So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:18-20

I’ve often said here on the blog that the only reason to be a Christian in general and a Catholic in particular is because it’s true.  If it’s not true after all we’re just an Elk’s Club that meets on Sundays.

We’ll apparently there aren’t a lot of people who want to join the Sunday Elk’s clubs:

we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.” This compared with 67 percent of worshipers and 56 percent of clergy members from declining churches. Furthermore, all growing church clergy members and 90 percent of their worshipers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 80 percent of worshipers and a mere 44 percent of clergy members from declining churches.

Or to put it another way, if you don’t actually believe in Christ,  why would you expect people to follow you into Christianity, assuming you want them to:

For example, because of their conservative outlook, the growing church clergy members in our study took Jesus’ command to “Go make disciples” literally. Thus, they all held the conviction it’s “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” and thus likely put effort into converting non-Christians. Conversely, because of their liberal leanings, half the clergy members at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. Some of them felt, for instance, that peddling their religion outside of their immediate faith community is culturally insensitive.

If you aren’t really into that entire “We must obey God rather than man” business then you aren’t

The really funny part of this story? The fact that discovering believing in something vs believing in nothing tends to attract more people was “counterintuitive”.

Well to a reader of the Washington Post it would be wouldn’t it?

Closing thought, I’d like to ask those members of the clergy who don’t believe in the central tenants of Christianity why they remain?  I suspect the answer mimics this exchange from the old Yes Prime Minister episode “The Bishop’s Gambit:

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”.

When as I suspect, these “modernists” eventually become as extinct as the Shakers only Washington Post readers will be surprised.

Repost from my blog.

by baldilocks

I try not to scream in frustration in response to some usage of the word ‘extremism.’ People use it without even thinking about what it actually means. And it almost always has the word ‘Christian’ is front of it, and, less often, ‘Muslim.’

According to the ignorant, extremism is always something bad–usually involving pain or death–and, again, according to the ignorant, people like this ‘tard preach “Christian extremism.” And if you don’t know what Christ commanded, what the Dispensation of Grace is, or what the adjective ‘extreme‘ means, you’ll buy it.

Here, I’ll help a bit more: an actual extremist Christian wants you to believe that Jesus the Messiah died for your sins, rose again, and is your Lord and Savior. Also, that Christian wants you to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself  a whole heck of a lot. These items are the hash marks on the Christian yardstick and if, after knowing this, you decide you don’t want to follow Jesus, He tells His followers to move on to the next potential hearer of the Gospel and leave you be. “Shake the dust from your feet.” Extreme.

Conversely, an actual extremist Muslim wants everyone to submit to Allah, and wants to coerce any and all to convert to Islam or to pay the jizya tax. A truly extremist Muslim should, according to the Koran and the Hadith, use the threat of death toward this goal: your money or your life. And if you don’t want to convert or are unable to bribe them, it’s off with your head, if they can get close enough. This is yet another yardstick.

You can’t mix and match definitions and expect to make a coherent argument. But ignorance is so rampant that it almost doesn’t pay to point this out. But I did anyway.

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 one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  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!

baldilocks

There is a lot to be said for this piece by Stacy McCain titled #LashEquality: @CoverGirl Promotes Transgender Agenda in Commercials. Its discussion of history, references to scripture, celebration of his ancient ancestors (Being of Sicilian ancestry from a family that lived next to a volcano (Mt. Etna) I can go back to the mid 1800’s but before that is a mystery, particularly since everyone from the vikings to the Spanish to the arabs conquered Sicily during the course of history) and his defense of normalcy which everyone seems to be terrified to articulating.

But there are two things in this piece that need highlighting and a clarification added to complete the picture being offered by him.

The first the opinion of the greatest generation of the rebellion of their children most of whom still foolishly think they were and are smarter then their parents who conquered two of the finest militaries in history yet had the Christian character, to with the entire world at their feet, not to enslave it

the “Greatest Generation” knew what price had been paid for our freedom. The troops who came home from that war then fathered the “Baby Boom.” When their children reached adolescence, however, many rebelled against America’s patriotic and religious heritage, and by the time I started high school in 1973, the so-called “Sexual Revolution” had been raging for nearly a decade. Grown-ups strongly disapproved of the whole “hippie” youth culture. Our parents and teachers, our coaches and preachers were in unanimous agreement about the need to suppress this social upheaval that had erupted, the cause of which they believed to be either (a) Communism or (b) Satan, insofar as Communism and Satan weren’t the same thing.

