Monday, October 29, 2012

The Other Reformation

As Halloween is this week, and as I'm a devout Presbyterian, I will celebrate Reformation Day this week by writing about Augustine.  Augustine of Hippo is the quintessential theologian of all time.  He was born in Africa to Monica, who longed to see him converted to Christ, and to some guy who thought he should be a tough, virile man.  Augustine started out wanting to please his father more than his mother.  He followed the Manichaean cult and had a long-term relationship with a woman who bore him a son.

I cannot recall at the moment why he moved to Milan, but as a rhetorician, he taught in Carthage and Rome, and I believe he came to Milan to study rhetoric under Ambrose.  Either way, he met Ambrose, who challenged Augustine's agnostic beliefs, torturing him mentally with the truths of belief in Jesus.  It is believed that one day, he was in a garden, wrestling with God, when he walked to a Bible and heard a voice saying, "Take up and read."  He did and ended up reading Romans 13:13-14, finding light and hope that he never found as a Manichaean.  Monica's dream came true, and he broke up with his current girlfriend, who was not the one who had is son, and became baptized.  He also became a monk with his son who did died in his teen years.

People know most about Augustine from his book the Confessions and Retractations.  I read part of City of God once, which is an amazing book and a reaction to people worrying about Rome being sacked.  They wondered if Rome fell because they abandoned the pagan gods and turned to Christ.  Augustine gives a giant NO.  The pagans had a god for everything, and even elements within those things.  For example, they had a god of doors, a god of doorknobs, a god of hinges, and a god of thresholds.  It's like those gods could not take care of very much.  Those entities gave you no privacy, and could not support Rome.  Only God can hold the world together.  He then talked about God's completely separate kingdom that is totally different and better than the kingdom of the world, and encouraged the Romans to look for that city and not care about the cities on this planet.  It is extremely relevant today as America looks toward the demise of its empire and forgets that it is not the Promised Land.

A few things I disagree with Augustine about: Augustine never really let go of Neo-Platonism, the idea that matter is evil and that you had to escape the world to be whole.  He is a great influence in the monastic movement which prizes asceticism and retreat.  Granted, I love retreat and do so every day so I can spend time with God.  I am convinced that this same God did not intend for people to live as islands to themselves.  He made us for him and for each other.

Augustine is also the reason that people really prize virginity and even saw marital sex as an evil needed only to produce children.  He put major emphasis on the sacraments of the Lord's Supper and Baptism in a way that taught that they actually saved the people rather than simply rehabilitated them each week on Sunday.  This belief carried over into Lutheranism and Calvinism.  However, we do believe that Christ's blood really is present in both baptism and Eucharist as a sign and seal of our covenant relationship, but we believe in it as spiritual, not physical, which is even more real than anything we could see or touch.

All that aside, Augustine is still the greatest influence on the Protestant Reformers.  There would be no Luther without Augustine.  In regard to the other early Church fathers mentioned today, we can look to them for all five of the Solas.

Sola Scriptura: Jerome knew that people needed a Bible in their language, so he translated it into Latin.  Sadly, when languages and meanings changed, the Church refused to update it, but Jerome did convey the Word of God to people who desperately needed it.  The Eastern fathers believed in reading the Bible at face value in the context of its culture and not try to pull allegories out of thin air.  And God drew Augustine to him by just asking him to pick up a Bible.  It is the reason Ambrose opposed Theodosius and why Augustine contended with Pelagius.

Sola Fide, Gratia, e Christus: When Pelagius preached to the Romans that they had no original sin and that they could be saved only by following Christ's example, Augustine greatly protested to the point of rebuking popes.  If Pelagius was right, then nobody was stuck in sin and nobody really needed Christ.  But from Augustine's seedy past and from Scriptures, he knew that he was hopelessly sinful and could never have come to Christ unless God compelled him.  He was the first to really develop monergism, the belief that only God saves people by giving them faith, that people are not saved by any works or believing the right thing.  He really did coin the phrase "Sola Gratia," knowing that Christ's grace alone brought people to him.  Without this grace, we could not even wake up in the morning.  And he championed for Sola Christos, Christ as the only intercessor and redemptor as he denounced the many Roman gods in City of God.

