p12079367_b_v9_acBy John Ruberry

Without the phenomenal box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, HBO’s Game of Thrones series may not have ever launched. And without GoT’s ongoing critical and audience raves, The Last Kingdom would almost certainly never have been giving the green light by the BBC.

I just finished binge-watching the first season of The Last Kingdom, which like Game of Thrones is a television version of a series of books, in this case Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. I might not have ever heard of the BBC series had not the ninth season of the Doctor Who reboot had been bombarded with Last Kingdom trailers. I guess that’s the point of promos.

Season two of The Last Kingdom is currently in production.

So how is it? Well, in a few words, LK is pretty good. After all, I kept watching, didn’t I?

Here’s how the series is set up–with spoilers for the most part that cover only the first half of the first episode:

The action begins in the late ninth century as Danish invaders–the word “vikings” is never used–have transformed themselves from coastal raiders into a disciplined army who have conquered each English kingdom save Wessex. The lead character is Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumberland noblemen who as a child witnesses his father fall in a battle against the invaders. After he humorously attacks a Dane, Uhtred is taken as a slave. Losing his Christian faith, Uhtred the Godless, much in the matter of white characters captured by Indians in Old West movies, seems unsure of his loyalties, but he’s determined to reclaim his family castle from his duplicitous uncle.

An adult Uhtred, after his Danish family is killed by other Danes, makes his way to Wessex where he pledges loyalty to King Alfred and joins the Saxon cause.

Attractive in a Jon Snow sort of way, Uhtred doesn’t have a vow of chastity to hamper his romantic pursuits.

Religion greatly drives the plot, The priest who baptizes the young Uhtred–twice–has also made his way to Wessex, where he serves as a counselor to Alfred. Refreshingly, the Christians in The Last Kingdom are pious, but not portrayed as foolishly pious. The only religious character treated with disdain is a Danish sorcerer.

Alfred (David Dawson), the devout king, doesn’t let his sickliness damper his resolve to save his realm and drive the Danes out of England.

Besides Alfred, other historical characters who appear in The Last Kingdom are the Danish chieftains Ubba and Guthrum, Saxons Odda the Elder, King Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred’s nephew Aethelwold, and Welsh monk Asser, the biographer of the Wessex ruler. A glaring oversight is the omission of Ivor the Boneless, the Dane whose name still perplexes historians. Ivor was the half-brother of Ubba.

The show plays homage to the legend that Alfred, asked by a woman to keep an eye on loaves of bread being baked, allows them to burn as his mind wanders to pressing matters of kingship.

The cinematography is superb although the filming of the series in Hungary, rather than England, might be the catalyst of one of LK’s noticeable shortcomings, cheap-looking wardrobes and crowns that appear to be plastic. If the series was shot in Britain, or even Northern Ireland where some of Game of Thrones is filmed, I’m sure the costume department of The Last Kingdom could have scrounged up more convincing crowns some better period clothes from a regional Shakespeare company.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

If you are looking for one more Game of Thrones comparison, then I won’t let you down. While gratuitous nudity is absent from The Last Kingdom, the brief glimpses of bare flesh amid the armor and swords appear forced as if someone is screaming at the directors, “We need naked bums for better ratings!”

I’ll be back for season two, hoping for more. (More meaning better shows, not bare buttocks.) After all, the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood didn’t hit its stride until season two and it didn’t achieve consistent greatness until The Children of Earth in season three.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit
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As election day comes closer I find myself thinking of a sermon my pastor gave on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

For those not familiar with it, here is the passage in Luke Chapter 10 Verses 25 to 37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

When my pastor talked about this story he noted that there was more than meets the eye.

Priests in the time of Christ were born not made.  A priest might have only a couple of chances to serve in the temple in his lifetime.  So the priest seeing the injured man might have said to himself.  “Boy I’d really like to help out but if I do and become ritually unclean I can’t server in the temple and that’s more important.

Likewise the Levite had religious duties and might have said to himself.  Well my first duty is to God so while I’d really like to help I can’t make myself unclean and unable to serve him.

Put simply they (like the doctor of the law asking “who is my neighbor) found a plausible reason to not do what they knew they should and as our pastor explained, while both of them might have thought they were serving God better by doing what they did Jesus teaches them:  No you’ve got it wrong, to serve God you have to love your neighbor even if it carries risk.

And those days are coming soon to Christianity in the US, in fact they’ve already arrived.

Even before the election of Hillary we are seeing laws being passed that put Christian organizations in a horrible dilemma, either enable and/or justify sin or find yourself unable to act out your calling either due to financial penalties or legal prohibitions.

I’m sure there will be plenty of christians organizations whose lawyers, whose contributors and even some clergy will tell them:

Look think of all the good you are doing, or, listen you can’t risk the liability here if something goes wrong, or you can’t give your foes an opening by opposing them because they want to destroy you and anyways if you get the state upset you might lose  donors and then where will you be?

The problem is that Christ didn’t tell us to go out and be social workers (although we as Christians do many works for the social good) He didn’t preach be friends with the state (although Christian organizations invariably are not only good citizens but teach virtues that make their children good citizens as well)  And he didn’t tell us to worry about wealth (although he did say to use it for good).

What he DID say is go out and preach the good news to all the world, to do so with courage and be ready to be persecuted for doing so as he was.

 

A Christian who actually believes knows that there are worse things awaiting man than death and that to justify and/or encourage sin, in the hopes of doing good, only leads to death.

CS Lewis Screwtape warned us about this:

 The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. 

If the post Vatican II world taught us anything it’s this:  One we decide we can ditch bits of the faith to keep the turnstiles turning we’ll find out really quickly that there’s no longer any demand to turn them at all.

Or put simply the first virtue is courage without that virtue no other can survive.  I fear we will find out in the near future what Christians have courage and the fear of God and which ones don’t.

Or put simply, don’t be the priest or the Levite in the story.

Reg:  All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Monty Python  Life of Brian 1979

Helen Ramirez: You want to know why I’m leaving?  Then listen.   Kane will be dead in half an hour.   And nobody’s going to do anything about it. And when he dies, this town dies too.   I can feel it.

High Noon 1952

Wednesday I wrote about how the situation in Louisiana doesn’t help the MSM’s cause and how it’s affects their coverage but there is another aspect that I’ve talked about before in these web pages that Rod Dreher mentioned in the piece I quoted that, that is worthy of its own post:

you would be hard-pressed to find a single church or Christian organization (like the school community of which I’m a part) that isn’t in some way helping flood victims. I’m not talking about simply giving money. I’m talking about doing sacrificial work to help those who are helpless.

This of course is no surprise to any Christian of any denomination as it echoes the words of St. James in his letter:

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

James 2:15-16

Christians are not just called to be believers, we are called to be doers.  If you look at the Ten Commandments they are divided between the things we do based on our duty to God as his children and our duties to each other as brothers and sisters or as Christ put it.  

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

This is the reason why as Matthew Kelly said:

Every single day the Catholic Church feeds more people, houses more people , clothes more people, visits more imprisoned people and educates more people than any other institution on the planet earth can ever hope to.

Worcester Mass. March 20th 2010

And you will find that if you go to your local church of any denomination, Catholic or Protestant you will find people either quietly or loudly doing all the good works that a lot of you.

The media has not talked about this, any more than they bothered to talk about Miravia or the Kolping Society or visitation house or the open arms society.

Why do I bring all this up, because Rod mentions something of interest concerning the upcoming election and the election of Hillary:

Some people say that loss of tax-exempt status, which is what many progressives would like to see happen to dissident churches, will be no big deal. Why should their tax dollars go to subsidize bigotry? they reason.

It will be a very big deal. All contributions to churches and Christian organizations doing relief work are tax-deductible at the present time. This will likely go away, dramatically hampering the resources available to conservative churches like Istrouma to help the suffering in instances like this. Far as I know, nobody has seen crews from the Human Rights Campaign mucking out houses or feeding refugees.

Of course if they lose their tax exemption, churches will still do these things. But they will have many fewer resources with which to do so. Progressives either have not thought about this, or, as I suspect, they just don’t care.

I guarantee you won’t see Jim Carville saying “this is saving people lives” in arguing against this.  Our liberal “friends” have embraced a different faith and that faith’s primary enemy is Christianity.

One of the worst things about all this, is many Christians don’t see it coming

I find that even at this late date, it is difficult to get ordinary Christians, including pastors, to understand the reality of what’s coming. You should believe David Gushee. He has done us all a favor here. He and his allies — that is, the entire American establishment — are going to do everything they possibly can to eliminate any place of retreat. When people say that if the Left has its way, there will be no Benedict Option places left to retreat to, I agree. That does not mean they will succeed, at least not at first, but it’s just a matter of time. This means that we will need the Benedict Option more than ever. The Ben Op is not about escapism; it’s about building the institutions and adopting the practices required for the church to be resilient, and even to thrive, under harsh conditions. The church will be under unprecedented pressure, legally and socially, to capitulate. But it will be possible to resist, though not without paying a high cost.

But the people who won’t see it coming are the poor, the indigent the destitute and those caught in disaster who will discover very quickly the difference between the church coming to help without question or condition in your time of trouble and relying on the state.

That’s how a culture dies and when it does it will be through our own actions and inactions.


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MuhammadAliby baldilocks

Before the death of the legendary Muhammad Ali—a Muslim–I said a prayer for him–that God the Father might draw him to Jesus the Christ—and I said so on Social Media. I expected one of my few Muslim friends to take offense to this, but it is many professed Christians who seem have more of a problem with my prayer.

I wonder what Bible they’re reading—a rhetorical musing because I know that reading and comprehending are two separate concepts.

Now let’s get this straight; I have no idea whether God answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my prayer and I’m okay with not knowing. What gets me is how many Christians are saying that no deathbed conversions exist. I mean, how would anyone know one way or the other? And some are ridiculing the notion that we Christians should pray for the conversion of Ali’s Muslim family!

And then there’s that whole chronicle about the thief on the cross—the one who, through an act of faith, got a last minute get-out-of-Hell free card—a death “bed” conversion. When I mentioned it, someone actually told me that this was a one-time event—that it would never happen again!

Seriously, why believe in a god who can’t see what’s in your heart, who doesn’t know your heart infinitely better than you know it yourself, and who can’t have mercy on even the worst of us in seconds?

Why believe in a God who can’t make a day last longer than the standard 24 hours?

Why believe in a God who can’t take a murderer of Christians and turn him into Christ’s most convincing earthly apologist?

I’m unfamiliar with this deity in which many Christians say they believe—this god whose name is not El Shaddai.

I’m also unfamiliar with a deity who does not want us to pray for living unbelievers—like most of Ali’s family and a few members of my own.

I’m told that God is not willing that any should perish and that followers of Christ can move mountains with faith-fueled prayer, but some of my naysayers seem to be ignoring those words.

Whoever this limited deity is in whom some Christians say they believe, I don’t think he’s worth worshiping. As for Ali, he knows the truth now, and it’s likely that he’s full of regret. Not certain, but likely.

Don’t let that be your fate, Christians; the God I do know says that we will give an account for everything we say and do. I have enough stuff to account for and I’m sure that you do, too. Friendly advice: limit the list.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

G. K. Chesterton

Yesterday I saw the following link at Drudge

Outbreak of super STD difficult to contain…

It linked to the following Daily Mirror story titled thus:

Why outbreak of super gonorrhoea is proving difficult to contain

which talks about a particularly nasty drug resistant version of Gonorrhoea

As the gonorrhoea bacterium can resist our most powerful antibiotics when used alone, two drugs, ­azithromycin and ceftriaxone, are used in combination.

However, resistance to azithromycin has developed and is spreading, and experts fear it’s only a matter of time before ceftriaxone fails too.

Now given these facts one might presume that both the Drudge headline and the Mirror one are absolutely correct.

They’re not.

Actually the outbreak of “super STD’s” is very easy to contain and the solution to avoiding said STD’s it just involves a solution different than that advised by the medical community

Dr Gwenda Hughes, the head of the sexually transmitted infections unit at Public Health England, said: “We cannot afford to be complacent. If strains emerge resistant to both azithromycin and ­ceftriaxone, treatment options would be limited as there is currently no new antibiotic available to treat the infection.”

She’s encouraging people to practise safe sex to minimise the risk of STIs.

You see the solution to keeping this disease from spreading is not to have sex with infected people.

That’s all it takes.

In fact there is an organization that has been suggesting such a thing for centuries:

233 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.128 The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.

and has also pushed solutions that don’t involve abstinence from sex

2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

2361 “Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.”

So if you want to avoid this or any other sexually transmitted disease, if you and your spouse avoid premarital sex and then avoid sex with anyone other than your spouse you will not catch it.

If you want your kids to avoid it teach and encourage them to do the same.

And if we had the culture we did at the time of my birth, that would be the very first message that health professionals would be giving while still pursuing medical solutions for those who don’t follow this advice.

Alas, the need to discourage any remnants of the Christian Culture that once dominated England overrides any possible benefit to the population of arresting the spread of the superbug.

Closing thought, Does it never occur to people that the laws God has given us are not for his benefit but for ours?


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by baldilocks

Conservative commentators hither and yon have laid out reason after reason after reason that Donald Trump should not be the Republican candidate for president. They’ve used facts, reason and logic. But I don’t think that much headway is being made and I don’t expect to make much here.

