meant as a compliment.
It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number 11 on its initial 1998 greatest movie list, it also ranked number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
Think about that. In light of the fact that hundreds of thousands of movies have been made, this is a jaw-dropping achievement.
By the end of the Second World War, though, the mood of the movie-going public had shifted, as I wrote about the making of the movie in National Review a few years ago HERE.
The next day after it was published, an appreciative email from a woman named Mary Owen arrived in my inbox. Turns out, Mary is the daughter of actress Donna Reed, who played Mary Bailey, the wife of James Stewart’s George Bailey.
I thanked her for the lovely email and we had a few back-and-forths. After my podcast was up on two feet and spreading around the world (110 countries and counting), I thought it would be fun to have her on the show to talk about her mother’s role in this now-international favorite Christmas movie and to learn some back story to her mother’s career and her commitment to writing back to the G.I’s who wrote to her from the trenches and the gun turrets of World War II.
The interview segues nicely into the next one, a rich conversation with actress Karolyn Grimes who played Zuzu, one of the four Bailey kids. Remember Zuzu’s petals? This was a real treat for me who loves the movie so well, and I know it will be for you as well.
I learned, among other things, how much Mrs. Grimes suffered as a teen when her mother died and then the next year her father was killed and she became a ward of the state—then “rescued” by an aunt and uncle in Missouri, which was an unhappy home situation. Karolyn also played Debbie, the daughter of David Niven and Loretta Young in another Christmas favorite, The Bishop’s Wife.
For those of us who can’t gobble up enough trivia and true stories about It’s a Wonderful Life, Mrs. Grimes is a treasure trove of first hand memories and insights! Yes, I was star-struck, okay? Is that so wrong?

 

 

In this episode you will learn

  • How Donna Reed’s work represents the best of the Golden Age of television and movies
  • Why she made sure she was “just a regular mom” with Mary and her other real-life children
  • The story of how Reed’s children found a shoebox full of correspondence with American soldiers from the War in her Bel Air home 65 years later
  • Why Owens thinks the movie that made her mother a household name has such enduring appeal
  • Who is the oldest living cast member (hint: it’s not one of the child actors)
  • What it was like to be on set with Frank Capra and to appear with Jimmy Stewart
  • The ways in which It’s a Wonderful Life touched the lives of the cast and crew forever.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode

 

Additional resources

 

Join the Conversation

Question of the week: Which scene grabs you the most emotionally and why?

 

 

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Don’t forget to Subscribe to the show in YouTube, as well as the podcast so you can get the weekly show updates. Check the podcast in iTunes and other podcast directories, please leave an honest review.

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#107: Dads’ Guide to Christmas Movies (special Christmas episode)

#107: Dads’ Guide to Christmas Movies (special Christmas episode)

 

Like Santa himself, Tim Gordon and I have made a list, checked it twice, and have found out which Christmas movies are naughty or nice. Tim, as you will remember from Episode 80, is the author of Catholic Republic: How America Will Perish Without Rome and the co-host with Dr. Taylor Marshall on their popular podcast/YouTube channel.

This is a free-wheeling dueling rant about Christmas classics and clunkers from the point of view of cinephilic Catholic dads. Say what you like, but our opinions are correct, I tell you. Well, mine are…

 

Movies mentioned in this episode:

Here are the movies we discuss with brio, while openly ribbing each other because, well, Advent is penitential:

 

It’s a Wonderful Life

Elf

Meet John Doe

A Christmas Story

The Bishop’s Wife

Miracle of 34th Street

Die Hard

Love, Actually (pornish as is– use VidAngel!)

A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey)

Joyeux Noel

Departures

Special mention of the remake of 3:10 To Yuma, no extra charge.

 

And don’t worry, no Christmas movies involving Tim Allen were mentioned. Shudder. You’re welcome.

 

 

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#106: The “Myth” of the Magi—Father Dwight Longenecker (Free version)

#106: The “Myth” of the Magi—Father Dwight Longenecker (Free version)

 

This is an offbeat look at the Nativity Story through the lens of the mysterious Magi from Matthew’s Gospel 2:1-12. Popular imagination, Christian art, movies, and Christmas carols have shaped the way we think about the Magi. Popular blogger and author Father Dwight Longenecker lays out the facts, based on his book Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men.