Soli Deo Gloria: After he became a Christian, he realized how worthless he is in his natural state, that he has no free will except the will to sin.  Only God gets the glory for his life and salvation, and no one else.  Not Ambrose, not Monica, not even himself.  Not the apostles and not any of the saints from the Scriptures.  Only God is to receive glory.  God may have used other people to convey such salvation, but they are not the source, only God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Godhead that continues to sustain us today.

Some Western Post-Nicene ECFs

Jerome was born in Venetia and studied in Rome.  He traveled to Gaul and to Israel where he became a monk in Bethlehem.  He translated the whole Bible into Latin in the much celebrated Vulgate version of the Bible.  It is still the only Bible recognized under the Council of Trent, even though the Roman Church allows vernacular Scriptures since Vatican II. 

Ambrose became bishop of Milan in 374.  He opposed Emperor Theodosius and refused to let him participate in the Lord's Supper.  He is the biggest influence on Augustine, who I will mention here, but expound on later.

Needed: Better Title for talking about Post-Nicene Eastern ECFs

The Eastern fathers believed in grammatico-historical studying the Scriptures, the method that I support as a Presbyterian.  They avoided allegorizing, meaning they had better interpretations.

John Chrysostom: John's mother raised him to have a good education.  In 368, he became a monk, one who lived ascetically until 380.  He had to stop due to bad health.  He preached from 386 until he became patriarch of Constantinople.  He lived a pure, simple life as a rebuke to the wealthy people of Constantinople.  He did not always have tact, but he was courteous and kind.  Empress Eudoxia banished him in 404 because he denounced her extravagant dress and the statue she made of her self next to Sophia, yes the Hagia Sophia, where he preached.  He died in 407.  People still call him the "greatest pulpit orator the Eastern church ever had."  Although I don't believe in asceticism, John Calvin has been greatly influenced by Chrysostom. 

Theodore of Mopsuestia: after you say his name three times fast, you will note that he became elder of Antioch in 383, and bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia in 392.  People remember him as "the prince of ancient exegetes."  He opposed allegorical interpretation and believed in studying the historical situations of the authors and their plain meaning to interpret Scripture.  If only he had had more influence on the Church during that time.

Eusebius of Caesarea is considered the Father of Church History.  He built a library at Caesarea and worked to chronicle the Church from the apostles to 324.  The Council of Nicaea accepted his Caesarean Creed.  It is not good that he wanted a compromise between Athanasius and Arius.  He also wrote a biography for love of Constantine and his help for the Church.  Without having read his works, it seems that this guy was a more liberal theologian who mixed patriotism in with religion.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thanks and Ponderings: Fox News, politics, and end times

I can't believe I still have not blogged since Tuesday.  I should have more time next week. 

I suppose I am thankful that Fox News is the one island of conservative news among a sea of liberally biased media that doesn't even try to hide it anymore.  I'm still not watching the TV this month unless it's a UGA game.  I help with politics on Tuesday and fight abortion on Fridays.  Why should I watch it on TV? 

It just further confirms my belief that liberals think they are God and that conservatives mistake America for the promised land.  Evangelicals who are against Romney make me want to pull my hair out.  Here, we have in the White House, a maniac who only cares about women's parts, murdering children, and driving us all into the ground with debt.  The other choice is a successful business-man willing to work with other people.  He is currently pro-life despite his "rape and incest" clause.  His running mate his Paul Ryan who is 100% pro-life.  I think both of those are great alternatives compared to the maniac currently holding office.  We need to realize that our Promised Land is in another world and ruled by Jesus who will never give up his throne.  And he actively rules here, too.  Soon, he will make all things right.  Until then, CNN needs to shut-up, and Fox needs to stop sending me Mormons to lead me in a spiritual revolution.

