Tag Archives: St Paul

Ep69 Becoming Truly Free



Father Len explains what it takes to become truly free and how the common American understanding of freedom leads to selfishness and narcissism.

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 more 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 more free is wrestling with our own egos and recognizing when we’re being selfish.
  • 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.

Ep64 Toxic Religion



Father Len introduces the process of deconstruction to help a listener detox her religious upbringing and purify her religious values, beliefs, and practices.


Ep63 Bible Symbols Revealed and Explained-Part 3 Oils



Father Len reveals how oils and their fragrances help fulfill God’s intention for religion and worship to be carnal and sensuous experiences.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Previous Bible symbols episodes: Ep45 Water, Ep56 Trees

Ep62 The Dangers of Anger



Father Len reveals his 30 year battle with anger and explains why it’s like a cancer that can destroy you unless you learn how to respond to it.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len responds to an email from the mother of a 15-year-old daughter who became depressed and filled with rage over the death of George Floyd.
  • Father Len reveals that anger has been one of his most common sins throughout his life.
  • Research has shown that nothing rots your body like anger.
  • “Anger is rottenness to your bones.” – Proverbs
  • “Anger disintegrates community.” – Proverbs
  • “A hot tempered man stirs up dissension.” – Proverbs
  • Anger destroys wisdom and the ability to make wise choices.
  • “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick tempered man displays foolishness, even after he cools down.” – Proverbs
  • Anger is blinding. When you’re angry, you always think you’re completely right.
  • Anger distorts your view of situations, yourself, your view of the world, and your view of your family. It can make you really stupid.
  • “A hot tempered man must pay a penalty. If you rescue him, you’ll just have to do it again and again and again.” – Proverbs
  • Anger is very addictive. It’s like the cocaine of emotions.
  • Anger feeds on itself. Anger begets anger.
  • Anger often obscures truth and leads to denial.
  • COVID 19 has become an excuse for anger about almost everything.
  • When you’re angry, it’s very difficult to recognize that you may be the problem.
  • Sometimes anger is love in motion to a threat to someone you love.
  • “Be angry, but sin not.” – St. Paul
  • “He that is angry without cause, sins. He who is not angry when there is cause, sins.” – St. John Chrysostom
  • The best response to anger is prayer, self-examination, self-discipline, and sacrifice.
  • Unreasonable impatience is the hotbed of vices.
  • Anger tends to focus you on the problem and obscures the solution.
  • Studies have shown that compassionate people are better at defining boundaries of unacceptable behavior.
  • “Compassion is the strong man’s tool. Anger is the weak man’s tool.” – Father Len

Ep59 Understanding the Language of God



Responding to a listener’s question about whether God’s teachings are black and white, Father Len explains why it’s difficult for us to fully understand the language of God’s love.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • God’s morality and teachings are black and white and pure because God is love, without ego and without corruption.
  • Our interpretation of God’s morality and teachings is often wrong because it is viewed through the prisms of our egos and agendas.
  • Father Len illustrates the dangers of interpreting God’s word through ego by pointing out how wrong the Jews were in their interpretations of the Bible’s prophecies about Christ’s purpose on earth.
  • Jesus interprets morality and laws from the perspective of love.
  • Father Len points out that Jesus welcomed prostitutes and adulterers in his life knowing that prostitution and adultery are wrong because that’s what love does.
  • Love perfects us.
  • The Bible tells us that anyone who does not love and proclaims that they know God is a liar.
  • Our black and white view of morality often errs on the side of being harsh and judgmental, void of love.
  • Black and white morality can be very seductive because we can proclaim it to be justice, but without compassion it can be very wrong.
  • There are two kinds of moral extremes: black and white and relativism. Both are based a lot on ego.
  • Moral relativism is morality based solely on personal feelings and choice usually driven by ego or agenda.
  • Reacting to immoral behavior with love forces us to have empathy and compassion.
  • Father Len uses the Bible’s various perspectives on slavery to illustrate how God is constantly trying to help us evolve in our morality understanding we can’t always accept the whole truth all at once.
  • Fully understanding God’s language of love and morality is a lifelong process.

