Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Understanding God: why "the end" is not near

Regular readers know that I am constantly trying to "detox" people from Apocalyptic, dispensationalist and "rapture" obsession and misunderstandings. I hope I am not being too optimistic but I do think I see people cooling off on their wild and erroneous beliefs and worse, "hoping for the end of times." So it's time for another detox and educational session!

After giving this much thought I've noticed that one reason there is such willful misunderstanding on these subjects and also well meaning misunderstanding of scripture is that some people have not been discerning enough in understanding the difference between what the Apostles discussed with Jesus Christ and what God's ultimate knowledge and will is regarding "his plan" for humanity.

Now, here is how to regain some of this nuance and discernment. Jesus came as Messiah and Savior with two natures, divine and human. So while Jesus brought God to humankind to behold and understand, Jesus constantly reminded people that he was bringing the Father to them, that when they look at him they see the Father, that he is doing the Father's work, but that he is not the Father standing there in totality to be worshipped and to be all knowing. For example, Jesus constantly prayed to God the Father, including for guidance. Jesus would use concepts to explain that God "reveals" something to him. So God is clearly the all knowing and all powerful who is still in charge, even as Jesus brings a face of God to humanity. Another example is one directly relevant to the concerns of those I am addressing now, which is that Jesus said that he himself did not know when the end of times would come, and that only God knows.

Thus, faith and reasoning skills both help you to see that Jesus had one mission, one ministry (salvation and the New Covenant), but God continues to have the fullness of his "mission," or to put it more accurately, the full knowledge of his "greater plan" for not only humanity but also the universe, etc. Thus the focus of Jesus was on humanity and their salvation, and indeed, Jesus himself was focused on converting the Jews during the time of his mission, while the Apostles are the ones to approach the Gentiles (who also sought out Jesus directly) with the Gospel. So Jesus was here to show the face of God in a way that humans could understand, but not to explain all of God's will and plans.

Now, this does not mean that God is "keeping secrets." He is not, for through his long relationship with the Chosen People, the Jews, through sending his Son, Jesus for salvation, and also through his prophet to the other people of Abraham, the Muslims, God has made his message loud, clear, repeatable and consistent for thousands of years. So God is not keeping a "secret." But simply because God is clear and repetitive to humans over and over, this does not mean that humans can begin to understand his sense of time frames, the dimensions of his mercy, and how God perceives humans. This is where there is a disconnect with some, especially in this modern society, where people have become even more distorted in their assumptions and even hubris about "understanding God." So here is the gist of my point.

Many moderns think that the "end game" is what is important. In other words, they view religions as being "right" or "wrong," "winners" or "losers," and they forget what Jesus himself came to do, which is save each soul in each generation. So people who are hoping for and "rooting" for the end of times are actually in direct contradiction of God's priorities. God wants many, many generations of humans to live well, joyously, come to know him and be saved. It's not a final scoreboard mentality that so many of you have. For example, look at Iraq. There were generations of Christians there who lived, worshipped and died over the past centuries. Those are "wins" in God's eyes. So it is easy to think that the number of Christians in Iraq now, which has been reduced by half because of the war, somehow is "the status" of "salvation" in a country. God does not care about the "stats" and human entities such as "numbers of the faithful per country." God cares about each soul, wanting them to have a good life, and then wanting them to be saved due to their grace and their charitable living. So you cannot look at Iraq and think in terms of "how many Christians now" and so forth. Now, I am not saying the persecutions are OK, because they are far from OK. What I am saying is that Christianity comes and goes in cycles and each generation is a "success" in God's eyes because God is always biased toward wanting more to be born, more to live, more to love and serve him, and more to be saved.

Thus, people who actually "want" the end of times to come soon are being un-Christian and selfish. They don't want hundreds more years of babies being born, souls being saved, and humanity being served. But that is what God wants. God wants "the end of times" to be far, far, far in the future. God wants the monotheistic faiths, the children of Abraham, to demonstrate generation after generation that the Kingdom of God IS at hand, by living, not by hoping for some big Armageddon for one's own personal "expected" reward and gratification, and thus erasing the possibility of many more generations being born and enjoying life and coming to know God.

So Jesus was very careful to not speak for God on this subject. This is why Jesus truthfully said that he didn't know when the end of times would occur, and that only God knows. By truthfully I mean obviously Jesus always told the truth, but he wasn't hiding some knowledge. God really IS the only one who knows when the end of times will occur, but God is not pushing for it to happen soon. Unfortunately, it is humans who are hoping for it soon (and many of those who hope and agitate would find they would not get a thank you note from God for their efforts). Jesus taught to live your life as if you were always ready, and that is obvious because anyone can see throughout history that both individual and community human life is unpredictable. This is especially true as human technology outstrips their wisdom and compassion.

Here's another way to understand God on this point. When God appeared to Moses God had "two priorities." One was to guide the Israelites out of slavery and into their new land in Canaan, and the other was to teach them the Law. So God will "focus" on objectives at the time when humans need to have them. This does not mean he doesn't care about the future. But it's not like God would tell Moses "someday people will fly in airplanes" or "someday people will speak Russian" because God has a relationship with humans that is meaningful to humans in the context of the times they are in AND is consistent with God's greater plan. So Jesus would constantly tell the faithful how to live their lives and how to be ready should the time come because that is what God wants humans to focus on. Humans are not supposed to have a depressive and Gotterdammerung mindset that hopes to see chaos and Apocalypse and thus cheats future generations of their chances to be born and live. This is, by the way, one of the horrible symptoms of the culture of death and abortion mentality. Humans have self induced a "rapture" where the innocent are booted right out of earth and to heaven before they even are naturally born in full term from the womb.

