Monday, September 19, 2016

Cyborgs Are Bringing Immortality


Behold, Nietzsche's √úbermensch.


For millennia the great philosophers of mankind have been discussing the dualism of man—the clash between our body and our spirit,  between our material and non-material, the physical man and the spiritual/soul of man. Now, we are back to it—and it is becoming increasingly more vital to understand the unity of man. We are fully both our physical, material bodies and spirits/souls.  

Christian parents, you thought you needed to keep up with the times to prepare your kids to deal with homosexual marriage, right?

Nope, keep going...Our culture is way past that. I hear some ask,"Oh, you mean transgenderism, where gender is fluid and men can be women and visa versa?" 

No—continue. "Are you kidding me? Do you mean trans-speciesism, where humans are physically and genetically blending with animals?"

No—that's nothing—continue.

This next generation will not just be deciding what person or thing they shall be sexually attracted to, or the choice of which of the many and expanding number of genders are available (currently 58). The next generation will have the right to decide if they will become 
cyborgs:


       A cyborg--short for cybernetic organism-- is a being with both organic and biomechatronic body parts. Coined in 1960, the word means humans with enhanced abilities due to the integration of some artificial component or technology.


The future is one where trans-humanism will be normalized. And the future is now. Already there is a movement to merge humans with robots. Some of those involved with trans-humanism are attempting to be able to download all human thoughts and experiences into a chip, that one day, man and robot can fully integrate.

No, really. Actually. It's happening. We are truly that far into it. Now, legally, cyborgs have rights. The Cyborg Foundation was created to defend the rights of cyborgs.

Think about the implications. If man and robot are united, this gives man immortality. Humans can live forever—they shall not surely die.

What is Man?

This brings us to the question, what is man? Are we nothing but a set of experiences, memories, thoughts that can be downloaded and processed as a computer? 

Who are you? What tells us who you are? What makes you, you? 

Some people self-identify in terms of our capitalistic culture--where they are in the capitalistic flow, which cog on the wheel--a banker, a teacher, salesman, etc. They may then self-identify based on their salary.

Some people self-identify with their gender, age, sexual-orientation, race, nationality. Others describe their looks. Others might claim their identities around the things they love and associate themselves with such as family, patriotism, religion, sports teams, universities, political organizations, cars, motorcycles, our garden clubs, technology, ancestry, or even their favorite entertainers. 

Most of those are externals—they can be duplicated in a robot to be either as authentic or seemingly as authentic. Moods, emotions can be mimicked.

What is unique about humanity that cannot be downloaded? If the scientists downloaded all the above things into a robot, would that be someone completely? If they downloaded all the above of how you described yourself would it be you? Or would something substantive be missing?


Now I have to ask: Have we become robots already? Has the Devil reduced us into living a life so superficial, so enslaved in the material, the physical, the empirical, based on our senses, that we truly could be fully downloaded into a machine, because we have gone no deeper?

The Devil and God are at odds with whom and what they want us to identify. Satan wishes us to be nothing but the sum of our parts. He wants us to be what we love, as long as what we love is material things that are outside of us. He wants us to bring worldly things into our souls and become so fully bond with them that it is impossible to extricate who we are from temporal and transient things. 

Christ wants more:

He tells us that He is the vine,"you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." While every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. "If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned" and "apart from me you can do nothing." 

Christ wants us to self-identify as His and by the fruits He produces in us. Often, how we self-identify can constrict our ability to produce who we really are. We are so obsessed with the material, we do not develop the fruits of authentic personhood.

Maybe we should start self-identifying with the fruits we produce through His grace.

Galatians 5 records that these fruits are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

I Cor. 12 and 13 tells us that our identity is formed through the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues.  

In fact, in the new cyberworld, St. Paul's words sound prophetic, if we do not have love, we are, "only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (Sounds like the emptiness of a trans-human soul.) In fact, if the cyborg has the ability to prophesy, has all knowledge and can move mountains, but has not love, it is nothing.   

