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Several years back, I was approached by my friend John “Rusty” Proctor to help him work out a problem.

You see, he had written a play titled Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama, and needed to get it ready for production. The problem: Every time Rusty tried to cut material from his play, he just added more pages.

Normally, I would’ve said no, but Rusty and I had become pretty close. In fact, I blogged about how we met earlier in the year.

The play was an amazing story about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth that followed the spiritual journey embarked on by a pastor’s wife after her husband, a man of unwavering faith and determination, received a vision to grow his church.

The rewrite took me some time, but I was finally done.

Excited, I emailed Rusty to let him know that I was taking a break, but I only had one more scene to go and that I should have a finished product ready by morning.

After taking a break, I hopped on my Macbook only to discover that the file that I was working on became “corrupted”.

I was devastated.

Somehow, I had to break the news to Rusty, who was patiently waiting to read the polished new script.

Thankfully, I remembered almost everyone of the changes that I made and emailed Rusty the changes a day late.

A few days after receiving the rewritten play, Rusty called me and asked to meet. Not only did he ask me thank me, but asked me to direct the stage play.

“I never directed anything before,” I told him.
“I never produced a play before,” he said.

Long story short, the play was a success, mainly because he and I were too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything.  Maybe that’s why, together, we took the next step.

“What do you think about turning this into a movie?” Rusty asked me as the curtains closed to applause on opening night.
“Already working on it,” I smiled.

I quickly adapted the story for the screen. Shortly after, legendary Television icon Demond Wilson came on board. Watch the video below to see what he had to say about the script.


(CLICK HERE if you have problems watching the video.)

For a while, I thought the film version of the play would never be made.

Finally, we returned to method that made the play such as success: Two dudes too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything. Rusty, the creator of the story and play, now has taken on the role of Executive Producer of Faith Ties and the movie is now in pre-production!

Check out the Faith Ties Go Fund Me promo…

(CLICK HERE is you have problems watching the video.)

The script has gone through several rewrites.

In one of the earlier versions, I wrote this sermon on Forgiveness. Like the original play, some scenes were cut while others were added. It seems, as a writer, some of your favorite scene don’t make the cut.

It’s not an easy process. But as they say in the biz, writing is re-writing.

Today, like the Extra Reel on DVD, cut scenes can now be shared. So, here’s a cut scene from the upcoming film Faith Ties. I call it “The Thing That God Forgot

I hope you enjoy it…

INT. BETHEL A.M.E. CHURCH – DAY

The Pastor preaches to the congregation from the pulpit.

                        PASTOR
In a small, secluded African community,

word quickly spread of a young girl who
believed she was talking daily to God.

Soon, members of the congregation stopped
attending Church. Instead, they would
congregate at this infant prophet’s house
to hear God’s Word straight from the
source.

News eventually reached the office of the
Bishop. Concerned that a young minister’s
congregation was no longer attending
Sunday service, the Bishop scheduled an
urgent visit.

Within days, the Bishop arrived to pay
the girl a visit with the intent of
returning the Church members to the pews.
However, before heading out, he asked the
young minister to hear his confession.

Finally, both the Bishop and the parson
arrived in the small village and entered
the young girl’s home and found her to be
just like any girl her age, playing with
her doll.

“Is it true, my child, that you speak
directly to God?” the Bishop asked.
“Yes, it is true, Your Eminence,” she
humbly replied. “He arrives the same time
everyday.”
“How convenient.”
“Oh, God is very convenient,” she glowed.
“Did you talk to God today?” the Bishop
asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will you talk to God tomorrow?”
“If He wills it, yes,” she again
respectfully replied.
“When you talk with God tomorrow, can you
ask him one question for me?”
“Of course Your Eminence,” she submitted.
“What is the question?”
“Can you ask God for the list of sins I
confessed this morning. When I come back
tomorrow, you can tell me what God said.”

The young girl glowed and went back to
playing with her dolls.

As they returned to the rectory, the
young minister thanked the Bishop for
coming, but was confused how his short
visit will return his congregation to
return to his church.

The Bishop grinned.

