Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway



 Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway
Note: This is a guest-post reviewing the product of a Catholic homeschooling mom.

     In recent months, I have been making a concerted effort to dress more modestly and in a more feminine manner. After making changes to my attitude and wardrobe, my untamed hair was the final hurdle. My hair is thick and wavy and takes forever to blow dry, so it usually ends up in a ponytail or bun. I can’t stand going to Mass with wet hair, but I feel that a ponytail isn’t always “dressy” enough for church. I’ve been eyeing the beautiful hair accessories from Lilla Rose and am excited to have the opportunity to share my experience with them.
     The first step was to figure out what size Flexi clips to order. My hair is thick and wavy and falls a few inches past my shoulders. Since I typically wear my hair in a ponytail, I selected a medium for that style. I chose an XL for when I want to wear my hair in a bun. The website has videos to help you choose the correct size for your hair and desired style. Choosing the correct size is so important if you want the clip to hold your hair all day! However, if you happen to order the wrong size, Lilla Rose will gladly exchange the Flexi for free within 90 days.
     The next step will be to choose from dozens of beautiful clips! I liked the silver clips because they’d pop against my dark hair.

Even the packaging is pretty!

     The first thing I noticed was that the stick is permanently attached to the Flexi clip, so I don’t have to worry about losing them. (You can’t tell by looking at the website, since the photos are of closed clips, so I was VERY pleasantly surprised!) You cannot imagine how awesome that is to me, in a house filled with boys where things disappear on a regular basis! Plus, a wayward stick can’t be used as a weapon or projectile, as often occurs ‘round these parts.

     I was also relieved to see that a how-to manual was included. I had been fretting about when I would ever find the opportunity to watch how-to videos, but my worries were abated as I followed the simple directions. Here is my first ever bun with my XL clip:





     It’s far from perfect, but it still looked decent and stayed in all day! And though it’s so simple, I felt so much more dressed up and put together while wearing it instead of my trusty thick, black, hair rubber band.

Bye-bye, rubber band! You have served me well, but I must move on…

Here’s a ponytail, using the medium Flexi clip:

Here’s a sad attempt at a French Twist, which I’ve never tried before, ever:

OK, I need to work on this one! I had much better luck with the “Tails Up.”

Other good things to know:
·         There is a one-year guarantee on defective items.
·         They offer more than just Flexi clips. They also have hair sticks, hair bands, bobby pins, and more!
·         Lilla Rose has monthly specials with limited-edition items
·         You can host a party and get FREE stuff!!!

Independent Consultant Katrina Burbank is sponsoring a giveaway, open to residents of the U.S. who are new to Lilla Rose. She will be giving away one item of the winner’s choice! (Good luck narrowing it down.) You can also like her page on Facebook.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Being a Child

Being a Child

This past Sunday’s Gospel is one of the more challenging to understand. It recounts Jesus’s encounter with a Canaanite woman who has come to him to ask for healing for her daughter. Jesus’s response is coarse to our modern ears. He tells her that He has been sent only to the lost sheep of Israel and that it is not right to give the food of the children to the dogs. The woman responds that even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters’ tables, to which Jesus says, “Great is your faith,” and He grants her request.
Why does Jesus initially seem unwilling to heal this woman’s daughter? Why does He make reference to children and to dogs? I remember seeing a movie about Jesus many years ago in which this scene is portrayed as Jesus being taught a lesson by this woman. It apparently expands His compassion and refocuses His mission.
Well, that didn’t sit well with me, so when I got my hands on the Catena Aurea, this was the first passage I looked up. I was eager to see what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church had to say. Here is my interpretation of Sunday’s challenging Gospel, informed by what I found.
There are a few things to remember. First, the miracles of Jesus are signs that point to who He is. He is not a magician, or a traveling sideshow. He is God, come to redeem the world. Also, the Jews of the time divided people into the Children and the goyim (dogs) – the pagans. The woman understood that, so Jesus was not throwing an insult at her.
What is amazing is not that Jesus has a conversion experience, but that He invites this woman to become a child of God. Jesus, in this event, is eliciting faith from this woman. He is bringing salvation to her. Being a child, Jesus teaches us, is not about ethnicity, but about faith. When she approached Jesus, the woman had probably heard of this wonder-worker and hoped he could help her, like some traveling magician. But Jesus will have none of that. He challenges her to identify not with the dogs, but with the children. Her desperation over the condition of her daughter opens the woman to faith, with a little prodding from the Lord. Once she has faith, the healing of her daughter can take on its full meaning.
What, then, can we learn? Jesus is the great Healer, but He offers us much more than simply the answer to a problem. He invites us to be children; He calls us to faith; and through that Faith we are freed from bondage, as was the daughter of the woman in Sunday’s Gospel. May we have the humility and openness of the Canaanite woman, and like her, truly become children of God.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Link - Malta

