<![CDATA[ Goodbooks Media - Transformative Catholic Philosophy]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:11:54 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[WEAKENED AFTER WEEKEND]]>Mon, 08 Aug 2016 17:16:33 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/weakened-after-weekendSummertime and the living isn't always so easy, after all.
So maybe some of you haven't had time even to glance at our web-site.
​Please do to see great graphics concerning a new project many of you are involved in.




​Also I got to meet the only one of you I had not met in person: that is Alex Gotay who met me at the Houston Airport where I had 2 1/2 hours wait.   Alex took photos but he hasn't sent them to me yet.  Maybe soon.
It was a challenging little visit because contrary to my siege mentality dreams of enclaves of true blue Catholics, Alex is very into how we have to avoid that in favor of evangelizing even in the public schools.  He trains his own kids to do that!

 Editors Note:
Ronda has intimated that she is cognizant of the impediments to publication her fellow philosopher-bloggers are forced to face during the summer months.
Be assured of her empathy and prayers.
]]>
<![CDATA[ Week - Whatever!   from Ronda]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:43:06 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/-week-whatever-from-rondaWe have all been so busy that none of us have sent in entries for awhile.
But big things are a'happening among us!
First, I am editing a booklet series that I wrote to each of you about called Why I am Still a Catholic. Not all of you agreed to write for it, but most did.  I am eager to get your booklets whenever possible.
Second, our member, Steve Bujno, is working on a book for High School Students and other young people based on my Spiritual Marathon in Way of Love
Let us pray for one another.
]]>
<![CDATA[ WEEK 3  FROM RONDA CHERVIN]]>Fri, 17 Jun 2016 20:43:11 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/-week-3-from-ronda-chervin
I think all of you on this blog are familiar with my book The Way of Love, a compilation of 4 previous little books about love: What is Love? Obstacles to Love, Making Loving Moral Decisions, and the Spiritual Marathon.
I teach it in my on campus and on-line classes on philosophy of love. Steve Bujno uses the Marathon with Catholic High School students.
A new thing is starting a group of Catholic adults here near Holy Apostles who are working on the book and coming together once a week for sharings and discussion.  They absolutely love the book!
​One of them mentioned how he wished my approach was out there for high school age young Catholics!  
It would be a dream of mine that one of you would re-write parts of Way of Love or the whole in a format that would be best for High School students, college students, and young adults in parishes.  It could have an even more user friendly format and graphics. 
The new cover could be
The Way of Love:
The Battle for Inner Transformation

by
Ronda Chervin and ________________ ____________________________________.
Some of you already have this idea on your back burners, but maybe you want to put them on the front burner. 
Let me know if any of you have time for this.
​Of course, we shouldn’t have 2 of you doing the same thing at once!
]]>
<![CDATA[Question of Faith]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2016 20:47:08 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/question-of-faith
Picture
 Sean Hurt converted from atheism during his stint with the Peace Corps in Malawi. You can link to information about him and commentaries by him online at the Catholic World-View blog or in print throughout the pages of the book, Toward a 21st Century Catholic World-View. 

I had a question for our Lord that bothered me for a long time. The question ran something like this:
​“Lord, I’m surrounded by so many people who do not believe in you, why can’t you hound them, come down from heaven, reveal yourself and show them the truth?
Why don’t you perform mighty deeds and miracles and let them behold your glory?” This question dogged my soul, because I believe our Lord does not desire any one of his lambs to go astray, so why doesn’t He do more to collect us under his wings?
In His time and providence the Lord answered me in this way: I was at mass one day kneeling before communion and fiddling with the crucifix I wear around my neck. It was my turn to go up. I took communion, knelt back down and started fiddling with my crucifix again but I stopped, suddenly noticing that it was stained red—as if with blood! In fact, the whole corpus was covered with bright splotches of blood!
Picture
So, what was my reaction to this apparent miracle? Did I prostrate and convulse and promise never again to sin and to follow Christ in unwavering faith and holiness ‘til the day I die? Of course not! I looked at it perplexedly, brought it home, took pictures, showed it to my wife, told my friends, discussed the evidence and speculated about the causes, looked at it under a black light and a great deal of other things which amount to a waste of time in regards to my eternal soul. The miracle didn’t help turn me towards Christ nor did it increase my faith.