“Surely, if she can’t tell me what I confessed to you
earlier today, she’s not talking to God
and YOU will again be able to tend to His
flock as you were ordained to do.”

The next day the Bishop returned.

Instead of speaking to the girl
privately, as he did the day before, he
questioned the girl publicly, for all to
hear.

“Did you talk with God this morning,
Child?” the Bishop queried.
“Yes, I did Your Eminence.”
“Could God tell you my list of sins?”
The girl paused and lowered her gaze to
the floor. “Sorry, Your Eminence, He
could not.”

The grin of the Bishop grew as the town
people returned to the young priest for
guidance.

“Please, Child, tell everyone listening
why could God NOT recall the sins I
confessed yesterday?” the Bishop probed.
“Because…”
“Because why?!”
“He already forgot them.”

The pastor pauses, then looks out at his parishioners.

                        PASTOR
He already forgot them!
(a beat)
Was this young girl truly talking to God
or not? I don’t know. But I do
recognize the wisdom in her final words.

God’s forgiveness is limitless! Clear!
Complete! And forever! Amen.

                   PARISHIONERS
Amen!

The CHOIR kicks into song. Pastor moves from the pulpit
to his chair as the MUSIC RISES and FOCUS on the
CROSS.

The moment after you faithfully say these three simple words: “I am sorry,” God forgets your sins — every single one of them.

That’s the thing that God forgets.

 

“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”

Isaiah 43:25

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

If you like to know more about the movie Faith Ties, go to FaithTies.com.

Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.

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Source: which.co.uk/

F-YOU and the Lord’s Prayer. Now that’s two things which normally DON’T go together — unless you live in my family.

It’s the title I used to describe my Step-Dad life at his funeral memorial. It’s a story of perseverance, rebirth, salvation and, above all, the making of a miracle.

You see, my Step-Dad had Lupus.

He was diagnosed — or misdiagnosed, when he was a teenager in the U.S. Navy.

His whole adult life he suffered from this auto-immune disease.  However, he never let the disease dictate his life. Among his sufferings were frequent strokes.

“I know I’m going to have them,” he informed me one day. “So, I’ve learned to enjoy them.”

He had many. So many, they became almost common place. Almost. However, finally the “big one” hit.

At the time, I was living in Burbank, California. I was at Disneyland when I my Aunt Ro called and gave me the official news.

You see, I knew he had a stroke — and I knew it was severe.

My mom, being my mom, never delivers bad news. My brother and I joke that when we hear my mom say the words, “Everything is going to be alright”, its time to panic.

My sister, being my sister, was just the opposite. Everything was usually blown out of proportion — and usually to the extreme.

Aunt Ro, however, was the voice of reason; my go-to-person, especially in a time like this.

So, when my aunt said, “Maybe it’s time to come home” …  I knew things were serious.

Immediately, my wife and I started making plans to head back East — but for when and for how long? Living long distance from family is never easy.

Daily, my wife and I spoke to my mom as we made arrangements to head home.

“He can say a few words,” she told me as we discussed my step-dad’s condition. “And they’re all curse words.” (This where the F-YOU comes in.)

My mom, being my mom, felt bad for the patient in the bed next to my foul-mouth step father.

“He’s a Rabbi,” she reverently said. “He (my step-dad) got really bad when the Giants were on.”
“He curses at the Giants when he’s well,” I chuckled. “Why don’t you just shut off the game?”
“I did, but he cursed more” she told me. “He remembers his prayers. So, I just have him saying The Lord’s Prayer.” (Part 2 of the title.)
“I’m not sure the Rabbi wants to hear that either,” I joked, though my mom, someone who once considered  being a Catholic Dominican Nun, didn’t laugh. “Keep me posted. I love you.”
“I love you too,” she said, then hung up the phone.

That night, I spoke with my wife. She had a similar conversation with my mom and sensed her concern.

My wife, being my wife, told me that she asked my mom if my step-dad, a former seminarian, remembered his Latin prayers. He did! So, my she suggested, to my mom, that my Step-Dad start reciting his prayers in Latin — and give the Rabbi some relief.

Then, three days later, the miracle occurred.