Link - Malta

      Shortly before the Supreme court's Hobby Lobby decision, a friend asked me, “If the United States gives up on religious freedom, where do we go?” I answered jokingly, “I don't know, Malta.”
      I say jokingly because I can't imagine moving my family from Southern California to a Mediterranean island nation. Texas, perhaps, but Malta? However, it's true that in many ways, Malta is the world's last true christian holdout. The article at the link below is a great feature on the tiny country, and how it needs prayer to hold strong, since it is a target for the culture of death.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Supreme Court and the HHS Mandate



The Supreme Court and the HHS Mandate

Like everyone interested in the freedom of religion and with an understanding of the potential impact on the future of our country, I was greatly relieved to see Hobby Lobby vindicated by the Supreme Court Monday in its battle against the HHS mandate.  By the narrowest 5-4 margin, sanity held the day, but there are many things that still concern me greatly.
            The first is the limited scope of the court’s decision.  Fox News reported that:  “The court stressed that its ruling on Monday applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.” Why?  How can the court justify any business being forced to pay for the services demanded by the HHS mandate?  And upon whose judgment will we rely to determine which companies qualify?
            The dissent sounds at times as though the sky is falling, and that civilization is under attack by the ruling.  Is it not true that contraception / abortifacient coverage has never been required until Obamacare’s putrid mandate?  Somehow women were not left on the streets to die.  Framing this whole debate around the issue of women’s health is incredibly misleading to begin with.  The claim that the court’s ruling will somehow have disastrous consequences is simply ridiculous.  The one part of the dissent which I pray is true is the statement: “Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate.”
            The biggest problem with the decision is that the court gave any credence to the idea that the government can force any employers to provide morally objectionable coverage for its employees.  Don’t get me wrong, I am elated that Hobby Lobby won its case.  But to think that we have won a decisive blow for religious freedom is na├»ve.  The battle is far from over.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Link - The War on Men

Link - The War on Men


     The article at the following link has gotten a lot of attention lately, but with Fathers' Day just behind us, it is worth considering.  If manhood is under attack, not only will our children suffer from a lack of mental and emotional development, but spiritual as well.  It is our duty as fathers to introduce our children to their true Father in Heaven.

http://www.saveamericafoundation.com/2014/03/09/the-war-on-men-10-ways-masculinity-is-under-attack-by-paul-joseph-watson/

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Remembering Tony Gwynn

Remembering Tony Gwynn


Growing up as a baseball fan and player in the 1980s, I loved Tony Gwynn.  As a baseball “purist,” I always appreciated his game.  But one of the great things about Gwynn was that with him, you really had a sense that he was as good a man off the field as he was on it.

          This Hall of Famer, with his .338 lifetime batting average, the highest for anyone born after 1900 or who did not play before World War II, died Monday of oral cancer at the age of 54.

          Tony Gwynn was very visible and accessible in his community, so many people have Tony Gwynn stories.  If you live in Southern California like I do, you have been treated to them for the last couple of days on the radio.  I would like to share two of my favorites in this article for the benefit of those who live everywhere else, as a tribute to “Mr. Padre.”

          One of my favorites was called in to a local radio show on Monday.  The caller said that her family used to travel to Yuma, Arizona for Spring Training.  One spring her family was staying in the Days Inn in Yuma and three doors down was Tony Gwynn with his family.

          Shortly after her family got settled in their room, she found her son, along with about half a dozen other kids, playing catch with Gwynn in the motel courtyard.  Years later, her son went to San Diego State University, where Gwynn was the head baseball coach after his playing career was over.

