Tag Archives: Religion

Ep101 It’s a Soul Problem



Father Len explains how all the big problems in our nation are soul problems.

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Ep100 The Most Consequential Decisions in Life



Father Len helps us recognize and grapple with decisions we make that control the trajectory of our lives and determine our happiness.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The Most Important Decision in Life – College commencement speech by Bishop Robert Baron that inspired this episode
  • The most important question in this life is what kind of soul you will have.
  • “To love is to be vulnerable.” – CS Lewis
  • “What you do with your soul really is a map to your future.” – Father Len
  • Your soul is not your mental ability or your psychological profile. It’s a thing that contains all the virtues of God and the spirit of God.
  • The Old Testament describes heaven as a place of true relationship where people relate to each other soul to soul.
  • From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur Brooks
  • Happiness comes down to care of your soul, not success in the world.
  • “Everybody worships something. Everybody adores something. Everybody has something that gives their life meaning and worth. Everyone lets something capture their imagination. That thing will control the direction of your life. If you worship money and things, then you’ll never feel like you have enough. If you worship your body and beauty and sexual allure, in time, you’ll be resentful because you’ll never be beautiful enough. You’ll feel ugly. And, as time and age starts to show, you will die a million deaths. If you worship power, you’ll end up feeling threatened and afraid. Read any biography of a dictator. You will need evermore power to numb you against the fear of being afraid. If you worship intellect, being seen as smart, you’ll end up feeling stupid and a fraud and on the verge of being found out. The most insidious thing is, that for most people, it will remain unconscious, but it’s their true religion.” – David Foster Wallace
  • Whatever you worship shapes your soul and controls your life.
  • Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body by Daniel Goleman
  • Meditation is one of the best ways to care for your soul and good for your health.
  • Not all worship is good. Worshiping or calling on the name of God can be a way of manipulating evil.
  • Good worship is supposed to lead you to self-sacrificing love.
  • What will what you worship do to your soul?

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep97 We need a Savior



Father Len explains why we need a Savior now more than ever and why many of us don’t know it.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “Now that we have science, we no longer need religion.” – Chris Hayes, MSNBC Host
  • “God of the Gaps” theory: People invented God and religion began because there was a lack of scientific knowledge to explain things like lightning and wind.
  • Science wouldn’t exist without the Catholic Church.
  • For the Catholic Church science has always been a way of studying and understanding God.
  • All early major scientists believed in God including Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Roger Bacon, Louis Pasteur, Nicholas Copernicus and Blaise Pascal. They came to God because of science. Many were Catholic priests.
  • Religion began out of gratitude and awe for God.
  • Those who believe there is no greater power in the universe than the human person must ignore humanity’s long history of ignorance, violence and shocking denials of the truth.
  • Those who believe science can answer every question won’t be able to find God or recognize the need for a Savior because they have too much ego.
  • Our country has a depression and suicide crisis.
  • Our society has become narcissistic. Narcissism steals our joy. Narcissists believe they have no need for a Savior.
  • Much of our country no longer trusts in God. It trusts in science, technology, and government programs.
  • If God doesn’t exist and life on earth is all there is, why not cheat, be cruel, or commit suicide?
  • There is a difference between joy and pleasure. Meth addicts have plenty of pleasure, but no joy.
  • Even with all the knowledge of science and the power of technology, we do not have the power to overcome death.
  • “Our country has the highest standard of living in human history and the greatest technological inventions. So, why do we have such high suicide and depression rates? That just proves humanity needs a Savior.” – Father Len

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep94 Encore: Is there an afterlife?



Father Len presents stunning evidence from hundreds of personal experiences that supports the reality of an afterlife.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Consciously or unconsciously, how we operate in this life has a lot to do with whether we believe there is an afterlife.
  • Father Len reflects on hundreds of personal experiences with death and dying, during 30 years of priesthood, that offer compelling, inspiring and uplifting evidence that there is an afterlife.
  • Catholics believe that nobody dies alone. The moment you die, the dead are there to welcome you to the afterlife. Father Len shares some amazing stories that totally support this belief.
  • There is a thin veil between heaven and earth.
  • Catholics believe the Holy Spirit creates this mysterious and unbreakable bond between the living, the dead, and God that is stronger than death.
  • The dying process produces healing that can’t be accomplished during our ordinary lives.
  • All the evidence that there’s far more to life than just the here and now begs us to be more attentive to the sacred and the mysteries of life.
  • Heaven is a great feast of love.
  • If there is a hint that all those who loved in this life go to heaven, why wouldn’t you want to be in that community? Why wouldn’t you change your behavior now?
  • In one sense, death is always kind of ugly, but at the same time it produces great beauty.
  • There’s very little evidence that death leads to oblivion.
  • Being fully present while witnessing death and dying will almost always give you a sense of the afterlife.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep92 Encore: The Myth of Self-Esteem



Father Len exposes the dangerous effects of trying to boost self-esteem with excessive or false praise and compliments.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom.