The latest example is the Trump Campaign’s reaction in the wake of its loss in the Colorado Caucus/Convention. Mr. Trump’s subsequent behavior has been typically petulant—especially in view of the campaign’s failure to do the minimum amount of leg-work in the state.

I’m not going to lay out the situation leading up to the loss in Colorado because it’s only tangential to my point. Those who want to know what happened already know or they’ve already decided to ignore it.

And to paraphrase a Trumpism: he whines so much that I—for one—have become bored with whining.

For the record, I don’t “hate” Donald Trump because I have some secret desire to be liked and accepted by the so-called “Republican Establishment.”

Whoever makes this juvenile assertion is using the same thought process—such as it is—that black leftists use when attempting to shame black conservatives: “You’re only conservative because you want white people to like you”–as if principle were a plantation. (By the way, white people liked me when I was a Democrat.)

However, there is one huge–if you’ll pardon the word–reason that the prospect of a President Trump frightens me. And that reason is not political.

I will not vote for someone who calls himself a Christian and, at the same time, says he hasn’t asked God’s forgiveness; who, in fact, says that he doesn’t need forgiveness.

That we all have sinned and require forgiveness and propitiation for our sins through the actions of Jesus the Christ is Christianity itself.

It’s telling that many Christian commentators have ignored Trump’s words on this matter. We may not be voting for a pope or a pastor, but we are voting for a person to lead this country, and, as we Christians know, God puts—and allows–leaders to lead their countries, depending on the choices and character of the citizenry. That means that if we don’t mind if an apostate is our leader, God will let that happen. We should have already learned this in the last eight years.

To me, when Donald Trump made that statement, it was as if God said to us, “here’s what you are really getting. Are you sure you want this?”

I say ‘no.’ It isn’t that I wouldn’t vote for a non-Christian. It’s that I can’t vote for a pretend Christian. I didn’t vote for one during the last two presidential elections either.

God is not mocked and I won’t vote for someone who openly does so. But if enough people ignore Mr. Trump’s mockery, “we” will get what “we” want. Again.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks

12th Doctor: Evolution perfects survival skills.

Doctor Who  Hide 2013

Of the delights of this world, man cares most for sexual intercourse. He will go to any length for it-risk fortune, character, reputation, life itself

Mark Twain

In short men.  It’s been a long fight but the sexual revolution is over…

….We WON!

DaTechGuy The final victory in the Sexual Revolution 2013

I know I’ve written about this before but after seeing this post at Robert Stacy McCain’s Site Titled  Heterosexuality Is the Structure That Keeps Sexist Oppression in Place’

containing this quote

The student quotes from “Separating Lesbian Theory From Feminist Theory,” an essay by Cheshire Calhoun in the textbook, where she says that “from a feminist perspective, sexual interaction, romantic love, marriage, and the family are all danger zones,” being patriarchal institutions that “serve male interests.”

I think it’s time to reacquaint people with some science:

One of the fallacies of some of our atheist friends is the idea that Christianity categorically rejects evolution and or natural selection.  In fact while some Christian sects do the Catholic church does not to wit

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are. 

In fact I’ve already argued that the belief in pure evolution (fin into hand) is so mathematically improbable that said belief in that kind of evolution demands a belief in God but let’s consider the less radical and more biologically sound principle of natural selection, that is that nature rewards attributes that increase the chances of the survival of a species.

And survival of a species requires, wait for it, reproduction!

Or as Stacy McCain once put it when trying to explain the character of Jane in the Tarzan movies:

And here’s a little secret: Nice Christian girls get horny, too.

We are not supposed to know this, and certainly it is considered inappropriate for a nice Christian girl ever to admit this secret. Still, the Creator who made them male and female did not make them so unequal that the female is without sexual desire. The comparative roles played by nature and nuture in female sexuality have been furiously debated and endlessly researched. Some say that Western civilization, particularly Christianity, has misunderstood women’s sexuality, misrepresented it both in science and in popular culture, and misled women in the attitudes toward sex that they are taught and encouraged to emulate. Be that as it may, however, nature must ultimately triumph, and the creation is a tribute to her Creator, so that her mind and body are attuned to respond — as a matter of autonomic reflex — to her biological destiny. This response is influenced by her upbringing and experiences, by her education and the culture that surrounds her, yet no amount of Victorian prudery could have utterly thwarted Jane’s sexual nature.

Put simply it doesn’t matter if you believe in a creator or in a Darwin, natural selection rewards traits that ensure the survival of a species and thus as a rule men find woman desirable and women as a rule like the idea.

So if you are a believer that heterosexuality is a social construct, what are you saying?  You’re saying that alone among the species the human race did NOT evolve in such a way that encourages reproduction.

And they say belief in God requires faith.

Closing thought #1  The irony here?  Most of these same people who reject natural selection’s role in the human sex drive reject christianity.

Closing thought #2  Stacy McCain constantly refers to feminism as a death cult. The fact that he has six children who are already having children to Amanda Marcotte’s 0  proves it more,  as I said years ago

There are 9 women on her enemies list, of the 9 I could only find information concerning children for four of them.

According to IMDB Ann Marie Murrell has one child, Morgan Brittany 2. and from the Politichicks site we see Dr. Gina Loudon has 5 meanwhile the oldest person on her list Phyllis Schlafly (age 90) has, according to Wikipedia six children.

That’s a 14-0 ratio and at 26 Lila Rose hasn’t even got started yet.

So while Amanda Marcotte and feminists like Sally Miller Gearhart willingly continue down a biological dead end , their enemies are fruitful and multiplying.

Put simply the future belongs to those who show up and embracing modern feminism is a Darwin Award just waiting to happen even if it didn’t mean piling on crushing amounts of college debt for no discernible job skills.

Update: Part of a sentence is missing, fixed

*****************************************************************

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All the press right now everywhere is focused on the presidential race but in 100 years the event that is going to be considered most significant in the history of the world from 2016 is this one:

Pope Francis and the leader of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church will hold talks in Cuba next week, the first meeting ever between a pope and a Russian patriarch and an encounter that some experts believe may help soothe conflicts in the Middle East.

It isn’t clear what the agenda will be for the meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the largest and wealthiest branch of Orthodox Christianity. But experts predict it could be a significant step — if probably symbolic — toward mending a schism that has divided Christianity between East and West for nearly 1,000 years.

At a time when Christians and Christianity are under attack both physically and culturally a show of unity particularly between this pair is huge:

The Patriarchate of Moscow sees itself as one of the few defenders of Christians in the Middle East, and Russia has intervened on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he pointed out. “Just for reasons of self-preservation, the Christians in Syria have mainly placed themselves under the protection of Assad and are discretely supportive of the Assad regime. They do believe the alternative is ISIS or some al Qaeda affiliate that would make their lives short or hellish,” he said.

Pope Francis, he continued, understands that any sort of solution to the problem of persecution of Middle Eastern Christians has a lot to do with ending the fighting in Syria, and that means getting Putin and the Russians committed to ending the fighting in Syria, “to get Putin to consider a political solution to the conflict and recognize that the Vatican and others can serve as honest brokers.”

This is about as unlikely an event as it gets.

Many Russian Orthodox consider Catholics as schismatic and heterodox. They also suspect Eastern Catholics, particularly the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which follows Orthodox rituals and spirituality, as encroaching on what they consider Orthodox territory and hoping to siphon off Orthodox believers.

“The Russian Patriarchate has really carved out a very anti-ecumenical position over the past few decades… as a very strong nationalist Church,” the expert said. “It’s wed itself even closer than other national Churches, like the Bulgarian Orthodox or Romanian Orthodox, to the current regime in its country.

We don’t know what exactly will be said:

The encounter between the two leaders, expected to last roughly two hours, will take place at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration. No details about the content of that agreement were released.

Those who don’t follow religion don’t realize just how big this is. That would not be an accurate description of John Allen:


Journalism tends to wildly overuse the term “historic,” but when it comes to Friday’s announcement that Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Feb. 12 in Havana, there’s simply no other word for it.

He’ll likely be covering that. I’m jealous

Yet this is taking place

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.

James 5:13-16

The fifth in my series explaining why the Hail Mary is a prayer for all Christians not just Catholics.

Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners.
Now, and at the hour of our death, Amen.

In part 1 the Angelic Salutation, we talked about how the opening words of the Hail Mary, taken directly from the greeting of the Angel Gabriel, signifies not only the importance of Mary as the very first Christian but her position relative to the heavenly host.

In Part 2 the Human confirmation, we noted how the words of the Angel to Mary taken directly Elizabeth’s greeting from scripture signifies the confirmation of the angel’s message and that in addition to the angels it is for man both born and unborn to honor Mary in every generation.

In Part 3: The Holy Name: We noted both the power of the Holy Name of Jesus but that the Hail Mary in direct worship of Jesus, invokes his holy name.

In Part 4: The Maternal Observation: We talked scripturally on Mary’s place as mother of God and disciple of Christ.

So now let’s continue with part 5: The Requested intercession

As per part four our task here is two-fold, to confirm that these words are true and proper, followed by the significance of the words being prayed themselves.  The words being “Pray for us sinners”

At first glance this would seem rather easy, “pray for us sinners” would seem an innocuous term.  We are of course all sinners who need prayer and any look at a Bible concordance will find the word “pray” and “prayer” all over the place in scripture.

But there is one catch to this that I’ve heard from just about every sort of Protestant that I’ve met.  It’s the idea that you should go directly to Christ with your prayer rather than asking Mary to pray for you.  Why would one ask for Mary to intercede when you can pray directly to Jesus Christ?  The point being that such prayer raises Mary beyond her station and in some way lessons Christ.

A look at scripture leads however to the following point

Intercessory Prayer is not only legitimate but biblical

This might shock some but if you look at scripture it should not as the direct prayer standard is not always used.  There is a hint of this in Jesus Last Supper discourse when he prays in John 17:20-21: (emphasis mine)

“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.

This indicates the task of the disciples of Christ and that those who follow after him will have a key impact in the faith and belief in other, in other words that they will intercede on their behalf.  But that’s only an oblique reference, if you look in scripture you will find examples of this both in the old testament where Pharaoh asks Moses to intercede in prayer:

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray the LORD to remove the frogs from me and my subjects, and I will let the people go to offer sacrifice to the LORD.”

Moses answered Pharaoh, “Do me the favor of appointing the time when I am to pray for you and your servants and your subjects, that the frogs may be taken away from you and your houses and be left only in the river.”

Exodus 8:4-5

Well, then,” said Pharaoh, “I will let you go to offer sacrifice to the LORD, your God, in the desert, provided that you do not go too far away and that you pray for me.”

Moses answered, “As soon as I leave your presence I will pray to the LORD that the flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh and his servants and his subjects. Pharaoh, however, must not play false again by refusing to let the people go to offer sacrifice to the LORD.”

When Moses left Pharaoh’s presence, he prayed to the LORD; and the LORD did as Moses had asked. He removed the flies from Pharaoh and his servants and subjects. Not one remained.

Exodus 8:24-27

What is Pharaoh doing?  He is asking Moses for intercessory prayer.  And Pharaoh is not alone in asking for such prayer of Moses

You have the people of Israel asking it of Samuel:

They said to Samuel, “Pray to the LORD your God for us, your servants, that we may not die for having added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

1 Samuel 12:19

The Elder Uzziah asks it of Judith

Then Uzziah said to her: “All that you have said was spoken with good sense, and no one can gainsay your words.  Not today only is your wisdom made evident, but from your earliest years all the people have recognized your prudence, which corresponds to the worthy dispositions of your heart.

The people, however, were so tortured with thirst that they forced us to speak to them as we did, and to bind ourselves by an oath that we cannot break.  But now, God-fearing woman that you are, pray for us that the Lord may send rain to fill up our cisterns, lest we be weakened still further.”

Judith 8:28-31

And even the Lord God himself commands it of the friends of Job

And it came to pass after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and with your two friends; for you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.

Now, therefore, take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up a holocaust for yourselves; and let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely. For you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.”

Then Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, went and did as the LORD had commanded them. And the LORD accepted the intercession of Job.

Job 42:7-9

And this isn’t limited to the Old Testament In the new we see Simon the magician’s plea to Peter 

Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven.  For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.”

Simon said in reply, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Acts 8:22-24

And Paul asking the Thessalonians

Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

the Colossians

Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,

Colossians 4:2-3

and the Ephesians

With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Ephesians 18-20

…to pray for him.

All of these things are requests for intercessory prayer a request that a person other than themselves intercede with God.

Now of course there is nothing wrong with a prayer directed toward Christ and if you have been to a Catholic Mass you would see that it’s the norm, in fact will note that just about every opening prayer at every Catholic Mass. ends with some variation of:

“..We ask this through Jesus Christ your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and Ever Amen.”

But oddly enough when Christ teaches the disciples how to pray in both the Gospel of Matthew:

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matt 11:9-13

And the Gospel of Luke

He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

Luke 11:2-4

he gives them what we call the Our Father or The Lord’s Prayer.  This is the base prayer of Christianity yet in it Jesus, rather than directing the disciples to pray through him, directs that they pray directly to the Father.

Now it’s also true that Christ says in John’s Gospel to ask things of the father in his name:

On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.  Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.  “I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.  On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.

John 16:23-26

Yet there is not, nor was there any modification to the prayer that Christ gave bypassing him.