          The caller’s son did not play baseball for the university, but decided to stop in at Coach Gwynn’s office one day and ask him to sign a baseball for his younger brother.  Not only did Gwynn stop what he was doing and sign the ball, he invited the young man to sit down and proceeded to ask him about his major and his family.

          The other story I would like to share occurred in 2013 when a San Diego Little League team made it to the finals of the Little League World Series.  The community was hoping for a big celebration when the team returned home, but they had lost to Japan in the final game, and the kids were going to be welcomed home mostly by family and friends.

          But Tony Gwynn, still recovering from a recent surgery, was there.  He wanted to welcome the kids and celebrate with them personally.

          Even as he faced his life-threatening condition, Gwynn was courageous.  He said publicly that he attributed it to his use of chewing tobacco.  “I did this to myself,” he said, never seeking pity, but wishing that his suffering would spare others the same fate.
          The city of San Diego will long miss Tony Gwynn.  Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  Through the Mercy of God, may he rest in peace.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saving Secular Marriage

Saving Secular Marriage

We have seen the redefinition of marriage repeatedly defeated at the ballot box, yet repeatedly enforced by judges.  In truth, marriage can not be redefined in either venue.  But many people are beginning to wonder, “Is it even worth the fight for us as Catholics to try and defend marriage in the secular sphere?”  After all, we are concerned with Sacramental marriage, which will not be touched, and society has long recognized as valid many unions which, in the proper sense, are not valid marriages.

The battle everyone agrees we must fight is that for religious liberty.  With courts trying to enforce our participation in same-sex “marriages,” there is much work to be done on that front.  So should we even care what secular society believes about marriage?

I believe the answer is “yes,” and something I saw recently hammered home the reasons why.  I was watching some game show and the exchange between the host and a contestant went like this:

Host: “You’re a married man?”

Contestant: “Yes, my wife and I have been married for 10 years.”

Host: “And you have children?”

Contestant: “We have three.  Our oldest daughter is 15, our son is 13, and our youngest daughter is 11.”

It was clear that the three kids are all from the contestant and his wife.  The youngest is 11, and they have been married for 10 years.  That means their oldest daughter was five years old, with two younger siblings before they decided to get married.  Now I’m not judging them personally; this is the culture in which we live.  The fact that they are still together, and the three children are with both of their natural parents, means that this family is actually ahead of the game, nowadays.

But I’ve known many people with similar circumstances.  The state licenses marriages in the first place because sociological studies (and common sense) overwhelmingly demonstrate that a married mother and father provide the best environment in which children can grow up.

Should we care about the state of secular marriage?  Yes, because as St. John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes the world.”  The problem is that we’re getting forced into a debate exclusively about same-sex “marriage.”  The redefinition of marriage began years ago with the acceptance of wide-spread divorce.  That had to come first; once a generation grew up without a true sense of marriage, they would be able to accept all other sorts of redefinitions.

The media try to keep us focused on the same-sex issue because they like to portray us as bigots, or at least out-of-touch.  Nothing is further from the truth.  It is we who don’t define a person by his or her sexual attractions, but rather by the fact that they are made in the image and likeness of God.

What we need to do is adjust the message.  Our culture has lost a true vision of marriage.  Instead of letting other people focus on what we say “no” to, we need to let people see the beauty of what we’re saying “yes” to.

It’s the same reason we lost the culture on chastity, in large part.  The “sexual revolution” portrayed the Church as only telling people, “Thou shalt not,” but the truth is that the beauty of chastity, and what it means for fruitful relationships far outweighs the darkness of the sexual revolution.  But until recently, we have been so much on the defensive against the darkness, people have not been able to see the light we bear as Catholics.

We need to present the culture with a true, positive, beautiful view of what marriage really is.  And that means first, we as a Church must be living it.  Is it too late to save the culture?  Perhaps.  But, then again, let us never forget, as St. Teresa of Avila said, “God plus one equals an army.”  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Link - Religious Liberty Loses Again

Religious Liberty Loses Again

A baker in Colorado is being forced to set aside his religious beliefs and participate in same-sex “weddings.”  His solution is the one we all must be prepared to adopt – peaceful civil disobedience.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Ascension

The Ascension
 
Image from http://whycatholicsdothat.com/ascension/

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.  This, of course, refers to Jesus’s ascending to Heaven 40 days after His Resurrection, as recounted in Acts 1:6-12.  We meditate on this Mystery every time we pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, but I wonder how often we recognize the importance this event has in our understanding of the Incarnation.