  • “Self-esteem is like a four letter cuss word that when you say it you need to wash your mouth out” – Father Len
  • Father Len illustrates the negative effects of self-esteem by sharing the story of his encounter with a young man and his big dog during his quest to rid the church grounds of dog poop.
  • Our current culture promotes a competition to become the greatest victim.
  • Religion is about becoming a better person, not making you feel good about yourself.
  • Religion is about being in a relationship with God and others built upon the virtues of love, compassion, and justice.
  • People with self-compassion gain grit and determination and are more likely to pick themselves up after a failure and try again.
  • Attempts to boost self-esteem with excessive or false praise and compliments produces fake self-esteem that rejects critical or negative feedback capable of producing personal growth and success.
  • Fake self-esteem based solely on feelings of “I’m special and smart and beautiful and people love me” is fragile and produces social comparison and constant anxiety.
  • Kids become bullies to boost their own self-esteem.
  • Fake self-esteem prepares you to become a victim.
  • Real self-esteem based on achievements and making and keeping commitments is important for emotional and spiritual health.
  • Real self-esteem embraces failure and believes everyone can improve.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep91 Encore: Commitments, Happiness, Love and Having Kids



Reacting to why actor Seth Rogen says he and his wife don’t want kids, Father Len explains the relationship between making commitments, happiness, love, and having kids.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “It’s not an easy haul having kids. You can’t be narcissistic. You have to give yourself over to parenting. Kids have got to be the priority.” – Howard Stern
  • God asks of us that our lives be life-giving.
  • Living life for yourself, free from commitments, is an immature definition of happiness.
  • Commitments lead to greater happiness. Lack of commitments lead to greater unhappiness.
  • You’ll never find yourself through your feelings and aspirations. What defines you is your commitments.
  • “Without being bound to the fulfillment of our promises, we would never be able to keep our identities; we would be condemned to wander helplessly and without direction in the darkness of each person’s lonely heart, caught in its contradictions and equivocations.”-Hannah Arendt
  • Being unable to settle on something means not being settled ever.
  • People willing to commit to marriage and having children almost always test out happier than those who don’t.
  • The world tells us self-fulfillment comes from being free of commitments. Truth says fulfillment comes after commitments.
  • People who avoid commitments and constantly pursue pleasure in pursuit of an easy life tend to end up bitter and unhappy.
  • Christ challenges us to not to choose the easy way, to make a sacrifice and give ourselves away.
  • Life is not supposed to be easy, but rather a great adventure.
  • Pursuing pleasure as happiness always ends up in unhappiness.
  • Each year since 1972, there has been a gradual decline in people’s overall happiness in the United States. This despite the average person spending 22% more on eating out and entertainment, living in homes that have doubled in size, having huge screen TVs, access to the Internet, and social media.
  • The moral question is not whether you should or should not have kids. The moral question is why you would not want to have children.
  • Religion challenges us to look at everything in life and decide what kind of life we want to have.
  • Once you fall in love, you can’t help but want to give yourself away. That’s what real love feels like.
  • God’s perpetual command is to make an offering of our lives, to give ourselves away.
  • Those who don’t know the power of commitment are yet to know what love is.
  • God is a trickster who tricks people into falling in love and willing to sacrifice everything for those they love.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep82 Encore: Can Freedom Destroy Our Country?



The effect of freedom depends on how you define it. Father Len reveals how God defines freedom and how other definitions can produce destructive consequences.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Freedom involves being free from something in order to be free to become something.
  • The American Revolution was about becoming free from the tyranny of a king and the injustices and oppression of a political system.
  • 70% of Americans say they are free or mostly free.
  • Two thirds of Americans define freedom as being “free to do whatever I want.”
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is an immature definition of freedom and the least likely to lead to happiness.
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is a form of tyranny that allows you to intrude on the life and liberty of others.
  • “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos” by Sohrab Ahmari
  • We create laws to set the parameters for a working society.
  • To be free theologically means that we are always working on freedom. Working to become free from the tyranny of selfishness, oppression, and injustice.
  • When the people of a country define freedom as selfishness, it will always be divided and destroyed.
  • People who report the highest level of happiness tend to be religious and meditate regularly.
  • People who report the most freedom from moral constraints tend to be the least happy.
  • “Suicide, A Study in Sociology” by Emile Durkheim
  • The really hard part of becoming freer is wrestling with our own egos and recognizing when we’re being selfish.
  • “If your definition of freedom is, I get to do whatever I want, just historically, it ends terribly. If our country just believes, I’m free to just think about myself, that’s a loss of freedom. I think it destroys our country.” – Father Len
  • Christians who believe giving up liberties for the sake of others makes them less free don’t understand the freedom of the cross of Christ.
  • Support the work of Wrestling with God Productions by making a financial donation here: https://www.givesendgo.com/wwgproductions

Ep79 The Religion of Jesus



Father Len explores the Bible story of a wealthy and powerful man and a bankrupt and outcast old woman. Both seeking healing from Jesus. The story reveals the essence of the religion of Jesus and puts our personal beliefs about religion on trial. This is a preview of episode 2 of the new podcast from Wrestling with God Productions, featuring Father Len, titled “Life Lessons from Jesus and the Church He Founded.”