My wife called the hospital to check on my mom. After a few rings, someone answered the phone.

“Hello,” the voice slurred.
“Hello?” my wife replied.
“Hey kid!” It was my Step Dad, John.
“Where’s Mary Ann,” my wife asked, wondering why my mom was not at his bed side.
“I sent her out,” he added. “She’s driving me [bleeping] crazy.”

The two talked for several minutes until my mom returned to his bedside.

It appeared that his Latin prayers exercised his brain back to repair — at least that what the doctors suspected, though they had no rational explanation as to why my Step-Dad recovered so quickly.

Long-story short, I didn’t have to return home. And, against all odds, my Step-Dad walked out of the hospital, on his own accord.

Granted, he had noticeable signs of a stroke until the end of his life — six years later. But this was “the big one”! He shouldn’t have had the ability to do anything on his own accord — ever again.

The Bible is full of stories about miracles.

They occur in both the New and Old Testament. However, I’ve often heard people say that few people today witness a true miracle like they did in the bible.

The sad truth is that people witness miracles every day — there’s just so many of them today that we fail to recognize many of the events that occur around us, as miracles.

Air travel is miraculous. Wi-fi and iPhones, miraculous.

Heart and brain surgery … hip and knew replacements … Organ-transplants … limb transplant … The list goes on-and-on … all miraculous!

Miracles are so common today, we just take them for granted.

Maybe that’s why Jesus suggested that the Apostles not discuss His miracles, knowing all too well how unimpressed mankind becomes with sensation over time.

Think about it.

Let’s take a look at video games as an example.

My generation thought Pong was pretty awesome. Today, you couldn’t pay a kid the price our parents payed for an Atari Playset, to sit down for an hour and play this two-dimensional, Monaural arcade game.

Granted, miracles are much more impressive than Donkey Kong.

However, after walking on water and raising a few people from the dead, the fascination with the Miracle Maker from Nazareth would’ve eventually ran out if He didn’t have something more substantive to offer than just miracles.

Now, I’m not saying that miracles aren’t important? They are.

However, I believe that the act of recognizing these miracles, as a direct gift from God, is more important than the miracle itself.

It’s important to recognize that all miracles, big and small, come from God. Likewise, its important to realize that God can turn any horrific event into an opportunity of glory.

God can even use the unfiltered words of foul-mouth former sailor to guide us to witness an unfathomable modern-day medical miracle.

That’s why in my family,  F-YOU and The Lord’s Prayer will always go together!

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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I received an awesome Father’s Day present today.

The first part was “A Book About My Dad” which is me, by Mathieu, who is my son.  It was a fill-in-the-blank assignment given by his elementary school teacher.  I highlighted the words that he chose to best describe me.

It’s reads:

My dad likes to eat hamburgers.

If I could take my dad on a trip, I would take him to LegoLand.  (Message received.)

If I could buy a gift for my dad, I would buy him a Stretch-Limo

If I could do something for my dad, I would help him do yard work.

Finally, I turned the page and became speechless at what I saw.

It reminded me of a passage in my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul

“What is the goal of parents?” the mysterious Mr. Mel asked. “Well, have you ever heard of the song by Harry Chapin, Cat’s in the Cradle?”

It’s one of those songs everyone knows.  The kind of song everyone feels.  Individually, Cat’s in the Cradle means something completely different to everybody.  Yet, at the same time, it means absolutely the same thing.

In public, it unifies all  It entwines strangers.  It bridges generations.  Crosses color.  Forms circles of friends.  Yet, in private, it heals wounds.  Celebrates loneliness.  Defines relationships and describes love.

As I hug up the phone, it occurred to me,
My boy was just like me, yah…
My boy was JUST like me!

Sad, right? The irony of it was that the father wasn’t sad.

As I turned the page of Mathieu’s picture book, I discovered “A Picture of my dad and me…” With it, the fill-in-the blank caption read:

I love my dad because he plays with me outside and draws with me inside.

It was then and there I received the second part of my awesome Father’s Day present.

As suddenly, it occurred to me,
My boy was just like me, yah…
My boy was JUST like me!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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cursing-symbols2
Source: YouTube

Can Christians curse?