What does this mean?  It means in scripture when it comes to prayer we have a lack of exclusivity.  Paul’s request for the people to pray for him doesn’t exclude his praying to God himself any more than his prayers for them excludes it. Likewise the prayer of the Our Father doesn’t exclude prayer in Jesus name or vice versa.  Nor do the prayer requests in the Old Testament suggest that the people making these requests are not to pray as well.

In other words they’re all legitimate.  The prayer directly to the Father is legitimate, the prayer in the name of Jesus is legitimate and the prayer for another is legitimate.

Ironically in the Hail Mary is that in this one prayer we see an example of All three forms of prayer.:

In the words:  “the Lord is with thee” we invoke God the father.

In the words:  “Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus”  We invoke Jesus Christ & proclaim his Holy Name

and now in the words:  “Pray for us sinners” We seek intercessory prayer.  The same intercessory prayer that we often ask of one another asked of Mary, the mother of God.

This is not only keeping with the precedent of scripture but is consistent with the history of Christianity from its very start as evidenced in the Letter of James that we quoted at the beginning of this Chapter.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.

James 5:16

Having established that intercessory prayer is not a problem the question becomes:  “Why make the intercession to “pray for us sinners” through her and does such intercession elevate her beyond her place or decrease Christ?”

There are two points to make here.  First of all consider again the examples above from the Old Testament and even the example of Simon.  In each of them the person who is asked to pray is considered a holy person, one close to God, and as we already established in Chapter one as being marked by God and submitted to by an angel.

God has already elevated her, thus no amount of prayer though her can top that.

But it’s the second point which completes the thought began in our last chapter concerning the Wedding at Cana that really seals the deal on Mary as an intercessor.   To repeat the passage:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from  (although the servers who had drawn the water knew) the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

John 2:1-11

Last time I mentioned there were three significant things about this passage two of which we left for this section.

2.  Mary humbly places the matter before Christ

We see that in verse 3 Mary tell Jesus of the problem, in verse 4 Jesus plainly notes that this is really not his business, so how does Mary react:

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

What is important about this answer firstly is what she doesn’t say to her son:

She doesn’t play the “Honor thy Father & thy mother” card.

She doesn’t press upon him the embarrassment of the couple and plead their case.

She doesn’t note her importance before God already established by an Angel & the Holy Spirit.

She doesn’t insist in any way the he do what she asks.

No she has already placed the petition at the feet of the Word Incarnate and simply trusts him to his will.  Then she instructs the servers to obey that will.

Mary is not God, she does not see the future,  She doesn’t know if Jesus will choose to act, she doesn’t know if he will choose not to act, she simply trust in him and asks us to obey.

That is a perfect example of the Humility of Mary in Intercession for us.  Taking our prayer and putting it before her son our Lord Jesus Christ for his divine disposition and asking us to Obey it.

The 2nd Point is more subtle:

The end result of Mary’s Intercession is to bring people to belief in her son.

The first instinct is to say that Jesus direct intervention on behalf of the couple is the most critical result of Mary’s action, but in doing so we miss the star of the show.

It is the very last phrase that makes of the passage, verse 11b that really tells the story:

and his disciples began to believe in him.

 Here we have the ultimate end result of going to Mary.  that the wine doesn’t run out and embarrass the newlyweds is nice but you’ll note their reaction is not noted because it’s not what counts.  What counts is because of the sequence of events.

Mary asks for God’s Intercession

Mary asks for man to obey her son

The servants follow the lead of Jesus as Mary told them

Jesus’ disciples begin to believe.

I have heard sermon after sermon where a Catholic priest says that Mary will always lead us to her son, but we don’t need a sermon to know this, we have a direct example in scripture that the intercession of Holy Mary, the Mother of God increases faith in Jesus Christ.

And for Christians that’s what it’s all about.

So in summation we can see:

Requesting Intercessory prayer of one for another, particular a holy one is consistent with Scripture

Mary is an excellent choice for intercessory prayer

Mary as a humble intercessor who brings people closer to her son is directly demonstrated in Scripture

Next chapter:  The Timely intervention

Benediction_at_camp_Bastion
Benediction at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

by baldilocks

A friend asked if Afghanistan was Hindu and/or Buddhist before it was Muslim. Well, ‘yes’ would be a safe answer, but two other faiths which were prevalent in Afghanistan before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

From the BBC:

  • Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world.
  • Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe. Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom.
  • Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster.
  • Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day.
  • Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple orAgiary.
  • The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta.
  • The Avesta can be roughly split into two main sections:
  • The Avesta is the oldest and core part of the scriptures, which contains the Gathas. The Gathas are seventeen hymns thought to be composed by Zoroaster himself.
  • The Younger Avesta – commentaries to the older Avestan written in later years. It also contains myths, stories and details of ritual observances.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. And for those wondering how Christianity reached the Indian peninsula…

From Wikipedia:

Legend based on the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient documents suggests that Saint Thomas preached in Bactria, which is today northern Afghanistan.[14] An early third-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas[15] connects the apostle’s ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and compelled him to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes (or Habban), to his native place in northwest India. There, Thomas found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian (Southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) King, Gondophares. The Apostle’s ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.[15]

Bardaisan, writing in about 196, speaks of Christians throughout MediaParthia and Bactria[16] and, according to Tertullian (c.160–230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220.[17] By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.[15]

See also: Nestorian Church, Church of the East, and Assyrian Church of the East. There is some confusion as to which church is which.

All of the Afghani faiths resisted conversion to Islam for centuries after the seventh century rise, with varying degrees of success. (In the 15th century, the Church of the East was eradicated in the area by Muslim Mongols; Buddhists held on until the 19th century.) But, eventually, Islam won the battle. The war, of course, continues.

Looking into these things resembled peeling back a huge onion. Therefore, I’m posting this to give myself preliminary markers to investigate as much as to answer my friend’s question. Feel free to offer corrections and insights.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

4th Doctor: Nothing. I’ve searched the whole house. Completely empty. No secret passages, no hidden rooms, nothing. It’s got to be here, though.
Professor Emilia Rumford: What has?
4th Doctor: Well, the Cailleach.
Professor Emilia Rumford: Oh, the witch hag?
4th Doctor: Yes.
Professor Emilia Rumford: It’s only a legend.
4th Doctor: Yes, I know. And so was Troy until dear old Schliemann dug it up.

Doctor Who:  The Stones of Blood 1978

This piece by Kirsten Power is a must read and this section should be particular read by people who dismiss Christianity out of hand as nonsense:

A few months into the relationship he confronted me with a question I didn’t expect to get from any person I knew: “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?”

“Of course not!” I answered. It was ridiculous. Who says things like this? I wondered.

My boyfriend then explained that he saw a future for us, but that he couldn’t marry someone who didn’t accept Jesus as their Savior. But then he told me something that I had never heard: “If you can keep an open mind,” he said, “God can reveal Himself to you.”

This is Christianity 101 and Ms. Power’s first reaction to it was secularism 101

This didn’t sound right to me…

But the rest of the sentence was not

…but I had so much respect for this man that I didn’t feel I could dismiss his claim out of hand. But I warned him that even though I was willing to show up at church from time to time, the chances of me becoming a Christian were less than zero.

But it turned out that the church he attended was pastored by a man named Tim Keller, who might be the most persuasive Christian apologist and evangelical pastor of his generation (if not the century). His sermons would weave together threads from philosophy, history, music, literature, and even popular culture. I had never heard anyone talk about the Bible, or Jesus, the way Keller did.

About a year into this unlikely journey I came to the conclusion that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity being true. But this was a head decision, not one of the heart.

I’ve said many times that the primary reason to believe in Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular is because it’s true and if you look at the empirical evidence you’ll understand why many of the greatest minds in history figured this out.

Ironically Ms. Power path echoed the early disciples on the road to Emmaus at first the truth of the matter is presented by argument and reason. To wit:

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.  Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.  But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

Luke 24:13-29

but like Ms. Powers it’s the personal encounter with Christ which clinched the deal

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke 24:30-35

 

I suspect the personal encounters with Christ and / or the blessed mother are actually a lot more common than people are willing to admit, particularly if they function in a secular environment.  But even without such an encounter a reason based start is perfectly valid start.  Once you have reason behind you then you will be able to see whats right in front of your face.

As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.

And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Luke 17:12-17

On Thursday the Big Bang Theory sent up Star Wars Movie Fanaticism and after years of speculation and an epiphany from Sheldon from the previous week concerning his love for Amy.

But while Amy & Sheldon’s big night was the big news for me the opening was really something, not just for the Star Wars titles which were pretty funny but for this scene.

I find it the perfect Analogy for how so many people treat the Christian faith.

Consider the situation. Sheldon is panic ridden at the thought of not getting tickets to see Star Wars on opening day so with no other option available he appeals to God, on his Knees asking for help.

Before he is half way thorough his prayer it is answered suddenly Howard as the tickets that Sheldon was praying for.

And that’s when Sheldon drops him like a rock.

Now for the sake of comedy of course that works but for the sake of reality for too many people that is how they approach Christianity, they need something in a crisis, ask God for help in the crisis and when that help is provided they slowly walk away convincing themselves that he had nothing to do with it.

Historically this is normal, people run to God in crisis but when things get better they walk away.

It’s a dangerous way of looking at life and is even more dangerous if it’s not corrected before death.

So in this year of mercy by all means turn to God when things are bad, but don’t forget him when things get better.

After a very good day’s sleep I turned on the TV and found this scene from Animal House playing.

Watching for a little while and thinking of the Star wars fanaticism that’s been going on it hit me that both of these movies came out in the late 70’s. It was a time when many of the 60’s generation had young kids who because of their parent’s decision to foolishly abandon christianity had no real exposure to religion.

By an odd coincidence both of these excellent movies became more than movies, they became ways of life.

At colleges all over the nation the primary purpose of college to many became to get drunk and score. Meanwhile kids who normally moved from one popular movie or TV show to another (remember the Davy Crockett caps) stayed with Star Wars to the point where it wasn’t abandoned in adulthood and was even passed onto the next generation.

Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying a great comedy or action movie, both of these pictures were a lot of fun but it’s not healthy to replace your moral code with them.

Consider this famous scene from Animal House

The Dean’s words: “Fat drunk & stupid is no way to go through life son.” Is excellent advice that any parent worth a damn would give his or her kids, but HE is considered the villain in this scene, the person to be defeated and ignored.

As a gag or joke, that’s fine, as a way of life, that’s disaster.

Meanwhile for people who have decided that the wisdom of generations concerning the Church and Christ and public events such as the miracle of he sun at Fatima seen by thousands are to be discounted find themselves engrossed in the “force” & “jedi” mysticism. Something that feeds the need for thing beyond themselves without actual commitment to anything but buying the latest toy.

Again as a fun distraction it’s fine, as a replacement for Christ, it doesn’t work. Take a look at the line of fanatics waiting to see the next installment in their gospel, how many of them do you think know anything of the real one?

As a creature with a soul man instinctively has a need for God, and when you take God away from him , he tries to find something to replace him with.

Again I like both of these movies and everybody know that I’m a big Doctor Who fan and if you want to enjoy and be entertained by the Star Wars or Doctor Who franchises that’s fine. Likewise if you want to laugh at Animal House and the genius of John Belushi that’s great.

But if you use any of these three as a “how to” for life, you are going to be disappointed and your culture will suffer.

Unexpectedly

Mayor Mario Lugatto: Look at my really Shockeda Facea

McHale’s Navy 1966

In our current culture a lot of people have plenty of contempt for the rules of Christianity concerning sex, that is no sex outside of marriage, no sleeping around inside of marriage, no same sex relationships etc…

Now a Christian in general and a Catholic in particular would argue that since the goal is eternal life, avoiding these mortal sin, despite the pleasures they might offer in this world is a small price to pay to avoid eternal damnation and manage eternal life, but that argument isn’t going to fly with a non believer. So lets just put it this way. Avoiding sleeping around with every sentient being in sight avoids situations like this:

In a bombshell world exclusive, The National ENQUIRER can reveal that the bad boy actor has been hiding an explosive secret from the world: He is HIV positive.

In our next issue — to hit newsstands nationwide on November 18 — The ENQUIRER blows wide open the scandal we first revealed last month.

Of course the shock isn’t that Charlie Sheen has contracted HIV, the shock is given his lifestyle it took so long.

In fact if Two and a half men was anything like reality this would have been the logical ending for Charlie as opposed to the piano on the head.

Two other things worth mentioning:

1. Right now there is a panic among the large collection of men/women and others who choose to share a bed with Mr. Sheen. Given Charlie Sheen’s reputation and the knowledge that nothing with a heartbeat was off the table for him the choice to share his bed ranks up there with playing in traffic.

2. The worst part about all of this is that for a long time Mr. Sheen’s lifestyle was celebrated and lionized by the media and the culture as an ideal or a goal. Sheen is a really rich guy and can afford high priced specialists, the most expensive of treatments and the best care that money can buy. That isn’t true of the people who were sold this stuff for a generation who will have to live with the consequences of bad choices that were sold to them without the benefit of wealth. Those people have a lot to answer for.

Closing thought:  One of the smartest things I ever heard in a sermon was God gave us these rules because they were good for us, not because they were good for him. It’s not a surprise, that’s what a good parent does.

Update:  A good point from Stacy McCain

James Hacker: Humphrey, what’s a Modernist in the Church of England?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah, well, the word “Modernist” is code for non-believer.
James Hacker: You mean an atheist?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Prime Minister. An atheist clergyman couldn’t continue to draw his stipend. So, when they stop believing in God, they call themselves “Modernists”.

