|Wow! What a year this has been. Pilgrimages, airports, conferences, birthday parties for grandkids, airplanes, parish missions, family and friends, writing books-and more airports! It has been a full and exhilarating year.|
Through it all we have met thousands of wonderful people-Catholics in love with Jesus, his Mother and the Church.
Our family has been Catholic for seventeen years now and the Catholic Faith has not faded or dimmed in our hearts; rather, it has grown in beauty and surprises.
In an effort to witness more for Jesus Christ this year, I've taken to wearing my San Damiano Cross visibly around my neck. I wear it everywhere I go. It has been a real blessing. People say, "That is beautiful." I respond, "Thanks, I wear it proudly as a Catholic!"
Recently, an agnostic sat next to me on a plane. He responded, "Oh, you really believe it?" "Yes," I said, "I believe it enough to die for it." He put his headphones on and looked out the window.
Ten minutes into the flight I felt him tap me on the shoulder. "You really DO believe it, don't you? I'd love to believe what you do. Can you explain to me why I should be a Catholic?" I had two hours to share the truth of Christianity! What a blessing. Spreading the Good News of Salvation is so much fun.
Update on the Footprints of God documentaries - three left to complete!
Back in 2000 we began a huge film project called The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine
. For the next seven years we traveled around the world filming the history of the Bible. We accomplished a great feat, filming 7 of the 10 movies. Ignatius Press has sold over 120,000 copies and they air weekly on EWTN. The movies have won numerous awards and have changed countless lives.
But people have been asking, "When will you finish the last 3 DVDs-when will we get Abraham
, Elijah & Elisha,
and The Doctors of the Church
I am finally able to answer that question...SOON, I hope, with your help.
The Diocese of San Angelo Texas has invited us to hold a fundraiser in Midland this January. Ignatius Press has set up a tax-deductible account for donations. Lord willing we'll raise the funds necessary to compete the project.
You don't have to fly to Texas, or wait until January to help, you can make a tax deductible donation to Ignatius Press right from this e-mail. See the fundraiser info below.
We thank you all for your friendship, encouragement and support this year. More than anything we thank you for your prayers. We can sense the power of these prayers. Miracles frequently encourage us on. Janet and I often look at each other and say, "People are praying for us!"
Keep spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ and his beloved Catholic Church!
Merry Christmas!! Steve & Janet Ray
|Truth Written in Stone:|Defending the Bible thru Archaeology
Steve Ray interviewed by Tim Staples
Published in Catholic Answers Magazine
Let's start with a challenge. We believe in the Bible. Isn't that enough? If we have enough faith, do we need to prove it with artifacts?
To understand salvation history fully, we should use all the means at our disposal. God has provided means to help us understand him, our world, and his involvement with men. God is the author of the Bible and of history, and it is good to read both to understand God's work in history.
Why is it important to study and understand archaeology?
To understand life and religion in earlier times, to place ourselves in the full historical context, to gain greater insight into Scripture and our Catholic faith, and to affirm the truth and historicity of Scripture. It is also evangelistic. If people learn the truth and have it confirmed, many will bow their knee to the truth.
How is digging in the ground similar to reading the Bible?
Both contain and record the acts of God in history. The Bible is the written story of God's involvement with men to bring us his salvation. In archaeology we study the same historical record by discovering the story buried in the sand. Discovering the Holy Land and its history is like reading a fifth Gospel.
Is archaeology always straightforward, or is there a danger of ideologies, politics, and egos getting in the way?
This is a complicated question because multiple voices are chiming in. Politics are involved, and therefore biases can influence interpretation. For example, Palestinians are often upset with new findings that confirm previous Jewish occupation of the land, especially Jerusalem. The more Old Testament history that is uncovered, the more it is used by Jews to assert a prior claim to the land. On the other hand, there are secular or atheistic Jews who have no desire to see the Bible confirmed and will often lean in a direction to disprove the idea of God working in history. Sometimes there is a bit of competition for ancient sites, not only religiously but also politically.
Does archaeology confirm or disprove what we read in the Bible?