Growing up, I never heard my mother curse. Instead, she had a list alternatives. They were: Good Gravy. Bull Dinky.

In this throwback clip from Tim Hawkin’s concert DVD “That’s the Worst”, Tim gives us an alternative list that are field-tested & mother-approved — including one my mom used.

Enjoy. It’s fart knockin’ hilarious.

Get the DVD at http://www.timhawkins.net/

If these great cussword alternatives just aren’t enough, check out Holy Rackafratz! 101 More Funny Swear/Cuss Word Alternatives! and We Have Kids! 101 Great Cuss/Swear Word Alternatives.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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I am often told that Religion has no place in science.  Oddly enough, science has not only formed my faith; science has sealed my Faith.

Most Christians have heard of the Shroud of Turin, the ancient relic that bears the image of a crucified male.  Blood typing has been done on the Shroud, and it was determined that the crucified male, who many believe to be Jesus of Nazareth, has AB blood.

A lesser know relic is the Sudarium of Oviedo, the cloth, that tradition teaches, covered the face of Jesus before He was wrapped in a burial shroud and laid in the tomb.  The blood on this cloth is also male and also AB.

There has also been several miracles where a consecrated Host miraculously became true flesh and began to bleed true blood.

One such miracle occurred in the 8th century.

A priest in Lanciano, Italy was doubting the real presence in the Eucharist, while offering Mass, when the Eucharist miraculously turned into human flesh and blood.

Similarly, 500 years after the miracle of Lanciano, another priest, in Orvieto, Italy, who was also doubting the real presence of Jesus, similarly experienced a Eucharistic miracle where the host started bleeding all over his corporal (a cloth used in the liturgy).

You can still see the cloth on display in the Cathedral of Orvieto and the non-decomposing flesh and blood in the Church of San Francesco today.

 

Miracle of Buenos Aires

 

 

More recently, in 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when a consecrated Host was found on the ground and soon placed in a glass of water to dissolve.

Days later, the Eucharist wasn’t dissolved at all — it had turned into bloody Flesh.

The Cardinal and then-Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) had a photograph taken of the bloody Host, then stored the Host in a tabernacle to decompose.  Three years later, that same bloody Flesh remained!

That’s when Dr. Ricardo Castañón, a Bolivian neurophysiologist, was called in to have samples from the Host examined in a laboratory environment.

Doctor Castañón took it to the San Francisco Forensic Institute without telling anyone there what it was or where it came from. After testing, he was told the samples constituted heart muscle, specifically from the myocardium of the left ventricle.

Further, the tests showed the blood was human, with human DNA, and of the AB type — the same as found on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.  He also discovered the Host from the miracle of Lanciano was Blood Type AB, as well!

Coincidence?  Maybe?

But consider this: Blood Types were not discovered until 1900.  The discovery of Blood Type AB came along seven years later, in 1907. Maybe because it’s so rare?  Only four-percent of the World population has Blood Type AB.

So what, you may say?

Well, here’s where it gets interesting…

 

Where Science and Theology Merge

The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion with one another in the one body of Christ, writes Rev. Dr. Stany Antony OMIThis, he continued, was the full meaning of eucharistic koinonia in the early Church.

Scriptures appears to be in agreement.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 10:16-17 that we just don’t participate in the Eucharist, we are in communion in the blood of Christ. “…nonne communicatio sanguinis?” as it is written in the Latin Vulgate; κοινωνία or koinonia in Greek.

Early Church Father and Orator,  St. John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407) commenting on Paul’s words, — almost 1500 years before the discovery of blood types — said this: The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the Body of Christ? Wherefore said he not, the participation? Because he intended to express something more and to point out how close was the union: in that we communicate not only by participating and partaking, but also by being united. For as that body is united to Christ, so also are we united to Him by this bread. (Homily 24 on First Corinthians: 4)

In 1485,  more than 400 years before the classification of blood based on the presence and absence of antibodies, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “…the Eucharist is the sacrament of the unity of the Church, which results from the fact that many are one in Christ”.