I hope that you understand what I am saying. The end of times is not something that should be viewed as the last move in a game or a "spiritual war" or a competition. Nothing would make God "happier" (to use a human term) than many, many, MANY generations of humans being born, welcomed into life, living decent, loving and God fearing lives, full of the goodness of what life offers, and the courage to handle the hardships that comes with a life that is not limitless, and then coming to know and love God, being received into eternal bliss.

Those who "root" for the end of times are like mean adults who want to end a fun and pleasant game or activity that children are enjoying before the children can win, or before new children can join in. Why would anyone in their right mind "hope" for the end of times to "happen soon," so that children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and generations in the future would not even be born? As long as I've lived among humans this is one thing I really do not understand. I find that mindset to be shocking and scandalous.

I mean, would any of you sit there and say, "Oh, I hope the end of times happens before my neighbor grows up, marries, has children, and those children grow up and have children of their own, and their children have great lives and know God and have children of their own" and so on and so on? Well, admit it. Is that not what those who "hope for" and "agitate" for the Apocalypse are actually saying? If you were honest, would you not be saying out loud, "Hey, I hope you and your children never have a chance to have offspring who love and serve God, and I hope that things only get worse instead of better?" That is what God hears when he hears and knows the thoughts of those who agitate and hope for "the rapture," "the Apocalypse," or the "end of times." God hears thus, that people are hoping for the end to come before billions of future people have a chance to live and love, to love both being alive and each other, and also to love God. Who in their right mind thinks that way? I was shocked to find that far too many do. But I will wrap up this comment with repeating that I am hopeful that I'm seeing some balance and sanity return and less fondness for this negative, disturbing and vindictive, selfish mindset.

I hope that you find this helpful. Stop thinking like robbers who want to steal the chance to live, love and know God from future generations. Praise God that the Catholic Church maintains its stability away from such erroneous thoughts (despite efforts to undermine and infiltrate it with such) and also Islam, which does not presume to "accelerate" God's will.

Important medical advice to parents

Something clicked for me today, realizing another important health care practice that generations of parents have used to protect their children that is totally forgotten today. What clicked for me was the realization that modern parents didn't know this obvious information about babies and young children.

If you look at old pictures or speak to someone as old as me (LOL) you'll see that all babies wore bonnets. Bonnets are close fitting caps with an all around rim, usually ruffles or lace. It has dawned on me that this generation thinks that was a quaint fashion decision, but if you think about it, duh, why would everyone have done it for generations if it was "fashion?" Bonnets were one of the essential items that protected babies' and young children's health in two ways.

One is that they regulate the temperature of the baby. When it is hot the bonnet protects the baby from the sun. When it is cold the bonnet keeps the baby warm (that's why wearing a hat is important in the cold, since much body heat is lost through the head). So bonnets were essential for regulating the proper body temperature of the infant.

Equally important, though, and this should be the attention getter for you modern parents. Bonnets were used to protect infant ears from the wind and drafts which cause... yes, chronic ear aches. Babies and young children have very sensitive ear canals and ear drums. When I was a kid all of us got ear aches when we rode in cars with the window down. Every parent knew this, which was why they wouldn't let kids roll down the windows very far in the cars (remember, this is pre-air conditioning). Whenever a baby got an ear ache the family doctor knew that drafts were likely behind it. And I can testify because it is something I've actually not outgrown as an adult. That is why I wear a "do rag" (what we used to call bandannas) that covers my ears when I am outside on a windy day, or if I have the air conditioner on in the car for extended time periods. I still get ear aches when wind or air conditioning blows near my ear. Also, people have wondered why I wear my very long hair forward so it covers my ears (the subject usually comes up when women have suggested I wear earrings, which I don't, only to discover that even if I wore earrings my hair totally covers my ears.) Because my ears have remained very sensitive to drafts, just as when I was a child, I keep my hair over my ears and do not like a "pulled back" hair do, in general.

Now, all you parents know there has been a so called "epidemic" of "ear infections" in babies and young children that are very painful. Duh. This coincides with the society that stopped putting bonnets that cover the ears on their babies AND inundate cars, offices and homes with the cold air venting from air conditioners. While driving today with my do rag on and seeing a young boy riding in a Jeep (driven by his mom) it suddenly dawned on me that you all don't realize this! I'm telling you that many of the episodes of "ear infections" occur because the infant is not wearing a bonnet and is exposed to direct air blowing into the ear. When we were young we never "needed" antibiotics for ear aches because most of the time they occurred it was because a youngster was exposed to direct air blowing in his or her ear, like I said, if the car window was cranked down too low. Babies rarely had ear aches in those days because like I said, bonnets were constantly worn as parents knew about preventing them from, what we called "getting a draft." A draft was not a beer. A draft is a blowing wind, either the natural wind outside or human caused such as fans or air conditioning, that both chills infants and also inflames the inner ear when the tissue is very sensitive and still growing, thus very vulnerable.

I hope this helps open some eyes. Bonnets were essential health needs for babies, not quaint clothes that are "old fashioned." And the "ear ache" epidemic is from another modern society lack of common sense and knowledge that every parent used to have, and of course, now gets called an "epidemic," a "disease," and medicated. Meanwhile the baby is sitting there directly under an air vent or outdoors in the wind with unprotected ears. Duh! I hope you find this helpful.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Prayer for September 29 Feast of archangels

God our Father,
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

(from the Christian prayer book, Liturgy of the Hours, for September 29, Feast day of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels).

Important! Be sure to notice that this prayer is directed to God, not to the angels. Anything and everything that angels do to assist humans is at the behest of God and God alone.

Bible Reading: Tobit 5:4-8 (aka Tobias)

Tobiah went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media.

As soon as he went out, he found the angel Raphael standing before him, though he did not know that this was an angel of God.

Tobiah said to him, "Who are you, young man?" He replied, "I am an Israelite, one of your kinsmen. I have come here to work." Tobiah said, "Do you know the way to Media?"

