Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Welcome to my world


Welcome first time readers. This is the personal bog of John "JM" Kraemer. This is an extension of "The Lego Church Project" Facebook page. official blog of "The Lego Church Project". It is also a collection of my own religious reflections and explorations of my Catholic faith along with issues related to disability awareness. 

The Lego Church Project is massive Catholic Parish built out of LEGO bricks. This is an annual project which a new parish built every year. More information can be found on the FB page. 

"Praying at the Bricks" is a term I use often when I'm working on a season's build. Often spending time in prayer as I'm working on things. This blog is about the Catholic Faith. More about spirituality and understanding. This blog is not about politics. Sometimes the lines between faith and politics is blurred. But I do what I can to stay out of those kinds of mind fields. 

If you would like more information drop me an email at kc8wzm@gmail.com. Feel free to check out the FAQ for extra information or any of the other links. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

A small favor to ask





My friends I need a small favor. This Sunday Oct 22nd I'm going to be at the Mt. Zion Catholic Community in Flushing, MI for a Lego Church Project display. This is a bit of a home coming for me given that it has been years since I've brought one of my projects out. This is the place where the project that became Season 1 was displayed at. Way before the media attention.

What I'm asking is to share the word about this display. I would love to see a bigger than normal turn out for this display. The Mt. Zion Catholic Community has been a big supporter of my work and it is well worth taking the time to check them out. I have been praying for a good turnout. Their is a good chance I will also be there the following weekend (Oct 29th). But these displays cannot be pulled off with out people coming out and seeing for themselves what God is doing in my life. But it is more than that with this display. It's also a chance to see the Mt. Zion community as well. They have had their own journey in this world and their story is an amazing one. Check out the links provided and see what God is doing for us. If you need more info drop me an e-mail at kc8wzm@gmail.com. -JM


Monday, October 16, 2017

The Mt. Zion display



The Season 18 project is coming out to the Mt. Zion Catholic Community over in Flushing, MI starting Oct 18th. Mass is Sunday at 10:30am. The Community Center is located 8228 N McKinley Rd, Flushing, Michigan 48433.

The display is one that is more personal to me than most. It's a place I don't get to visit often. But it is the first place I ever took one of my projects to. If your in the area PLEASE stop on out and check out the community and the project. Would love to see a lot of people turn out to see on of my projects in person. The pictures are nice. But they don't do this justice. Share the blog post. Get the word out. Would really mean a lot to me.

Till Next Time

-JM



Monday, October 2, 2017

Prayer

I've been wanting to write this blog post for a while. Given how important I feel prayer is in the Catholic life. With the recent events it has opened up the mind and given me the freedom to do so.

Their are many in this world who would tell you that prayer is worthless. They would scream it from the roof tops if they could about how useless it is. They believe that they are empty words that do nothing for anyone. But to me prayer is something more. Those who openly proclaim Jesus Christ as their Savior and redeemer believe in something far greater than themselves. They accept that their is more to life than their own desires and wants. They commit themselves to following the teachings and doing their best hold fast to the message and Good News of Christ. We are not perfect. Which is why God sent His Only Son for us. For me prayer give me a deeper focus on what goes on around me. Seeking deep and profound wisdom in the best and worse times of our lives. A spiritual tool against the forces that would seek to destroy us from with in. It is seeking an understanding that we cannot always get from the world around us. More so when fear and anxiety seek to derail us. It is not about providing "magic answers" but rather clarity from a spiritual perspective. Personally I use prayer daily in my walk with Christ. It guides me. Shows me paths that in my own mind I might not always see. It can also give me a sense of peace. Even when I feel like the walls are caving in around me. I feel better over all when I take the time to pray. Not just when things are going bad. But even when times are decent. That is the nature of being a follower of Christ. We live in very troubling times. Events are unfolding that shake is to the core of who we are. This is why we pray. For Peace in our own hearts. Compassion for those around us. Even when they show hatred. Strength to handle things in our lives. The Wisdom to do the right thing. The Courage to face our darkest fears. Because Christ is the light that shines in the darkness. We who are His followers carry that light in our hearts. Surrender to Christ All Things. Even when we are mocked for what we believe. 

