Corona/Wuhan Virus a Great Way to Illustrate the Difference between Having Faith and Putting God to the Test

Autloc: Tlotoxl was humiliated. He will not forget, nor will he forgive.

Barbara: I did as he commanded.

Autloc: But not as he expected.

Barbara: What did he want? A miracle?

Autloc: We all awaited it.

Barbara: Why should I use divine powers when human ability will suffice?

Autloc: Yetaxa has spoken.

Dr. Who The Aztecs 1964

There’s an old joke about a man in a flood zone who can’t swim but is not worried because he has faith that God will save him. A police man comes by in his truck to get him out of his house before the water comes but he refuses saying “God will save me.”

Then the water rises and he has to go to the 2nd floor of his house and some emergency workers come by in a small fishing boat to evacuate him but he refuses saying “God will save me.”

The the water rises so high that he is perched on his roof and a Helicopter comes by and lowers a man with a winch to get him to safety but he refuses again insisting: “God will save me”.

He drowns and finds himself before St. Peter and is very confused: “I don’t understand why I’m here? I thought that God would save me?”

St. Peter replies: “I don’t understand why you’re here either, why didn’t you use the truck, boat or helicopter we sent you?”

The moral of the joke is of course that there is a difference between faith in God and expecting him to perform a conjuring trick at your insistence.

This is one of the traps that is in play during the Corona / Wuhan virus. There are plenty of devout Christians. People who go to mass daily, receive the sacraments regularly, visit the blessed sacrament who might be tempted to ignore the public restrictions that have been imposed for the safety of the general public. In fact there will be a fair amount of mocking of faithful Christians who follow said restrictions by those who disbelieve or hate Christianity saying that this proves such people don’t actually believe in God prodding them to do just that.

But this form of temptation is one that is specifically illustrated in scripture as is the proper response to it

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”

Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'”

Matthew 4:6-8

The promise of Christianity is eternal life, but not eternal earthly life. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain were all raised from the dead by Christ but all eventually died again. While Christ came to earth to serve he is not our manservant here to do our will, we are here to do God’s.

When we put God to the test we reverse our relationship with him, instead of the loving sons and daughters that he helps guide to the right path we become Veruca Salt who wants it now!

Don’t let yourself be tempted this way, particularly in this current crisis, because the drop it can help lead you to will prove a lot worse than what’s at the bottom of a garbage chute

Levitical hand washing & the CoronaVirus

I was speaking to a friend at church who teaches Theology at a Catholic High school a few days ago and one of the things that she usually opens with are ways to verify the existence of God.

One of my favorite arguments for the existence of God came to mind when I saw piece after piece reminding you that one of the easiest ways to retard the Corona or other virus and flu is to simply wash your hands.

When it comes to preventing viral infections — especially those that spread via droplets from coughs and sneezes — washing the hands is always the first-line measure.

Now, in the midst of the recent coronavirus outbreak, correctly washing the hands remains public health officials’ top advice when it comes to controlling infection rates.

In their guidelines on how to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) state that people should “[w]ash [their] hands frequently with soap and water.”

My “chapter old/new/psalms/Gospel a day or seven of each a week” system recently had me in Leviticus and one of the things that you see all over the place is in Levitical law is WASHING.

Washing cups, washing clothes, washing utensils, washing washing washing. And if you did any of the things that made you “unclean” (and thus needing to separate yourself from others) from touching a dead body to women in their periods, one of the things involved in becoming clean was you guessed it, washing. I tell you whoever had the washing concession among the people of Israel was going to make a fortune.

Why does this matter? Well consider that these are bronze age people who had a bronze age knowledge of Virus, disease, infection and microbes, which means practically none.

Yet somehow they were given a set of laws that mirrors basic advice on how to avoid the spread of germs. As I wrote ten years ago concerning Moses, the author of these books acting as God’s Stenographer concerning these laws:

Imagine him in the 21st century. Explain germs to him. Explain microbes to him, Explain the internal combustion engine, heart transplants and the internet to him. To say they would go over his head is the understatement of the year.