The other replied: "Yes, I have been there many times. I know the place well and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media; I used to stay with our kinsman Gabael, who lives at Rages in Media. It is a good two days' travel from Ecbatana to Rages, for Rages is situated at the mountains, Ecbatana out on the plateau."

Tobiah said to him, "Wait for me, young man, till I go back and tell my father; for I need you to make the journey with me. I will, of course, pay you."

Raphael replied, "Very well, I will wait for you; but do not be long."

This reading relates the first meeting of Tobiah, son of the blind Tobit, with the archangel Raphael. Only three archangels are mentioned by name in the scriptures: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Each of the archangels fulfill different missions on behalf of God. Gabriel speaks for God. Michael works with the powerful on earth to thwart the objectives of Satan, and also human beings' own sin, weakness and wickedness. Raphael assumed the identity of a specific human in order to provide a testimony of faith within an actual family through his intervention on the behest of God and working of miracles through the faith of Tobiah who accepts the instruction of Raphael without even knowing he was an archangel sent by God.

Thus God sent Raphael to accompany Tobiah, appearing as a human, for a while, so that Raphael could show Tobiah how to alleviate the suffering of several faithful who were severely afflicted by both worldly events (his father's blindness who suffered business reversals and persecution, and who is the author of this book of the Bible) and the influence of a demon (who afflicted the woman who would become the wife of Tobiah).

Some who read this book err in two opposite opinions. One extreme is to think this book is not historical because it contains many techniques of storytelling, including maxims of wisdom and piety, and links to folklore. That is an error because the events in this book did take place, and the author was inspired by the Holy Spirit to put the events into a story context that all could understand. The other extreme is non-believers who hear about this book and the visit by Raphael and thus conclude that this is "evidence" that "step in's" (occultists' phrase to describe possession) occurs regularly by "angels" or "aliens" or whatever. How they go from one example in one family in one situation to thinking this book validates their nutty and dangerous ideas is beyond me, but that is the temptation and weakness of human false prophets.

Anyway, you can trust that what is in this book is true, did actually happen, and did so that one and only time in order to leave a testimony of how God wants people to work through problems using their own hands, based on faith and inspiration. Thus Raphael gives to Tobiah all the knowledge that he needs to expel the demon and cure his father, pointing out to him the things he must do, but allowing Tobiah to do them himself through his own faith, all the while not knowing he is being guided by an angel until Raphael reveals his identity at the end of his mission with Tobiah.

By the way, here is the interesting history of the documentation of this book, as explained in my NAB Catholic Bible Personal Study Edition:

Written in Aramaic, the original of the book was lost for centuries.
The Greek translation, existing in three different recensions, is our primary source.
In 1955, fragments of the book in Aramaic and in Hebrew were recovered from Cave IV at Qumran.
These texts are in substantial agreement with the Greek recension that has served as the basis for the present translation.

In other words, there were only three examples of this book in existance, all of them in Greek (and thus they were ancient translations of the original, which was lost). Biblical scholars trusted in the Greek translations that existed and their trust was rewarded by finding fragments of the older versions (in Aramaic and Hebrew), thus finding that the latter Greek was accurate and true to the original writing of this book. That must have been a great moment for the Biblical scholars involved in this discovery, part of the decades long research into what is called the "Dead Sea Scrolls." I am old enough to remember the incredible excitement when they were discovered, validating entire books of the Bible.

Here's a good general information link on the Qumran location:

September 29 is the Feast Day of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels.

Come, let us worship the Lord in the company of his angels.

Let us join the angels in praising the Lord, as the cherubim and seraphim sing: Holy, holy, holy.

Angels of the Lord, sing praise to the Lord forever.

All the angels in heaven praise you, O Lord, and with one voice they say: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God.

Truly I say to you: You will see the heavens open up, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

You commanded your angels to guard us in all our ways
-keep us from sin as you lead us in your path this day.

Father, the angels stand for ever before your face,
-nourish in us a never-failing hope of coming at last into your presence.

Your children will be like the angels in heaven,
-grant us chastity in both mind and body.

Send Michael, the prince of the heavenly hosts, to the aid of your people.

Your majesty is praised above the heavens, O King of the angels.

From the hand of the angel incense rose
-in the presence of the Lord.

(selections from the Christian Prayer book, Liturgy of the Hours, for this day).

Congratulations to Chinese people accomplishment

That was a splendid launch, flight, space walk and return. I am especially impressed with the construction of the space flight suit and its performance. So I extend my congratulations to all involved in the space program and also to the Chinese people.

A story about knitting needles and warnings

I enjoy all sewing and needlework projects, including knitting and crocheting. I learned how to knit by reading a book my sister in law had, while I was staying at my brother's house on "vacation," but I was really taking care of my baby niece while my brother worked on his PhD and my sister in law taught in elementary school. This was during the summer that the United States landed the first man on the moon, and I watched that event from there on their black and white TV. (I was alone in watching it because they were out for the evening and just not into it anyway). So I was just a young girl.

Anyway, I was already an avid fan of sewing and arts and crafts, so I picked up that book and learned from the instructions and pictures how to knit. Years later I taught myself crochet. I knit and crocheted many of the clothes I wore in high school.

Years later when I was reading about Native American culture I was interested to read a historic event involving knitting needles. (I did a lot of reading of Native American culture, not for the goofy reasons that many did about "mysticism" and "vision quest" by stoned New Agers, but because I spent many years sponsoring Native American children who needed financial help to stay in school. I later considered many of them dear friends and family). So I enjoyed reading about their history, culture and art and traditional beliefs, and even collected some rare books on these subjects.

Many people have heard about the great defeat of General Armstrong Custer by the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne alliance at the Battle of Little Big Horn. I read some contemporary accounts of what happened, in my rare book collection. Here is a little gem that I often think about when I buy knitting needles (as I did yesterday). The Lakota had warned Custer not to persecute and attack them, and they warned him most seriously about the dire consequences if he did. But Custer pursued the Indians anyway, and history knows the result, that he and his men were slaughtered in battle.

