Friday, August 26, 2011

Candidly Speaking.....

I wrote this my other blog, but thought I would link to it instead of reposting it.

It's Okay NOT to be a Seventh-day Adventist: Candidly Speaking.....: Sometime in 14th-century England, a red-blooded Anglo Saxon must have been drinking beer at a pub, when he spotted a noble dabbing his nos...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shameless Popery: The Liturgy of St. James on the Eucharist

Shameless Popery: The Liturgy of St. James on the Eucharist: Yesterday, I talked about how helpful it is to learn from both the Early Church Fathers (the theologians of their day), and the early Liturg...

Adventist Baptism


Several different blogs have been talking about this, so this is going to be a bit redundant.

I just spoke with a young girl converting from the Seventh-day Adventist faith to Roman Catholicism and she told me that her bishop would have to baptize her because the RCC doesn't recognize Adventist baptism. Which is what I was told when both my husband and I converted and were baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.

However, my two sons were not baptized when they converted. Anyone know anything about this? I have read that it was about the SDA view of the Trinity, but I would think then it would be a consistent baptism policy for all converts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Intercessory Prayer

Do you pray for your loved ones or do you intercede for them? I have been mulling around the idea lately,  that interceding is different from praying.

When you pray for those you love, or even your enemies, you are asking God to take care of them, their spiritual needs, physical needs, etc. In a regular prayer you are releasing the responsibility totally to Him, Christ.

Intercessory prayers seem to be something different. You are asking God if you can take responsibility of the person's sins. You are saying as did Moses on Mt. Sinai when he was grieving over the sins of Israel,

But now, if You will, forgive their sin-and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written ! Ex. 32: 32
Sounds like a threat at first glance. But God did not rebuke Moses but was pleased and forgave the people because of Moses. Scripture, numerous times, tells us God forgave Israel for the sake of David.
Perhaps intercessory pray is placing the guilt of the other persons sins upon yourself and absorbing the punch of sin into your own soul. 
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6: 2

You are becoming a type of Christ for those you love.
Before you recoil in horror over that statement, as I do realize that Christ’s blood and atonement is fully sufficient to save us and that we cannot redeem anyone with our personal sacrifice, but as Catholics, don’t we believe that we are Christ’s body on earth and don’t we still believe in a royal priesthood in the order of Melchizedek? Intercession is not a symbolic act for Catholics.

Are we not, in a sense, taking on another's sins when we forgive them? We are allowing the punishment fall dead at our feet. We take the hit of the affects of someone's offense against us and let the ripple effect of the sin go no further.

As Catholics isn’t it our faith that intercedes for our children when we baptize them, and we, as parents, receive the guilt for our small children’s sins? 

The idea that we may intercede for others does have support in scripture. 

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5: 16
Perhaps that is one of the main reasons we are supposed to become saints while on earth. Because the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. The holier we become, the more intercessory prayers we are able to handle, the more powerful our weapons are against the demonic forces trying to take our loved ones out.
When we become intercessors through prayer are we not coming against the powers of evil and aren’t we promised that even the gates of hell themselves cannot prevail against it? In the battle armaments of Ephesians six that God has given us, and in His power we are saying to the Devil, “you will get this person over my dead body!”

Maybe intercessory prayer is the one way we can storm the gates of hell and it cannot prevail against us. 
If I am way off on this, please let me know....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Dearest and Most Honored Mother asked me to post this:

The discussion began on Facebook when my mother posted that she wanted polygamist Warren Jeffs to be put away forever.

"Jeffs, the polygamist was found guilty. Punishment sentencing coming. There is no punishment that would be appropriate for what he has done. How did a man like this get away with what he did for so long? SHOCKING!" 

My mother is a liberal Seventh-day Adventist whose worldview is seeped in Christian relativism. She believes that there is no such thing as absolute truth (that we as humans can be sure of, anyway) and we all should just tolerate each other's views and be good. Sincerity of conscience is what she believes to be important in the long run. There is some merit to that way of thinking, indeed. Sincerity is a very good thing and God will be merciful to those who, by no fault of their own, sincerely believed a lie.

However, in the course of my ongoing discussion with her about Christian relativism, the following ensued (this is edited as several people other than my mother made comments) after her post about Warren Jeffs.

I responded: 

Oh boy, we have a HUGE problem here. What do we do with clashing religious values because this is what it comes down to? Islam allows for arranged marriages between girls as young as nine and grown men. This is a cultural tradition that has been going on for centuries. The Bible allowed for polygamy....

Some early American cultures allowed marriages to girls as young as 12. If you read early American laws, you will find a slow and steady stream of laws against marriage to very young girls creep across America in the 18th century.

We have to look at this problem with more than a microscope. We have to look at it with a historical perspective and ask ourselves some VERY difficult questions. 