Many times I hear converts say that they never really plumbed the depths of the mystery of the Incarnation until they became Catholic.  They had recognized that Jesus took on a human nature so He could die and atone for sin, but they never realized the full implications.

I do not pretend to plumb those depths here, but I would offer one thing to consider.  When Jesus Ascended to Heaven, He did so with both His Divine and Human Natures.  In other words, in Heaven, Jesus remains the God-Man.

Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, took on a human nature 2,000 years ago in the womb of his mother, and He still has it.  He did not divest Himself of that nature after the Resurrection.  He ascended into Heaven with it.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen points out that the Ascension is a clear indication that our human nature is not a barrier to Heaven.

Imagine God becoming Man.  Really, imagine it.  Though He remains God, He is truly man, and not only temporarily, not only as an actor might don a costume to perform a role; He truly becomes man.  God, who is completion, perfection, pure Being, ascended to Heaven, with a human nature, as we have a human nature, to prepare a place for us. 

We could meditate on this forever.  What does it mean, then, to be human?  How incredibly intimate our relationship with God can be!  How humble is our God, and what incredible Love must He have for us, that He would become one of us?  May this feast, and those beautiful ones upcoming - Pentecost, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, the Most Holy Trinity – lead us to deeper prayer, understanding, and love of God.

 

Note: If you have a thought to add to this reflection, or if I have lacked precision or included any theological error in this post, please email me at servantofcharity@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Death and Denial

Death and Denial

When I first graduated high school, I attended UCSB.  I spent two years living in Isla Vista, where my parents had met when they attended UCSB, and where my sister and brother would live after me.  I know the area of last Friday night’s rampage very well.

The carnage in Isla Vista was the latest (and no one expects the last) in a long list of senseless killings that have been plaguing our culture seemingly non-stop.  When are we going to address the real cause?

There are many issues at play here.  We’ve heard a lot already about gun control.  There is certainly a place for such a debate, but it concerns me deeply when I hear that floated as the solution to these problems.  It is not.  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of those whose loved ones were killed, and certainly keeping guns out of the hands of people like Elliot Rodger is imperative, but there are deeper issues at play here.  As long as we continue to be afraid to address them, these types of killings won’t stop.  (Three of Rodger’s six murder victims were stabbed to death.)

Mental health is a major concern, and ever since Sandy Hook, it has been high on people’s radar.  There is no question that there were warning signs that were missed with Mr. Rodger.  His family tried their best to intervene, and it is incredible that a person seeing multiple therapists would be allowed to purchase firearms.  Truly, there are many issues to address.

But, in my opinion, the fundamental issue that needs to be faced is the culture in which people like Elliot Rodger are immersed.  Look at his “manifesto.”  He seems to have been obsessed with sex, and driven to an insane rage by the lack of attention he received from the “beautiful blonde hair girls” whose affection he wanted.

He reveals that he moved to Isla Vista particularly to attain a sex-soaked college experience and was unable to cope with his disappointment in that area.  Combine that with his mental illness, and you have a powder keg ready to blow.

But for whatever reason, for all his obsession with sex, this young man had no idea what love is, or at least no desire for it.  This is the culture of our college campuses.  His rage was due to the fact that everyone else seemed to be attaining the disordered desires he aspired to, and he was missing out.

This over-sexed, anti-love environment is epidemic on college campuses, and let’s face it, in culture in general.

Add to that the fact that our youth have been born and bred in a culture of death, and there will be an unending stream of carnage, which is exactly the fruit we have reaped.

Our culture is based on death.  Every young person has had direct experience with abortion, if nothing else, as a survivor of the holocaust.  More innocent babies die every day (not to mention the women and men wounded so deeply by abortion) than victims of indiscriminate shootings each year.  We can not sow so much death and be immune to the deadly consequences.