Speaking of people who voice their opinions, I'm very thankful for Mitt not being polite to B. Hussein Obama, for Ann Coulter, and especially for Rush Limbaugh.  People need to realize, this is not a time when we can afford to be polite to our opponents.  We are up against blood-thirsty infanticidal libertines who want me to pay for their consequences.  Who cares if Bain Corporation is rumored to have companies that make the morning after pill?  Or ones that incinerate the bodies?  1) I'm not sure if that's not an urban legend started by a Ron Paul fan.  2)  At least I won't have to pay for the pill.  And can fight it without going to jail.  I'm certainly not going to wait for the government to solve my problems. 3) I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but relative to what is in office now, this really is an improvement.  It's not fast enough, but it's there.  Look at how long it took for folks to finally abolish slavery.  In fact, it's still not completely gone, but people do have elbow room.

I think this will be insulting, but I think certain kinds of post-millennialsm and dispensationalism are pretty much the same thing: only Jesus is on opposite sides of the millennium.  I am thoroughly convinced that the millennium already occurred and that Satan has obviously been released.  Why do you think people are so wicked these days?  It makes absolutely no sense for a sinner aware of his total depravity to think that humans can clean up the earth before Jesus returns.  If that was so, then Jesus would not have to return.  I'm personally thankful that people get more depraved because it means he's closer to returning.

I'm thankful that the Republicans don't base their whole campaign on women, sex, and irresponsibility.  It's like, Obama only sees women as pleasure machines, and if they get pregnant from such pleasure, then we need to sacrifice the baby to the god of hedonism so we can keep using her and care only for ourselves.

I'm thankful for changes in my life situation.  I'm a hard-headed woman who has a peaceful boyfriend who is a rare jewel in this world.  I do still pray for healing from recent hurts that will not stop, but are assuaged.  I have a friendship that won't be what it was, but I think I'm at least at peace.  I'd love for my past emotions to stop flaring up, but I think this is all I can ask for for now.  I should be thankful for that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm still Alive

Since I've been balancing school work, political activism, and having a boyfriend, I have not blogged as much and I am sorry.  It may continue this way, but I'm still sorry just the same.  I do intend to keep up the church history blogging.

Here are some of my revelations in the past two weeks:

The oboe sounds like a cat.  I know because I keep wanting to sing like a cat when I hear one. 

Clarinet can also sound like a cat, but a soprano one.

I think the King's Quest companion guide does a better job walking through the second game.

Reading my real estate law textbook does not have the same effect.  It's not King's Quest, just King's Quest when the adventure is over.

I hope to be appearing more often when the semester is over. 

I'll return with more random thoughts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Never-Ending Pelagian Controversy

Both the East and Western Churches officially solved the issues with Christ's deity.  Rome, however, with their solid views of Jesus, had to decide exactly how God saved man.

Pelagius came from Britain to Rome to preach his soteriology (how folks are saved).  Augustine, who struggled with a complete depravity before his conversion, completely opposed Pelagius.  I think the best way to describe these views is to completely quote Earle Cairns from chapter 12, pages 137 to 138 from his book Christianity through the Centuries.

"Pelagius believed that each man is created free as Adam was and that each man has the power to choose good or evil.  Each soul is a separate creation of God, and therefore, uncontaminated by the sin of Adam."

Pelagius taught that people could completely follow God with their free wills with Christ as just an example.

Augustine "opposed what he believed was a denial of the grace of God by insisting that regeneration is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit."  To clarify the syntax there, Augustine blew the whistle and said that Pelagius denied God's grace.  The Bishop of Hippo, however, preached that only the Holy Spirit can save.

"Man was originally made in the image of God and free to choose good and evil, but Adam's sin bound all men because Adam was the head of the race.  Man's will is entirely corrupted by the Fall so that he must be considered totally depraved and unable to exercise his will in regard to the matter of salvation.  Augustine believed that all inherit sin through Adam and that no one, therefore, can escape original sin.  Salvation can come only to the elect through the grace of God in Christ.  God must energize the human will to accept His proffered grace, which is only for those whom He has elected to salvation."