Most of what you know about the Magi and the scenes of the may be wrong: The Bible doesn’t mention that there were three, doesn’t say they were kings (although they were clearly wise), and they didn’t find Jesus in a manger or cave but in a house. Listen and, as I did, learn.

 

In this episode you will learn:

  • How reliable Matthew is as an historian
  • Why describing the Magi a function of myth doesn’t not take away from their historicity
  • How the colorful additions (Caspar? Melchior? Balthasar? Camels?) to the biblical story arose
  • The multiple meanings of “the East” for the Jewish people
  • How the arrival and worship of the Magi set the Incarnation onto an international setting
  • How to see the accretions of the Magi part of the story with Santa Claus and the original story of St. Nicholas

 

Resources recommended in this episode:

 

Question of the week

In what way am I a lost foreigner trying to find the Lord Jesus in my life?

 

 

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Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you!

            

 

 

 

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The Top 12 Manly Christmas Gifts

‘Tis the season to be manly! If you are a man, or someone who loves one, and you’re looking for the perfect manliness-enhancing gift, look no farther. The following list, in homage to the 12 Days of Christmas, is user-tested, and certifiably trustworthy. Men, don’t be shy, send your “wish list” to your wives, they will appreciate it.

Here we go, in no particular order (click on the images to shop in Amazon):

 

1. Vintage silver business card case:

Tired of bending or losing business cards? I use this bad boy every day. Its original purpose was for old school cigarette smokers, but it’s perfect for giving and receiving…business cards.

2. Classic fedora:

’nuff said about the main visual feature of my logo and the “valor values” it represents. Hey, you can spent $200 on a fedora, but this elegant felt version is a great money $aving start.

3. Meet John Doe (1941):

Directed by Frank Capra (DVD). This is the OTHER Capra Christmas classic about a good man tempted to suicide from a great height on Christmas Eve. Villains take it in the jaw, chicanery is exposed, and the hero may even get the girl. Talk about a manly plot. Plus, fedoras all around! An annual tradition in Coffinlandia.

 

 

4. Poems Every Catholic Should Know:

Ed. by Joseph Pearce. Come on, brothers. How can you focus for on sports stats, assassin novels, and golf magazines—for years—but not spend a few hours marinating in the best poems ever written? I say swap the Man Cave for a Man Library. Poetry can change your life.

 

5. Cedar shoe cleaner box:

A man’s shoes say a lot about his attention to detail, not to mention etiquette. After noticing your sex, hair and eye color, shoes are the next thing people notice about you. Your shoes looking ratty and worn? Spruce ’em up with this elegant shoe box with all the gear you need get started on the Royal Road To Spiffy.

 

6. Spitfire Supermarine fighter:

This 72:1 diecast of Britain’s powerhouse World War II fighter plane is perfect for your study, desk, or over the hearth. Be inspired to fight, fight, fight the devil and his minions!

7. Starting Strength Training:

By Mark Rippetoe. This is the bible of basic barbell training. Gentlemen, our muscles were made to be worked. Benefits include weight loss, general well-being, self-discipline, and…upper body strength that will definitely increase your productivity. You know you want to.

 

 

8. Gerber mini-knife:

By mini is not meant tiny. This knife is great for the everyday carry needs: strings, receipt stems, tape, boxes, letters, anything needing sharp separation from anything else. When someone asks for a knife, they’re really asking for a man.

 

9. Daily Roman Missal:

What the name says. This sturdy Missal has physical heft and spiritual depth. A good incentive to start going to Mass through the week. This Missal includes the Scripture readings for Mass, assorted prayers, discrete Latin accompaniment, rites, rich biographical information on the Saints. Not cheap, but well worth it for its priceless content and the positive habits it instills.

 

 

10. It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways:

By Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Do you dream of dropping that muffin top that overruns your belt line, or what like an extra chin? Feel drained by 10AM? Trust me; this 30-day science experiment on your body will change your health and your attitude toward that which you put in your piehole. The first time I did the Whole 30, I dropped 22 pounds. Boom. Repeat after me: “It’s only 30 days.”