Human love is patient, kind, not envious, nor boastful, nor proud. Fully humans do not dishonor others, nor are self-seeking, nor easily angered, they keep no record of wrongs. Humans with real love do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. They protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

These things can never be downloaded. Can the Holy Spirit enter a cyborg? Some things are eternal: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The devil wants us to be fully downloadable, with souls having loved and nurtured nothing more than superficialities, having so
completely petrified into the worldly that no amount of extrication is possible. The devil is tempting us to robotically fall asleep that it will be virtually nothing for us to be a cyborg.

For those who enter the presence of God, we will be both flesh and spirit, material and non-material. The temporal things that we were tempted to love and self-identify as will be stripped away: patriotism, religious identifications, political affiliation, socio-economic status. Only the things of God will remain, forever. 

We must learn to develop these gifts of the Holy Spirit, for they can never be duplicated in a cyborg.

 

Monday, September 5, 2016

UNDERSTANDING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


For most Protestants, seeing the Catholic Church with understanding is hard. Catholics comprehend this. But if you could enter our world and see Catholicism through the eyes of someone deeply in love with her, perhaps, it would make some sense.

What is the Catholic Church?


The Catholic Church is immense. Think about an entity who has been around since the first century. Two millennia! That is 20 centuries, a hair under 2000 years. To compare, Lutherism is almost 500 years old. Just a babe in comparison. The Wesley Brothers started the Methodist church 300 years ago. The pentecostal movement and its churches are just over a hundred years old. The Catholic Church
 is ancient.


Let's look at the history of the Catholic Church as if each century stood for a year: 

The minute the church was born, so many centuries ago, the Serpent was poised to attack. Hardly had the swaddling clothes come off when the Father of Lies attempted to kill her off with persecution. 

Then with a sudden miracle, the persecution stopped just in time for the Body of Christ on earth to turn three years old. 

The Catholic Church spent its childhood watching the fall of the Roman Empire and fighting off the barbarian invasions. It put together the Bible. And spreading its wings-- traveling across the globe giving the gospel of Jesus Christ by starting hospitals, universities and orphanages.

Through the early teens, she struggled as all teenagers do with an identity crisis and a bit of wildness such as the inquisition and Crusades, but she was becoming a lovely young girl: learned, refined, under the gentle tutelage of her Mother and Father. 

As the Catholic Church entered young adulthood, she witnessed the birth of a bitter enemy, one who had been a part of her all those years: The Protestant Reformation.

She was there during the dark ages, the middle ages, the Renaissance, the  Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, scientific age, modernism, technological age, and now the post-modern era.  

The Catholic Church has spanned enough time to have done wonderful, miraculous things, as well as have great failures. You would expect this of one so ancient. 


The Catholic Church as well as having spanned 2000 years, it is has more than 1.2 billion members (including the Eastern Orthodox it brings it to over 1.5 billion.) spreading out among every single nation on earth, every culture, every tongue. 

Imagine attempting to set up a worldwide organization? How difficult would it be to coordinate anything that vast--with 1.2 billion volunteers! All speaking different languages and in vastly different cultures with differing governmental systems? All cemented together not with seduction of money, but with the loyalty of love for Christ. 

This massive universal kingdom has no standing army. It has a little armed guard for the Vatican of less than 200 soldiers.

It is an organized visible Church. It can't hide. It's popes are known. It's beliefs are out there. It's people and churches are in every city. 


All are welcome.

And WHO are the Catholics?

Every single person who has ever comes into the Catholic Church is a  soul wounded with sin. Hardly anyone walks upright into the kingdom, they usually fall at the doorsteps, hands outstretched for help. Each person is exhausted, broken and bleeding from the battles of life and seek the hope promised in Christ's kingdom. 


Many are great sinners, some are tiny babes,
but each one is baptized into the covenant family of Christ, because someone loved Jesus. No one comes into the Kingdom without the covering prayers of the saints. And though many come from a personal conviction, most are received because of the faith of their parents or spouses. Yet, all came into the door through faith in Jesus Christ, faith that works through love. 

Each life who has been drawn into the church is a terrible mess of sin. Some are mean, other prideful. The list of sins are great: adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, murderers, thieves. Each soul is
 poor, wretched, many are depressed, scared and disillusioned. All broken, all are wounded by sin. And the Catholic Church understands this. She shows her mercy towards those who come into her kingdom shackled with sin, feeling hopeless. She also welcomes those who come running with joy. The Church is Christ's heart on earth and each sinner who enters her is given a heavenly reception of joy. 