It is my opinion that my generation, the baby boomers are the worst generation in the history of this country and possibly the world and that we as a generation for the good of humanity can’t die off fast enough and take our self centered narcissism, self defined virtue and complete ignorance of the wisdom and experience of our parents and the giants who came before them with us.

Secondly it’s worth highlighting Stacy’s statement concerning his own youthful rebellion (emphasis mine)

In high school, I was just a teenager who wanted to be a cool dude, and among my hoodlum buddies, being a cool dude meant getting high and growing your hair long, because that’s what all the cool chicks were into. So I was as far-out as I could possibly get away with, and I got away with a lot more than I ever got caught with. Could I blame all this on “peer pressure”? Maybe, except that I was an active agent of evil, rather than a passive participant. My extensive adolescent experience in the ways of sin — and all the consequences of evil that I witnessed with my own eyes in the ensuing years — left me quite cynical toward the kind of enthusiasm James Charles expresses about the “amazing progressions with gay rights, gender inclusivity and self-expression.”

I can not emphasize the importance of this paragraph because it does two critical things.

  • It acknowledges acts of evil done and witnessed by him
  • Rather than making an excuse for said evil, he takes responsibility for it.

One could call it a great example of the Penitential Rite of the Catholic church

I confess to almighty God
And to you, my brothers and sisters,
That I have greatly sinned
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done and in what I have
Failed to do,
Through my fault, through my fault,
Through my most grievous fault;
Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
All the Angels and Saints,
And you, my brothers and sisters,
To pray for me to the Lord our God.

That self awareness is a gift from God that should be treasured by him and mimicked by others whenever possible.

Now having highlighted these two bits let’s turn to the part that needs clarification.

Stacy quotes one of his favorite passages from Deuteronomy 30.  As I am quoting Stacy’s piece I’ll stick with his protestant translation here rather than the one on the Vatican site I would normally use

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live . .

He follows up with these two paragraphs near the end of his piece:

There are still quite a few Americans who believe in the Lord whose anger is kindled against those who turn away from him, and we have already tolerated enough “gender inclusivity and self-expression” that it’s a wonder God has not already destroyed us for this “amazing progression.”

America has had enough. Our ancestors did not establish this nation with the expectation that their descendants would squander their precious inheritance of God’s blessing. The men who died fighting to gain a foothold on that beach at Normandy did not give their lives so that America could sink into decadence, insanity and perversion.

And here lies the part that needs clarification here.  Stacy gives a lot of quotes from that good Old Testament but is missing some key ones from a slightly newer one.  Like Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house,  many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Matthew 9:9-13

And Mark

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

Mark 10:23-27

And Luke

“Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”  But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Luke 19:2-10

And John

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”

John 8:3-11

Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and redemption and every single soul from James Charles to Bob Iger to  Stacy to mine and yours is of value to God.  That same merciful God who sacrificed his son for the forgiveness of sins will give each soul a lifetime to repent of their sins and be forgiven.  As Christ said to St Faustina:

Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. 

Diary of St. Faustina

Stacy expresses surprise that God has not already destroyed us, But did not the Knights of Columbus offer a novena before the election for the country asking for God’s blessing and mercy that was prayed in churches all over the country?  Do not contemplative sisters and brothers pray unceasingly for the country the world and for the intentions of individuals?  Do not individuals like myself offer daily rosaries for the country asking since February for Justice Scalia and since April for Mother Angelica to join in these prayers for our land?  And do not relatives friends of those who have been deceived by the world and the culture pray continually for their salvation?  After all do you think it was just blind luck that Stacy himself, turned away from the admittedly evil path he once pursued?  And are not others even now evangelizing those who have fallen away?

The bottom line is there have been many times when the power of evil, and error and sin have seemed insurmountable, yet the faithful still exist, and thrive and the Holy Spirit still calls those who have rejected him.