In 1566, almost 300 years before science established the ABO Blood Group System, the Church had this to say about the Eucharist: “For what bread and wine are to the body, the Eucharist is to the health and delight of the soul, but in a higher and better way. This Sacrament is not, like bread and wine, changed into our substance; but we are, in some wise, changed into its nature, so that we may well apply here the words of St. Augustine: I am the food of the frown. Grow and thou shalt eat Me; nor shalt thou change Me into thee, as thy bodily food, but thou shalt be changed into Me.”

In other words, “by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.” (Cathecism 1331).

Or simply put, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in you” (John 6:56)

So, what’s this have to do with Blood Typing?

You see, I, like many, once believed that Jesus’ Body and Blood just enters our body during Holy Communion.  However, if that was the true theology of the Eucharist, Jesus’ divine Blood Type could be not AB.

Why?

Because theologically if Jesus’ Blood just enters us, He would be simply donating His sacred blood to all.

Science has shown that only Universal Donors can give blood to all without any harm to the recipient; only people with Blood Type O.  However, with Blood Type O, one could not receive blood from any other type, but their own.

The Church has always taught that during Holy Communion we unite with The Body of Christ.

Simply put, Jesus receives us all, body and soul, and unites us all, body and soul, in Him — and by all bodies, I mean all blood types.

Christ is therefore the Universal Acceptor, theologically and biologically.  Anyone who took High School Biology knows blood type of the Universal Acceptor.  That blood type is … AB Blood.

If the Shroud of Turin is a fake, how would the forgers get Jesus’ Blood Type theologically correct — centuries before science knew blood type existed?  Further, if these Eucharistic miracles were also all staged, how would all these Blood Types not just match, but also coincide theologically and biologically?

Coincidence?

Maybe, but the odds would favor coincidence to favor the most popular Blood Type.

Approximately, 47% of Italians have Blood Type O, while less than 4% share AB.  In Argentina, where the most recent miracle took place, half the population is Blood Type O. [note]

When you include Rh factors, the statistic of chance is almost eliminated.

Rh factor was discovered after the discovery of Blood Types — 40 years after!  Only one percent of the world population is AB-positive … the same Blood Type in the Eucharistic miracles in Buenos Aires and Lanciano — miracles which occurred 1,300 years apart.

The science is clear —  and because it’s clear, my Faith is sealed.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Articles used to write this piece:

The Eucharist and Its Effects – James H. Dobbins

Christ, Our Food and Our Life: Chapter 12

Eucharist: Communion with God and Communion with one another – Rev. Dr. Stany Antony OMI

Two eucharistic miracles 1,300 years apart show same blood type and DNA – Ryan Fitzgerald  •  ChurchMilitant.com

The Divine Blood Type: Revealed by “Coincidence” of Eucharistic Miracles? • ChurchPOP

 

READ MORE ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF THE SHROUD

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fivefingerprayer

The Five-Finger Prayer has been around for a while. It was reportedly written by the Archbishop of Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio, a guy you might know as Pope Francis.

1. The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”

2. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.

3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even that it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.

5. And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

Amen!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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The daffodils that my sons and I planted last fall just started to break through the ground … then the Winter Storm Stella hit dropping over two feet of snow on those budding bulbs extending winter, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted.

It reminded me of sermon I heard when I was a kid after a very similar late season storm.

That year, the winter was unseasonably warm and the birds, which had began their Spring migration North, got caught off guard.

Standing at the podium, my pastor lamented about trying to save a flock of Canada geese in his yard that were now in jeopardy due to the bitter cold.

“I opened up my garage door and tried to corral the geese inside — to safety,” he said. “The harder I tried, the more the geese ignored me.

“I kept shouting, ‘Don’t you know, I’m trying to save you.’ But they just wouldn’t listen,” he explained. “I must’ve been out their for 30 minutes.

“Finally, I gave up,” he sighed. “As I stood in the garage, I thought ‘If I could only become a goose. I could tell them that I was trying to save them.’ And then it hit me….

“God became human.

“That’s why He became one of us.

“To talk directly to us. To tell us directly that he’s trying to save us.”

Now, all we have to do is start listening.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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