Till Next Time

-JM

Reflection for Oct 2nd

  The events of the day have me troubled to no end. Following the social feeds on both facebook and twitter is a lesson in frustration. Everyone seems to have a radical opinion of what needs to be done to stop the violence in our society. We know something has to be done. But we are divided as to what path we should take. The answers are not as simple as some would have you believe. Such things never are. History has taught us much but in the end we sometimes tend to glaze over it to suite our own personal agendas. We should as a nation be shocked and outraged at the violence we have seen unfold. But we should also be reminded that this is a constant cycle where lives are taken every day due to gun violence. Every major city has some kind of issue going on. It is so common place that the only times it gets our attention is when a large number of lives are lost at once. Such as the events in Las Vegas. We have become desensitized to the issues at hand and refuse to hold leadership accountable for the failings that allow the daily violence to continue.  Still it is hard to make sense of the senseless nature of this recent attack. One that shakes me to my core. We have had many chances to look into the issues at play and yet nothing gets done. Until we take a hard look at the issues at hand nothing will.

  Lately, more so given these troubling times, I have felt this deep welling inside my own soul to recite the Rosary every day. More so than  have at any time in my life. A gentle tug in my heart that this is something that I should be doing. But it is also a feeling that has gotten stronger inside me. It is more than a request from Our Most Holy Mother. It is a plea to all who call themselves Catholic. It is our Mother's cry to bring peace in our hearts. A cry to her faithful to honor the faith as we should. A reminder that While Christ is the light of the world. Mary, Our most Blessed Mother, is the Lantern. It is a request from Her that we can no longer ignore and should encourage to all who call themselves Catholic. 

I'm sure at some point I will write more on this. But my heart is too troubled right now. So I close out this reflection with the Prayer of St. Francis:



Make me a channel of your peace. 
Where there is hatred let me bring your love. 
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord 
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.


Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console 
To be understood as to understand 
To be loved as to love with all my soul.


Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope 
Where there is darkness, only light 
And where there's sadness, ever joy.


Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned 
In giving to all men that we receive 
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
 
Till Next Time

-JM


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reflection for 9/26

Reflections are my personal writings that often start off as FB posts then get posted to the blog. They are my own explorations of how I see the Catholic faith.

"Surrender to Christ all things." That has been a reoccurring expression in many of my reflections over the years. A message, that from my understanding, opens our hearts up to something deep and profound. Most people connect surrender with giving up. As in welcoming defeat from a powerful foe. That is not how I look at it. This isn't about winning or losing. Rather it is acceptance that though our Savior all things are possible. That no matter what storm we face Christ is with us always. In this respect it is not so much of giving up. But rather calling on and embracing something that is stronger than ourselves. It is a constant reminder that when we have reached our weakest moments. Christ desires to walk with us during those times and give us hope. I think the best way to explain what "Surrender to Christ all things" means is to say that it is putting total and complete trust in Christ. Even when we ourselves cannot see the road that we are traveling on. The challenge becomes that it is easy for even me to say that to someone. But extremely difficult to put into practice. The world moves on and the daily struggles of life gets to us. It is hard to see how anyone could put their faith in the Son of God. Yet we as followers of Christ are called to do just that. Even in times when it seems like the storms are trying to drown us. Christ stands on the waters extending his hand to pull us up. It is a powerful image that reminds us of how important Christ is in our daily lives. Surrender to Christ all things. Our fears. Our anxiety. Our worries. Our needs. Our hopes. Everything that would trouble us give to the Savior. Take the time to spend it in prayer. Knowing that by embracing Christ. All things are possible.