The Council of Ephesus condemned Pelagius's views as heresy in 431.  Later, John Cassian came along with a compromise between Pelagius and Augustine.  "He taught that all men are sinful because of the Fall and that their wills are weakened but not totally corrupted.  Man's partially free will can cooperate with divine grace in the process of salvation."  This is not as wicked because in this view, men still need God's grace for salvation.  However, the Synod of orange condemned this in 529 as Semi-Pelagian and went with Augustine's monergistic view.

To the credit of both Pelagius and Cassian, they did fear that people would take advantage of God's grace as a license to sin.  This is a legitimate fear.  However, those who have not been changed by God's grace through Christ, have not truly been saved.  A life will show fruit of God's election. 

This controversy has never totally been solved.  "Twentieth-century liberal thought is only a resurgence of the Pelagian idea that man can achieve salvation by cooperation with the divine will through his own efforts."  This ignores the point that man, descended from Adam, and all born outside of God's presence, will only choose evil with his free will until Christ intervenes and issues them the Holy Spirit.  The increasing evil in the world only proves this.

So, with the last three posts, the Church developed the Niceane Creed, the Chalcedonian Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and many more to teach in simple terms these complex theologies.

Nest Story

As settled as the Arian controversy was, now people had too much time to think about just how Jesus is both God and man. 

Apollinarius taught that Christ's true body and soul were at some point replaced with the logos. This emphasized his deity over his humanity, and also made Christ sound like he was possessed at some point in his ministry.  Constantinople condemned that thought in 381.

Then Nestorius decided he did not like calling Mary theotokos, or God-bearer, because it exalted her too much.  He preferred Christotokos to say that Mary only bore his human body.  Earle Cairns says that in "Siamese twin fashion", Christ's perfect humanity was only mingled with God.  This made him another Arian demigod, not God in the flesh.  This was clearly wrong.  Cyril of Alexandria condemned his doctrine at Ephesus in 431.  Sadly, his Christology is what the Asians still believe.

At the Council of Chalcedon, the Church officially proclaimed that Christ was "complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation."  Jesus was completely God and man at the same time, not a Ninja Turtle on the half-shell.

The people kept using Theotokos to describe Mary simply because the child that she bore happened to be God the Son.  Since all Christians host the Holy Spirit in their souls, we are all theotokos.  We all bear God as he guides us through our lives and to our salvation. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toying with the Trinity

The Arian era of church history is probably the most fascinating to me.  So much was at stake in how people would view both Christ and the Holy Spirit, and we see the Church unite more than ever.

Unitarianism takes two extremes: modalism and Arianism.  Modalists (I sympathize with them, but know they're wrong) are so protective of the doctrine of Christ's deity that they forget to distinguish him from God the Father and the Spirit.

In 318, Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, preached about "the Great Mystery of the Trinity in Unity."  Arian listened to it in horror.  He thought it made God sound like a polytheism.  He then developed the most polytheistic theology that tries to pass for Christian.  He believed that Christ was divine, but a lesser being than the Father.

His views became so popular that they divided the Roman empire, and Constantine called for an ecumenical council to solve the rift.

My hero, Athanasius, rose up to show how Christ could not have completely saved us had he not been completely equal to God the Father.  His boldness caused his five exiles.

Eusebius of Caesarea, bless his heart, tried a compromise.  Christ was of like (homoi) or similar essence to the Father.  Athanasius protested saying Christ is the same (homoousios) essence with the Father. 

So Constantine called ordered the Council of Nicaea in 325.  There, Athanasius fought tirelessly until the Church universal declared that Christ is completely God and completely man.  Now that that was settled, Constantine and his sons went along with Arian theology just the same.  So the Church met again in Constantinople in 381 to say, no, really, Christ is God and man.  The Nicaean faith will not be "set aside but shall remain dominant."