Leviticus doesn’t have God explaining to Moses what a virus was or how the spread of germs works. Instead he gives Moses laws and he accepts them, not because he has the eyes of modern man and understands that all of these rules concerning washing, avoiding blood, being “unclean”, becoming “clean” and avoiding things like promiscuity will help avoid disease among the hundreds of thousands of people packed together that he is managing, he accepts them simply as God’s laws because he is God’s man.

I submit it’s no coincidence that the Jews are one of the few ancient people whose cultural existence as they were still survives. Furthermore it seems to me that this would be a strong proof of the existence of God, after all if you were going to “choose” a people through whom the world would be blessed might you not give those people laws that give them an edge on survival?

Donald Trump & Discovering the Lost 3rd Book of Reagan

This Dusty scroll was discovered hidden in the Reagan Library and explains much that has happened over the last three years.

1

The LORD said to Samuel: “How long will you grieve for Mitt Romney and John McCain who I have rejected and Reagan, whom I have taken back to my bosom? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to the GOP field , for I have chosen a President from among their sons and daughters to take my American Children out of the wilderness.”

2

But Samuel replied: “How can I go? The Media will hear of it and destroy any who I anoint?” To this the LORD answered: “Take your dismal poll forecasts along and say, ‘I have come to choose a sacrificial lamb to offer to the Clintons.’

3

Invite the entire potential GOP field to see who might come, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

4

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. When he entered GOP headquarters the insiders of the deep state came trembling to meet him and inquired, “Is your visit peaceful, O political seer?”

5

He replied: “Yes! I have come to select a candidate to sacrifice to Hillary Clinton whom the media have anointed as our next president. So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”

6

As they came, he looked at Jeb Bush and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is here before him.”

7

But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, or his fine political lineage or even his decent record as governor of Florida because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

8

Then the party called Governor John Kasish of Ohio and presented him before Samuel, who said, “The Lord has not chosen him.”

9

Next the GOP presented Senators Marco Rubio & Rand Paul both worthy men, but Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen these ones either.”

10

In the same way the GOP presented sons and daughters, Governor Walker, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and more before Samuel, and even though some had found favor in the Lord’s eyes like Rick Santorum “He is my true servant but his time has past” and Ted Cruz “He is true but his time has not yet come” and Ben Carson “He is true but I shall task him to shall serve the people through the one I pick ” none of them was the one. So Samuel said to the GOP, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”

11

Then Samuel asked the GOP “Are these all the sons and daughters you have?” They replied, “There is still Donald Trump but he’s just a reality star we just keep him around for our candidates to beg for contributions. He’s in the tower.” Samuel said to the GOP elders, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”

12

The GOP sent for him and he entered the banquet hall descending from the tower down the escalator with his wife and family. He was an older man with odd orange hair but with strength and vigor of one who was much younger. He had never tasted wine or strong drink and he descended with a family full of youth, handsome to behold and a wife full of beauty and Devoted to the Lord and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There-anoint him, for this is he!”

13

Then Samuel, with the horn of the votes of the people in hand , anointed him in the midst of his brothers and sisters; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon Donald and he was determined to lead his people out of the wilderness of Obama.

14

A few of his brothers immediately accepted the judgement of the voters and offered to serve, others who had worked hard on their own behalf to earn that favor after much soul searching did the same but many more in the elites particularly those who had been anointed before such as John McCain and Mitt Romney openly spoke against the will of the voters and predicted the doom of the party.

15

The spirit of the LORD had departed from Obama, and he was tormented by the thought of his legacy going away. So the servants of the Clintons said to him: “Please! Be not tormented by the scorn of the Lord

16

If your lordship will order it, we, your servants here in attendance will find a candidate among the sons of the GOP who shall be easier to beat than any other. Let our media descend upon him and prop him up so they can later bring him down and the whole country will embrace your legacy and you will feel better.”

17

So Obama then told his servants in the media, “Find me skilled lapdogs that they might play the tune to the people and find our sacrifice to Hillary and my legacy.”

18

A servant spoke up to say: “I have observed that one of the sons of the GOP is a skillful entertainer before the crowds The Donald of NY is a skillful reality TV man. He is also a stalwart donor who has given us cash when needed, besides being an able speaker, and handsome. Moreover, given his past the LORD won’t be with him.”