We can say that it confirms Scripture. But there are factors that must be considered. The more ancient the period of time-whether in scriptural accounts or in civilizations-the more difficult. For example, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt 15-20 times, so the further we go back the more difficult it is to find intact remains and to interpret them precisely within their cultural time frame.
Sometimes people jump to conclusions and deny the statements, events, or people in the Bible because no evidence exists outside the Bible as proof. But when we consider how much is still buried in the ground, is it wise to say that archaeology denies the events in the Bible?
Just because we have not yet unearthed physical evidence for every passage of Scripture, does that prove the Bible is erroneous or simply a myth?
Can you give us an example?
Yes. Before 1961 some might have doubted Pontius Pilate was a real historical figure: Where was the physical evidence? No physical evidence of his existence or rule in Judea had been uncovered. Maybe he was invented as the fall guy for the death of Jesus. But in 1961 archaeologists working in Caesarea Maritime on the Mediterranean Sea pulled up a stone step in the ruins of the ancient theater and discovered the name and title of Pontius Pilate, Prefect of the Roman Province of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36.
Then the Pilate Stone presents one clear case of concrete evidence for the reliability and historical accuracy of
the New Testament.
Exactly. I remember someone once saying, "I don't object to your Christian creed, since it is not history, just faith. But I do have one problem--the mention of Pontius Pilate as a historical person. It is as though you are trying to root your
belief into real history." Funny, that is precisely what the creed intends to do--affirm the objective and historical truth
of the Incarnation. God became man in space and time for the Redemption of the world. Here is a clear case of the two
books--archaeology and the Bible--affirming the same thing.
How does archaeological data get interpreted? Are there sometimes differing interpretations of findings in a dig?
Yes, sometimes along ideological lines. Religious Jews will inevitably interpret findings as confirming the literal histo
ricity of the Hebrew scriptures. In otherwords, the Bible provides the blueprint. Read the Bible to chart the history, and then go dig and prove the text. Christians have also taken this perspective at times.
Skeptics, on the other hand, will have a different goal in mind. Some may approach archaeology with a Zionist
agenda, establishing their Jewish roots in the land of Israel. Christians also realize that their roots are in the Holy Land
and explore and preserve the Christian sites as places of pilgrimage and worship. Queen St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, journeyed to the Holy Land to discover the Christian sites, to preserve them, and to build churches. She placed a claim on them for Christianity and the Catholic Church. The Crusaders were not without the same impetus. They marched in a series of campaigns from Europe to the Holy Land to recover it from the Muslims. They sought to preserve the holy sites for future Christian generations.
Continued here on the middle of the 3rd page (page 8)...
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|I wanted to share this uplifting letter I received|
Dear Steve Ray,
It was absolutely providential that I called in to Drew's radio show and was able to interact with you yesterday.
My path toward the Catholic Church has taken 5 years, but in these last few months the pace is intensifying. My last hurdle is the "Mary issue."
Yesterday I spent about 50 minutes before Christ [in adoration]. More than usual, I felt the Holy Spirit upon me in shooting spurts of His power. Then I sensed He was saying that that an "open heaven" was given to me, that I would receive anything I asked for in those moments. I asked that He would please bring me to a place of peace about this remaining impediment about understanding Mary (that it is not disrespecting Jesus to talk about her and to her so much).
God told me my time there praying was finished. I drove home and immediately turned on the radio just as Drew's show was beginning and moments later I was talking with you.
You were an answer to my prayer. Now I do not think of "if" I will join the Catholic Church, but "when."
Pray for my husband, the son of 35-year career Presbyterian missionaries... I would be so happy if we could both enter RCIA class together next fall.
God bless your ministry,
"I think in this case you're going to have
to give in and be a "Dog Person."
A woman went to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. The postal worker asked, "What denomination?"
The woman answered, "Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this? Well, give me 50 Catholic
and 20 Baptist."
What's the first thing elves
learn in kindergarden?
What was the name of
Santa's other reindeer?
Why was the Holy Family
kicked out of Bethlehem
after only one day?
Do you know what image is at the top of the newsletter,
right of the words Winter 2011?
What famous Christmas Carol is secretly embedded Below?
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