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Jesus pushes us to take religion beyond just believing that He is the Messiah and being a good person obeying moral laws.
  • Jesus dismisses laws in the Book of Leviticus that reject or marginalize people.
  • “If the best that you can say about your life is that you’re a good person who obeys all the moral laws, you’re boring and lack spiritual depth.” – Father Len
  • The Book of Wisdom tells us that God is about love, life, and healing. God rejoices in welcoming and loving all people.
  • Jesus gives us a test of religion. Do we want a religion that is about rules, regulations, and moral laws that causes us reject or marginalize some people? Or, do we want the religion of Jesus that accepts and loves all people unconditionally?
  • “Let your heart be broken when people are marginalized, rejected, or treated as if they’re dead. Believe in the way of Christ. Believe in life and unconditional love for everybody.” – Father Len
  • Bible stories explored in this episode:
    • Book of Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
    • Gospel According to Mark 5:21-43
  • Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of Wrestling with God Productions by making a financial donation here: GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions
  • We welcome your questions and comments;

Ep77 Introducing Wrestling with God Productions



Irish shares a big decision about his future and the expansion of the work he and Father Len have begun with the Wrestling with God Show.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Irish looks back at what inspired the Wrestling with God Show, the effect he and Father Len hoped the podcast would have and how listeners have responded to the podcast during its first two years.
  • Irish describes how producing the podcast, working with Father Len, and the success of the podcast has been the most meaningful and rewarding work he’s ever done and how it’s caused him to leap headlong into a completely new vocation.
  • Irish introduces Wrestling with God Productions. The organization he’s forming to expand the work he and Father Len have begun with the Wrestling with God Show.
  • The mission of Wrestling with God Productions is to identify extraordinary teachers of the Catholic Faith, like Father Len, and publish their teachings far and wide to promote the importance and value of faith and religion in life.
  • The goal of Wrestling with God Productions is to create timeless content, like the Wrestling with God Show, which is available on demand to help people discover truth, meaning, and purpose in their lives.
  • Irish describes what Wrestling with God Productions plans to do right away and the resources necessary get it done.
  • Here is the place to send donations if you’d like to help launch Wrestling with God Productions: GiveSendGo.com/WWGproductions

Ep76 What Near-Death Experiences Tell Us about Life



Father Len wrestles with his lifelong fascination with near-death experiences and how what they reveal should challenge all of us to examine how we’re living our lives.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares Plato’s analogy of life as a cave where we experience only a dim reflection of true reality and the scientific and philosophical revolution it sparked.
  • “The Republic” by Plato
  • “Life after Life” by Raymond Moody Jr, MD
  • “Near-death experiences are a type of evidence of heaven and gifts from God to color in the picture revealed by prophets and mystics.” – Father Len
  • There have been thousands and thousands of near-death testimonies from adults and children in every country and culture in the world since the beginning of time.
  • Father Len shares the stories of religious and nonreligious doctors who believed near-death experiences to be nonsense until they began to study the experiences of their own patients.
  • “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander, MD
  • “Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation” by Michael Sabom, MD
  • Modern medicine has increased the number of near-death experiences revealed because of its ability to bring back more people from apparent death.
  • Strikingly similar near-death experiences have been reported by people of all ages who speak different languages, in all countries and cultures.
  • Here are the similar patterns of near-death experiences reported everywhere:
    • Phase 1: All pain, anxiety, and fear are gone. There is just peace.
    • Phase 2: People report popping out of their bodies and floating above themselves able to describe what was happening, where they went, what they did while apparently dead.
    • Phase 3: People, both religious and nonreligious, describe complete darkness going through a tunnel.
    • Phase 4: A light begins to shine accompanied by beautiful music or a feeling of unconditional love with beautiful colors all around. Suddenly a person’s entire life, from beginning to end, unfolds before them. They can not only see, but feel everything they caused other people. Joy, pain, anger, they feel it all. Half of the people in this last phase report being sent back to life because their mission in life was incomplete.
  • The most common denominator of near-death experiences is that life and life after death are all about love.
  • Surprisingly, near-death experiences for the blind and sighted people are very similar. For the blind, the light speaks to them in just the right language and just the right tone. The light speaks at the speed of light. The blind feel the same love as the sighted and also see beautiful colors all around, many for the first time.
  • The light experienced in near-death experiences frequently causes profound changes in people’s lives and religious beliefs. Religion becomes extremely important. The love, community, and joy they encounter in life after death inspires them to practice this life when they return to life.
  • Knowledge of near-death experiences should challenge us all to wrestle with the truth about God and life.
  • Emanuel Swedenborg visions of heaven.