America has always stood for religious freedom. But at the same time we have had our fixed "truth" upon the Judeo-Christian morals. Right now ALL of our values are being tested and when you remove the fixed "truth." All you have is unrestricted religious freedom that can claim polygamy, sodomy, pedophilia, bestiality, group marriages, incest ANYTHING as their religious freedom.

We must, as Americans, ask what is now our fixed mark of truth? For if it is not clearly the Judeo-Christian tradition, then we cannot impose one religious sexual preference over the other.

What do we do with all of Europe and even some parts of America where Sharia laws are being used? If we are now a pluralistic secular government, we have to take into consideration ALL religious beliefs--even when they severely clash with our own. That is the foundation of American religious freedom.

BUT, we are also a culture based upon the traditions of Christianity. Our worldview, or interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is Judeo-Christian.

If we don't figure out what our worldview is going to be in the future, it isn't going to be so easy as to say it is decided. Maybe in this one specific case--but I am speaking of a dramatic shift in our culture.

This is going to turn into a basic--who is America 101? Today we call it rape of a minor--tomorrow it is going to be called "right of sexual education of minors."

I am saying that we have as an American culture shifted our "truth" or cultural cornerstone of what used to be Jude-Christians beliefs based upon Western traditions to an Enlightened Relativism.

When you open up truth to "whatever" is the opinion of the person, basing it on their sincerity and their personal truth--then you LOOSE the ability to have ANY fixed marks to say what is authoritatively and authentically wrong. Each culture claims IT is the correct one and some are willing to fight to the death over it.

We need to clearly stand up as Christians and say WHY Jeffs is wrong and needs to be put away forever. We need to clearly express WHY pedophilia is wrong. We can't go around anymore saying truth is in the eye of the beholder. Its not because it seems icky or wrong in our eyes... it is because IT IS wrong... we have a fixed mark as Christians and we can't rely on people's opinions or sincerity of belief. THAT Is my point.

Relativism is KILLING our culture.

I totally agree with you. I was asking a broader, philosophical question about our culture and the extreme trouble we are in when facing such questions as Jeffs. Upon what are we basing our assessment.

I was actually attempting to sound the ALARM BELL--we have a much, much bigger problem than Jeffs as a person. Put him away forever and let's discuss the underlying problem of our culture and its future. THAT is where I was going....

Christian relativism as a position is untenable. Christian relativism is going to be the ultimate fall of our society because it does not have a fixed mark of truth and when you base a society's morals upon people's religious feelings--no matter HOW sincere--then in the end, the mark moves--Voila! Christian relativism.

Upon WHAT does my we base anger at Jeffs? It is upon the Christian worldview that pedophile and polygamy is SINFUL and wrong.

Our culture is in a mighty struggle over a Christian worldview and a secular worldview. What are we going to be? If we don't figure that out--as a society--and we don't stand up REALLY firmly and soon--we are about to default into the secular humanistic side.
So, I AM agreeing with you. I just want my mother to see that she cannot be a relativist AND claim Jeffs should be hung.

My Mother responded:

"I really appreciate your comments on the pedophile Jeffs. I found them well-organized and very analytical. Thank you for your insights. I think you should copy them and put them on your blog." 

In the end, my mother did not understand what I was saying. So I wrote back: 

Okay, I am going to try to get at this another way. 

America CLAIMS to be a place of religious tolerance. It CLAIMS to be a place where anyone can come and practice their beliefs, follow their sincere conscience. America CLAIMS to be a place of separation of church and state.

Now, what do we do when someone comes here--into our Christian worldview and say, "Whew! Glad I am here in the good ol' US of A. I sincerely believe it is super okay with God that I am a polygamist and marry little girls." ?? (And they, with a proud patriotic glance at the flag sing God Bless America, wiping from the corner of their eyes a tear of gratitude for religious freedom.)

What do we do with non-christian world views that come here and claim religious freedom? This is surely NOT a hypothetical problem. We are being bombarded with this daily.

When we claim a separation of church and state-- what our Deist founding fathers of the Enlightenment era REALLY meant was that in Protestant America--OUR worldview will hold supreme. They were speaking from a Judeo-Christian worldview that saw certain things as OBVIOUS and intrinsically true and right. "Self-evident" is the words they used.

So we actually have come to a GREAT crisis of foundations. Now that different non-Christian world views are finding their way here en masse (or are locally grown)-- expecting religious freedom from a totally different perspective--where sodomy is not against their conscience, polygamy isn't against their conscience, abortion isn't against their conscience--WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?

Do we revert back to the foundation of : All get an equal religious right to do whatever they wish. Every sincere person gets to follow their conscience.