This apparent miracle and the tepidity that followed made question my question. Does God really need to dazzle us with heavenly wonders to help us believe?. No, of course not. He is as much the God of our interior as he is the exterior, and delights in entering silently through the back door of our minds to stand, suddenly, in our midst for eyes of faith to behold. God does not need to make a spectacle of himself to help us believe—he can work on us interiorly.
Picture
 In the case of my own conversion, I was blaspheming the name of Jesus on a Monday and by Wednesday, I was prostrated on my knees promising to love and serve Him ‘til my dying day. So, what happened on Tuesday? Did I see a great light? Yes, but more than earthly light. Did I hear a thundering voice? Yes, but clearer than earthly thunder. There was no dazzling miracle. Rather, simply, my heart turned to Him and whispered, “If you are there God, then nothing else matters, not my life, my wife, my family, my dreams my ambitions or career. My will does not matter, but yours, alone dear hidden-Lord. I desire you more than life.”  I consented, as a spouse consents to their beloved and at that moment, he gave me a grace, the gift of faith and I beheld him for the first time with eyes of faith. We stood face-to-face: a son who so long sought his true father and a father who so long sought his lost son. There was no need now for clever arguments or dazzling lights.  

   Witnessing a miracle in earthly light without His grace doesn’t necessarily help you believe, and even if it did, belief in God does not equal discipleship. After all, God wants lover-disciples—people who will love him, do his work and sow his Word not just believers.
]]>
<![CDATA[Week Two: Champions of Change]]>Mon, 06 Jun 2016 23:21:33 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/week-two-champions-of-changePicture
Steve Bujno
With his wife, three daughters and wonderful granddaughters, Stephen lives in Adamstown, PA. He teaches Catholic morality and sacraments to juniors at Berks Catholic High School in the Allentown Diocese. Also, he instructs engaged couples on the unitive and procreative elements of marriage, along with the Church’s understanding on contraception. He presents to adults seeking catechetical certification, courses on both morality and social justice. Stephen has earned an MA in moral theology from the Graduate School of Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and at the time of this writing is a thesis short is working on his thesis (The Phenomenology of Sacrifice as Gift: A Liturgical Anthropology) of to complete an MA in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT. He is also a professional artist and has owned and operated a pottery studio with his wife Tina for over twenty years. He writes regularly, and reads prolifically. Specific fields of interests include social justice, theological/philosophical anthropology, liturgy, personalism, Bl. Duns Scotus and recent Catholic philosophy. Pray for him!

Picture
This was the end of finals week at the high school where I teach Moral Theology. Under the umbrella of Catholic Morality lies many topics, but as the students were given the opportunity to ‘choose’ which modules would be covered after the foundational concepts were addressed, it’s apparent that sexuality occupies their curiosity. They chose ‘The Sexual Revolution’, ‘Marriage and Sexuality’, ‘The Homosexual Person’ and ‘Love and Intimacy’…in that order.

Picture
I wouldn’t conclude that they had a salacious interest in those topics, but rather saw an opportunity to cover a topic that fills the minds of young (and old), yet remains to be breached with any genuine love, consideration and dare I say, a sacred humility. But here's the point; our culture is the water we swim in.

Two things are typically taken for granted on that point. One, the present beliefs and values have always been this way, and the second is that people (not just the young) believe that they chose their present values. With the second thought, if their values simply line up with the present culture, they presume it is because a movement is afoot. But one can be a champion of change without every defining what one is changing from or what one is changing into. It is thought that to change is to think for one’s self.
Picture
Never would they consider that ‘thinking for themselves’ is precisely what they are not doing…they don’t take notice of the cloudy water they’re swimming in, and for that matter, don’t really know what clear water looks like.
Picture
Picture
Picture
I would like to think that on some level, the students chose the issues revolving around sexuality because there remains a hint of disquiet in them with what passes as truth concerning one’s own sexuality and understanding of the human person.








​So it was a curiosity, but one that lies inherent in their nature. The artist and cultural critic Suzi Gablik said in her book Has Modernism Failed? that “in Warhol’s work there aren’t any originals—there are only copies.”
Picture
That’s an analogous symptom to the present concepts on sexuality. Without any unique thinking for one’s self, too many students (young and old) are mere copies of their culture. The tragedy is that it’s unbeknownst to them. Each is thought to be an original, but is merely a copy. With Any Warhol, at least there was no self-deception.
Picture
Picture





So at the end of this academic year, once again success is measured not by their final exam grades, but by how well I dislodged them from their mundane analysis and uncritical acceptance of what floats down the river of culture.
Picture
Picture
The goal was not as apologetics purports, to show them what clear water is really like, but to offer them an ‘ah-ha’ moment where they realize how the cultural water they’re swimming in really is indeed cloudy.
Picture
Picture
]]>
<![CDATA[Introduction]]>Tue, 17 May 2016 02:48:05 GMThttp://goodbooksmedia.com/transformative-catholic-philosophy/introductionWhat is Transformative Catholic Philosophy? 
by Ronda Chervin