Some bodies were found with knitting needles stuck in their ears. The explanation was that Indian women stuck them in there after they were dead, to symbolize "the hearing problem" that the soldiers had for not heeding the warning. Hmm.

Background Reading:


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bible Reading: Psalms 119:97-104

How I love your teaching, Lord!
I study it all day long.
Your command makes me wiser than my foes,
for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
because I ponder your decrees.
I have more insight than my elders,
because I observe your precepts.
I keep my steps from every evil path,
that I may obey your word.
From your edicts I do not turn,
for you have taught them to me.
How sweet to my tongue is your promise,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I gain insight;
therefore I hate all false ways.

This section called "Mem" (for the psalm is divided into sections according to the ancient Hebrew letters of the alphabet) describes the wisdom and joy that are both received by those who love the Lord God's teaching.

The devout of all three Abrahamic faiths demonstrate this love of God's teaching in their own ways. Orthodox Jews show continual tremendous devotion and love of the word of God on a daily basis. The word of God is the treasure of the sanctuary in all synagogues in the form of the Torah scroll, whether reform, conservative or orthodox.

Christians also demonstrate great love for Bible reading. While Catholics tend to read the Bible less than some other Christians, the daily Mass is comprised of three readings from the Bible, as was the Apostolic tradition. Remember, dear Christians, the first followers of Jesus had no "bible" to read and study, as books and writing for the common people simply did not exist. The Catholic Church developed following the actions of Jesus Christ, first priest, and the Apostles so that the Gospel could be preached and the Kingdom of Heaven understood by those who could not read and write, which was virtually everybody. It is an unfair swipe at the Catholic Church to therefore claim that the church "controls" Bible reading by "only" doing so during Mass. Mass is two thousand years old and for one thousand five hundred years of the Christianity there was no printing press, no Bibles for the common people at all. I've explained this in other postings here that the stained glass images in churches and the structure of the liturgy of the Mass was developed to be totally inclusive not "exclusive." The most poor and illiterate peasant could enter the grandest church and belong there, be welcome in God's home, learn the Bible stories and Gospel by looking at the stained glass, and for those who attended Mass daily, listened to, as a result, at least twenty-one readings from the Bible.

Having said that, I believe Catholics must read the Bible more, which is why I emphasize it so much in this blog. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI agrees, and next week he will start the televised reading of the entire Bible as he is the first of the series of readers to each read a section. So on October 5 he will start with the beginning, Genesis.

This brings me to mention my Muslim brothers and sisters who even continue the tradition of memorizing parts of or the entire Qur'an, even by very young children! This is a precious gift, devotion and tradition and I enjoy reading about children who are sponsored to be able to spend time doing what they love, which is learning each word of God in the Qur'an.

Friday, September 26, 2008

With every day I am more and more enraged

Life should be good, sweet and simple. Yet every day I am forced to witness non-believers and worse, "believers" who have established their own cultist rules, infecting the glorious faiths, either openly or secretly, drain all of the goodness, love, faith and obedience out of humanity.

Today a cultist tool driving a car with one of the favorite cultist "numbers" on his license plate deliberately swerved his car in front of me, nearly causing a crash, right here in my apartment parking lot. I followed him to where he parked and chastised him, and to his credit, he took it like a man and said he was sorry (though I suspect that the whole point of this was to force me to be frightened and then to have dialogue with one of them). They do everything according to a script and timetable based on astrology and garbage. And so even though I constantly expect trouble it was a very serious close call, and I was able to slam on my brakes just about four or five feet from collision.

The reason I am writing this is to repeat to all cultists who hang on my every word so that they can twist and distort it to sooth their own delusional minds, what I said to the young man driving that car.

I said, "Dude. I mean no disrespect. But you have to understand that I don't care about me. It's the children who are playing here. There are little children at these apartments who do not even come up to the top of your car wheels, and you would not see them. I just had to be careful when I was backing out of my parking space just now."

I don't know how many times I have to repeat to all of you that you are hurting yourselves and risking the littlest ones among you (for those of you who actually care and don't think of living and playing children as "Darn, they are the ones that got away from abortion.") Whenever you do cultist scripts and stunts directed at me, or at others, you endanger many more than you realize. That's what hurts me, beside the obvious that you seek to harm me when I've done nothing but care about the welfare of all humans. But how can you constantly act out such bad thoughts and follow them up with "reality show" deeds that do endanger the little ones, who never asked to be part of this cesspooling of "spirituality?" Every risky deed you do and every "acting out" of mouthy and double meaning messages through the media goes into little ears and little eyes and harms the most innocent. Why do you keep doing this? I want to know, although of course, God knows, sees all, remembers and will respond in his own time. And you won't like it. I implore you to stop because like I said, you've already ruined my life, thwarted the goodness of my mission, and destroyed the love and joy I felt for humans. But why do you keep harming those babies and children? After all, it was your "caregivers" and "gurus" who harmed YOU all in this way, pouring poison in your minds from the earliest ages, and forcing you to do unnatural things to defy God and glorify cultists on their own ego trips. Why do you perpetuate this when you know better by now?

Extending my analogy to Muslims

In a previous blog posting I commented that orthodox scholarly Jews "get" (comprehend) God on a fundamental level more than anyone else, due to their extensive and still valid history and interaction with God as his Chosen People.

I also commented that Christians "get" (comprehend) salvation. This is because the Savior Jesus Christ brought the New Covenant that indicates God's loving plan for salvation of humanity and personalized it in a way that believers co-operate with God in their individual and faith community hope for salvation.