Yes Prime Minister  The Bishop’s Gambit 1986

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

Yesterday I mentioned an exchange with Catholic Call to action on twitter and their silence to the 64,000 question concerning Christ divinity, death and resurrection.

There are many differences and disagreements that exist both in the Catholic Church and even more between us and our Protestant brothers and sisters. The Dogma of Christ is the Son of God and the fact that he died and rose again is not one of them. There is no more basic belief in Christianity than the idea that Christ died and rose from the dead. For any professed Christian, let alone a catholic Group with a large staff and an international reach, the answer to that question should be so easy and automatic that it’s almost a waste of time to have to ask it.

23 Hours after I asked my question here they gave this answer:

Now I’m not a professed catholic organization with a big leadership team, chapters around the nation holding national conferences with a list of keynote speakers and endorsements as famous a Christian an ex-president of the United States but I know this much:

Any christian individual or organization whether Catholic or Protestant should give Catholic Call to Action the widest birth possible because any organization that can’t clearly and without hesitation proclaim: “Jesus Christ is the son of God and died and rose from the dead” yet claims to be “Catholic” can’t be trusted.

I’ll give the last word to the Apostle John:

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.

1 John 4:1-3

Give me an honest Atheist like Penn Jillette to these guys any day.

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They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Catholic Hymn

With the Pope in America it seems a good time to address the question that has come up.  Is Barack Obama a Christian as the media insists?

Forgetting for a moment that the media’s actions suggest that there is something wrong with being a non Christian, a Muslim for example, there is a big trap for Christians of all stripes in making presumptions about Barack Obama’s Christianity which C. S. Lewis talks about in the Screwtape letters: (emphasis mine)

I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do-if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner-then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question “If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?” You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won’t come into his head.

Remember salvation isn’t graded on a curve, the job of a Christian is not to be better than the person in the next pew, the job is to strive for Sainthood, to follow Christ.

The second trap however is one the media and the White House has fallen into.

The media constantly jumps at any suggestion that the president is something other than a Christian, in fact for the last week the media has gone on the offensive attacking any candidate who does not affirm Barack Obama’s status as a Christian in good standing.

But they forget something very important, something Christ told us himself:

A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.

A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. “

Luke 6:43-47

Or put simply, the media would not have to constantly proclaim the President’s Christianity if his action proclaimed it.

So, two points, every time the Media promotes the President’s christianity it highlights his lack of the fruits of christianity, but while this is true, rather than worrying about the president’s Christianity and he fruit he bears the first job of a Christian is to bear fruit of its own.

Over the next few years you are going to be branded as bigots, hated and derided. You will be portrayed in every form of culture, plays, TV series and movies as people to be shunned and no member of the media will fail to come after you for your offenses against the twin sacraments of Abortion & Gay Marriage…The days of easy Christianity are over Now is the time to decide.

DaTechGuy March 29th 2013

One of the arguments I repeatedly hear from our friends on the left is that Kim Davis is the next George Wallace on Twitter an example:

I really find such tweets a lot of fun because the depth of historical ignorance they show is astounding

For all his: “segregation today, segregation tomorrow segregation forever” bluster and his showboat blocking of a schoolhouse door, George Wallace proved to be a pol whose primary concerning was getting power and obtaining more. Wallace used his showboat stance for political gain, using it, when term limited in office, to elect his wife as governor, using it to repeal his state’s term limit rule allowing him to run against his wife’s former Lt gov (she died of cancer in office) serving several more terms.

Furthermore he used it highlight himself nationally to peruse four presidential campaigns, the first abruptly pre-empted by JFK’s assassination, the 2nd on a third party ticket where he became one of the few 3rd party candidates ever to win states multiple states, the third for the Democrat nomination in 1972, a race he was doing well in until an attempted assassination attempt ended his campaign and left him in a wheelchair for life, and a fourth in 1976 which didn’t gain much traction.

Wallace didn’t go to jail or risk penalties for his beliefs because he didn’t have any other than “George Wallace deserves to be elected” , when segregation was popular he trumped segregation, when it became unpopular suddenly decided he spoke against it. In fact it seems to me that when it came to pols following in Wallace’s footstep the people are not Democrats like Kim Davis but Democrats like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who, as you might have forgotten, abruptly changed their position when it appeared large gay donors were closing their purses.

And once they did by an astounding coincidence the entire democrat party from Bill Clinton who signed the Defence of Marriage act to every single Democrat pol who said things like this:

suddenly decided that anyone who didn’t beleve in gay marriage was a bigot. As Dave Weigel put it.

The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

There are two words to describe this: Political opportunism. That sounds very George Wallace to me.

Contrast all of this with Kim Davis. Davis didn’t seek publicity, those who choose to force her hand did, as marriage licences were available just a few miles away. Even as the country’s media and elites demonized her and pundit after pundit attacked her she went to court to defend her position citing her religious beliefs seeking a compromise that would allow her to function without her name being one marriage certificates.

When ordered to jail, she didn’t put on a show, she went to jail and when released during the middle of a rally in her support (a rally used by at least one presidential candidate to showboat a bit) rather than talking politics or anything of that nature she praised God while her lawyers, speaking to media stated that she would not be doing anything different to violate her conscience:

Doesn’t sound very Wallace. In fact, instead of political opportunism that’s a classic example of civil disobedience. Violate law, take penalty. That’s how it works.

Furthermore we’ve had several tweets talking about her disobeying the “law” and noting that some of her defenders have been upset other locations violating federal laws (such as sanctuary cities). There is an excellent answer to these statments that I can’t take credit for writing emphasis mine

Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

That is an excellent summation of what Kim Davis has done, she has stood up against an unjust “law” rejecting the fear of nonconformity and vividly illustrated the attempt to to create a de facto religious test for office, to wit, if you are christian you may not hold public office in the United States unless you are what we call a “cafeteria catholic” or protestant, willing to ignore or even violate you beliefs for the sake of political office.

Now some have argued that Davis wasn’t in jail to protest a religious test for office she was in jail for contempt of court for violating a judge’s order based on her religion and they would be right.

However they forget that the person who wrote that excellent summation of what Kim Davis did, some fellow by the name of Martin Luther King, did so while in jail, not for protesting segregation, but for parading without a permit and as for legalities King had a few things to say about that too: emphasis mine again

of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

You know this is the type of language that Democrat pols and our friends on the left have labeled “christofacist” or a “homophobe” or a “bigoted” comparing it to the words of the mullas in Iran, Saudi Arabia & ISIS.

Who knew they hated Martin Luther King so much?

Closing thought: Given the choice between loyalty to a political party willing to join you when the political wind is with you and likely willing drop you twice as fast if the wind changes and loyalty to a God who love yous and sent his son to die for the redemption of our sins, I, along with Kim Davis, Martin Luther King and Pope Francis suggest the latter.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

Martin Luther King Letter from a Birmingham Jail 1963

I John Brown, am now quite certain that the sins of this nation can only be purged with blood.

John Brown in a note handed to his jailer as he was being led to his hanging 1859

A few days ago, just after her release from jail Kim Davis was given an offer that was…interesting.

In this video, Stewart Rhodes and some of the Oath Keepers national and local leadership discuss the real issues behind what is happening in Rowan County, Kentucky. We have had boots on the ground there since last week and will continue to have a presence. Stewart Rhodes reached out personally to Davis’s legal counsel to offer protection to Kim, to ensure that she will not be illegally detained again. We would like to stress in the strongest terms possible that we are doing this not because of her views on gay marriage, but because she is an elected public servant who has been illegally arrested and held without due process.

Even assuming the absolute best of intention on behalf of the Oath keepers accepting their offer would have been the absolutely worst decision that Kim Davis could have made.

Kim Davis’ actions, liberal protestations to the contrary not withstanding, are not only a classic example of civil disobedience but in the best traditions of the early saints who were willing to suffer for the sake of the word.

Consider her words upon unexpectedly being released from jail:

Regardless of the event (planned before anyone knew she was going to be released) with its political overtones (including using some good old-fashioned muscle employed by the Huckabee team to keep Ted Cruz off that stage with Davis) Kim’s Davis’ entire speech was about God and serving him and thanks and love for her supporters.

No critique of the judge, no anger over her imprisonment, no fancy words about the political irony of a bunch of Republicans defending an elected democrat. No talk about the likelihood of her being re-imprisoned. Everything completely consistent with the dignity of the stand she took for the sake of her soul and others.

Given her situation the offer of armed protection must have been attractive, she has been vilified and hated not only by the left for her principled stand but by some on the right objecting to her civil disobedience on law and order grounds. How easy would it have been for her to accept this offer of protection. How comforting might it have been to know people considered her so important they were willing to fight for her. How tempting.

I’m pleased to say she did not give into this temptation:

Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis’ legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.

The taking of this officer would have been transformative. Suddenly instead of her being a Christian martyr for her soul and others she would have set up a possible armed confrontation between the Oath Keepers and federal marshals, a confrontation that would have ended badly and could have ended in bloodshed, and given the state of division in the country at this time, who knows what might happen next?

So given the choice to be John Brown or Martin Luther King she has chosen King. I think it was the right choice.

.

4th Doctor: Amazing. You know, I had a feeling, I had a feeling that Neeva was actually expecting to hear an answer to his prayer. 
Leela: There wouldn’t be much point in praying if he didn’t. 
4th Doctor: I could quote you a few theologians who’d give you an argument on that.

Doctor Who the Face of Evil 1977

A while back I wrote about Saint Peter and the nature of man & sin, I’d like to give you an even more startling Biblical example this time from Exodus namely when Aaron made the Golden Calf (Chapter 32).

Now if you’ve seen Cecil B DeMille’s The Ten Commandments staring Charlton Heston as Moses and David Carradine as Aaron.  You have an image of Moses alone talking to God and Aaron sitting at the bottom of the hill waiting, but if you read Exodus Chapter 24 you discover something of interest.

Moses himself was told, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, with Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You shall all worship at some distance,  but Moses alone is to come close to the LORD; the others shall not come too near,

Exodus 24:1-2

and then 8 verses later

Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tilework, as clear as the sky itself.   Yet he did not smite these chosen Israelites. After gazing on God, they could still eat and drink.

Exodus 9-11

The implications of these verses are astounding.  Aaron had been the spokesman for Moses, he was present with the rest of Israel when all of the plagues and miracles took place, but more than that.  He actually saw God the Father.

And unlike even Peter sinking, he wasn’t dealing with the human aspect of Christ.  Aaron saw God as he was.  He didn’t have to believe in God, God was a fact.

And yet he STILL made the Golden calf.

It’s almost impossible to wrap your head around it.  Rationally how on earth could Aaron commit such a sin after actually seeing God face to face?

But even more incredible is the fact that even after committing this incredible sacrilege when he had seen God face to face, God STILL made Aaron his high priest.

It is man’s nature to sin, God knowing this and loving us gives us a way out.  first through the Levitical sacrifices and then later through Christ sacrifice and Sacramental confession and the power to loosen and bind sin.

Never doubt for one moment that your sin can be forgiven if you are willing to accept that forgiveness.

If God was willing to forgive Aaron, then blasphemy challenging not withstanding don’t hesitate believe for one moment that he won’t forgive you if you but ask.

It is not an uncommon thing to see people online react with anger and vitriol on the net but the current anger on the net over the Kim Davis case seemingly doesn’t make sense.

For those of you who don’t know Kim Davis is the Kentucky Clerk, an elected official, who has steadfastly refused to issue marriage licences defying the Supreme & federal courts unless her name is removed from them.

The liberal left was up in arms at the sight of this single County clerk in the nation, a Democrat no less, standing up when every single other clerk had folded. The media has been on full alert, the editorial pages have been merciless as have pols on the left.

On Thursday the judge in the case gave her one last chance to fold her card, she declined saying it was a heaven or hell issue to her. So the judge had her jailed, meanwhile four of her five deputies agreed to issue the licences to gay couples as he commanded and on Friday began doing so.

So the license are being issues and the person who blocked them is in jail for not doing so.

One would think the left and their allies would be absolutely thrilled, not only did they get what they wanted but the perfidious woman who stopped them is even now suffering the wrath of the federal government as an example to others:

The court assumed, not unreasonably, that sympathizers would shower her with cash to cover the fine, which means there’d be no real pressure on her to comply with the order to begin issuing licenses. The only way to pressure her was jail.

In fact Kim Davis has become an example to others but not in the way the judge had intended, but in the way the left has feared. In fact her actions sound just so familiar…

And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me.

Kim Davis has gone to jail without fear, without complaint. She did not scream defiant curses, she did not call for violence in her name. Her only worry was disobedience to the Lord.

She has set an example to that has put us who have given in to sin or temptation to shame and in doing so has reminded every Christian in the nation of their duty, not to defy the state per say, but to defy the temptation to take the easy route of sin vs the hard route of virtue.

And that is why the vitriol online has grown exponentially even has the left has seemingly gotten what they want, because in fact they have not.

It wasn’t the licenses for gay couples to wed that they wanted, it was her submission to the religion of liberalism on the altar of gay marriage in fear and terror, it was the willingness to toss away Christ for the comfort of her home. It was her declaration that resistance to the new order is futile.