Philosophy is
   love of wisdom (Plato).
Catholic is
love of Divine Wisdom (The Holy Spirit).
Transformative is
wisdom inspiring and changing ourselves (Professors and Students)
Picture
The Transformative Catholic Philosophical Movement has been going on for many years. It can be traced all the way back to early Catholic existentialists, considered by some to include Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard…all the way to Gabriel Marcel of the 20th century
Picture
St. Augustine
Picture
Blaise Pascal
Picture
Søren Kierkegaard
Picture
Transformative Catholic Philosophy
is complementary to other movements

such as Neo-Thomism, Catholic Phenomenology, and Personalism.
Our way of philosophizing emphasizes using personal experience of the transformative character of wisdom as a mode of challenging others to their own on-going grace-filled transformation.
Our blog will bring together each member’s ideas and questions.
These will be open for comments from other members,
​or anyone who chooses to open the blog. 
If you want to become a member write me, Dr. Ronda, and tell me how you see yourself as a
transformative Catholic thinker, teacher, writer, evangelizer, or whatever. 
(
chervinronda@gmail.com)
Here are some short biographical notes from those
who have agreed to participate in this movement and blog:
Picture


​Ronda Chervin
My experience of my family’s atheism led me to despair. Through the refutation of  skepticism and relativism by Dietrich Von Hildebrand, and many supernatural graces, I came into the fullness of Catholic wisdom. This led to the grace-filled transformation of my life with a Catholic marriage and family  and a life-time of being a Catholic professor, speaker and writer.
Picture
Alex Gotay  
​ I am  a National Speaker and full time Youth Minister who has  been there and is now living it REAL for Christ! My intense  approach and real style captures audiences. My passion for Christ  and my experiences in life allow me to address the culture’s many  ailments with answers found in Christ! My childhood consisted of sexual abuse, drugs, gangs, jailed and killed  friends, family etc. Growing up the way I did led me to despair.  At  around the age of 22 I met a Youth Minister who helped me form  my relationship with Christ. I became heavily involved in a  Protestant youth ministry for years until I read my way into  become Catholic years later.  My powerful messages combined with my life stories, sprinkled with Biblical stories and the lives of the Saints help connect with teens and young adults because my electric discussions of faith and culture are in a language that they understand and are made relevant!
http://www.thecatholicyouthminister.com/_

Picture
Marti Armstrong 
From a rigid, fear-based-Catholic-belief- not-enjoying-the-faith-Sunday-Catholic, to deep joy in her Eucharistic Lord. This joy in her faith pervaded her experience as wife, mother, grandmother and pastoral counselor. 
Picture
Jeremie Solak  I am a returned prodigal-son who has seven children.
My wife and I homeschool as a way to "work out their salvation", and Catholic philosophy and perennial philosophy are a central part of our children's curriculum.
I am a  professor-teacher who has lived and studied in Spain and Poland. I love stories of transformation, pilgrimage, and homecoming, and see Transformational Catholic Philosophy as a way of life that leads to the habits of joy, mirth, gratitude, humility, grace, and to relationship with Him.
This is my working thesis for my writings for the Transformational Catholic Philosophy community: Truth is for freedom; freedom is for goodness; goodness is for community in love--in which authentic happiness is found. And if I were to write a fortune cookie message for the group, it would read like this: Good philosophy is to the intellect what a good chiropractor is to the spine; therefore, good philosophy feels right.

Picture
Sean & Jenny Hurt
Sean:
I grew up in a vehemently anti-religious household. Although I was an atheist and materialist I never ceased looking for the source of truth, beauty and goodness. In college, I met and married my future wife, Jennifer, a philosopher at heart who had fallen away from the Catholic faith.  After college we joined the Peace Corps and set off for Malawi, a small country in southern Africa.  During my service I met a devout Malawian Christian whose love, friendship and persistence battered down the walls of atheism! The Gospels were the most beautiful thing I had ever read. Here, finally, was the source of truth, beauty and goodness I’d so long sought! It was not an ideology but the living word made flesh, Jesus Christ!  After Peace Corps, I joined the Catholic Church. By God’s grace Jen also returned to the Church and she is blessed with a living faith. Not long after our dramatic conversions, we had our first child together, Teresa. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Geology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and I hope one day to become a science professor (perhaps at a Catholic institution) and raise a big family.
Jenny:
After hiding from God my whole life, I finally got it together and returned to the Church shortly after the birth of my daughter, Teresa. I spend most of my time trying to be a good mother, going to Mass, visiting with family and friends, thinking, and reading good books. I am  currently studying Philosophy with the online program at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.  I got my B.A. in philosophy at UCLA.