Do we revert back to the foundation of: There are self-evident truths based on Judeo-Christian values of justice, morality, marriage, murder, fidelity...

What I see are people burying their head, putting their fingers in their ears, and humming loudly. NO ONE (hardly) wants to face the crisis of foundations we are at.

IS AMERICA A SECULAR STATE WHERE ALL RELIGIOUS VIEWS--ALL sincere consciences are allowed to practice moral and religious freedom as they see fit?


IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN STATE WHERE Traditional Judeo-Christian values will remain and we live under a worldview that certain things are intrinsically evil and intrinsically good whether or not we personally agree and no matter how sincere the believer?

So, I have posted our discussion. My dearest Mother is the one who instilled in me immovable truths of honestly, justice, compassion. She is the human cornerstone of all my thoughts and analysis AND Christian worldview. The summation of it all is that you, oh brilliant and honorable mother, seared into each of your six children an unquenchable drive to discover what is true.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Facing the White Noise

 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3: 18
Occasionally I start to feel white noise in the background of my soul. I drown the spiritual static by listening to music, talk radio, television--I just keep myself busy to avoid thinking and feeling.

Through the years, I have come to recognize this distracted spiritual agitation as God trying to get me to unearth and confront a sin in my life.  The months of unconsciously avoiding this needed repentance, repair and reconciliation between God and I is due to the extreme pain it is going to cause--like pulling a huge embedded sticker from my heart. It means some deep, tedious, reflecting analysis of my actions and why I am behaving in such a way.  It is time consuming and laborious work--Dorian Grayish. 
I HATE when I notice the white noise.... Ah, that is why it can go on for so long, ignored, like a little background dripping you get used to.

The other day, my husband came home and didn’t want to watch Netflix or Real Catholic TV or EWTN.  He just sat there quietly and that is when I felt it, the unsettled white noise. I started to cry. Might as well get a head start on the tears as I knew this was the beginning of the suffering. 
“AHH! Can’t I just be perfect already? Why can’t I just skip over this earthly purgatory.... Man!” I sighed and just pleaded with God not to make it too bad. What did I need to face and heal?

This time I discovered something I didn’t expect at all. I am hoping that my discovery will help those of you out there or I wouldn’t mention it.

That white noise in my soul, that pain of inner reflection scrambling my thinking, was there when I needed to see the bad in me--- but also--- to my surprise-- the good.

Did you realize that it is just as painful for us to face God’s love for us, our lovableness, as it is to face our un-acceptableness to God? It may sound weird but, in the end, we find that once we endure the full impact of our pride, arrogance and wickedness, which we as Christians expected-- that we then cannot endure the discovery of the depths of being loved.

My purgatory that evening was to walk through the fires of God’s passionate love for me and to let it purify me in a new way--to accept that I am good, that there is something noble and magnificent inside me placed there by God and He gets tired of my self-hatred. (And I wasn’t even aware of my self-hatred.) In fact, He commanded me to fully accept His love. 
Did you know that God’s love is so great that it hurts us when we receive it? So we subconsciously avoid the power of His love. I had no idea....
I guess we as humans avoid the extremes and prefer the comfort of living lukewarm. We do not enjoy being stripped bare of our protective facades, either of being not so good or not so bad.

When we are shown our similarities to the Devil and our similarities to God we look away, it is just too dark and too bright. But God wants us to gaze upon both--for it is when we do that we can fall at His feet and live in His glory. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Power of Sin, Love and Forgiveness

This is based upon a true stories.
Tom could hardly see the long country road, as it was the middle of the night and the dust was kicking up in front of the car’s headlights. His wife had been taken suddenly ill during a vacation and he decided to drive her home. Their young daughter was asleep in back and had not been too disappointed about abruptly ending the vacation,  as she had lots of  plans with her girlfriends that summer.
The road ended with a sudden, violent impact on the passengers side which tossed and rolled them into the fields. 
Tom groggily awoke in the hospital to the devastating news that a teenage boy (whose girlfriend had just broken up with him) had set out that black night on an unsuccessful 110 mile-an-hour suicide attempt. The boy would recover from the serious injuries he sustained, but both Tom’s wife and little girl had been killed. 
Being out of a job for six months, debt was mounting for Patrick. His desperate prayers seemed miraculously answered when a dream job (he was way under-qualified for) opened up. Then as the months passed at this new job, it was dawning upon him that he was being set up. He had been hired to be the fall guy for the company’s fraud. He had to do some serious scrambling to keep from being thrown in jail.
We all experience humiliating and agonizing injustices in life. Even if not as dramatic as the stories above, we encounter small injustices daily in the forms of insults, being misrepresented, ignored or patronized. As Christians we are asked to do the impossible, the supernatural. We are asked to forgive the unforgivable.