I wanted to extend this analogy to the Muslim branch of this great Abrahamic monotheistic one God family of believers. Muslims "get" (comprehend) obedience to God. Of the three Abrahamic faiths Muslims have the great dignity of most understanding how to obey God's will. Through the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) Muslims understand that God did not make faith and obedience to be an onerous and difficult chore. As we see the great demonstration of obedience and faith during Ramadan, I wanted to be sure to complete in this posting my musings on how I see all three perceive and respond to the same all knowing and powerful God.

"DaVinci Code" psycho stabs priest + 3 others

This is what blasphemous irresponsibility breeds, just as violence in video games and other media helps to unhinge the young and the unstable. Gosh, I hope "Dan Brown" and company are happy now.


Priest seriously wounded by crazed knife-wielding Da Vinci Code viewer

Rome, Sep 25, 2008 / 04:24 am (CNA).- A Rome priest was in intensive care on Wednesday after suffering serious injuries from being stabbed in the neck and stomach by a disturbed man who had recently watched the movie The Da Vinci Code on television.

The 25-year-old attacker, Mario Luzi, reportedly asked to see the 68-year-old Father Canio Canistri, parish priest at the church of Santa Marcella on the Avantine hill. According to the Times Online, Luzi then attacked the priest with a knife hidden in a cloth.

Retired policeman and parishioner Antonio Farrace, 78, was wounded by the attacker after coming to the assistance of the priest. He was reportedly in serious condition at a hospital.

The assailant fled through a park, stabbing a Peruvian nanny in the shoulder as she protected the three-year-old in her care. One policeman was lightly wounded in the stomach as he and his fellow officer detained Luzi.

Luzi, a former medical student with a history of psychiatric problems, admitted to watching the film of The Da Vinci Code the night before the attack.

He told police he was the antichrist, claiming he had heard voices telling him to attack the priest.
“I have carried out my mission,” he said. He carried a rosary in his pocket and a note reading “This is just the beginning: 666.”

At his apartment investigators found material on the Apocalypse and the antichrist, in addition to the phone number of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

His apartment also contained a large copy of Leonardo’s painting The Last Supper, which is featured in the Dan Brown book on which the movie is based.

A note on the painting pointed to one of the disciples and said “This is the hand in which a knife is hidden,” the Times Online says.

As a survivor of a knife assault I can tell you it's no fun and not a joke.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God's mystery of the Jews: an answer

I just enjoyed watching EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa and his guest Roy Schoeman, a well known Jewish Catholic convert who authored several books that I count among my favorites. It was a great hour of conversation and I found that it passed very quickly, they could have easily filled two hours :-)

I won't repeat all that was discussed because all of it is worth hearing for yourself or reading. But I wanted to point people in the right direction about understanding the great mystery that they were pondering on the program which is, why was it God's will that more Jews and indeed, why not all Jews had recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah? Fr. Pacwa and Mr. Schoeman were correct in explaining that there is still a mystery and a purpose to the continuation of the Jews in their faith, without having recognized Jesus as the Messiah, that is beyond them, the Jews, being "targets" for evangelizing, and that the mystery is known only to God. They correctly cautioned about evangelizing with an attitude, and I am paraphrasing here, of wanting to collect conversions from Jews with the sense of 1) wrapping up unfinished business or 2) taking it upon oneself to know God's will and try to self delegate "fulfilling prophecy." That is a very serious and correct caution. Regular blog readers know that I am very annoyed at dispensationalist and evangelical non-Catholic Christians who have been very presumptuous in this regard. It is fine to evangelize the way that the Apostles and disciples did, which is to profess and witness to one's faith (explaining areas of confusion or stereotyping) and also to demonstrate through role modeling how one piously lives one's own faith. That is not only agreeable to God but to be expected. However, God frowns on Christians who think they know his mind and all his intentions and who bribe (monetary donations to Israel) or shotgun conversions (preach erroneous dispensationalism to panic certain Jews about "impending end of time" prophecy) in order to take pride in being the "prophecy fulfillers." So here is a way to point you in the right direction of understanding God's will.

The Old Covenant may have passed, and it has, obviously, but Jews still remain "God's chosen people." Who are the chosen? The chosen are the ones to whom God elected to make himself personally known to. Thus, Adam and his descendants the Patriarchs, and Abraham and his descendants the Israelites were Chosen from among all the people on earth to have a personal relationship and knowledge of God himself. God brought himself within their presence. So in addition to obtaining The Law from God, God made himself known as the creator, the father and as the companion, and even friend, of the Chosen people collectively and the patriarchs and prophets specifically. It is easy to only focus on the Law giving and the chastisements, and no longer see the voluminous information "about" God and his loving relationship with his people. It is to the Israelites that God gave personal visitations, explanations of natural law, angelic companions, glimpses of heaven and the afterlife, and a sampling of the mutual love that humans should aspire to have and return to God in gratitude for the love he has for them. All of this is preserved within the body of the Jewish faith and in the holy book, which Christians call the Old Testament.

Now, understand that Jewish scholars through the centuries have diligently, piously and prayerfully studied every word and indeed syllable of what God has uttered and what the holy book has contained. Yes, some of this was to be responsive and obedient to the Law, which orthodox Jews still follow, in response to modern needs for interpretations. But much of the richness of the Old Testament and the work of Jewish scholars is in amplifying and making God, who is in total unknowable to humans, be well understood to humans, and loved, using the events and words that God gave the Jews in mutual participation. To put it in slang, "God and the Jews speak the same language and come from the same neighborhood." Orthodox Jews do genuinely understand God and his perspectives more than any people of faith who ever lived and that has not changed. The Jews not recognizing the Messiah and the Old Covenant no longer being in place does not change that. Indeed, one cannot correctly and fully understand the episodes of the Gospel or the words of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John, and St. Jude in their epistles without "being Jewish." The Jews remain the "translators" of how God spoke to humanity in the beginning of salvation history and how God revealed his true nature and authentic being.