But the Church is not a place of entertainment to wait out the Second Coming. It is not a social hall. In a sense, when you step into the Kingdom of God you set foot in upon a new battleground. But it is one of freedom. It is a battle of healing. Christ set up within His Kingdom, the Church, a way of healing all these wounded souls who come in seeking Him. God does not leave them nor abandon them to their sins, He has set up a hospital to rehabilitate them. 

The Miracle and Mystery of the Sacraments

Everyone who enters the kingdom is in need of help, even the deacons and priests, bishops and cardinals and popes. Christ while on earth never romanticized what the kingdom would look like. Read His Words in the Gospels about what the Kingdom of Heaven really is. And it is not pretty.

He warned us that there would be good and bad, the wheats and the tares. He told us that it wouldn't be easy to enter, especially if you are rich. But for each soul who finds the kingdom of God in this world that is controlled by the Father of Lies, it feels very much like they have found the pearl of great price. It was hidden in plain sight.


He has provided a way, a journey to help us heal from sin and become truly free. It is called the sacraments. With our short-sighted, blurry vision caused by sin, many who enter do not want to begin another journey. The sacraments seem like too much work. They want to remain shackled and entertained until Christ comes again. Yet, that is not how love works. The very nature of love is to take what is shackled and set them free. Teach hate to love. Teach self-centeredness to be self-giving. Our Creator knows it is not good for us to remain in the depths of hell--which is what sin does to us.

Many of these souls look at the sacraments and just give up. They will remain at the entryway of Catholicism, not going very far into the rehabilitation. And that's okay. Some are simply more weak than others. God never kicks anyone out unless they are an arch-heretic who is poisoning the well, the source of Christ's love. And those are very, very few people in the history of the Church. They are usually bishops. 

The Church is here to draw people into holiness. It is the source of hope. We chastise only that a person may turn and walk in God's ways. We want no one to be lost. 

Those who trust Christ enough to begin the journey into His presence and into holiness always walk in unity with others. Many people wish to be alone, so they don't have to deal with other people's weaknesses. They don't want to fight and get hurt by others on the journey. Yet that is not how Jesus set it up. We, in fact, cannot make the journey without others. The saint and sinners are all packed together on this journey of rehabilitation, so that when someone needs help, Christ expects us to pick them up. 

We Become HIS Body
This journey brings us into perfection. It is our sacred sanctification. And we do it together. When someone rejoices, we all rejoice and share in the joy. When someone sorrows, we all sorrow together. 

We are learning to meet each others' needs unselfishly, and that is an important part of the rehabilitation of sin. We must have each other around to comfort, to extort, to teach and to learn together. Like gemstones, we must pound each other in order to shine and bring out the brilliance of what God has placed into each of us. 


God is bringing us into holiness together. Some, it will be harder for, and their perseverance and victory will be the great reward of all of us. And those who much has been given, much will be expected. Each will share in the other's glory, as well as share in the other's pain. And this is how love grows.

But as we walk and pray and study together in the road of sacraments set up for us by Christ Himself, we always must start with the most important of all steps: going to mass together to worship Him and received the manna meant for the journey. There, His life is poured into us, so that each step is really not us but Him. Never can we say "we did it." For it will always be Christ's victory because He infused us with His life, His grace, His mercy, His love so that each step will be fruitful, even if we don't recognize how His life is changing us.

Then there is confession, the anointing of the sick, marriage, holy orders: each one of these is given to us that we as His Body have the strength to continue on together. 

And we tend to dislike the idea of confession and yet learning to admit our faults, confessing them and asking forgiveness is one of the most important steps in learning the humbleness of sanctification. We learn to walk and simply trust Jesus in the sacraments. We must have faith in them and they will be miraculous. For they ARE His graces poured out for us. 

And Jesus is preparing in this earthly kingdom, a people who are slowly, century by century, coming closer to the place where God will come again and place the New Jerusalem, the capital of this kingdom her physically among us. 

We who have learned to love each other on this journey will run perfected into that Temple because we are now healed. We have learned patience and obedience, we have learned kindness and long-suffering. All along the journey we have become more like Him.