19

Accordingly, Obama dispatched messengers to the media to prop up Trump above all others within the GOP flock.

20

Then the pundits took Trump and put his rallies on the air and interviewed him daily to raise him above the field.

21

Thus to Obama Trump had entered his service. The media was very fond of him, made him their rating-bearer,

22

and sent the GOP this message, “Allow Trump to remain in my service, for he meets with our approval as a sacrifice to Hillary.”

23

Whenever the spirit from God seized Hillary, The Donald would say something, and Hillary, Obama and the Democrats would be relieved and feel better, sure that he would be the sacrifice to cement her victory and the legacy of Obama for all time.

Fr Longnecker Nails Catholicism Perfectly

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

John 6:66-69

This weekend after a prolonged nap I woke from my sleep to see this tweet from Fr. Dwight Longnecker, one of the few married priests in the Catholic Church that speaks to one of the most salient things concerning the Catholic Church

This nails one of the most critical things about the Catholic Church that there is.

Think about it for a second. If you think about the kind of church you want to join, the Catholic Church would not likely be high on your list.

You aren’t allowed to divorce your wife or husband if the inclination comes

You an’t allowed to have premarital sex, or even contraception

If you’re gay, forget marriage, if you want to be a priest for nun, forget marriage and sex.

In fact forget about porn, masturbation and a bunch of other things that you might like to get away with

and even worse if you do any of these things you have to go before a priest, confess that you’ve done these thing, “firmly resolve to not commit these sins in the future” (and mean it when you say it) and when (hopefully if but usually when) you falter on some of those sins as is the way of life, have the embarrassment of going back and confessing them AGAIN.

And if you don’t do these things you either have to refrain from communion or go up for a blessing and left everyone SEE that you’re in an unfit state to receive communion.

And consider how many attractive alternatives there are avaialble.

You have Christian churches who preach predestination meaning that it’s all God’s will so no matter what you do now it doesn’t matter (so you might as well do what you want).

You have Christian churches who proclaim “one saved always saved” which means that you can sin all you want without fear of hell.

You have Christian churches that redefine sin to the point where not only are the sins you are most tempted from no longer considered sin but are even considered virtuous.

And beyond that you not only have a culture that hates the church, but celebrates you when you leave it but you have scandals from sexual to financial that makes being a public Catholic a very hard thing.

And if you are devout despite this you have a Pope that has at best been a Lemon or at worst been a heretic to the point where some of the alternatives like the Society of St. Pius seem not only reasonable, but honorable. You even have alternatives that the Church recognizes as valid like the Orthodox whose sacraments are recognized but do not return said recognition

So why does one stay Catholic, or as in Fr. Longnecker case convert to the Catholic faith? Simply for the reason Fr. Longnecker said

“…because it’s the true church.”

My degree is in Computer Science, I’ve trained as an engineer, I’m a maths guy. Do you realize how easy it would be to go to a denomination that said my current sins that I battle were not sins and that the various temptations to other sins I have were no big deal if I thought that the Church was not true? Do you think I would put myself though those things if there was the slightest doubt in my mind that the church wasn’t true?

And that not even dealing with the various ethical dilemmas that have come up regularly from loving one’s enemies rather than taking easy revenge on them or taking ethical shortcuts that would have made me wealthy and my life comfortable

Those alternatives are all dangled before us, from the abolition of our since (as opposed to forgiveness) on one end to the affirmation of our virtue on the other with worldly celebration in between. Almost as if it was being said to us.

All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me

Matthew 4:9

That’s the real irony. We are in fact being given the same tempting offer that Christ was and by the same being too. Might I suggest the same answer:

At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'”

Matthew 4:10

Now I’m no Jesus. I’m going to fail a lot and so are all the rest of us but the Eucharist remains the Eucharist, the Sacraments are still the sacraments and the Church for all the scandals it has had over two thousands years and for all the lemons we’ve seen from it, past present and future, remains the One Holy Catholic Church in faith in reason and in truth.

That’s is why I have stayed and will stay. With the Church’s help I might obtain heaven despite my sins and maybe if I’m very lucky and very blessed be of some use to Christ in helping a few others, by the grace of God, along that same narrow path.