For example, no one understands the offering of sacrifice unless one understands what God revealed in the first place to the Jews. Even Catholics, who remain (along with Muslims) the monotheistic faith that still offer sacrifice to God (in the form of the Mass) have forgotten more about the meaning, context and "God's perspective" about sacrifice than has the average orthodox pious Jew. I find myself through this blog and in the occasional real conversation with a human having to explain more about God and how he revealed his true being to the Jews than I had to fifty years ago. The pace of modern development obscures perspectives that were once a natural part of every day life. Even the clear and simple parables that Jesus preached are less, and not more, easily understood by Christians with the passage of time. Orthodox, scholarly pious Jews, even if they no longer worship at the Temple or live as did their ancestors know and comprehend more about both Old and New Testament meaning than Christians.

So orthodox pious scholarly Jews remain the continuity and the "translators" of understanding not only the cultural, societal and faith based norms and history of Biblical times, but they do understand God the Father, in general, more clearly than do Christians. They "speak the same lingo as God" even when they totally disobeyed him and drove God meshugana "crazy" (so to speak) during much of their Covenant with their stiff necked disobedience. Think of a loving but strict father though. Just because a son or daughter might drive him crazy with willful disobedience does not mean that son or daughter does not know their dad very, very well. Jews know God, and they've known him through the ages.

Jesus brought God to humans in a personal way, in order to explain how to live the Kingdom of God even before passing on in death to experience it first hand in eternity. Thus Jesus brought a more personal and individual relationship between God-the same God as the Jews knew-and humans. Jesus introduced humanity to God in a way they could see, touch, speak with, converse, confess and be forgiven, all within the context of living within hope and faith. That is the gift of the Messiah, of the Savior, not just to wash the original sin from humans and cleanse what had become perverted and impure in the faith, but also to teach individual humans who were not prophets or patriarchs how to have a personal relationship with God, within his New Covenant, and within the Apostolic Church that Christ created. Jesus brought the form of God that humans can not only be saved and forgiven by, but also have a personal relationship with. But never forget that the Jews already knew this very same God over the ages as the Chosen People, through thick and thin, and for better and for worse in the human experience. The Jews, however, knew God through their prophets, their priests and their consecrated Kings. The Jews knew God through their community of faith as "a people." Christ and his Apostles and their successors preached and converted one soul at a time.

This is the key to understanding the continuing special relationship between God and the Jews, his first and only Chosen People. Jews continue to have a faith and cultural context that allow them to understand the fullness of God's presence and perspectives, as much as can be understood by humans. I worry that without orthodox Jews that modern humans will continue to lose their Biblical cultural context and thus lose much of their understanding of God himself. I have already seen that happen far more than I like. Orthodox Jews "get" (comprehend) God. They comprehend God as God revealed himself over the ages to them, and they continue to study and find great joy in His word and worship of him. Christians "get" (comprehend) salvation. Jesus allowed the Jews who believed and the Gentiles who converted to be "not slaves" but "friends," as he said to the Apostles. Jesus taught the faithful how to participate with God in their own individual and church based salvation. Jesus taught them how to pray to God, and explained how to have a personal relationship with God. Jesus also gave humanity a great gift from God, which is the sacraments. I've explained in previous blog posts that the sacraments were not just made up out of whole cloth but are foundational upon God's revelations throughout the Old Testament AND cultural mores of the Jews.

For example, it's not like John the Baptist "invented" baptism. I've cited the passage in the Old Testament that explains that a newborn becomes a member of the Jewish community not just through birth and through the naming and sacrifice, but through the pouring of water in washing and the dressing in new garments. Christians increasingly do not "see" such knowledge of God and his ways even as the words are printed in black in the Old Testament. Christians tend to cherry pick the "Jesus formulas for salvation," and I'm not being unkind when I say that. That is the trade off when one brings a very individual faith, which is why I continually wring my hands at the lack of unity in the Christian faith, and the bitter seeds of the Reformation. Orthodox scholarly Jews have maintained a cohesion of understanding of God and God's faith "origins," God's cultural context and God's history with his Chosen People, and thus these Jews never forget. They still delight in all that God has given to them and explained to them, and in the cultural remnants and treasures of their faith.

Without orthodox scholarly God loving Jews, humans would lose much of their understanding of God himself. This does not mean that I do not hope that many Jews come to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah. But I am explaining that God continues to have a relationship and a reason for the many who did not thus far, which is to remember, preserve, love and treasure the full context of all that God has revealed to them as his Chosen People, and retain the ability as the ultimate translators of the context and meaning of what has been preserved in the Old Testament scripture, as that is still the same God who must be loved, understood and piously feared.

I hope that you find this helpful.

School shootings, youth violence and depression

OK, I have to be very blunt here and explain some societal changes that are now coming back to bite people very hard, especially young males. We have just had the shootings in Finland. There is a pattern of emulating Columbine and other shootings, with grievances, fascination and lack of fear of death, a dark seething rage, access to weapons that enable those with no impulse control, networks of like minded youths including the problem of gangs, and last of all, fueling addictions such as alcohol, drugs, pornography.

Now, why are so many youth, especially young males, seething and detached from the joys of life (often totally numb to them) and unable to have patience and fortitude during their youth and difficult times? I bet you expect me to say the absence of fathers and the breakdown of the family, but that is not what I am going to focus on, although obviously that has had a terrible effect. Yet, we see these problems even in families that seem traditional and content, or at least adequate, on the outside.

No, I have to get a little Freudian and also social scientist to explain to you what has happened. Humans have evolved over millions of years to have peak sexuality and lots of energy when youth, particularly men, are in their late teenage years and into their twenties. That is how the human species is wired to survive. Young men have maximum energy to reproduce and take on great responsibility in their teens, though they lack the finishing gloss of maturity, which they get in their twenties and thirties. So here is how humanity used to do things. Young men could look forward to being sexually gratified in their late teens when they were married and became heads of new families (under the watchful eyes of their parents). Young people were paired up in arranged marriages for thousands of years, around the world and in all society, rich or poor, of all faiths and cultures. This way no man or woman was left without a spouse, giving sex when the young man is most driven to obtain it, and also giving him a piece of adult responsibility with marriage. For example, a typical young man would be matched to a young woman in their village and they would obtain a piece of land from the parents to farm. The young man would have sexual gratification, the woman would have a provider, and both would be able to start their own journey into maturity.