That is what the kingdom of the Catholic Church is for. That is why Christ set up His kingdom. For those who never leave the foyer of this kingdom and go into the main sanctuary, Catholics who never make use of the sacraments while on earth in this life-- all they have done is postpone the journey. It will be made, just after they have died. The Catholic Church calls this same journey after death: Purgatory.

The arms of the Catholic Church are always open for those who wish to escape, Christ never forces anyone to stay. But just remember, God is the good shepherd and He will always come and seek out His lost sheep. He never gives up, not on even one soul. It takes a lifetime of rejecting love that brings one to hate Heaven enough to choose hell.


What about the sheep outside the sheepfold? What about those who never come into the Kingdom of God--the Catholic Church? Jesus tells us not to worry, that there are others, in other sheepfolds that He has plans for. Never despair. Just because you do not see your loved one in the group of the travelers you are with, doesn't mean they will not be there at the end, perhaps before or after you. 

And if you fear that one of your loved ones has or will chose hell, pray for them. Not all do make the journey, but do not despair. Pray with all heaven that the one you love will have his eyes opened and see the greatness of the kingdom. 
At the end, there is a great banquet awaiting us, the great consummation of the ages.  Where there will be no more tears. No more sorrow. Our garments will be perfect, and spotless because Christ purified them on the journey. And at the end, He will fully open our eyes to see how each of us became one with Him as His everlasting bride.

That is the Church. That is the Sacraments. They are our life, our privilege. Our journey with Him in love.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE AMERICAN DREAM



I ponder quite a bit about what has happened to my country, struggling to understand how we went from Kate Smith to Rosanne Barr. Though I never served in the armed forces, most of my adult life has been focused on political involvement and bringing positive change into our nation. I have fought for our country in a different way, in different battles, but I have fought with all my heart. 

And I have been profoundly shattered to see the collapse of what I thought was America. 

When our generation is long in the grave and history is written about the United States, what will it tell us about the people today? That is way too broad a question to ask on a blog. So I have narrowed it down to writing specifically about the perspective of the American Dream and my parent's generation.

How must the generation born specifically between 1935 to 1950 relate to today's America? To start, I will give some personal background.


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

I was born in the 1960's and have an inkling of a memory of what the late 1960's racial and  feminist struggle was like--the drug and sexual revolution. But most of my memories take place in the 1970's.

Our family had soldiers in Vietnam who came home addicted to drugs and cynical. And my childhood is peppered with memories of war protests and peace signs. 

I remember the Watergate trials and President Nixon's resigning. I remember sitting in line for gasoline when my dad was trying to get us to school and himself to work during the oil crisis.

But the sex, drugs and rock and roll culture was the environment that seeped the most effectively into my little Christian sheltered world. The context of my world was: The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, women burning their bras, riding on the city bus with the black kids in back, my fifth grade friends smoking joints after school. 

My childhood was during that strange transition of America being Leave it to Beaver



to it being All in the Family:




My age group got to see my parent's innocent and naive America briefly as it went past our back seat car window, but mostly in the rearview mirror. 

The Rockwellian Years

Our generation's parents were a part of a culture where the American Dream was God's dream. During the Golden Years of the USA during and immediately after WWII, when there was a complete conflation of religion and patriotism, church and state, America was still a place of high ideals and where even the media was still ashamed of sin. Being American meant being a good Protestant living in God's land, the shining city on a hill. It was the time that they inserted, "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. 

American kids were encouraged to believe that you could be anything you wanted. Be an astronaut! Be president! God supports you on your quest to be whoever you want to be and in your God-given right to pursue happiness. This is America, dream big



And now these kids who grew up watching the Lone Ranger and Father Knows Best are looking at their lives and feeling they failed. Because, let us be honest, most American's did not achieve their American Dream. I am not saying they do not have a tremendous amount to be thankful for nor am I suggesting that they didn't achieve more than most humans who have ever lived on the planet. America is full of nice homes, nice cars, and nice people. 


What I am writing is that most kids who grew up in those golden, idealized years--did not achieve what they were promised they could achieve. Most are not astronauts or millionaires or president or baseball players or hollywood stars. America cannot look back at those childhood promises and claim they came true. 

The Promise of the American Dream



A few of us born after 1955 who grew up in a very different America have done and are doing what our parents believe to be shockingly unpatriotic and even ungodly.