Till Next Time

-JM

Reflection 9-25

I see the world around me and often wonder if the world is going to tear itself apart at the seams. But even more so on deeper reflecting, looking back though the very history, did people like me feel the same way about the times they were living in during the past. Wondering how people were thinking during the daily and nightly news reports during events such as WWI or even WWII. The challenges and the fear that came about with the changes to the Catholic faith though Vatican II. Where people just as scared, if not more so, during those crisis as some of us feel right now with the current events? It feels to me that with each generation. New challenges present themselves. Some of those challenges turn into epic controversies that on one hand seem to want to tear the country apart. But at the same time serve as distractions from the greater issues a play. Events not just on a national level. But on the level of the world.

We very much live in an age where information is at our finger tip. We now have access to media that even I never even though of growing up. More so now than in previous generations. So that fear becomes more present and more expressed by the people. We gain access to that fear a lot quicker than ever before. Instead of seeing the news played out nightly or daily in the papers and TV. We can log into social media and have instant access to what is going on around us. Both the good and the bad. Sometimes we can take things out of the proper context and build up with in us a sense of rage and fear when for now a calmer mind is needed.

As I've been pondering on recent events. I've also been reminded of something that I've been known to say. "Surrender to Christ all things." For me it is a reminder that as a follower of Christ. That no matter what happens in the world. The path of Christ always remains true. That in moments of darkness, Christ, is our light. In moments of confusion, Christ, brings clarity. That in moments when we are scared out of our mind. That by surrendering all to Christ we find comfort and an inner peace we otherwise would not have. It is a reminder that while nations rise and fall. Christ remains eternal and unchanging. Even when it feels like the world is changing all around us. I would like to think that someone like me in the past felt the same way as I do now here in the present. That no matter what goes on around us. Surrender to Christ all things.

Till Next Time

-JM

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mini Review: Catholic Hipsters Handbook


The Catholic Hipsters Handbook (Amazon)

This post is a short review of Tommy Tighe's Catholic Hipsters Handbook. The book is more or less a collection of short essays by several authors in addition Tighe's own contributions. The subtitle of this book is Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers, and Other Weird but Sacred Stuff. Which pretty much explains what you will find with in these pages. Though out the course of reading you will explore various elements of the Catholic Faith. At the end of each segment the various authors suggest a less than well known Saint. Such as St. John Bosco or Fr. Solanus Casey. It goes into the inns and outs of various purely Catholic things. The segments are bite sized but contain a lot of information packed in. Each of the contributing authors present things in a very easy flowing and down to earth writing style while at the same time quietly encouraging the reader to explore the Catholic faith more deeply.

Personally I rather enjoying reading this. I gained some new insight into my own faith and have that desire to explore things more deeply. If you are looking for something to check out this book is very much worth it. Now if you will excuse me I need to go look something up....

Till next time.

-JM



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I enjoy this. (Displays)



Doing displays with the Lego Church Project is one of the fun aspects of what I do. Though sometimes it can be a challenge to get the project to a location. Once set up their is the interaction with the people that is always fun. A chance to show what I am doing and sharing it with the community. I really enjoy the social aspect of what I do. Talking about not just what goes into the building. But also sharing the mission of what goes into my reasons. Even for my short afternoon displays that I do sometimes. It is that interaction with people that often fuels the creative fires and makes such things possible. It is something I enjoy. My personal feeling has always been that my talent is a gift from God and that talent should be shared with others. Which is why I'm always looking for places to take the project and to share the message. I am very thankful to the people who have supported me in this journey of faith. Season 18, dedicated to the life of Fr. Solanus Casey, has been one of the busier seasons so far. I'm also on tap to either tie or out right pass my previous record for the most displays in a season. But even I know that such things would not be even happening with out the support of those who believe in me and share that same passion for what I am doing. It is rather humbling given my own limitations to see the look on people's faces when they know I am coming with the project. Even from the ones who have been following me for years. To know that some how I am touching people's lives. It's a good feeling in my own heart to know that people really do enjoy the work I do. That they are looking forward to the next season to see what I am doing. Just as much as I look forward to building the next season and taking it on the road. Thank you for the support you have shown me.