Family breakdown is the norm.  The definition of marriage is trampled (reinforcing the notion that the desires of adults outweigh the legitimate needs of children).  The scourge of killing the innocent spreads from the beginning of life to the end of life, to those whose disabilities create for them in the words of some of our esteemed “ethicists,” “life not worthy of life.”

This is the culture we have created: founded on death and obsessed with sex.  God has been removed by order of the state.  These young people, all of whom have been created by God and for God, have been told by their public schools and their local government, that God is not allowed.  No Bibles, no pictures of crosses, no “offensive” prayer.  Our culture has taken away their hope, their true destiny.

So let our politicians continue grandstanding about gun control.  Let’s keep examining the issue of mental illness.  These are worthy of debate and consideration, it’s true. 

But whatever we do, let’s not look at the real problems: the culture of death, an economy driven by lust, the breakdown of the family, and the deeming of God as “offensive.”

As long as we keep our collective eyes closed to these issues, we shouldn’t have to rock the boat.  We’ll just need to continue ducking for cover.

 

Note: In every article including abortion, I try to mention the incredible healing and forgiveness available.  Abortion does not destroy the love of God.  Visit hopeafterabortion.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Raising Saints

Raising Saints

“I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of a mortal sin.”  These are the words of a mother to her son.  Not surprisingly, the son became a Saint – St. Louis, King of France.

I suspect, however, that they could be the words of many mothers in eras gone by.  Really, they should be the words of every mother always.  But unfortunately, today those sentiments are far too rare.

What is it that St. Louis’s mother, Queen Blanche, said?  To have her son guilty of a mortal sin would mean that he had offended God terribly and not repented (otherwise, he would have been freed from his guilt through the sacrament of Confession).  Therefore, for love of God, and love of her own son, she would rather see him dead.  To lose his life would be a far lesser tragedy than to lose his soul. 

Considering how much every mother cares for her child’s life, these words must have had a powerful impression on the Saint.

The prudence of saying those words out loud may depend on the situation and the temperament of the child, but our children need to learn the message.

Do our children place such importance on the state and destiny of their souls that they really do consider it of more importance than their lives?  Do we?

Of course, many Catholic parents do acknowledge their children’s spiritual growth and ultimately, their salvation, to be the most important thing.  But it is certainly counter-cultural.

When someone is asked how their children are doing, the first thing they will say is what their job is, or whether they’re married, or if they’ve purchased a home, etc.  Now of course I am not going to go around speculating about the state of my children’s spiritual lives in casual conversation, but I’m sure many of us have had the experience of speaking to a Catholic parent who tells us something like:

“My son’s doing great.  He works for a mutual fund firm in L.A.  He’s got an apartment down there with his girlfriend and they’re thinking of buying a house.”

Wait…say that again.  They’re living in a state of mortal sin, and he’s doing great?  Do his job or prospects for home ownership really matter in comparison?

Of course I am not judging those parents (or children, either.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior and only God can judge culpability).  My point is the culture.  The children in the story above are simply doing what society tells them they should do; and the parent is simply saying what it says he or she should say.  The casual tone may very well mask a deeper disappointment, or just be “polite conversation” with a culture that just doesn’t understand.

And why would they assume people would understand?  According to modern American culture, St. Louis was eccentric, and his mother was nuts!

But we know better.  As Catholics, we want to be light to the world, and leaven in the dough, changing the culture for Christ.  But first, we need to be Christ for our own children.  It doesn’t matter who thinks we’re nuts, we need our children to know where we stand, and why.  May God give us all parental and Christian hearts like Queen Blanche, so that our children, too, may one day walk among the Saints.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Contact Harvard to Cancel Black mass!

     Contact Harvard to Cancel Black mass!