Today we have claimed that society is "liberated" and men and women can be intimate with whoever they want. But the result is that as our society has become more highly sexualized (as if humans needed help in that regard) yet access to regular, stable loving sex has been destroyed. Without the pairing that used to take place through family alliances, matchmaking and other customs, many youth are overstimulated and yet excluded from a stable sexual situation (marriage) and also a share in taking on adult responsibility (farming or having an apprenticeship or share of a family trade). As a result we see two extremes in young men. We see a violent seething under culture fueled by alienation, loneliness, repressed sexual needs, inability to be physically and mentally matured by parental and grandparent role models.... or you have the drugging and dummying down of male youth in order to make them feminized and compliant as they work their way through seemingly endless schooling and then into a desk job.

Traditional human culture was much more compassionate in this regard. You did not have many "bachelors" or seething male youth because villages and communities ensured that all possible compatible matches were made. So there was no young man or woman "left behind" because they were not popular or pretty or "hot" enough to get laid or to be matured in a structured way, such as apprenticeship. That is why I have said kind things about arranged marriages, and I know a very content couple who were married in the traditional way. By the way, I'm obviously not talking about "astrology" and "fortune telling" matches. Those were the minority of one society I could mention. The rest of the world through the centuries just cared about "compatibility" and ability to support a family.

As a result we now have two generations in a row of seething, under served (in the sense of being stewarded and ushered into meaningful adulthood via family, community and society), over stimulated (hormones plus all of the agitating addictions and instant gratification society), rudderless (thus vulnerable to depression) youth who are both tossed out on their own earlier than they should be AND infantalized in areas where they should be given adult responsibilities. People used to be matched, married young and given adult responsibilities (trades, farming, apprentice, etc) and now they lack all of that while at the same time being over stimulated in their senses and expectations, fueled by the unreality of life as portrayed in the media, and often aggravated by broken families and low impulse control. For example, a young man used to be introduced to weapons, such as guns, in the context of hunting for food for the family. Now a young man is introduced to guns in TV violence (the previous generation) and with this generation, video games and weaponized "superhero" mentality. This is why even youth from traditional families are vulnerable to the pressures of depression, lack of sexual gratification within a timely marriage when they have peak urge, and dark nihilistic "seeking" of "meaning" and worse, glorifying the lack of meaning. All this is happening in the same evolved biological human bodies that are programmed to "expect" sex and family responsibility by the late teens or early twenties and have an excess of energy that used to be used in sheer survival skills, such as hunting, farming, home building and the military. Now many youth have to sublimate their human "birth right" into alienation, longing, bitterness, depression and hostile escapism. What a terrible problem this is and people need to get real about what humans are really like and what is the healthiest for them in their genuine natures and not in fantasy.

Obviously there is more to say and an awful lot of damage to undo, but I truly hope this gives you, especially the young people, a more generous perspective of the potentials and problems of humans and their human nature.

Reading: Matthew 6:7-14 (Jesus teaches prayer)

In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This is how you are to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Bible Reading: Wisdom 10

[Wisdom Preserves her Followers]

She preserved the first -formed father of the world
when he alone had been created;
And she raised him up from his fall,
and gave him power to rule all things.

But when the unjust man withdrew from her in his anger,
he perished through his fratricidal wrath.
When on his account the earth was flooded,
Wisdom again saved it,
piloting the just man on frailest wood.

She, when the nations were sunk in universal wickedness,
knew the just man, kept him blameless before God,
and preserved him resolute against pity for his child.
She delivered the just man from among the wicked
who were being destroyed,
when he fled as fire descended upon Pentapolis-
Where as a testimony to its wickedness,
there yet remain a smoking desert,
Plants bearing fruit that never ripens,
and the tomb of a disbelieving soul, a standing
pillar of salt.

For those who forsook Wisdom
first were bereft of knowledge of the right,
And then they left mankind a memorial of their folly-
so that they could not even be hidden in their fall.
But Wisdom delivered from tribulations those
who served her.

She, when the just man fled from his brother's anger,
guided him in direct ways,
Showed him the kingdom of God
and gave him knowledge of holy things;
She prospered him in his labors
and made abundant the fruit of his works,
Stood by him against the greed of his defrauders,
and enriched him;

She preserved him from foes,
and secured him against ambush,
And she gave him the prize for his stern struggle
that he might know that devotion to God
is mightier than all else.

She did not abandon the just man when he was sold,
but delivered him from sin.
She went down with him into the dungeon,
and did not desert him in his bonds,
Until she brought him the scepter of royalty
and authority over his oppressors,
Showed those who had defamed him false,
and gave him eternal glory.

The holy people and blameless race-it was she
who delivered them from the nation that oppressed them.
She entered the soul of the Lord's servant,
and withstood fearsome kings with signs and portents;
she gave the holy ones the recompense of their labors,
Conducted them by a wondrous road,
and became a shelter for them by day
and a starry flame by night.

She took them across the Red Sea
and brought them through the deep waters-
But their enemies she overwhelmed,
and cast them up from the bottom of the depths.
Therefore the just despoiled the wicked;
and they sang, O Lord, your holy name
and praised in unison your conquering hand-

Because Wisdom opened the mouths of the dumb,
and gave ready speech to infants.

This is a tracing of the Holy Spirit guiding humans in their faith history from Adam through the Exodus from Egypt.