As for the Holy Spirit, Macedonius tried to teach that He was more like the angels, a minister and servant.  If this would true, then we truly would have been left as orphans when Christ ascended to heaven.  But it is necessary that the Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son, even if he does proceed from them.  We could not stay in the faith without Him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hodge Podge Thanks

It's time for me to give thanks again, but I'm also going to present random thoughts, too.

I'm thankful that I'm pretty much done with my online class. 

I'm thankful for my new friend Tim who knows how to hang out.

I'm thankful that Mary may have a job soon, though who knows?  I kinda like the idea of being responsible for Andrew again. 

I'm thankful that I've had the heat on this week.  Georgia's weather will always confuse me, even though I've lived here a majority of my life.

I'm thankful for love and affection.

I'm thankful for people who defend Mitt Romney.  They give me hope.

I'm thankful that God is sovereign no matter who gets elected.

I'm thankful that my job will not be over on November 7.

Have you heard of the band Autumn Film?

They have amazing music and are mostly secular, but ages ago I noticed something different about them.  Maybe it was that their lyrics had hope.

Then I noticed recently they are also a Christian band named Page CXVI.

What is interesting, however, if Derek Webb produces them.  I have mixed feelings about him.  I loved him in Caedmon's Call, and he's one who really convinced me of Calvin's teachings.  However, when he went solo, he seemed more affirming of liberal ideals, like being anti-Bush, and supporting gay people.  He toured with Jennifer Knapp right before she came out as a lesbian.  Should I be wary of acts that he supports?  I still love Autumn Film's music.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Divorce and Grace

Tonight I'm teaching the teenagers at Shepherd's Staff again.  And I'm teaching them solo again.  But I think the topic is good.

The text is Mark 10:1-12, Jesus's teaching on divorce.

To treat this topic, I consulted my ethics textbook, written by John Frame.  He emphasizes that although God hates divorce, he allows it because of "hardness of heart."  In this sinful world, some people will get married and will prevent each other from truly having peace until they divorce.  Like war and capital punishment, divorce is a messy consequence of living in a sinful world.  However, Frame notes that divorce always represents a failure to achieve God's ideal.  It is never something to celebrate.

In Jesus's time, the Pharisees thought that since God allowed divorce, that they could divorce their wives for anything, even if they just burnt their dinner last night.  Jesus had to drill them about divorce being such a serious matter.  Marriage unites a man and woman to one flesh.  If they divorce, then that one flesh is severed and will not heal.  Therefore, if a man divorces his wife, and either of them remarry, they become one flesh with their later spouses while they are still one flesh with their original spouses.  This causes four people to commit adultery. 

So, I know people who are divorced.  I know people who are remarried.  I know situations like that with children involved, and it is not pretty.  Are they currently in sin, or can this be mitigated somehow? 

In Matthew 5:32, Jesus declares that only adultery is grounds for divorce.  If a man has an affair, or if a woman has an affair, then the victim spouse has legitimate grounds to divorce.  They do not have to divorce, but they are allowed.  However, in Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus uses the word porneia when referring to sexual sin.  This not only includes adultery, but also fornication, pornography, and anything that a person can do alone.  Since those are substitutes for normal marital sex, they do are adultery.  Yes, even if it's fornication and neither of you are married.  It's adultery if you are only engaged and not completely married.

So, whether intercourse is involved or not, pretty much everyone except Jesus has committed adultery even if just in the mind.  Even if they have not, everyone has committed some sin, so yes, you are sinners and need God's grace.

Paul introduces other issues concerning divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.  What if two unbelievers get married and one comes to know Jesus and the other doesn't?  Should they divorce?  Paul says that the believing spouse should not initiate divorce.  If they can live together and are willing to stay married, then they should stay married.  This also applies if two believers marry, and then one stops going to church.  The only thing you should not do is intentionally marry someone that you know does not go to church.  Not even if he's a theist who reads the Bible.  He has to go to church.