     Harvard University is allowing a satanic black mass, hosted by its cultural studies club, to take place on campus this Monday evening.  These events not only include worship of the devil, but desecration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Please sign a petition at http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/get-involved/online-petitions/satanic-black-mass-at-harvard-university-sign-protest-message.html to ask that the event be cancelled.  Also contact Harvard President Drew Faust at (617) 495-1502 and president@harvard.edu, as well as Jeff Neal at jeff_neal@harvard.edu

The cultural studies club, if you choose to contact them, can be reached at culturalstudiesclub@gmail.com

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell satan, and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Foreknown

Foreknown

As the world wishes to deny the pain of those involved in abortion, it is important for us who wish to defend life to acknowledge that pain and be sources of healing.  The following is a powerful video of a family discussing the pain from past abortions and the healing and wholeness they have found. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Movie Event - 'Irreplaceable'

Movie Event - 'Irreplaceable' - May 6

 

Pope St. John Paul II said that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.”  There is no question that in the modern world, the family is in crisis.  In recent years we’ve seen a cultural shift whereby we’re told no longer to lament the breakdown of the family, but to celebrate it.  Therefore, the future of humanity is doomed.

Or can we recapture the truth about marriage and the family?  Can we as a culture begin to question what we are being fed?  On May 6, there will be a one-day nationwide showing of Irreplaceable, a film by Focus on the Family that explores marriage throughout the world, and challenges our modern post-Christian vision of the family.

To find a showing near you, visit the Web site http://ccgaction.org/node/1747

Thursday, May 1, 2014

'Heaven is for Real' Movie Review

Heaven is for Real Movie Review

When he was four years old, Colton Burpo nearly died from a ruptured appendix.  During his operation, he claimed to have had a vision of Heaven, where he met Jesus and deceased loved ones.  The movie Heaven is for Real, currently in theaters, tells the story.

Heaven is for Real is an enjoyable film, but reviewing it through the lens of Faith, I was less enthusiastic about it than many others.  The film has been well supported by Christians, and for good reason.  Near-death experiences are very often unexplainable by natural means.  They are valuable evangelistic tools, so much so, that the Magis Institute, founded by Father Robert Spitzer, is creating a video presentation documenting the miraculous quality of many of them, and suggests using it as a tool for discussion among high school students (and others).  There are certainly documented events that prove without a doubt the existence of a spiritual soul.

That being said, for Catholics, I think it is important that I relate some of my concerns with the film.  It seems to have been made as a celebration of the spiritual and casts Christianity in a very positive light, all of which is good.  However, I got the impression it is the product of filmmakers who don’t necessarily have the context or theological understanding to know what to do with it.

Though I have no reason to doubt the real-life story of Colton Burpo, I do fear the film could cause theological misunderstanding.  Allow me to give a few examples.

Whatever young Colton saw would be what God knew to be appropriate for a four-year-old to receive, and can not be taken to dogmatically define doctrine.  In the film, after his vision, Colton complains when he sees images of angels that, “That’s not what they look like.”  Obviously, angels are pure spirits with no bodies at all.  Yet, they can and do appear to people.  We see in Scripture, even, angels appearing in different forms in different contexts.  So how they would appear to a four-year-old child does not reflect how they are in their essence.  It is this type of thing that can be misconstrued and is never really cleared up in the film.  From the way angels look, to the nature of Heaven itself, there are numerous examples in which Colton’s vision could be used to define something in its essence.

I don’t expect Hollywood to be able to make such theological distinctions, but considering that everyone knows this is based on a true story, I fear it can lead to confusion for some viewers.

There also is a relativistic element that I found distasteful.  For example, at the end of the film Colton’s father, a Protestant minister, is preaching about his son’s experience, and he asks the question, “Is Heaven for real?”  His answer: “For me, it is.”

The film is not relativistic propaganda, and I doubt that is what the filmmakers intended with this scene (and a few others somewhat similar).  I also doubt that is what the real Todd Burpo said.  But again, in contrast to my first concern, when confronted with the reality of Heaven, this scene could encourage some viewers to take a relativistic view of it.

I will say that I greatly appreciate the pro-life spirit of the film.  Especially powerful is the scene in which Colton meets his sister in Heaven.  His sister had died as the result of a miscarriage when she was still in utero.

In all, there are some real merits to Heaven is for Real, but I would not go so far as to recommend it for everyone.  It may cause unbelievers to think, which I pray is the good fruit that comes from it.  Christians need to take it for what it is, and not let the film make dogmatic theological statements for them, perhaps other than, as the title states, that Heaven truly is for real.