The natural man is programed for justice. From infancy, we all have an innate requirement for wrongs to be righted. We simply cannot deal with a world where the perpetrator doesn’t get his just reward and the victim isn’t defended. That is good. Justice is right.

So when Christ tells us to turn the other cheek and forgive our enemies, He is not telling us that He is unjust and the bad guy wins. Jesus tells us to forgive because He claims all acts of retribution as His. 
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. Romans 12: 19 (See also Hebrews 10: 30 and Deuteronomy 32: 35)
It is against all our instincts, our logic and our emotions to forgive premeditated acts of injustice. Everything inside us screams out in righteous pain to God that sin should not be allowed to go unpunished--punishment where WE can view it, now, so it doesn’t eat at us forever. Life doesn’t make sense when we must absorb the injustice.

And as unjust as it is; that is exactly what Christ calls His follower to do.
The Power of Sin

We don’t really take the time to analyze sin. There is no such thing as private sin. All sin sets in motion a chain reaction that continues like a wave, sometimes dying out in smaller and smaller ripples, but sometimes the actions of sin build and the ripples turn to waves and then to tsunamis.

As Christians we are asked to be like little Christs and stand up against the waves and absorb the impact of sin so that it cannot affect anyone else. We are asked, no commanded by God, to stand in the gap and allow the injustice to crash against us with all its force.  
J.RR. Tolkien seemed to understand this as he wrote the scene in the Lord of the Rings where Gandalf the Grey, to protect his friends from the fiery dragon Balrog, ordered Frodo, Samwise and the rest, to cross the bridge. Gandalf drew the sword to allow the others safe passage and the demonic wrath fell upon him. Gandolf’s immortal declaration to the monstrous adversary, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” is exactly what we are called to do, even to the most seemingly trivial and daily transgressions.

When our spouse hurts us, instead of flinging the pain back in sarcasm or a biting remark or even quietly held resentment, we must absorb the pain through forgiveness.  We actually bear the flaming arrow of the offense and allow it to burn us instead of passing it on to another. It is a gift of supreme self sacrifice to take upon ourselves the effects of the wrongdoing and let it die there. 
In today’s culture of rights, taking on the scalding effects of another’s sin, especially when we are the innocent victims, screams “injustice” and the searing unfairness of life. Mercy and forgiveness in the vast majority of cases seems to us as wrong, illegal, sinful. After all, we have rights!
The call by God to stand down against our fellow man and lift our sword against the real enemy, the supernatural dark forces that are trying to destroy our lives, our families, our communities and our nation is difficult. And to write difficult is the understatement of the century. It is impossible.
Yet, we are called as Christians to willingly take the impact and return love for hatred, and charity for those who spitefully use us.

Yes, it is impossible. But God does and will do the impossible in us as we lift up all the injustices to Him; as we become the conduit of mercy and pass on our pain to Christ. Our faith tells us that God will one day make all things right. We must then live that faith in our everyday lives and God will make us the heroes in many spiritual battles. For the battle Paul talks about in his letters is not allegorical, it is a real. Oh, if our eyes could see the forces of the demonic and angelic around us, we would not hesitate to allow our faith to work and work hard for the cause of Christ.

We are called to be Christ to our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends and our world. We are called to intercede, to connect heaven and earth with our very bodies and absorb the catastrophic injustices and humiliations and lift them upward as an offering of love to Christ.  And through Christ all things are possible.
Power of Love
Tom’s reaction to hearing that the life of his wife and daughter had been killed by such an unthinking selfish act, made his body so violent towards the youth that he laid a plan to find out where the boy was, to sneak away from his hospital bed and murder the perpetrator. Vengeance, he felt, could not be left with the corrupt American justice system.

Then, the second powerful blow of that day.  The doctor, in a compassionate whisper, related that the boy, lying a few doors down who had hit his car, was Tom’s son. Tom’s eldest child had stayed home from the family vacation because of his girlfriend. 
Over the next few hours, Tom’s violent righteous anger and determination for justice turned inward and he suffered the agony of the situation in behalf of his son.

It was only through love of his son that Tom was able to forgive such a monstrous, horrifying act. He took the hit, the impact of the sin into his own heart, for love of his son.  
You see, in the end, Christ knew that only love was powerful enough to forgive the unforgivable.  It is only the miraculous power of love that can freely give mercy and pardon. That is why Christ told us to love our enemies. 

Through a working faith, we are connected with a God who promises to make all things just and right in the end. And it is only through a faith-filled connection to God that the power of love can work its miracles. 

Hang on for a little while, hang on and let faith, through love win out in your every day life. For Christ hung on for you. When you need the strength to absorb the impact of each sting and disappointment, look to the Cross, place upon Him your suffering and your offerings of forgiveness for others.

God is calling us to be the miracle of forgiving love.