I’m old enough to remember when “Is the Pope Catholic?” was a Rhetorical Question

One of the advantages of actually reading scripture, having been brought up by devout Catholics and having a faithful priest is that if a Pope says something like this:

The first is all. In front of an unbeliever the last thing I have to do is try to convince him. Never. The last thing I have to do is speak. I have to live consistent with my faith. And it will be my testimony to awaken the curiosity of the other who says: “But why do you do this?” And yes, I can speak then. But listen: Never, never bring the gospel by proselytizing. If someone says they are a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, they are not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not done, the church does not grow by proselytism. Pope Benedict had said it, it grows by attraction, by testimony. Football teams proselytize, this can be done. Political parties, can be done there. But with faith there is no proselytism. And if someone says to me: “But why?” Read, read, read the Gospel, this is my faith. But without pressure.

emphasis mine

I can reference the opinion of a higher authority in the Church (again emphasis mine):

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go, therefore,  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matt 28:16-20

Furthermore I recall a fellow named Paul who said this:

I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!  As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ

St. Paul to the Galatians 1: 6-10 Emphasis mine

Now I don’t pretend to be anywhere near as well trained and educated in theology than the Holy Father nor more familiar with scripture as a whole but as a person with a Computer Science Degree I can certainly read and comprehend a plan set of instructions with the best of them.

So while the Holy Father’s words on living your faith and setting an example are well taken I think I’ll decline to share his advice to judge those who choose to spread the Gospel in the very way that the apostles were instructed by Christ.

Incidentally if you told me as little as ten years ago that I’d hear a Pope say something like this I wouldn’t have believed you, but I’m not worried.

Given the Catholic church survived the Romans, the Huns, the Rest of the Barbarians, the 1st Islamic Invasion, the Black Death, Napoleon, Hitler & the Cold War it’s certainly going to outlast Francis we’ve had 2000 years of Popes and lately we’ve had a good run of saintly ones so I guess we were overdue for a Lemon.

After all Lemon Pope is still the Pope until God decides he isn’t so I will endeavor to give all the respect that the chair of Peter set up by Christ himself deserves trusting that God knows what he’s doing even if I don’t.

And don’t forget pray for the Pope remembering that he is no more and no less deserving of and in need of the mercy of God than anyone else.

Update: Forgot to give a hat tip to Insty here, my bad.

Update 2: Lemon Pope? sounds like a song…

Lemon Pope very iffy

And his message ain’t so sweet

but the truth of the old Gospel

Is impossible to beat

I’m here all week, try the veal.

Sodom and Gomorrah 1962 Where’s the Sodomy?

Today I watched the 1962 Movie Sodom & Gomorrah staring Stewart Granger, Pier Angeli and Stanley Baker and noticed something that was rather amazing to me.

The movie is pretty good, a great battle scene a few excellent subplots and as you might guess a big finish. As as you might guess there are some liberties taken, the famous exchange between Abraham and God becomes an exchange between the imprisoned Lot and the two angels. Instead of only Lot and his daughters hundreds of Hebrews escape with him. This type of thing is not much of a surprise but there is one big thing missing.

There is plenty of licentiousness, torture, fornication and even a hint of lesbianism, but not a hint of the one thing that Sodom is known for: Sodomy.

Now in fairness this movie was made in 1962 and I would not expect a biblical epic of the time to do a whole lot with the subject, but just as the lesbianism was implied in the form of the queen and her “favorites” you might have thought at a movie about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would at least give the slightest him of what was going on in there.

And of course the movie ended with Lot’s wife (a 2nd wife who was once of Sodom) turned to salt for looking back and no hint that the next event in the bible was his two daughters getting him dead drunk and sleeping with him because there was in their mind no prospect of any other men around. Of course with hundreds of men escaping that whole rationale is out the window.

Now in an age when the Bible was itself still well known perhaps it wasn’t considered necessary to bother with this stuff, it was only a movie and people understood that liberties might be taken.

But if it was me, if I was going to make a movie like there would be at least some hint as to the sin that destroyed Sodom

Given the history of the next 60 years I think such a warning might have been worthwhile.