The supporters of Gay Marriage have likened their movement to the civil rights movement, yet it’s Kim Davis, their opponent that has gone to jail for doing what many Black Pastors were unwilling to do in 2012, brave public & scorn for Christ.

No wonder the left is so angry.

Final thought, I was chatting with a person named @raydocmel on twitter who was decrying theocracy and pointed to Kim Davis as an example of it. Thinking on the subject he is right, We now live in a liberal theocracy with Gay Marriage as the primary sacrament and if one dares opposes it in the slightest way they shall lose their job, or their business, or even their freedom. After all nothing produce more rage in a theocrat than heresy.

Yes we are in a modern theocracy and I’d like to give full credit to @raydocmel for making me realize it.

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Gandhi: …I will save the Court’s time, M’Lord, by stating under oath that to this day I believe non-co-operation with evil is a duty. And that British rule of India is evil.

Advocate General:The Prosecution rests, M’Lord.

Judge Broomfield:I take it you will conduct your own defense, Mr. Gandhi.

Gandhi:I have no defense, My Lord. I am guilty as charged. And if you truly believe in the system of law you administer in my country, you must inflict on me the severest penalty possible.

Gandhi 1992

Kim Davis has been jailed

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and “God’s authority.”

The judge said his only alternative was to jail her because he did not believe she would comply with his order even if she were fined. She was escorted out of his courtroom by a deputy, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.

And the left is slightly worried:

An interesting detail from BuzzFeed: Lawyers for the gay couples who want her to issue the licenses asked the court to fine her, not send her to jail. Since when do gay-rights supporters ask for leniency for a Christian who’s defying them on gay marriage? Since, I think, this case started picking up national media attention. They don’t want to make a martyr out of Davis. Locking her up does that in a visible way that hitting her in the wallet doesn’t.

They should be, from the very first Christians from St. Peter to St Paul and public officials like St. Thomas More all willingly went to jail and worse for Christ and rather than destroy Christianity it has made it stronger.

And anyways it’s part of the Job Description:

Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.

Now I’m a law and order guy and personally I would have resigned which is consistent with the actions of some Roman officials who converted but Ms. Davis stance is not inconsistent with others.

Her position takes a lot of courage and it’s likely why so many are so enraged at her.

I don’t know how long she will be in jail but I’ll tell you this in 100 years I suspect many of those who hate Ms. Davis today will hate her even more.

Update: At Instapundit Ed Driscoll has some has fun:

To borrow from Glenn’s tweet earlier today, alternate headline: Yet another Democrat official arrested for violating the law. (And thus, gay marriage comes full circle, with California Democrats breaking the law before Obergefell, and a Kentucky Democrat afterwards.)

Just remember all she asked was that her name be removed from the Document.

Question: Who is angriest when people are forgiven their sins and to whose advantage is it to convince humans that their sins are so horrible that God will never forgive them?

That this has to be explained to people who profess any form of Christianity suggests that the Catholic Church is not the only group of Christians that have been poorly catechized.

Update:  Apparently the whole idea that Christianity might accept a person who had sinned and forgive them really is confusing to the press:

What do we mean when we use the term “Christian Mind?

A sarcastic skeptic might argue that there is no such thing; that the very concept is an oxymoron.

This writer would respond to the skeptic by stating that it takes more faith to embrace “unbelief” than it does to grasp some form of “theistic faith.”

The debate with the skeptics will have to wait for another time…  Smile!

As we return to the original question posed, “What do we mean when we use the term “Christian Mind?

Confusion arises when there is not clarity in the words, symbols, or concepts that are being expressed in order to define points of speech.

The word “Christian” appears only three times in the New Testament.

The New Testament consists of 27 books composed from approximately 45 A.D. to sometime around 95 to 100 A.D.  The last book accepted into the New Testament was the book of The Revelation (Saint John the beloved Apostle is commonly thought to be the author of this fascinating book).

The word Christian was employed twice by Saint Luke in the book of ACTS:

(1.) ACTS 11:25-26The Church at Antioch

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with[a] the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

Footnotes:  (a.) Acts 11:26 Or were guests of

(2.) ACTS 26:24-29Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24 While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth.26 Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” 29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

The final reference in which the word “Christian” is used in the New Testament is found in the first of two letters that were penned by the great Apostle Peter in the fourth chapter of his first letter:

(3.) 1 PETER 4.12-16Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker. 16 Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.

The word Christian means, “Slave of Christ…” 

A “slave” has no rights.

A “slave” lives to serve his or her Master.

A Christian is a slave of Christ and voluntarily submits to The LORDSHIP of CHRIST in every aspect of Life.

Christian believers in the New Testament were known as “disciples” or “followers of The Way.”  The usage of the word Christian developed and evolved over the ensuing centuries.

Again, we explored the etymology and development of the word Christian, but what does it mean to engage in Christian thinking?

Christian thinking begins with the Person and work of JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS is not only the savior of His Children; He is also their LORD!

JESUS spent 3 ½ years teaching his 12 disciples and his 72 to 120 followers in the essentials of what it meant to “commune” and “live” with Him in an “intimate fashion.”

The Apostle Paul exhorted the Church in Rome to be “transformed” by the “renewing of their minds.”  Saint Paul adjured the Roman disciples to present their bodies (Spirit, Soul, and Body) as living sacrifices to The LORD that they serve (ROMANS 12.1-2).

It takes hard, hard work to develop a Christian Mind.

  • A Christian Mind makes decisions based on an “ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE”; it is not caught up in the “Tyranny of the Urgent.”
  • A Christian Mind focuses on the Person of CHRIST.
  • A Christian Mind submits to the Teaching of CHRIST
  • A Christian Mind studies the Words (Sacred Scripture) of CHRIST
  • A Christian Mind sharpens itself by live discussions with disciples who are wholly committed to living as “Slaves” of CHRIST (this is voluntary and daily submission to Christ).

Mr. Harry Blamires (author of The Christian Mind, circa 1963) lamented the fact that too many “Christian disciples” were engaged in an abundance of good activities: personal, civic, corporate, charitable, and political endeavors without a clear understanding of how a Christian should think or approach their various tasks and endeavors.

In Part IV of this series, we will look at how the Christian Mind discerns, evaluates, and judges the various world’s ideologies and concepts that run counter to the teachings of CHRIST.

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts.

Wisdom is the proper application of facts in a “holistic” and “systematic” manner to ALL of Faith, Life, and daily Learning.

GOD’s Wisdom is transmitted to His Children by the blessing of The Holy Spirit in their Hearts, Souls (mind, will,, and emotions), and Bodies.

Last week I started on a new journalistic series entitled, “The Christian Mind Revisited.

A little more than 50 years ago, a great scholar / theologian by the name of Harry Blamires – a man who was a protege of the great C.S. Lewis – wrote a book by this title.

Mr. Blamires demented and decried the fact that a large number of “Christian disciples” were engaged in numerous personal, civic, corporate, charitable, and political endeavors without a clear idea of how a Christian should think or approach their various activities.

Professor Blamires remarked that Christian believers in Western Europe – and by extension the United States and Canada – were preaching The Gospel of Christ and leading people into a “Saving relationship with JESUS CHRIST” but not helping the new converts to develop their thinking processes into a coherent and distinctly Judeo-Christian outlook.

Historically, Christians of all stripes whether they were Roman Catholic, Greek or Russian Orthodox, or Evangelical Protestant – have started with the view that JESUS CHRIST is LORD over every aspect of their lives.

The LORDSHIP of CHRIST is over every facet of life which includes one’s  (1.) Talents; (2.) Testimony (their Verbal Witness); (3.) Time; and (4.) earthly Treasure (accumulated Wealth).

Roman Catholics traditionally look to the teachings of the Church (the Magesterium is the official teaching and doctrinal wing of the Roman Catholic Church) as expressed and modeled through the preaching, teaching and example of the Holy Father – (The Pope as he writes Papal Encyclicals); worldwide Cardinals; the College of Bishops; and local Parish Priests as authoritative for life and practice.

Contrary to the understanding of many Protestants the Roman Catholic Church has a very high view of Sacred Scripture.  Roman Catholics view the Holy Bible as “the inspired Word of GOD.”

Conversely, Protestants have practiced the principle of “private judgment” known as “Sola Scriptura.”

Sola Scriptura” is a Latin term which literally means by “Scripture Alone.”

Contrary to the understanding of many Roman Catholics, Orthodox & Evangelical Protestants do not interpret the Bible through the principle of “SOLO Scriptura.”

There is a profound difference between SOLO Scriptura (The Bible by itself) and Sola Scriptura.

Sola Scriptura refers to the submission of the disciples to the authority of The Holy Bible and to their acceptance of Scriptural truths as they are accurately expressed in Christian / Church  Creeds, Confessionals, and Catechisms.

The principle of Sola Scriptura rightfully applied means that Evangelical believers accept the Scriptural Witness of the Church Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Church Councils (starting with the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.) which have taught and instructed the Holy Catholic Church from the time of JESUS’ ascension into Heaven until this present date.

Evangelical believers look at the Protestant Reformation (1517 to 1646) as a needed corrective of Church abuse that also led to a Roman Catholic corrective known as the Catholic Counter-Reformation which resulted in “The Council of Trent.

From the late 1600s until the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church referred to herself as “The Tridentine Church” (please see an excellent book entitled, “Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity” [Bausch, William, Rev; Carol AnnPaperback: 465 pages; Publisher: Twenty-Third Publications; Mystic, CT; Exp Su edition (December 1, 1989)].

This writer believes that the reasons that Christian believers of all stripes do not bring a different “type of thinking or a Christian Mind” to the affairs of our culture is because of few pressing mitigating factors:

MITIGATING FACTOR # 1 – Biblical Illiteracy – Unfortunately only 11 to 15% of All Christian believers read their Bibles as much as 3 times each week.

The Holy Bible gives us this exhortation which is found in Romans 12:1-2 (New Living Translation – NLT):

 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b]

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Footnotes:

  1. 12:1a Greek
  2. 12:1b Or This is your spiritual worship; or This is your reasonable service.

Notice that the Apostle Paul wrote – as he was led by The Holy Spirit – to write that “we are not to copy the behavior and customs of this world”Romans 12:1.

This means that our thinking is to be profoundly different.

Many times our thinking mimics political parties or social media instead of being “biblically transformed.

We are told to “… let GOD transform us into new people by letting The LORD transform the way that we think…” Romans 12.2.

MITIGATING FACTOR # 2 – Misunderstanding The LORDSHIP of CHRIST – Too many Christian have accepted JESUS as Savior, but precious few have accepted His Teachings as Authoritative…

It is important for us to remember that JESUS demanded Absolute Loyalty, Faithfulness, and Obedience from his Children / Disciples!

JESUS made the following remarks towards the end of The Sermon On The Mount:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”  (Luke 6:46) New Living Translation.

JESUS’ life and “worldview” (conceptual outlook) were formed by both His (1.) godly family – Joseph and Mary – who Loved GOD with All of their Hearts, Souls, and Minds (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The Blessed Virgin Mary loved and recited Holy Scripture (please see The Magnificent in Luke 1:46-56and (2.) through the teachings of the Synagogue.

JESUS did not pick and choose the teachings that fit His fancy…

JESUS perfectly obeyed All of the Old Testament teaching expressed through The Law & The Prophets.

We as disciples of Christ are told to Obey Him and follow Him in all things.

The word “disciple” literally means a “learner,” “follower,” “student” or “protege” of a Master Teacher.

MITIGATING FACTOR # 3 – Personal Autonomy – Finally, one of the main reasons for the lack of a Christian Mind is that many believers have bought into a false sense of “personal autonomy.”

The word autonomy literally is formed by the prefix “auto” which means “self” and the suffix “nomos” which means “law.”

To exercise personal autonomy outside of obeying GOD’s standards means that you are not subject to any Law or Higher Standard other than yourself.

Western Europe and the United States produces too many Christians who may love JESUS, but who have not “fully submitted” to JESUS’ teachings over every aspect of their lives; they live for themselves (personal autonomy) and they become their own “gods.” 

Radical personal autonomy is a clear violation of the first 2 of the Ten (10) Commandments.

If the Christian Church in the West is to experience Renewal and Reform, then the thought processes of Christians must begin to line up with both the clear teachings of Sacred Scripture and with the truths of Historical Theology as they have been lived out and developed in nearly 2,000 years of Church History.

A little more than 52 years ago a brilliant British theologian by the name of Harry Blamires wrote a classic book entitled, “The Christian Mind: How Should A Christian Think (Servant Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1963).

Harry Blamires studied under the great intellectual C.S. Lewis at Oxford University; he has been a prolific writer across the years in the areas of theology, fiction and literary criticism.

Mr. Blamires’ main contention in his book The Christian Mind was that Christian believers or disciples have been saved and they are going to Heaven. However, many of these same Christians have “Unsaved Souls or Unsanctified  Minds.

Wow!

What does Mr. Blamires mean by this?

How can our “spirits” be Saved, but our minds be “Unsaved?

First and foremost, let me define and clarify some terminology.

When we refer to the word Salvation, we mean that once an individual accepts JESUS CHRIST as their LORD and their SAVIOUR they have been spared from the ultimate penalty of eternal separation from GOD (1 Thessalonians 1.10).

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

The believers in Thessalonica (and we too who embrace Christ as our SAVIOUR and LORD have) literally passed from Spiritual death (Hell) and into Eternal Life (we experience a Spiritual Re-BirthJohn 3.16-36 & II Corinthians 5.17-21… eventually we will reside in Heaven).