Ep53 Becoming the Best Possible Version of You



Father Len explains the Catholic tradition of Lent, an annual 40 day journey of recognizing and facing our flaws and weaknesses in order to become who we are meant to be.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • To illustrate the Lenten journey, Father Len shares the inspiring story of two childhood friends from Idaho who decide to go on a 500 mile pilgrimage in Italy with one pushing the other in a wheelchair the entire way.
  • “I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair” by Patrick Gray & Justin Skeesuck
  • The Way of St. James, Camino de Santiago
  • Lent is a journey in the heart to becoming more loving and compassionate.
  • Lent is a death process where we die to our old flawed selves in order to make room for different, changed, and better selves.
  • Lent is about recognizing and giving up personal flaws and weaknesses like pride, anger, anxiety, addictions, and selfishness in order to grow in compassion, gratitude, love and holiness.
  • The modern myth of following your bliss, doing only what makes you happy, and avoiding whatever makes you uncomfortable leads to self-destruction rather than happiness.
  • Facing and entering our darkest part, our greatest weakness leads to enlightenment and discovering the divine.
  • Running away from everything that makes you uncomfortable ensures that you will never discover who you are meant to be.
  • Lent is a time to die to superficial faith and discover what real faith and religion is about.
  • Lent is about self-examination and transformation.
  • “You only get one crack at life. Why go for the comfortable? Why not become the best possible version of yourself?” – Father Len

Ep48 God is a Trickster



Father Len reveals how and why God uses loving trickery to expose truth and help us understand and live our purpose.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explores the common theme in the religious mythologies presented in Joseph Campbell’s “Power of Myth” that first got him thinking about God as a trickster back when he was in junior high school.
  • The trickster in every religious mythology is a rebel who is creative and helps humanity in unexpected, backwards and upside down ways.
  • The theme of the trickster God, the God who turns things upside down, is also present in the Bible.
  • Father Len shares the story of Moses, the coward with a stuttering problem who becomes the greatest prophet in the Old Testament to illustrate God’s unexpected, upside down, and backwards ways.
  • The Bible tells us God’s ways and wisdom don’t necessarily follow straight lines or human logic with lines like: “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard what God has in store for us.”
  • Father Len shares his theory on why God loves to play the trickster.
  • The mystery of God means we can never truly understand the infinite. The God of infinite love and infinite possibilities.
  • Truth can be very tricky.
  • Father Len shares a Native American religious myth to illustrate why God sends us tricksters in life.
  • When God created the world, he gave every single creature a gift that must be shared for creation to work properly.
  • We crave clarity. We demand things be either horizontal or vertical, hot or cold, black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. But, God provides ambiguity and less clear lines that must be fully explored with an open mind to be understood.
  • God is willing to forgive what we consider unforgivable.
  • Father Len uses stories about the “Feast of Fools” and the “Feast of the Ass” to illustrate the value of tricksters in religion and life.
  • We need tricksters and fools to keep us from getting trapped in our orthodoxy and thinking we have the answer to everything in life.
  • There is real danger in orthodoxy that boxes God into simple neat little answers.
  • The heart of any civilization is its spirituality.
  • God sends us people like Francis, Dorothy Day, and Catherine Doherty who seem foolish and silly at first, but in actuality they are tricksters sent by God to expose truth.
  • Tricksters have this sacred role to help us laugh at ourselves, see the world from different perspectives and expose hypocrisy and foolishness and our spiritual rigor mortis.
  • Christ is the ultimate trickster and holy fool. He does everything in unexpected ways. He destroys our enemies by making them our brothers and sisters. That’s a great trick. He destroys death by welcoming death. That’s unexpected.
  • God is the trickster who’s always overturning our ways.
  • Habits have a way of deadening the impressions from our experiences, causing even the holiest of things to become superficial or lost.
  • When things happen in our lives appear to be silly or foolish, could it be the trickster God trying to help us see what is real and true?