We have been forced to look at America realistically and ask some difficult questions. Many of us have travelled outside of our country and realize that people all over the world believe their country is the greatest and their values look very much like America's values. In fact, in some ways, these countries are doing better than we are.

It is not unpatriotic nor ungodly to be realistic.


I can hear the outcry, "Then why is everyone on earth trying to get into America then? Why so many immigrants?"

The truth is that most immigrants before the middle of the 20th century were from Europe. In the last few decades, immigrants are coming from third world countries, not to share the American Dream or the American culture, but for economic opportunities. They are not fleeing religious persecution, but are fleeing poverty. And there is nothing wrong with that. But we need to understand that these people coming today, do not plan on assimilating into the melting pot. They are not even aware of the once-
ubiquitous values of the 1950's America. They know America for its military, its drugs, Hollywood, Pokemon Go, Apple Computers and Beyonce. 



It must be devastating for a generation reared in the 1950's and early 1960's to awaken to today's America. To watch the American Dream go from the American hero: Superman and NASA's
conquering of space to getting a million hits on youtube twerking.

Time to really, prayerfully rethink the American Dream. Maybe that capitalistic, democratic ideal of pursuing happiness that was supposed to bring materialistic prosperity for all was never possible nor even right. 

Maybe the American 
 Dream isn't and never was God's dream. Perhaps God never intended people to pursue happiness but holiness. Maybe the American Dream is a deception from the Father of Lies.




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE POWER OF LOVE

Thank God this doesn't happen often in this life: 

God's discipline. 

I am not writing about just any discipline, but a different type. Sometimes discipline isn't about being punished for something you did, but enduring suffering for something someone else has done. God is disciplining you in self-sacrifice for someone else.

Hebrews 12:
For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 
****************


You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect...
There are moments when you stand in front of a fire and you peer into it not knowing how deep or how hot the flames are. But what you do know is that someone you love set this fire whether on purpose or not and that you have to walk through it.
...for our “God is a consuming fire.” 
It may be excruciating--since you could stay where you are, or walk away. Nothing is making you walk through it; nothing except that you know it is the right thing to do
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 
You may not feel love towards the person who put you in such a position. In fact, you may feel deep rage. Perhaps you didn't deserve this. You may be the innocent party having to suffer the unbearable consequences of someone else's choices or mistakes. Maybe the person started this fire from doing something catastrophically selfish or stupid or without thinking. 
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
You run through the list of good excuses. There are a thousand legitimate reasons why you should not have to be selfless and put this stupid or irresponsible person ahead of yourself. You know it is unjust and unfair for you to have to suffer. 
Why is it always you who has to be unselfish? 
Why is it always you who has to be courageous?
Why is it always you who has to quietly suffer heartbreak? 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
It doesn't matter now. Someone has to walk through the fire. In the end, no logical explanation is going to solve the problem, the right thing is to walk through this blinding, searing fire of humiliation and pain for the love of another.

Somehow, if you do the right thing, you trust that God will heal this. "Though You slay me, yet will I serve You," you grit your teeth and power-yell out to the cosmos. You steel yourself and take many deep breaths. All you know is that you must walk through it to do the right thing.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
At those moments, I pray you will feel very close to
Christ in the Garden crying out to God, "Please let this cup pass from me, but not my will, Oh Lord, not my will but thine be done!" 
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
The moment may very well feel like your own personal crucifixion. 

If you have to ask yourself if you have ever been through this type of experience, I can assure you, you haven't. You know if you have walked through the fire, for you will have the scars; you cannot escape the memory of the burn, the self-sacrifice. Perhaps this moment for you was miraculous act of forgiveness or giving up your lifelong dream or a set of beliefs you hold dear. Maybe the Lord called or is calling you to move or to stay or to love when someone doesn't deserve or even want your love. 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
Or perhaps it really is something you have done to yourself. This is a self-inflicted fire and God is asking you to stop doing something you are addicted to. 
...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 
You are staring into to the fire of obedience and you know it will kill you to walk into it--or at least feel like it will kill you. But, you know it is the right thing
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
Walk through it on your knees. God will never send you alone into this situation. It is going to hurt like nothing has ever hurt you before. 
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
But when you are out and on the other side (usually some distance) you will never regret for even a moment that you went through it. You will feel forged like steel and stronger. In fact, you will be stronger through God's grace. 
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. 
Then, when it is over, then you will understand love in a whole new way. You will look at the Cross in a whole new way. And you will thank God that He gave you the courageous grace to walk through to authentic love.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Church Christ Started is a Family



Daily, I have Protestants challenging me about my Catholic faith showing me texts of scripture that supposedly prove that Catholicism isn't Biblical. 