“If you’re there, you have to help me.”

Those are the words that poet Sally Read said to an icon of Jesus in 2010. Read, a British poet and atheist, had stopped into a church in Santa Marinella, Italy. She felt burdened. Her young daughter was having health issues. Her husband Fabio was enduring some stress at work.

“There was this incredible experience where this presence almost came down, and my tears just stopped, just dried,” Read tells CNSNews.com. “I felt almost physically carried up. It was as if someone walked into the room. I knew this person. I knew that I was a Christian.”

Up to that point Read, now 46, had been an atheist. “I was brought up an atheist,” Read notes in her just-published memoir, “Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story.” “At ten I could tell you that religion was the opiate of the masses; it was [driven] into me to never kneel before anyone or anything…As a young woman I could quote Christopher Hitchens and enough of the Bible to scoff at.”

As Pope Francis has said God never tires of forgiving us and as long as that potential is there the work of salvation will continue and we can and must aid it by our prayers.

Because even with this clarification Stacy point stands as evidenced by Christ words to Sister Faustina that followed his remark about the door of mercy.

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…

I pray to God that I and others will acquire and retain the wisdom to choose the door of mercy in our lifetimes.

trumpdevil
Cite.

by baldilocks

This morning I posted two statuses on my Facebook page that received a lot of reaction. The one I want to discuss is this one.

There are two types which are the opposing sides of the same coin: “Trump-worshippers” and “Trump AntiChristers[i].” The first group is much more vocal than the last one (coined by me), but they have the same MO. One group says that you will go to Hell if you didn’t vote for Donald Trump; the other says that you will go to Hell if you did. And both groups can take scripture and twist it into something unrecognizable to prove their respective conclusions.

Prophets[ii], all–according to them–and for such people, there is no middle ground.

Both types are rooted in denial of the sovereignty of God, to put it mildly. They invert this admonition.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

–Proverbs 3:5-6

This type of thinking is the result of an erosion of our civic education and the resultant erosion of the separation of powers. Because the executive and judicial branches have become so powerful and the legislative branch so craven, we accept that power imbalance without thinking it over too much or at all.

Thus, we unconsciously inculcate the presidency with God-like authority—an authority which it was never meant to have. Many think that the abdication of legislative powers started when Barack Obama became President, but that’s very wrong.

The erosion of biblical education has run parallel to that of civics. Trump worshippers have called Donald Trump the New Nebuchadnezzar or the New Cyrus—both biblical foreign kings who held ancient Judah in captivity after the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Israel and the first sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.

Is Trump foreign? Is he a monarch? Has America been razed and all Americans been carried off into a foreign land? Has Washington, DC been sacked? Does America have a singular Temple/Church building? You get the point.

As for Trump AntiChristers, they say, because of his political flip-floppery and his moral flaws, that anyone who votes for him is damned by God—not just the worshippers. Anyone.

I recall one criteria for human beings to be eternally saved and two commandments from my Lord and Savior; none of them have anything to do with voting. And I don’t even believe that Christians who voted for Clinton will be damned. Corrected by listening to God, but not damned.

Do these people not recall what the Accuser of the Brethren is up to at this very minute?

So, it is that many are driven emotionally—driven by fear of things other than God–when presidential elections come around. They view their candidate as the savior from the last ruler, the like-minded as fellow believers, the opposing candidate(s) as the Devil, and skeptics/political opponents as unbelievers/heretics. Corresponding reactions follow.

It’s always about God. When He’s missing in the soul of anyone, that person will allow something or someone else to fill the void and they will call it “God.” And that goes also for many who say they are Christians.

RELATED: Trust the Lord with most your heart, and lean on your own understanding(For the satire-challenged, this lady is making one side of my same point–though our actions during the election were probably different. Our point: don’t act on fear of anyone other than God.)

[i] Trump “AntiChristers”: those who believe that anyone who voted for Donald Trump is a Trump worshipper, i.e. that they put Trump over God’s Word.

[ii] Moses was the only prophet who beat God’s people over the head—literally—with the Word of God. As a result, he broke it and some heads along with it.

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 one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  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!

baldilocks

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.

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

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baldilocks