In reality sometimes, people will have affairs, and some spouse will be the victim of divorce against his or her will.  Frame says, "The deserted spouse is the passive victim of the unrighteous termination of marriage."  Should that person suffer the rest of her life and never remarry because her husband left and refused to reconcile?  No.  That person should legally file for divorce so that she can remarry and move on with life.  So desertion and abandonment are also biblical grounds for divorce.

So the question is, how do you prevent divorce?  You do so before you marry.  Makes sure that person is a believer who goes to Church.  There is no salvation outside the visible Church body.

If there is something that bothers you about the other person, consider if it is something you can live with.  Marriage will actually make that worse.  Does he poke you or tease you?  It may be funny now, but later, it could turn to abuse.

Do not have sex before you are married.  Especially, do not live together before marriage.  When you finally get married, it will ruin your sex life because you did not follow God's command.

Also, realize that Mr. or Ms. Right does not exist, only someone you can live with, warts and all. 

Make sure you have a good friendship.  Get to know each other, likes, dislikes, favorite things, music, etc.  That will last.  A romantic attraction will come and go, but a friendship will last.

Also, do not jump into a situation without seriously thinking it through and receiving counseling.  This is the rest of your life we're talking about.  Even if you really have found the one, discuss differences and quirks and how you will live with them and discuss them in peace.

And also remember that you are worse than you think, but God's grace is greater than you can imagine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

More on the Barbarians

With Christianity legal, there was also the issue of what to do with the barbarians who invaded the empire.  People evangelized to them either because the Church was obeying Jesus, or because the government thought it would bring peace to the empire.  This pretty much began around the time of the Edict of Milan.

Goths first showed up in the Danube region.  They asked to enter because they were being chased by Mongols.  This caused thee battle of Adrianople where emperor Valens died and Arian Visigoths came to live.  They sacked Rome and then founded a kingdom in Spain. 

Later, Arian Ostrogoths took over the leading of the Romans.  Also, the Burgundians and Franks moved into Gaul.  All these followed Arian Christianity which is not Christianity.  It's the belief of Arius that Jesus was not equal to God the Father, but subordinate to him.  Hopefully, Cairns will address the Council of Nicaea in later chapters, but for now a bunch of non-trinitarians populated the empire.

Gregory the Illuminator successfully evangelized Armenia.  Frumentius established the Coptic Church in Egypt and Ethiopia.  Cairns is not quite sure how the Gospel came to the British Isles, but they came to know Christianity.  Sadly, these folks did not submit to the Pope, and they gave us heretics such as Pelagius who believed we had to find our own path to God based on Jesus's example.  They were easy bait for the pagan Angles, etc., who drove them from the country.

Ulfilas witnessed to the Visigoths around the Danube, but sadly, he was an Arian, so they also had the wrong idea of Jesus.  Many Romans took on the task of converting the Visigoths and Lombards from this counterfeit faith to the true Christianity.

When the Teutons invaded the Rhine area, Martin of Tours, the patron saint of France, converted many of those people, and at some point Clovis, the emperor, became converted to the Faith.  St. Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland, and then he returned and evangelized those people.  Columba also did the same thing to Scotland, founding a monastery.  Soon, the Nordic Europeans grew to know of Christianity.  Some people, however, brought their hero worship into the faith and converted it to saint veneration.  This would have a poisonous effect throughout history.

Rome and Barbarians

"If one is to understand relationships between church and state after the granting of freedom of religion by Constantine, it is necessary to give some attention to the political problems that the emperor faced at this time." (Cairns 123)

Around 31 B.C., Augustus established an empire in place is an anarchy wrought by Antony.  In this, the emperor shared power with the senate, but barbarians started to attack and citizens started to rebel, and between 192 to 284, another revolution happened.

Diocletian decided to turn the empire into a dictatorship to secure the Greco-Roman culture.  This meant that Christians had to be persecuted again as they threatened that culture.  Finally, Constantine came to power and realized that they could not wipe out Christianity.  He decided to incorporate it into the culture. 