And here is the problem: we are simply not going to agree on Biblical interpretation. Catholics have a very different understanding of the church. Once you see that, it will help you understand how to approach a Catholic. 

Here is the Christian worldview of a Catholic: 
Christ started His New Covenant family at Pentecost with the Catholic Church. When you are baptized into that church, you enter a family covenant with God. Christ becomes your brother, God becomes your father. And all those who have been baptized are your brothers and sisters in Christ. 

You may not get all the family rules right or even understand the family rules. But that doesn't make you less of a family member. Are your biological brothers and sisters perfect? Of course not. It is not logical to demand that they be perfect. 

See a Protestant is looking for a church with perfect theology--or one that best fits the person's interpretation of theology. They believe the church they deem has the scriptural truth is the one God wants them to be a part of. 

Catholics believe Christ started the Catholic Church and is revealing Truth to them through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Even if they don't get theology perfect, that doesn't mean the church is wrong anymore than if your dad were to give you wrong directions or were to blame you for something you didn't do makes him less your father. If we are family, we are family through Christ, not perfect theology. And not perfect behavior from the kids. 

Catholics are family. We are struggling to understand truth together. If some of the children don't quite understand Catholic teachings, that doesn't make the family break up. 

So it is really useless to say, "Your priests are bad." Because if someone said to you, "Your dad is bad." That just makes you ashamed, it doesn't make him less your dad.

If someone said to you, "Your family is stupid for believing God wants babies baptized." Well, even if that were totally true, even if Catholics were 
absolutely wrong about some teachings, that still would not take away the fact their Father is God and that Christ died for their sins. 

Theology isn't the measurement of whether a church is the right church. We look to the church Christ started and understand it is a group of people struggling to live up to the name of Christ. That's how we look at it. We look to Who is the Truth, not what is the truth. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THE JOY OF LOVING!



If you are not involved in cyberspace Catholic interfamily drama--be happy! Be very happy. But if you cringe in pain when you hear these names referenced:
Rad-Trad, SSPX, Rorate Caeli, Michael Voris, Catholic Match, the spirit of Vatican II, Cardinal Dolan, Mark Shea, Bill Donohue, Bishop Robert Barron, National Catholic Reporter....
Then you probably will get why I am writing the next word: 





While there always seems to be something to disagree about (especially in politics); in the last year the Catholic factions have been talking about: how many people go to hell. What percentage of humans will end up rejecting eternity with Christ?

Michael Voris believes, like many saints, that the vast majority of souls will chose hell rather than obedience to God and an eternity with Him. I prefer Bishop Barron's hope that all may be saved. 

Lets be abundantly clear, though: The Catholic Church answers with the same voice as Christ when He was asked who can be saved?

"Things impossible with man are possible with God." 
God did not tell us how many will choose hell.  

However, I am going to live as if there may be a lot of people who choose hell. 

What do I mean by that? 


Well, I think of what I would feel like if I were God and had some precious children who would refuse to ever be acquainted with me (their father or mother). Children who never came to my house; never got my birthday cards, nor answered by phone calls. My little babies who would ignore my love for them while on earth and then hate me so much that they would prefer hell to me for all eternity. I would never be able to reach out and hold them, kiss them, show they my love. That would be so heartbreaking! 

However, what if I had a child who was very close to me, who talked to me daily and spent a lot of time in my home? What if that child could relate my love to the other child who rejected me? Not that they would go directly their sibling and say..."Hey this is from mom," but simply be my love. Love them for me. Touch them with my love. Help them. I would feel like for those moments I got to be connected to that child who hated me and pour out my love for that child through the child who loved me. As their mother, I got to make that connection with that child even if only for a
fleeting moment; even if it was the only connection I got for all eternity. 

I think about that when it comes to God's love for His children who hate Him.