However, Belief or Salvation in Christ entails many different facets.

Belief in Christ means more than giving a mental or intellectual assent to the truths of Christianity; believing in Christ means that our “Heads” as well as our “Hearts” must be totally “Surrendered to the Person of Jesus Christ.”

We must cultivate the development of a Christian Mind!

The Old Testament Shema (Creed) instructs believers in GOD that there are certain things that should categorize how they live.

First, and foremost, believers in GOD are enjoined to hear and obey His Voice:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The LORD GOD instructed the nation of Israel that their “Minds” as well as their “Hearts” totally belonged to Him.

The nation of Israel was forbidden to syncretize their Worship of GOD (LORD ADONAI) with the worship of other gods.

The first of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5) states:

Moses summoned all Israel and said:

Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb (Mt. Sinai)

It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today.

The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me…

We note here in this passage from both the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy that The LORD GOD is personal; He can be known; and that He stipulates that His children / followers are to commune with Him in a specific way or manner.

Why is this important?

In the United States of America, we pride ourselves on the fact that historically we have viewed ourselves as – “One Nation Under GOD indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All!

From the time our country was a colony of Great Britain until this present day the GOD that the “majority” of our population worshipped is The GOD of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Christian New Testament.

Believers in The GOD of the Holy Bible understood that their faith in LORD ADONAI encompassed more than simply “getting saved from going to Hell and now going to Heaven.”

Belief in The GOD of the Holy Bible meant that every single aspect of a person’s life belonged to GOD.

A careful examination of what Harry Blamires wrote suggests that a Christian’s whole life the five areas of their “mind” or “soul” that is their (1.) Time; (2.) Testimony; (3.) Treasure; (4.) Talents; and (5.) their Thought Life (the 5 Ts) all are to be dedicated to GOD in Holy Worship!

To dedicate anything less than the whole of these 5 areas to GOD meant that a person was violating the First Commandment which stipulates that “We are to have NO OTHER GODS OTHER THAN THE LORD ADONAI!

May I be so blunt to say that most Americans probably could not recite the Ten Commandments in order from memory?

(I say this with sorrow as a man who has been involved in Pastoral ministry for more than 20 years.. since 1992).

When we accept Christ as our LORD and SAVIOUR, we actually are giving credence to a “comprehensive belief system or worldview.”

A Worldview is a way of looking at the Universe and Interpreting and Applying the insights that we glean.

Jews and Christians receive their “worldview” from the insights that GOD has disclosed (a Self-Disclosure of Himself) about Himself.

The first 11 chapters of the book of GENESIS teach us that there are four (4) Historical Events that shape the way that we view reality.

These four areas constitute the main framework of our conceptual outlook or worldview (I am indebted to Breakpoint Worldview for the classification of these categories):

  • CREATION – Genesis 1-2
  • THE FALL – Genesis 3
  • REDEMPTION (GOD provides a way back from our Separation from Himself and from our Slavery into Sin / Spiritual Death) – Genesis 3
  • RESTORATIONGenesis 3.15ff – GOD gives Adam and Eve a Promise that they will triumph over the force of Evil and Darkness

Over the next few weeks I would like to discuss with you how each of the four elements above are crucial to the understanding of “The LORDSHIP” of GOD over our (1.) Time; (2.) Testimony; (3.) Treasure; (4.) Talents; and (5.) our Thought Life (the 5 Ts).

All of these areas are to be dedicated to GOD in Holy Worship!

Thank You!

Screwtape:  Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.

C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

The Rosary is the Weapon for these times

St. Padre Pio

Friday was rather odd.  While I fully expected the result in the Supreme Court concerning Gay marriage like a lot of Christians I found myself in despair for my country and for the seemingly inevitable persecution that will be coming our way.

When I turned on the TV and saw that everywhere those in the left and media (but I repeat myself) were in full celebration mode it was simply too much to watch it was like watching the people on the Titanic celebrating as the ship headed to sea.

On twitter it was not much better as people where doing their best to rub noses into it finally I saw a tweet lighting up Disney in Gay colors and tweeted thus in reply

that prompted a “weep wingnut weep” reply to me and a rather telling tweet in reply

and that my dear friends is the trap!

While the Devil will use politics like anything else as a tool he is not about politics he is about individual result.  This exchange from the movie:  The Devil and Daniel Webster puts it well:

Daniel Webster:  Mr. Stone is an American citizen… and an American citizen cannot be forced into the service of a foreign prince.
Mr. Scratch: Foreign? Who calls me a foreigner?
Daniel Webster: Well, I never heard of the de… I never heard of you claiming American citizenship.
Mr. Scratch: And who has a better right? When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on the deck. Am I not still spoken of in every church in New England? It’s true the North claims me for a Southerner and the South for a Northerner, but I’m neither. Tell the truth, Mr. Webster – though I don’t like to boast of it – my name is older in the country than yours.

The Devil & Daniel Webster 1941

What the Devil wants from us is >spiritual pride.  He wants us to revel in the fact that WE as believing Christians would never have made this decision so destructive of the sacraments of heaven and the will of God.  As if the very fact of our opposition to this measure takes the place of our baptism or the absolution of the priests after we say our act of contrition.  Forget our own faults, forget our own envy, lusts, sloth, gluttony, greed or wrath.  We have saved ourselves by the mere public twitter pronouncement of our opposition to such people rather than humbling ourselves before Christ in contrition for our own sins.  As Al Pacino once put it in a famous move ending:


We (like those who are attacking us) forget the passage from Luke:

When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them,

Luke 9 51-55

Note what Christ did here, he didn’t rebuke the Samaritans who rejected him , he rebuked his disciples for their lack of mercy.

Now does this mean we should stop speaking out against Gay Marriage?  Not in the least.  Does this mean that we should stop making the rational arguments inherent in our cause?  Absolutely not!  Does that mean we should not make pols who choose to abandon this fight for the sake of convenience pay?  definitely not!

What then does it mean we should do.

Pray!

Pray as St. Paul writes, without ceasing.  Pray for our country, pray for ourselves, pray for those on the other side,  not for political conversion per se, that’s another version of “I’m holier than thou” but for God’s grace to touch them and help them in their lives.  I suggest the Perpetual twitter Novena but whatever prayer you choose to use,  pray.

Prayer,  not pride That is the key as Fr. Allen MacDonald rightly put it at Southern Orders (bold italics his)

What about the damnation of souls! The Church’s primary mission is the salvation of souls and of the world to the ends of the world. In saving souls we build a just society, yes, this is true, but the just society building doesn’t come first for the Church the saving of souls does and the other things follow!

Or as CS Lewis said through the mouth of Screwtape put it:

We are tempted to say that such souls- or such residual puddles of what once was soul- are
hardly worth damning. Yes, but the Enemy-for whatever inscrutable and Perverse reason-thought them worth trying
to save. Believe me, He did.

And the next time you feel tempted to play parry and reposte with someone onlnie remember that screwtape’s words and Fr. MacDonald’s words are both directed at us. Never forget the very first soul we are called upon to bring to salvation is our own.

#prayernotpride that is the hastag we should answer with.

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I was about to head early to mass to pray and like every guy did some channel surfing as I did so and noticed on Fox news Chris Wallace interviewing Cardinal Wuerl on Laudato Si’, who noted that people have always chosen to cherry pick the teachings of the church but it’s the church’s job to teach the lot.

Then I turned to CNN and Jake Tapper was hosting a live broadcast of the Charleston Church were the horrible murders took place this week. I was just in time to hear the preacher not that it was their faith in Jesus Christ that allows them the strength to overcome these obstacles.

And it hit me that again God is Francis’ line from Laudato Si’ correct:

80. Yet God, who wishes to work with us and who counts on our cooperation, can also bring good out of the evil we have done.

For decades our friends on the left have demonized the church and christ, and yet this week tens of thousands of people who would never consider reading a church documents will, because of a group of people hoping for short term political advantage, do so. And they will read arguments about the sanctity of life, the connection of how we treat our neighbor to how we treat our environment, and they will see examples of the words of the saints, the Popes and of scripture that they have never considered before.

How many of these people given a first look at these things will find themselves evangelized by that greatest of evangelists, the holy spirit and wanting more?

How will they divorce one argument from another, how will they claim that the Popes words provide the absolutely moral necessity for a government to act, and yet refuse to act themselves to protect the unborn, human embryos and the freedom of religious expression, all thing that they as individuals can do?

Now consider Charleston, in a midst of mass slaughter the trauma of the loss of husbands, wives, mothers, sons and daughters what did the those who have suffered beyond what one can bear do?

They forgave, and moreover they forgave not after long reflection, not after years or decades of reflection but in hours.

And today just a few days later the counties attention is on a church as the celebrant preaches the healing and forgiving power of Jesus Christ telling people who they do can find that same grace and strength in their own times of trial.

How will our friends on the left succeed in divorcing this reality from the memes they have made? How will they manage to paint christians as bigots who have forgiven such evil. How do they claim injury over a cake and the moral authority to put christians out of business when those same Christians who faced the murder of their loved ones forgive those who destroyed their lives.

Does that not reveal their anti-christ cries of “injustice” as they petty narcissism that it is?

The events of this week have been a body blow to those who would destroy Christianity in general and the Church in particular furthermore despite anger by some and tragedy for others in the end the events of this week will be a watershed for those who will discover the Lord through them.

Who knew a bible study interrupted by death and a document that some hoped would pervert the life of the church could do those things?

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1st Elder: Be warned, Jor-El. The Council has already evaluated this outlandish theory of yours.
Jor-El: My friends, you know me to be neither rash nor impulsive. I am not given to wild unsupported statements and I tell you that we must evacuate this planet immediately.

Superman 1978

Donna Noble: [in Pompeii on warning of the impending disaster] I don’t need your permission. I’ll tell them myself.
10th Doctor: You stand in the market place announcing the end of the world, they’ll just think you’re a mad old soothsayer.

Doctor Who The Fires of Pompeii 2008

Today if you are a believing Christian particularly one of my age one of the hardest things to deal with is the complete reversal of society & culture in the last two generations to one that considered Christian ideals the template of right behavior (no matter how some acted in private) to one where all the “right” people and society teaches not only rejection of these norms but the branding of those who accept them and remain in them as bigoted evil persons.

It’s a very frustrating thing particularly when the consequences of these narcissistic moves are apparent to any person who knows history (which is one of the reasons why those who have worked hardest for this change have done their best to ignore or rewrite history at every turn.

There are a lot of people who just what Christians to be quiet, based on my appearance on Conservatively Speaking yesterday a lot of them are republicans “conservatives” calling talking radio afraid that talking values will chase away the young who have not been taught them for the last generation. To them apparently we are gadflys trying to stop them from having a good time, at last that’s the painting that our secular leftist friends have painted for them and pushed on them.

However there is a much easier way to explain why Christians care about these things to today’s generation, because the reality is Christians are not stern Isis like taskmasters trying to oppress the masses.

We are Jor-El.

For those few of you who are not familiar with the backstory of Superman Jor El is Superman’s biological father, he discovered that their home planet was blowing up and not being able to convince anyone else of that fact decided to do what he could to save his son.

We are the Jor-El’s of our world, we are working on our ships while at the same time through word and deed trying to warn others, even those who might scoff and laugh at us, so when the disaster comes they’ll be able to fly rather than sink.

This is Christianity.  We are called upon to love others and if you love your fellow man you don’t want them to go down the path of destruction.  So we take the abuse, the scoffing, the twitter zings and the angry shouts the mockery  because not only do we as St Paul noted have to run the race ourselves (and believe me some days like last night & this morning it isn’t easy) but we’ll do this in the hopes of saving somebody anybody.  Because like Donna Noble the thought of others destruction is a painful thing:

 

10th Doctor: That’s just it. Don’t you see, Donna? Can’t you understand? If I could go back and save them, then I would, but I can’t!  I can *never* go back. I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t.

Donna Noble: Just someone. Please.  Not the whole town. Just save someone.

As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law.  To those outside the law I became like one outside the law – though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ – to win over those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.

 

As long as there is life, your ship can be built and even if you laugh at us, we’ll do our best to convince you to get started while there is still time.

Nearly 25 years ago, I stumbled upon (as a Christian I prefer to say that I was led to acquire) and purchased a copy of a book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Dr. Stephen Covey.  This book had a profound impact on my life.

Dr. Covey put forth the idea that one should live their life based on “principled-centered living” and not by being moved and tossed about by the “tyranny of the urgent.”  Mr. Covey suggested that men and women should write down personal mission statements or “creeds” that would act as a compass and/or a “North Star” to guide them on what they deem to be the most important goals and objectives of their lives.

Well, this past week, I found myself meditating upon one of the most important documents in the history of the Christian Church:  The Apostles Creed.

Just what is The Apostles Creed?

What is a “creed?”

The word creed is a Latin term which literally means, “I believe.

The earliest believers or disciples (committed students, followers, and learners) of the risen HEBREW MESSIAH – we know Him as JESUS CHRIST –placed their faith in the reality of His Person and in His Resurrection.

The early disciples gathered together in what was known as the ekklesia; this is a Greek word– “ekklēsía which literally means (ek, “out from and to” and kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal or catholic (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom [Strong’s Concordance of The Holy Bible].

As time went by, these early disciples gathered together for weekly worship services in what we today call The Church.