 

 

11. Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shave Kit:

O how I wish I had started with this deal and a half! Many thousands of smart men are converting to the traditional wet shave, and this kit from Gentleman Jon will get you started right away. To see my simply tutorial on safety blade wet shaving, click HERE.

 

12. Three Stooges Triple Feature:

If you have to ask why….

 

For our great faith resources go here.

Happy Advent!

 

#105: Stanching the Church Bleed—Dr. Taylor Marshall

#105: Stanching the Church Bleed—Dr. Taylor Marshall (free version)

 

Before we get too rah-rah about the “springtime for Christianity” and “the new evangelization,” we need to pay attention to the truth of things. On the ground. Right now. It’s grim. Each year, six times as many Catholics leave the Church as enter it.” By the age of 24, those that leave are already gone and invariably don’t come back. The reasons vary.

Dr. Taylor Marshall, founder of the New Saint Thomas Institute, has not only crunched the numbers but devised a practical solution to this ecclesial bleed out. It’s called Catholic Life Prep. Parents and their teen-aged kids now have a one-stop-shop resource that hits the problem of CFL (collegiate faith loss) head on and provides a massive counter-response of faith, reason, and evangelical passion. Do NOT miss this one.

 

In this episode you will learn:

  • The leading cause of young people losing the Faith
  • The historical context for the bleed-out
  • Why parents should not blame themselves (unless they shirked their duty to hand on the Faith)
  • The role of both natural law and Scripture to answer objections to the Catholic worldview
  • Why fathers are indispensable to the process of passing on the truths and the example of the Faith
  • What kinds of intellectual tools professors use to destroy students’ Christian faith and how to counter them

 

Resources recommended in this episode:

 

Question of the week

How do you account for the massive numbers of teens and young adults leaving the Church each year?

 

 

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104: Professional Athlete vs Real Man—Mike Sweeney

104: Professional Athlete vs Real Man—Mike Sweeney

 

Mike Sweeney played major league baseball for 16 seasons at the top level of performance, with a career batting average of .297,with 215 homeruns, and 909 RBIs. He’s a five-time All-Star; he was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame; he has won the Hutch Award for being a total gentleman and persevering fighter in the game. In 2002, he hit .340 for the second-highest batting average in the American League and the second-highest in club history only to George Brett’s .390 in 1980.

By any standards, a phenomenal ball player.

But Mike is also a fervent Catholic who, as this interview shows well, is not afraid to be vulnerable and to tell the truth about his own weaknesses. His father Mike, Sr. (whom he calls “my hero”) is a huge ongoing influence. It shows.

In this interview, we talk about the brutal statistics of retired professional athletes: the rates of bankruptcy, suicide, divorce, PTSD, along with higher rates of drug and alcohol use. Men who “have it all” often discover the hard way how life is once the big checks, the wild stadium applause, the constant ego stroking are all over after you retire.

It makes the athlete ask, “who am I, really?” To often, the answer is either “I have no idea,” or “without my uniform, my fans, and my riches, I am nothing.” This is where Mike’s shining example comes in.

 

In this episode you will learn:

  • The indispensable role of the father—for good or for ill—in a boy’s life and formation
  • How an episode of violence (in this case, a bench-clearing brawl instigated by Sweeney!) led to a dramatic leap forward in his spiritual life
  • Why being manly is not the opposite of being childlike
  • How a major league professional can and did navigate the temptations and vicissitudes of life on the road
  • How fame can be an addiction that can destroy someone, or make someone else truly humble
  • Why everyday affirmation has an almost mystical power to inspire heroic courage

 

Resources recommended in this episode:

 

Question of the week

How much of my identity is wrapped up in external things like work, title, or portfolio?

 

 

Comment below or on our Facebook page

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Don’t forget to Subscribe to the show in YouTube, as well as the full length podcast available in iTunes and other podcast directories, while you are there, please leave an honest review.

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you!

            

 

 

 

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