When he was in battle, he saw a cross in the sky and words, "in this sign conquer".  Constantine decided to fight alongside the Christians and not against them.  He won that battle.

In 313, he made the Edict of Milan, granting freedom of worship to all people.  Constantine and his sons were pagans their whole lives, and many of them still favored heresies over true Christianity.  Many Mennonites consider the Edict of Milan to be the worst day in Christian history.  In that day, people started joining the Church because it was cool.  Before then, people stayed in the Church and faced persecution because they truly believed.  This is when the Church started to become watered down and accepting of pseudo-gospels such as Arianism and syncretized Gnosticism.

I do think the legalization of Christianity did start a long process of over-contextualization that went to far and had to be corrected in the 16th century.  But I also see 313 as the start of Christ's millennium.  Christians could grow and learn and establish empires and thrive happily.  That interpretation of the millennium makes the most sense to me because the Church really did thrive, it had political clout, and it was truly a universal Catholic Church.  God kept Satan off of us for a good long time so that we could enjoy an earthly kingdom that loved Jesus.  It was when the Reformation happened that the millennium ended.  It's hard to have a Church empire when the Church is broken up.  Although I'm on the Luther side of the Reformation whole-heartedly, I do think that is another tragedy in the life of Christendom.  It was needed because the Church had lost the sense of looking only to Christ for salvation and life and looking to deceased people and Mary and their own penance.  The truth needed to resurface.  But the good thing, is despite the fractured state of the Church today, there is still only one Church united by those who truly serve Christ and care for each other.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

He said it for me

I was going to write about how I'm following my conscience and voting for Romney, but Dan Phillips beat me to it!

Don't freaking vote third part or not vote!

And if I get messages, I seriously don't care because I cannot risk 4 more years of anti-life.  I'll take the rape and incest clause over it.  And also, you probably didn't read the whole article anyway, so don't bother commenting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Political Rant of the Year

It's about time I finally ranted about Obama.  I do it on Facebook but never really get into detail.  I don't know which makes me more angry: Obama or his voters.  Especially his voters who claim to be Christians.  I just want to run out the door screaming about this bloodthirsty tyrant who wants me to pay for Sandra Fluke's abortions.  So, today I will give top 10 reasons why you cannot vote for Obama and be a sincere Christian (unless you simply won't believe the obvious truth), and tomorrow I will talk about how I have absolutely no pang of conscience as I support Mitt Romney.

10. Israel.  Why will he not visit Netanyahu who was in New York, who's country is surrounded by enemies and spend his time campaigning?  Because he wants Israel destroyed.  Why?  Because it has something to do with Africa, according to the 2016 movie, although I can't think of a single think they have ever done to Africa.  They are the ones that were slaves in Egypt.

9. Islam.  This guy will do anything for the Muslims.  He wants to destroy America, and he wants to tell the people that Islam and Christianity are the same.  These people who destroy their own people keep killing our people, and all Oblabla can do is apologize to them.  And he still sends loads of money to them while Israel gets the shaft.

8. Gay agenda.  From a non-religious perspective, every society who has openly embraced homosexuality has declined because these people do not reproduce and carry on their culture.  In America, they try to cheat today with surrogate mothers and fathers, but still, we have disjointed families and children who have no idea who they belong to and who are dying from an empty lifestyle that promotes sex with anybody as the ultimate good. 

7. This guy acts like America is his personal piggy bank!  Michelle has these fashions, and they take trips and golf games and leisure time, and we have to sit here going nowhere b/c he wants money to support his entertainment.

6. Racism.  This guy is not black!  My skin is darker than his.  Somehow, he has this victimized image of Africa and wants to destroy every place that has colonized it.  Therefore, since America has them as slaves, he must destroy the white people.  I'm sorry, but this is racism.  Opposing Obama is not racism, and is should be common sense. 