The believers in the “Risen Messiah” realized that it was important for themselves and for future generations to commit to both their memory and lifestyle practice important truths about The Messiah they embraced and about His ongoing Life and Mission through His Church (the ekklesia or the people called out of the world and unto GOD).

One of the earliest creeds that the early church recited was known as “The Rule of Truth” or “The Rule of Faith.”  In time these two rules or creeds developed into what we have come to know as The Apostles Creed.

The traditional version of the Apostles Creed reads as follows:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;

who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven,

and sitteth on the right hand of God

the Father Almighty.

From thence He shall come to judge the quick

and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Did you notice the “Trinitarian nature” of The Apostles Creed?

The word Trinity means three.

The great Church Father Tertullian used the term “tri-unity” to describe the reality of GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Spirit as ONE GOD in THREE Distinct PERSONS.

The profound Christian theologian Dr. Norman Geisler teaches us that when mediating upon The Trinity that it is important to remember One What and Three Who’s.

  • The One What means that We Worship One GOD who is the same in Unity and Essence or Nature (His Divine Attributes or Perfections).
  • The Three Who’s represent GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Ghost (Spirit).

As Christians (or believers in The Risen Messiah), we Do Not Worship Three Gods:  we Worship One GOD in Three Distinct Persons.

The Apostles Creed states that –

o  I believe in God the Father Almighty…

o  And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord…

o  I believe in the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit).

Over the next several weeks, we are going to review together the essential truths of the Apostles Creed;  truths that have been essential to the nourishment and growth of The Christian Church for nearly 19 centuries (since approximately the middle part of the 2nd Century A.D – approximately 140 A.D.)!

It is my prayer that GOD Almighty will bless us richly as we explore and seek to put into practice the tremendous truths about GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Spirit that we will receive while we study this great and wonderful Holy Creed.

Amen and Amen and Amen and Amen and Amen!

‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”

Luke 15:29-32

The revelation of the teenage past Josh Duggar children is something that the media and left are delighting in.  Any potential republican candidate for a political office from dog catcher to the white house who ever took a shot with him will be made to pay the price by the media.

Only Mike Huckabee has stood up saying:

“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable,’ ” Huckabee said in a statement posted on Facebook Friday. “He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

A lot of people are surprised by, I’m not.  Gov Huckabee is Ordained Baptist Minister this is exactly the position he is not only expected to take, but required to take.

Even with the Reformation there are some doctrines that are common to all mainstream Christianity.  The most basic concern being the son of God, immaculately conceived, put to death, rising again, ascending to heaven.  But another key doctrine is the forgiveness of sins.

Now for this forgiveness to take place one must have contrition for said sins, this contrition can be imperfect due to the fear of damnation, rather than the love of God which is why the sacrament of confession is so important, but if that contrition exists then forgiveness is granted, not perhaps granted, not grudgingly granted, granted!  Even if the head of ISIS or Boko Haram, presented himself for Baptism, by baptism his sins, would be forgiven, ALL of them without exception.  Furthermore if he committed later sins and sincerely repented again his sins would be forgiven.

Moreover this forgiveness is not limited to a one-off sin.  Even if it is a sin that is repeatedly done, a sin that is struggled with (as most sins are) are forgivable.  Jesus was rather explicit on this:

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

Matthew 18:21-22

Now the forgiveness of sin does not mean there is no punishment, A store owner might forgive the person who breaks his window and thus not have him arrested but would have him pay to have it fixed.  A company might forgive a crooked accountant & take his pleas for mercy, but they would not likely give him access to the company books.  A wife might forgive a cheating husband but that doesn’t mean he can cavort with other women till all hours of the night.  Christ’s forgiveness of sins removes the eternal punishment but it doesn’t mean one’s acts have no consequences.

Nor does this preclude the punishment of law.  Forgiveness of one’s eternal punishment before God does not exclude the temporal punishment before the law.  A bank robber who goes to confession would still be properly subject to the full penalties of the law for his crime but said crime does not exclude him from bank work when his time is served.

That doesn’t mean one isn’t prudent either consider the example of the Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. He  persecuted Christians right up until the moment he was converted.  Consider this exchange:

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”  The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and (in a vision) he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay (his) hands on him, that he may regain his sight.

Acts 9:10-12

Ananias answered in a way that I suspect most of us would:

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.”

Acts 9:13-14

But God being God, knew best but take note of the text I emphasize

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

We’ll come back to that bolded text in a bit.  After Ananias obeys the Lord and Paul gets his sight back he preaches fearlessly in the name of Christ but when he goes to Jerusalem and tries to join the disciples…

When he arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.  Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how on the way he had seen the Lord and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

Acts 9:26-27

And once he was accepted he was accepted, but he has in the text I emphasized at the top, suffered much for Christ’s name over and over he suffered, stonings, beatings, jailings (and a 1st century jail not a 21st century one) until at last when his mission was over he was beheaded in Rome.

And all of this brings us to Josh Duggar.

I don’t know his heart I don’t know if he regrets the actions of his teenage years, I do know that he has expressed contrition and asked forgiveness and while as a Catholic I would prefer sacramental confession which covers imperfect contrition as a Christian I am obliged to acknowledge his contrition and treat these sins as forgiven.  Furthermore it does not make invalid his adult critiques of culture, after all would anyone doubt the validity of the warnings of a person against drugs if said person’s life was ruined by them and whose family paid the price?

Now our friends on the left are largely post Christian and as non Christians they are not obliged to forgive Mr. Dugger at all.  Nor does Josh Duggar have a divine right to a TV show or any other high-profile job.  Any business from TLC to the Family Research Council who have an obligation to their shareholders and their work obliged to take him on and give him a living.    It is up to the individual business or person to decide if they wish to pay the costs or take the risks of the employment of Mr. Duggar the younger, if said businesses are Christians business and choose to apply Christian standards to make that decision that’s fine, if they are not and choose not to, that’s fine too.

But as Christian individuals the decision to forgive Josh Duggar is not a business decision, not a social decision, not a theoretical one.  It is a basic requirement of the faith and as such our failure to do so puts us under the penalty as prescribed in the prayer said by Christians all over the world

and forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us

Those are the rules, and Jesus, directly after teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, states the consequences of flouting these rules

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 6:14-15

There are 18 potential GOP candidates for President, at this time Gov Mike Huckabee does not break my top 5 choices but I’ll tell you this, when he claims Christianity he means it!

Exit question for our friends on the left:  If Josh Duggar sins make him unworthy to be on TV, how is it that Bill Clinton’s do not make him untouchable?  If Mike Huckabee willingness to forgive Josh Duggar makes him unacceptable as a presidential candidate how it is it that Hillary Clinton’s evasions and deceit, said to our faces, do not disqualify her in your eyes?

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Here is a story you might have missed

Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena was informed on Tuesday by the U.S. consulate in Erbil that her non-immigrant-visa application has been rejected.The reason given in the denial letter, a copy of which I have obtained, is:

You were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa.

Her rejection was a conspicuously singular event:

every member of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups, including representatives of the Yazidi and Turkmen Shia religious communities, has been granted visas to come for official meetings in Washington — save one.

Singular as the only one that happened to be Christian.  The Anchoress is not happy:

It is wholly unlikely that Sister Diana wants to come to America for sanctuary. Her community, the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena have had a presence in Iraq since the 13th Century. They have been on the frontlines amid the horror of ISIS’ advances and they have sent out communiques to let the world know what is happening. I doubt very much that this nun, who is dedicated to her mission, is seeking to escape.

Because I am sick I am having trouble being diplomatic; this refusal to permit entry to Sister Diana, and the excuse given sound like pure-d bullcrap to me.

This is from a piece titled:  Does The Obama Admin has Issues with Catholic Nuns?

The answer of course is no, as long as said nuns are willing to push abortion and Obamacare as opposed to Christ & the Catholic faith his people love them, the Anchoress again:

Because I am sick I am having trouble being diplomatic; this refusal to permit entry to Sister Diana, and the excuse given sound like pure-d bullcrap to me.

Why does this administration go out of its way to avoid noticing or mentioning what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere? Why are Catholic nuns too suspect to be allowed into the country? What is the problem, exactly?

My non diplomatic opinion as to the answer is this:  The Obama administration sees Christianity in general  faithful Christians in particular as the enemy.  Their extermination around the world in their minds is poetic justice for their opposition to abortion, gay marriage and every sin in history that they hold against us.

But most of all because liberalism & Christianity share the same first commandment:

Thou shalt have no other Gods but me

That’s what they can’t come out and say what they think, the American people have fallen far but not far enough to spin this as positive.

To those who think my opinion is extreme I ask:  How would an administration holding the opinion I suggest they do act differently than this one?

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If you want to understand how the media places with story titles to create or avoid a meme you can’t do better than these two headlines both covering the same story:

dueling headlines

Here is the AP story:

Italy’s migration crisis took on a deadly new twist Thursday as police in Sicily reported that Muslim migrants had thrown 12 Christians overboard during a recent crossing from Libya, and an aid group said another 41 were feared drowned in a separate incident.

Now in fairness to the BBC the story does go there

The 15 Muslim migrants involved in the row with Christians were arrested in the Sicilian city of Palermo and charged with “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate”.
The suspects, who are from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea, were among 105 migrants travelling in an inflatable boat that left Libya on Tuesday.

Eyewitnesses told police how the altercation resulted in Christians being thrown overboard, and that some of the survivors had formed human chains to avoid a similar fate.

Cripes even CNN got the lead right:

Italian police: Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard

Frankly the real story to me is that AP & CNN didn’t do what the BBC did.

I guarantee you that if the religions were reversed not only would the BBC headline would be more explicit, furthermore every single network would be leading with it today.

 the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.

John 16:2b

In fact I predict you’ll see that sentiment even from people who claim not to believe in any god.

Over the next few years you are going to be branded as bigots, hated and derided. You will be portrayed in every form of culture, plays, TV series and movies as people to be shunned and no member of the media fill fail to come after you for your offenses against the twin sacraments of Abortion & Gay Marriage.

DaTechGuy Good Friday 2013

As I watched the left go into full propaganda mode this Easter weekend on the Sunday Shows concerning Gay Marriage I think the next step must be to make sure that Christians can’t clandestinely defy the state, maybe something like this:

The new law would create a force of federal commissioners empowered to cite Christians in any state and compel their cooperation with Gay Marriage. No statute of limitations would apply, so that even those who had opposed gay marriage at the time it was not law could be cited.

We can give such commissioners broad powers, perhaps the right to compel citizens to assist in the pursuit and identification of such businesses owners with fines and imprisonment awaited those who refuse to cooperate. United States marshals can be required to be diligent in the enforcement of the act and could be fined for being lax. An incentive can be offered perhaps giving the commissioners a fee from the fines applied to business if found to defy standards of service.

Such a law would likely force Christian business’ underground, perhaps even with clandestine networks of people and clergy using the net to direct the faithful to business that the law is targeting. But even so I’m sure the feds aided by their allies on the left will do all their can to discover and shut down those defying such a law.

You might be saying: “DaTechGuy, you are an alarmist, we would never see such a law like this in the US.”,  however anyone who actually has knowledge of US history would realize there is already a precedent for this as evidenced by the unedited version of the two paragraphs above:

The new law created a force of federal commissioners empowered to pursue fugitive slaves in any state and return them to their owners. No statute of limitations applied, so that even those slaves who had been free for many years could be (and were) returned.

The commissioners enjoyed broad powers, including the right to compel citizens to assist in the pursuit and apprehension of runaways; fines and imprisonment awaited those who refused to cooperate. United States marshals were required to be diligent in the enforcement of the act and could be fined for being lax. A captured runaway could not testify on his own behalf and was not entitled to a court trial. The commissioners received a fee of 10 dollars for every slave returned; the fee was reduced to five dollars if the accused slave were released.

By an odd coincidence it was devout Christians, who defied these laws the most and as it was during the civil rights age and as it is now during the Fight against abortion it will be devout Christians who will keep up the fight against the civic “leaders” attempting us to defy our consequences and our God.

Exit thought:  Is it a coincidence that Slavery, Jim Crow, Abortion & now the Totalitarian pushing of Gay Marriage all were strongly supported by Democrats?

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It’s Easter and while there will be plenty of post today filled with delightful platitudes let’s instead consider Jesus’ death and resurrection for what it is.

We are human, sooner or later we will die as evidenced by this:

The world’s oldest person, a Japanese woman, died Wednesday, a few weeks after celebrating her 117th birthday.

Misao Okawa died of heart failure and stopped breathing as relatives and nursing home workers stood by her side and praised her for achieving a long, healthy life, said Tomohiro Okada, an official at her Osaka nursing home.

“She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep,” Okada said. “We miss her a lot.”

A 116-year-old American woman, Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas, is now the world’s oldest person, according to Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which keeps records of supercentenarians. She was born July 4, 1898.

Recorded history goes back about several thousand years and we can now say that every person born from that time to the year 1897 is dead.

And that’s just the extreme.  I’ll wager most people born before 1930 are now dead and the cutoff median year is continuing to creep toward by birthdate of 1963.

Oddly enough while we see an awful lot of people in media warning us to prepare so our retirement will be comfortable, few warn us to be prepared for what follows which will be considerable longer.period with the potential to be a lot less comfortable if one isn’t prepared.

That’s where Easter comes in.