Ep46 Interpreting and Understanding the Bible



Father Len reveals the obstacles to accurately interpreting and fully understanding the Bible and what it takes to overcome these hurdles.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares a fun study about how people rate their driving abilities to illustrate the effect of ego on how we see ourselves and view the world.
  • Human beings believe their opinions and decisions are rational, but studies reveal they are most often based on personal desires.
  • It takes great humility and freedom from ego for us to accurately see ourselves.
  • In spite of more than 400 detailed prophecies in the Bible about the coming of the Christ, very few people showed up for the birth of Jesus.
  • Father Len explains why shepherds and Zoroastrian priests were the only people to go to Bethlehem to honor and celebrate the birth of Christ.
  • For all eternity, God desired to take on human form to teach us how to be true human beings. Ironically, the great desire of human beings is to become godlike, chasing power and wealth and distance from the problems of fellow humans.
  • In spite of constant study of the Messiah prophecies and authoring a complicated compilation of these prophecies, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essene monks missed the coming of Christ because they were highly judgmental and filled with hate.
  • If you read the Bible through the lens of your own ego, prejudice and social position, you’re always going to come up with a wrong interpretation.
  • Hatred, selfishness, and ego blind us from finding God even if we memorize and are able to quote the Bible.
  • The Bible warns us of false prophets, those who interpret Scripture through their own agenda.
  • The “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye is an example of false prophecies.
  • Sincere desire to discover truth, humility, and love are essential to accurately interpreting the Bible.
  • It takes years to gain humility and the self-awareness to recognize how often we interpret the world from our own perspective and we’re not always right.
  • “Awareness” by Anthony De Mello

Ep41 The Real Christmas Story and Its True Meaning



Father Len reveals the real “reason for the season” is us.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “When I look at the world upside down, that’s when it seems right to me.” – Jeret “Speedy” Peterson
  • Father Len tells a story about geese to illustrate why God became a human being.
  • Christmas is a revelation of who we are meant to be.
  • To be good is to become a true human being.
  • Our true humanity is to live like Christ.
  • “Christianity is the attitude of amazement at the dignity of the human person.” – Pope John Paul II
  • “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” – Irenaeus
  • “Paradise Lost” by John Milton
  • “Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Sin is the temptation to stop being a true human being.
  • Evil is the no to human goodness. Evil is the no to all that is good.
  • Satan is not one who hates God. Satan is one who believes that God can’t love him or us.
  • The good news of Christmas is that God became one of us to show us how to become true human beings and discover the goodness of being a true human being.
  • Salvation is not the story of God rescuing us from an evil universe. Salvation is the story of God coming as one like us to teach us what true goodness looks like.
  • Absolute love will embrace death.
  • Absolute love cannot be contained by the tomb.
  • Sin is anything that deprives us of our full humanity.
  • Christmas is the beginning of the journey to our true humanity to love and to be connected.

Ep28 Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?



Father Len and Irish grapple with the mystery of God’s intention for sickness and suffering in our lives.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Irish shares his gut wrenching experiences with his youngest son’s heart attack and multiple kidney failures.
  • Father Len tells the story of his father finding joy late in life after contracting ALS.
  • Health, wealth, and personal achievements aren’t necessarily what makes life beautiful.
  • Father Len shares neurosurgeon Eben Alexander’s revelations from a rare illness and near death experience that turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
  • “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander
  • Father Len shares the stories of suffering and sickness that caused St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Julian of Norwich to become great Saints.
  • “Revelations of Divine Love” by St. Julian of Norwich
  • We discover God in our difficulties.
  • “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner man is being renewed every day.” St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • Where did we get the idea that if we’re good, God is obligated to bring us health?
  • “There’s this fear that if we don’t have health and wealth and popularity, somehow our life is cursed. Maybe, like my dad, life becomes blessed because of sickness.” – Father Len
  • Sickness teaches us how precious and frail life really is.
  • When someone dies, even though we know life is temporary, it’s always a shock.
  • The fact that we’re shocked by death means there’s something in us that says life should be full and death is wrong. There’s something in us that says sickness is wrong because we are meant for a full life. Maybe we’re not going to have that life here. Heaven is where we’ll have the absolute fullness of life.
  • Joy can exist alongside sickness and suffering. Happiness can’t. Happiness is external. It depends on things like how we look, what kind of car we drive, and how much money we have. Joy is internal.
  • “In life, we have to trust in someone or something. We can’t go through life without trusting. Everybody has to trust in something, even in the midst of loss and suffering. I trust that the God of life will bring greater life.” – Father Len