5. And seriously, why do we need to emphasize diversity?  Why can't we celebrate what all people have in common and stop trying to label everyone?  I'm not white.  My sexual orientation is a choice and I go with what God explicitly commands in Scripture.  I have no ADD, ASD, OCD, or any other MBTI letters you could throw my way.  My sin is just as wicked as yours, though it may not be the same.  And I will not let any difference keep me from loving or caring for you.

4. it seems like the more the liberals emphasize diversity, the more their followers become clones.  There are no free thinkers who can freely say that Christianity is the only true religion or that the LGBT lifestyle is an abomination.  But they can say hideous, unforgiveable things about Sarah Palin, her children, about women in general, and about any diversity that supports the GOP and conservative values.

3.  Environment.  He refuses to drill in America for gas, but still supports our enemies in the  Mideast and in Venezuela.  We have a huge pipeline in Pennsylvania that could save us so much money, but no, we must care for the polar bears, who are perfectly fine.  People like him have no faith that God will solve any major problem looming over the planet, and they hate people who are naturally blamed for every environmental mishap, and they in turn hate God who made the planet just so he could make people to subdue the earth.

2. I saw some slogan: "Vote like your woman parts depend on it."  Seriously, the liberals have reduced women to their anatomy, their instrumentality, and destroying any consequences that occur just so they can keep using them without responsibility.  Seriously, you made Sandra Fluke your DNC spokesperson?  The 30-year-old who still lives at home, is still in college, who takes no responsibility, and really is a slut.  I mean, granted, I'm almost 30 and live at home, too, but I work to change the world and I work to save lives and care for people other than myself.  And I refuse to let someone use me for my body and then to destroy my precious offspring because they are inconvenient.

1.  Finally, do not vote for this bloodthirsty, tyrannical egoist who thinks human beings are expendable and cost too much.  I want to return to the days when people measured wealth by the amount of children they had, not by things or by having fun.  I want old people to not be euthanized and to collect their stories for as long as we have firsthand knowledge of WW2.  I want people who get cancer to be able to go to the doctor faster than some girl who gets pregnant.  My brother should have received funding for his respite home so much sooner than now, but I think according to the Democrats, he's expendable too -- a burden and a waste of money.  I'm sorry, but I want people to have value again, children to have value again, and I want Oblabla out of my business not telling me what to do or what not to say.  And I will certainly consider someone a heathen who can still vote for this maniac when he loves abortion so much and cares nothing for his people.

This closes my unorganized rant.  It's more thorough than a facebook status, or running out the door of the Rockdale GOP center to yell at people for wanting to support this man who promotes libertine lifestyles and stifles people who really want to make a difference.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Unifying Liturgy

The last thing the Church used to unite during the Roman persecution was liturgy.  They came up with a team name, Catholic, creeds, the New Testament canon, and lastly, a common liturgy.

This is probably my favorite part of high church and something I would love to replicate in church.  It would not be so stoic, but would be relevant and Scriptural.  I think so far, the only thing I have is teaching catechism to the children.  I hope what they learn lasts.

But there is just nothing more edifying than singing Scripture and reading it responsively.  It was what I loved most in the Spring when I would go to the monastery and sing with the monks.  When I visit Missouri Synod Lutheran churches up in Illinois, I loved that too.  I hope some of that comes back in the Presbyterian Church, not as a rote practice, but as something that is explained.

The thing about liturgy is that the bishops developed a year-long Scripture reading and reflection to enable all the congregations in the known world to worship God in unison.  I even remember 6 years ago a story of a man who stayed with the Roman Catholic church just because he knew if he went to another town, they would teach the same thing.  I don't know if I'm so concerned about all our churches teaching the same thing, but I do want us all to teach the same Scriptures and the same doctrines which they give us.  Maybe Presbyterian denominations should issue out daily readings and even hymns for families to do together at home.  Maybe we should proclaim parts of the Westminster Confession of Faith each week as the Apostles' Creed is kind of vague.  There will still be differences in interpretation, but we'd have unity in the essential beliefs.