Jesus Christ has graciously consented to not only pay the full price to secure our  comfort in those post retirement years but he has further by example and instructed us on how to make sure that we don’t squander said payment via sin.

He has further inspired an entire church and generations of teachers and examples for hundreds of years in order to help us on the right post retirement track, without charge.

And if that wasn’t enough even if ignore said teachers, church and instructors and act in such a way to squander said payment, if we simply apply for reinstatement sincerely with contrition Christ will not only gladly put our account back into good standing but will look favorably on an unlimited number of applications regardless of the severity of the offense providing each time application comes with sincere contrition.

Let’s see Ameritrade or Merrill Lynch top that!

Now there is some fine print.  While Christ’s price for said plan is small if you choose to pay it not many in the rule ridicule you the media will attack you and in some cases certain types might insist you start your post retirement at once.

But if you are willing to deal with those short term issues Jesus’ Christ post retirement plan is yours for the asking with all the benefits thereof.

It certainly beats paying the full cost of post retirement on your own.

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The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And”. You know – Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference.

The Screwtape Letters #25

Ana Marie Cox has heard the clear small voice: and decided to listen:

It does come up: Since leaving Washington, I have made my life over and I am happier, freer, and healthier in body and spirit and apparently it shows. When people ask me, “What changed?” or, “How did you do it?” or, sometimes, with nervous humor, “Tell me your secret!” I have a litany of concrete lifestyle changes I can give them—simply leaving Washington is near the top of the list—but the honest answer would be this: I try, every day, to give my will and my life over to God. I try to be like Christ. I get down on my knees and pray.

I don’t know the details of her conversion, how far along on her journey she is but she appears to have the most important basics down.

One of the most painful and reoccurring stumbling blocks in my journey is my inability to accept that I am completely whole and loved by God without doing anything. That’s accompanied by a corresponding truth: There is nothing so great I can do to make God love me more. 

Christianity takes time, a lifetime in fact, but she has taken the first leap of faith and that’s what counts.

I don’t know how far Ms. Cox has progressed in her faith or where it will take her over the years.  There are two things I’m pretty sure of however

  1. She will be pleasantly surprised when her perception on how conservatives will react to her conversion is proved completely wrong.
  2. She will eventually figure out that her worry about not being a good enough christian is normal, because none of us are.

That’s why there is a whole sacrament called “Confession” as the Pope put it.

“Forgiveness is not a result of our efforts, but is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who showers us with mercy and grace that pours forth unceasingly from the open heart of Christ, crucified and risen.”

The Pope went on to recognize that many people feel ashamed at the idea of confessing their sins and might say, “But Father, I am embarrased.”

“Even embarrassment is good. It’s healthy to have a bit of shame. … It does us good, because it makes us more humble.”

“Don’t be afraid of confession,” Pope Francis stressed. “When someone is in line for confession, he feels all these things, even shame; but then, when he finishes confessing, he leaves (feeling) free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy.”

Will she have to face adversity because of her conversion?  I guarantee it, after all that’s part of Christianity’s job description.  Will it cost her the respect of some who followed and admired her in the past?  Certainly.  That is also part of the job description.

However there is one thing that I can also guarantee.  As she faces these challenges along her path, she will not be lacking in prayers said on her behalf.

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Stop the HatredBy John Ruberry

The Nazis used the term “Judenfrei,” free of Jews or clean of Jews, when all of the Jewish residents were removed from a city or town, or even a whole country, as was the case with Estonia in 1942.

The Islamic State is working to create a new Middle East that is Christianfrei–free of Christians–in the region where the faith was founded in 33 AD, 500 years before the birth of Muhammad.

ISIS is enslaving and killing Christians in Iraq–and Christian and girls and women are being regularly raped, as is also the case in Syria. Libya has a miniscule Christian population, but that hasn’t prevented the Islamic State from killing Christians there–21 Egyptian Coptics were beheaded last month in a grisly execution videotaped by the terror group.

Egypt and Lebanon are the other Middle Eastern nations with sizable Christian populations. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, responded to the murder of his citizens by bombing ISIS positions in Libya and although a Muslim, al-Sisi has been a harsh critic of radical Islam. As for Lebanon, a newspaper there claims that it will be the next target for the Islamic State.

While condemnations of ISIS atrocities are for the most part universal, there has been little uproar over the Islamic State’s effort to religiously cleanse the Middle East of the Christian faith, unlike the ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbia–which was eventually stopped–in Kosovo and Bosnia.

“Never again!” was the cry after the Holocaust. Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, another Holocaust is well under way.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

…in terms of the right reaction to the Martyrdom of Egyptian Copts by ISIS:

Let us remember the names of 21 new martyrs; let us speak their names in remembrance.
As they now stand amid the white-robed multitudes, and behold the Throne of the Almighty One, let us speak their names in prayer. As they shimmer within the great cloud of witnesses, let us — in the Communion of Saints — ask their intercession before the Lamb.

Read her whole piece which starts with this from the Book of Revelation:

I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:4

And as you do remember what Christ told his disciples at the last supper

the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.  They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.

John 16:2b-3

The threat of martyrdom has been part of the job description of christianity since its founding.  That’s just the way it is.

Update:  Pope Francis:

“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard,” the Pope said.

“It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” the Pope continued. “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”

 

Amy Pond: You’ve got a time machine. What do you need museums for?
10th Doctor: Wrong. Very wrong. Ooo, one of mine. Also one of mine.
Amy Pond: Oh, I see. It’s how you keep score.

Doctor Who: The Time of the Angels 2010

One of the things I’ve argued many times here is that human beings and human nature really haven’t changed over the centuries. Technology might change culture might change but what drives a human has not.

This came to mind when I read Glenn’s link to Ed Driscoll’s piece which quoted Christopher Caldwell:

For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.

This really crystallizes my longtime argument that liberalism has becomes a religion for those who have abandoned pretending they believe in Christianity but still want to keep up appearances.

The two virtues that Christianity demands are the love of God and the love of your neighbor as yourself.

Since church congregations cross social and class lines the majority of people in attendance would be unaware of a person’s actions toward their neighbor. This would be a problem for a prideful person wanting to flaunt their righteousness and an advantage for a person trying to hide their unrighteousness toward their neighbor.

Thus attending church in the old days when Christianity was the culture of America attendance served the purposes of both the prideful and the unrighteous allowing them to project the “love of God” for their own satisfaction (and for any judgemental busy bodies in attendance who were keeping score).

Of course said attendance didn’t do much for the cause of their salvation:

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Matthew 6:5-6

But since salvation wasn’t the goal for those who didn’t actually believe or only believed in their own righteousness it didn’t matter.

However dropping feigned Christianity came with a catch for our liberal friends. While in some circles , the abandonment of Christianity allow them to pretend a false intellectual superiority of Christians while freeing up an extra hour or two on the weekends, the problem of projecting virtue to society for the prideful and the unrighteousness remained.

And that why so many are so vocal, nay even strident, concerning their liberalism and the evilness of their political opponents, (particularly feminism). Not only does it remove the actual need to perform either the corporal or spiritual works of mercy because it’s their way of making sure their virtue is on display for the world to see.

It’s how they keep score.

There are so many depressing stories to write about today I scarce know where to begin.

#1 The first Post american President continues his Post American program.

Obama had traded away concessions for “symbolic gestures,” and that Obama was “the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president…maybe in the modern history of the country.”

I really missing having a president who is on our side.

#2. Trauma at Harvard:

But while emotional pageantry in lieu of a logical contention may yield spectacular results in the political realm, it remains insufficient in the eyes of those trained to argue the law. At least, that is the impression one gets from reading the reactions to this sloppy effort by a third year Harvard Law School student and an editor on the Harvard Law Review who recently argued in favor of delaying exams because of his perceived and vicarious emotional trauma.

“Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness,” wrote William Desmond in The National Law Journal.

You know there was a Day that Harvard produced the type of men so strong that even having their ship cut in two under them in the dark of night didn’t paralyze them into inaction.

#3 Mass Murder in Pakistan

The Pakistani branch of the Taliban has attempted to justify its attack on a school on Tuesday in the city of Peshawar that left 132 children and nine staff members dead, calling it revenge for the army’s offensive against the group. The attack has been condemned by world leaders, including the government of Iran as well as by the Afghan branch of the Taliban.


Yes these are the terrorists this president is negotiating with.

#4 Cowardice in Hollywood:

The top five theater circuits in North America have decided not to play Sony’s The Interview.

Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.

“Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres,” Regal said in a statement to THR Wednesday.


Oh for the days of when men like Leslie Howard defined the Nazis

#5 and finally courage in Iraq at a terrible cost both depressing and inspiring:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants rounded up the four under 15-children and asked them if they would followMohammed and live or chose any other religion and live. The courageous died hard Christians replied the militants saying, “No, we love Yesua (the Iraqi name for Jesus), we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.”

According to the report by Orthodox Christian Network, the four boys were beheaded by the militants after refusing to accept Islam as their religion.

I would suggest that a cause for canonization begin at once.

Neighbor: Listen what’s this [ark] thing for anyway?”

Noah: I can’t tell you Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Neighbor: Can you give me a hint?

Noah: You want a hint?

Neighbor: Yes Please

Noah: How long can you tread water, ha ha ha ha ha

Bill Cosby Noah: and the Neighbor Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow…Right! 1963

Yesterday I got into a bit of a discussion with a person on twitter by the name of Staunch Atheist concerning biblical things. To my complete lack of surprise the “judging God” card got played pretty early (or late as I came to the discussion late myself).

This is such a common argument among atheists that it’s almost a requirement that it be made and if it’s not made you have to wonder if something is wrong.

Of course there are several answers that can be given: All people die and damnation not death is the ultimate evil (thus while all die innocents would be spared the damnation of the guilty), It’s the just payment for their deeds (Genesis 6:13). It’s no different that the German & Japanese children who died during the necessary of World War 2 bombing to stop an overwhelming evil. The nonsense of a moral judgement from one who doesn’t believe in an absolute static morality (my personal favorite).

But I’d like to approach this from a completely different angle recycling a point I made in the my first six months of blogging concerning what the bible is and what it isn’t.

In my opinion one of the great mistakes that people make with the Bible it to make something of it that it is not. It does chronicle history but it is not solely meant as a history book, for example 18 years of Christ’s life is missing (actually more like 29, we only have a brief glimpse at age 12). Those years might be of interest to historians but in terms of the purpose of the book (see point 1) they don’t matter.

and the understanding of it by the people it was written for.

Now lets take Moses as such. He is blessed with direct contact with God but he remained a man of his time, with the physical perceptions and the scientific knowledge of a man of his time.

Thus it didn’t matter if God spontaneously created the water for Moses or steered him to a place where there was a stream about to break through rock or if he weakened the rock, as far as Moses was concerned God made it happen.

So lets apply that same logic and argument to the flood.

Per Genesis written by Moses inspired by God, Noah is informed by God that the Doom is coming and is told to build an Ark to save him alone because he alone is just.

In the eyes of God the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness. When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals led depraved lives on earth, he said to Noah: “I have decided to put an end to all mortals on earth; the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I will destroy them and all life on earth.

Make yourself an ark of gopherwood, put various compartments in it, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put an entrance in the side of the ark, which you shall make with bottom, second and third decks. I, on my part, am about to bring the flood (waters) on the earth, to destroy everywhere all creatures in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish. But with you I will establish my covenant; you and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives, shall go into the ark.

Genesis 6:12-18

Now consider, if we remember that this story in Genesis, while inspired by God for Moses to record is not a video recording or a court transcript of events but the truth as explained to Bronze Age Humans with a Bronze age understanding, as are in fact the instructions given to Noah an even earlier Bronze Age man:

That being the case many possibilities arise concerning the flood?

Will it rain for 40 days & forty nights?

Will the water just appear?

Will some geological event divert waters causing a flood

Will a giant meteor strike hit the Indian ocean causing a gigantic flood?

Will earth’s meteorological cycle have a one in a million year rain event?

Will some other astrophysical event from a comet passing close or a disruption of the Moon’s orbit cause an extreme flood event?

Is it the sudden melting of Ice Caps due to the end of an Ice Age?

Was there some combination of all or some of the above?

Any of them are possible but Noah (Bill Cosby notwithstanding) doesn’t know or ask how. Nor does God explain to him physics, meteorology, astrophysics or any of the sciences to him or any of those who would pass the oral tradition to Moses. They don’t really know and neither do any of us.

But in terms of scripture and the purpose of the Bible it doesn’t matter. What matters is Noah obeys, the flood happens, Noah his family & the animals with him live, everyone else dies.

Now one can still choose to judge a God they don’t believe in if they wish (Even if he didn’t directly cause it why didn’t he save anyone else? I’ll touch on that tomorrow) however one must remember the existence or nonexistence of God is independent of one’s belief or disbelief. If for the sake of argument God doesn’t exist in 100 years neither you or I dear reader will know or care.

But if I and the rest of the Christian world is right and God does exist, be aware that while you can choose to judge God , eventually he will be returning the favor.

On the bright side, even the most hardened sinner and/or doubter have an ace in the hole they can play even to the last minute of their life if they so choose:

write that I am more generous towards sinners than toward the just. It was for their sake that I came down from heaven; it was for their sake that My Blood was spilled. Let them not fear to approach Me; they are most in need of My Mercy.”

Jesus to St Faustina Diary #1275

Yes it can be that easy.