So, if God wants me to connect Him to the children who hate Him, those who refuse to love Him or even accept His love, then I volunteer! 
I want to be that connection of God to His children. His heart, through my heart to the heart of the other child. You have the supernatural honor of being the conduit, where such great love can reach down and grasp the beloved. Wouldn't that be wonderful?! 

What a privilege to pour forth such love to everyone you meet, that God has a direct contact with all those He created, even the ones who may eventually chose to reject eternity with Him. 

And maybe, just maybe, when those who hate Him see Christians pouring out that kind of love, there will be less souls who chose hell. 










Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

This is how I see Christianity:

The Catholic Church is a city shining on a hill. Just like the colonnade reaching out from St. Peter's basilica into the piazza in Rome, the Church is the arms of God embracing
everyone who enters her gates. And the gates are always opened for anyone who wishes to go in or to leave and go back to the world. Love always embraces its beloved without locking its arms, giving the beloved room for escape. 

Those who enter her often become discouraged by the flood of sickened, wretched and pitiable souls at her entrance. Many have given every ounce of their strength to make it and collapse with exhaustion just as they step inside. But do not be discouraged. The fount of life is inside.

The longer we live inside this city--this Kingdom of Heaven on earth now, a foretaste of what is to come--the more we understand the beauty of its laws and the lavish love of its Creator. As the church, His Bride, gives herself to Him in the eternal dance of love, as the Church learns the steps and is more easily guided by Him, we can abandon ourselves to ecstasy of holiness.


Each of us who call ourselves Christians are an important, vitally important, light in that city. At home in our Father's arms, our lights are fueled by His love and as we are obedient, the fire of our righteousness blazes brilliantly. 

This communal light, harmoniously synthesized together as One Body, shines across the distant, dark world calling out to those who are seeking the warmth and safety of illumination. All those who are weary and confused, all those sick from sin, those who are lonely or despair, all who yearn for
authentic love and the light of truth are able to see God's heavenly love lit up through His people inside the Kingdom. This is the great hope of the world. This is salvation and the good news of God's Kingdom. And each one of our lights matter. 

There is great mercy upon those wee flickering, ephemeral lights of the wounded who have stumbled so recently (or not so recently) into the kingdom. Their lamps must often be reignited from the oil of those stronger flames around them. But each lamp is called by God to grow in His grace. For His promise is true. You shall receive as you give, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, into your heart. 

And as we increase in this fiery righteousness, the brighter and farther our illumination will reach. That is why God desires that we follow Him even closer--never tiring of prayer, never giving up the spiritual fight, never giving into temptation--that through the obedience of faith, we may receive greater graces to bring those lost and lonely souls into the protective Kingdom of God. 

That is why we wish to be holy. It is for the sake of others. Holiness is not for ourselves, it is our life poured out so that others may see Christ through our light. Christ's light shining out of us is what will heal the wounded, bind the broken-hearted, and show people the cross in the most intimate of ways. 

Do not fail to become holy. Your light is vital. Burn brightly. You may never see the results, you may feel your light has failed, but burn the brighter, for there in the distance is a fragile, hurting soul who will see it and it will give them the hope to pull themselves out of the quicksand of despair and head towards the Kingdom. 






Tuesday, July 12, 2016

HOW DONALD TRUMP IS LIKE GIDEON (Judges 6 & 7 Bible Story)


The story of Gideon from the Bible in the book of Judges, chapter 6 begins by reporting that Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord and so He gave them seven years of terrorism by the Midianites. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help. An angel from God came to Gideon who was secretly threshing wheat. God said to him, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Then the angel gave him the command to lead Israel into battle against the Midianites, leaving none alive.

We join the story in verse 25:
 “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
In the morning, the townspeople were outraged and demanded that whoever cut down the Asherah pole be executed. Gideon's father, Joash replied, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”

The Asherah pole must have been rather large for everyone in the town to notice its absence first thing in the morning. Because the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern people joined forces and crossed the river preparing to fight Israel. Gideon sent messengers to rally Israel's troops to defend Israel.

The story continues in chapter 7:

Early in the morning, Gideon and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’
The Lord gave Gideon several ways to weed out those who had no courage by testing them in various ways. And so the army's size went from thirty-two thousand down to three hundred. Gideon divided them into three groups, gave them trumpets and torches. As they descended into the camp, three groups blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
  "When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled..."