Picture
Steve Bujno
 Growing up in a lower-middle class Italian neighborhood provided a  wonderful exposure to extensive family relations and simple material  contentment. Hardly idyllic but nonetheless stable, I am now trying to  provide the same to my wonderful wife, and three daughters who are  now young women, in addition to my two granddaughters. I have  been a professional artist for my entire adult life and for the last  decade, a high school moral theology teacher where I have witnessed  the effect both affluence and sexualization has on the forming minds  and hearts of young urban students. This entire life experience has  set me off to identify the shifts in Western culture on two fronts that  are simple to identity yet difficult to culturally counter. One  addresses the lure of wealth, notoriety and power over truth, beauty and goodness, particularly in education. The second is to recapture an intimacy unmoored from sexualization in order that on all levels we may grow in empathy and experience loving Christian relationships that nurture both familial fulfillment and material contentedness, which are otherwise thwarted by narcissistic tendencies. 
 

Week One Welcome from Ronda Chervin
Dear Transformative Catholic Philosophers,
   I want to open our first week of sharings with something from me about my first transformative Catholic philosophy book: Voyage to Insight.
When I first started teaching I assumed I would just simplify my notes from graduate school and someday write an article or two for a scholarly journal.   The first big writing break from this plan came because I was teaching Introduction to Philosophy and I got the inspiration, I hope from the Holy Spirit, to work up a totally different kind of textbook than the ones I had read in school myself. 
Voyage to Insight compared the search for truth to a sea voyage. 
Picture
Picture
Chapters included: 

Fitting out the Ship
Ideas to be Jettisoned, Deepest Truths to take “on board.”








​The Captain
 
​– about the nature of oneself as a human person.
Picture
Picture
   

​  Navigating
– about steering by means of logic, experience,intuition
and/or  faith.





​Shipwreck

– about skepticism, cynicism and despair.
Picture
Picture


​The Sun, Stars and Lighthouses

- about God, wisdom-figures and great insights.


​Isles of Enchantment

– about aesthetics, love and mysticism.
Picture
Picture



​A Utopian Island

-  about ethics and social philosophy.



​Homecoming

– the philosophy of life the reader will take with them after the course.
Picture
Picture




​Besides the sea voyage imagery, every chapter had room for the reader to write his/her own responses.

Wanting the book to be not only for my classes but for seekers, I persuaded a friend who was an educational psychologists and not a Catholic to co-author it.
Picture



Happily, this book, used for decades, after having first been published by a small press called Chiaro-Oscuro, has now be re-published by Enroute Books and Media. They have added even more graphics, especially pictures of the thinkers being quoted. In case you want to use Voyage to Insight for students or seekers sometime, you can find it at
enroutebooksandmedia.com.
The publisher might even send you a free review copy if tell him that you are a transformative Catholic philosopher!

Picture

 Room-inating  Our Moods

An Insight from Marti Armstrong - our pastoral counselor member of Transformative Catholic Philosophy
Picture
Recently, I was with a woman who expressed feelings of depression.   She felt helpless but was open to some new ideas.   I asked her to imagine herself in a room, to visualize how that depressing “space” might look to her. 
Picture
After she had imagined this unpleasant room,  I suggested that she mentally clear out the negative “stuff” in that room, and to re-design that room in her thought.  I think it made a difference, at least for that moment.   I was especially interested because this person has been treated for chronic depression most of her adult life.
Picture
Some years ago, I had observed to a counselor that when one of us is feeling depressed,  temporary relief may occur if we listen to sad music to match the mood.  He agreed, but he also stipulated that one should listen to that sad music for around fifteen or twenty minutes, and then choose to switch to some more joyful or upbeat melodies.
Picture
Picture
It is almost as if the music empathically matches the mood, then leads the listener to a more positive space, leading that listener to a happier emotional space.
I am all for harmless experimentation, and so, soon after the episode with the woman experiencing depression, I was wide awake one night, and could not get back to sleep, tossing and turning, mentally “awful-izing” about my own hyper schedule.  So, I decided to try the room experiment.  Matching the mood of that moment, I visualized a grayish brown , dirty, dingy room with plenty of occupied cobwebs and plenty of broken glass and broken egg shells on the floor.
Picture
Picture









​Then, I began to calmly, mentally cleanse the room of the cobwebs and mess, and picture the walls painted in a soft yellow.  Before I could “design” the curtains, I had fallen asleep, and awoke later, feeling refreshed.
Picture
Though there are many levels of depression,  clinical, indeed any serious, endogenous or non-reactive  depression, need  medical intervention.   However, it is amazing that choosing the venue of our thoughts can make a difference in our feelings.  So, whether it is a movie, a novel, or an athletic activity, changing our thoughts and images, or the “rooms” in our imaginations, our feelings may be given a boost.  Hence, the next time you are in a simple downer, try “room-inating”.  Above all, when the going gets rough emotionally, turning our mood over to our Lord, trusting Him, is the ultimate “room” for the troubled heart.
Picture
]]>