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While reading the story of Gideon this morning, it dawned on me how this story is a mirror of what is going on in our nation today. 

We have made an idol out of political correctness. While some of political correctness deals with non-moral issues, much of it is the fear of being "judgmental" about God's laws.

No one breathes a word about sin and the grotesque abominations of the twisted ideas of gender and the family. Into the midst of our country that has always had a Christian culture, we have allowed a idol to the god of perversion to be erected and everyone is terrified to go and cut it down.

As far as I can tell, with my limited view, we have only two politicians who have strongly come out against this monolithic idol in a very public way: Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump. 

Of the two, why has Donald Trump been more successful in stirring the momentum of America against this tower of political correctness? Why not Ben Carson?

Ben Carson : Moral Gravitas

Dr. Carson has a background of moral fiber. He is a resolute, successful man of integrity and honesty. Carson has moral gravitas, but what he lacked was the passion of a great leader. Men want to follow a man of charisma, of visual powerful determination. (Note: While Ted Cruz had this, he came across as a southern preacher rather than a statesman.) Carson is a teacher, not a leader. He did not have the ability to stir an outnumbered few to action as did the real Henry Vth in the battle of St. Crispin's day dramatized in the video above. Carson, personally, has the backbone, the guts; but he has no ability to inspire in others to strive and sacrifice for the same backbone and guts. 

Donald Trump: Capitalistic Gravitas


Mr. Trump is a capitalist. He lacks a history of conservatism and the USA's traditional moral values. However, Trump has something Carson and Cruz never had. He had the charisma to walk up to Ba'al's tower of political correctness in America  and cut it down. It was terrifying and breathtaking all at the same time. He toppled what was enslaving us. Cruz and Carson did it to, but they didn't do it like Patton. That is what Trump did. But he did it for different reasons than Cruz and Carson.

Trump is a hero for those whose god is fame, fortune and promiscuity. He knows how to rally the troops by tickling the ears of his Christian conservative listeners and then maneuvering and leveraging to get what he wants. And make no mistake about it, he will play the conservatives, perhaps throwing us a bone with a few conservative Supreme Court nominations, and Christians across the US, will bow in prostrate servitude to him for throwing us the crumbs off his table. (And I am including myself in this, for I see no way out of having to cast my vote for him in order to prevent a Hillary Clinton presidency.)  He has us all under his fist already. 




And I fear that most Christians in the US will fall for the Trump charisma that elevates personal rights and freedoms above their duty to God and just assume a president who stands for American capitalism will stand American Christianity. And right now, the distinction between the two that has been blurred for two centuries is becoming clearer. There is now a demand to choose between patriotism and obedience to God. Trump may look like Gideon because he took down the Ba'al's idol. But Trump is no Gideon. 


Bishops and Pastors

You are the ones called to be Gideon. You don't need political power. You don't need tens of millions of votes. God chose only three hundred out of over thirty thousand.What you need is the fire of the Holy Spirit. In the Biblical story of Gideon, it says that God's Spirit came upon Gideon. 

That is all you need pastors. Pray for the courage you need to rally the Christian troops with the passion of God. Thrust from your breast the fist of fear that is protecting your heart and soul. Do not ignore the idol of Ba'al looming over the US from sea to shining sea. There is silence among our Christian leaders as families fall apart because of disobedience to Christ. Our shameful secrets have been exposed and instead of seeking repentance, we are now glorying in them. Do not sit by wringing your hands while our children are falling prey to the Father of lies. 

Set ablaze your anointed hands with the fiery sword of the Spirit that Christians may light our torches upon them. Give us the leadership we need to join you in sounding our trumpets to war in this spiritual battle. Shout loudly enough that the word will hear, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

Catholic bishops and priests, Protestant pastors: BE GIDEON!  Let the truths of Christ ring out boldly against the moral depths to which we have fallen. Do not fear for numbers, God doesn't need numbers he needs men of passion, men willing to strike down Ba'al in the form of Planned Parenthood, families collapsing because of divorce, pornography, indifference, sexual perversion, media distortions. The wolves are devouring the flocks. Time to stand against them. 











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