The reason the author of the Book of Wisdom calls the Holy Spirit "Wisdom" is because while God directs humans what to do and how to worship him, humans must rely on their own wisdom to know how to do this day to day, how to apply what God instructs into their lives. The Holy Spirit is always with humans to guide them and encourage them. Thus during the ancient faith history while God was present (particularly through Moses during the Exodus), many years would go by between revelations and instructions by God where people are expected to live their normal lives within his instructions and faith. The Holy Spirit has always been there guiding all people toward God, and strengthening their faith when it weakens. The Holy Spirit is God in the form that is his word and breath that supports and inspires humans as they live day by day, year by year and over the centuries.

Thus the Holy Spirit is often called "wisdom" in the Bible. Wisdom is not a "being" or a "goddess." The author makes that constantly clear, as does King Solomon's prayer in the previous chapter: "God of my fathers, Lord of mercy, you who have made all things by your word and in your wisdom have established man... give me Wisdom, the attendant at your throne...Wisdom, who comes from you...Wisdom, who knows your works and was present when you made the world, who understands what is pleasing in your eyes... who ever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high..." (Wisdom 9:1, 4, 6, 9, 13).

Holy Spirit, and thus wisdom (of what God wants and how to know God) is the breath of God. That is what King Solomon's prayer means where Wisdom is "given" by God (a gift) and the holy spirit is "sent." The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in his breath and inspiration, and Wisdom is the gift that the Holy Spirit brings from God. Thus Wisdom is a gift, not a personage, but is the manifestation of a gift of the Holy Spirit, who is God in the form of his breath and inspiration that lives and moves among all humans.

I hope you find this helpful.

Bible Reading: Wisdom 9 (Solomon's Prayer)

God of my fathers, Lord of mercy,
you who have made all things by your word
And in your wisdom have established man
to rule the creatures produced by you,
To govern the world in holiness and justice,
and to render judgment in integrity of heart:

Give me Wisdom, the attendant at your throne,
and reject me not from among your children;
For I am your servant, the son of your handmaid,
a man weak and short-lived
and lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws.

Indeed, though one be perfect among the sons of men,
if Wisdom, who comes through you, be not with him,
he shall be held in no esteem.

You have chosen me king over your people
and magistrate for your sons and daughters.
You have bid me build a temple on your holy mountain
and an altar in the city that is your dwelling place,
a copy of the holy tabernacle which you had established from of old.

Now with you is Wisdom, who knows your works
and was present when you made the world;
Who understands what is pleasing in your eyes
and what is conformable in your commands.

Send her forth from your holy heavens
and from your glorious throne dispatch her
That she may be with me and work with me,
that I may know what is your pleasure.

For she knows and understands all things,
and will guide me discreetly in my affairs
and safeguard me by her glory;
Thus my deeds will be acceptable,
and I shall judge your people justly
and be worthy of my father's throne.

For what man knows God's counsel,
or who can conceive what the Lord intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind
that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?

Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight,
and men learned what was your pleasure,
and were saved by Wisdom.

Bible Reading: Psalm 127

Unless the Lord build the house,
they labor in vain who build.
Unless the Lord guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch.
It is vain for you to rise early
and put off your rest at night,
To eat bread earned by hard toil-
all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.

Children too are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children born in one's youth.
Blessed are they whose quivers are full.
They will never be shamed
contending with foes at the gate.

Why God manifests himself as masculine

This is an important topic, and essential to understanding God's true nature. I've addressed this topic before but I use different approaches to help humans to understand a complex topic. Actually, it's not complex-it is very straightforward-but it is one of God's mysteries. By mystery I do not mean it is unknown or hidden, but rather, it is one of the things that are of the divine that humans find difficult to understand. So here is another discussion of this topic.

Notice that I say that God "manifests" himself as masculine. When I say "manifest" I mean that God chooses to present himself as masculine to humans because that is the most consistent with his nature, even though God is, as Pope Benedict has explained, all things in one, unable to be characterized as being "male" or "female" because he has both the maternal and paternal qualities, being all things and all complete. However, God has consistently presented himself as masculine and "The Father" in Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy books. God always appears in a masculine form and presents masculine characteristics, so one cannot say that it is "sexist" authors or culture to "blame." In fact, this is refuted in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit is often presented as feminine Wisdom (see the Book of Wisdom). So if God chose to be presented as a female he would have done so, and done so consistently in all the monotheistic books.

So why does God present himself as masculine? Remember that humans are created in God's image, so you can think about the obvious difference between men and women regarding God's primary role, which is the creator of life. God is the creator of life, not the bearer of life. The Bible explains that God is all powerful and whatever God wills is instantly manifest. In other words, when God wishes to do something he does not have to "chant a spell" (follow a formulaic process) or "wait" while his will is gestated (such as the pregnancy of a woman, who bears a growing and changing organism). When God wills something, whether it is the initial creation of the entire universe (think Big Bang, for those of you who like the science connections where possible) or to the small things of communication with humans, it instantly "becomes" done. Jesus taught "God's will be done." This is not a gestation, peculating, waiting process. Whatever God wills is instantly done. That is obvious everywhere and in every way, and is explained over and over in the holy books. That is why Jesus is called "The Word," because God only "speaks the word" (wills something to happen) and it does, such as the conception of Jesus.

God therefore is the "masculine" principle in action, which is the seed from which all comes without waiting, bearing, gestating, working formulas and processes, or being the inert or co-operative container of life. God in his fullness is not compatible with a human perception of him being female because there is nothing about God that is gestating: his will at all times is instantaneous and complete.

Thus feminists and their pussy whipped male enablers have it all wrong when they try to force God's "nature" to be identified as being sexual in nature at all AND in forcing a partial or complete "feminine" ideology on him. God has consistently and always chosen to manifest as a masculine and Fatherly presence in the entire faith history from Adam to Jesus Christ, and also in communication with the Prophet (PBUH) through the Qur'an. This was abundantly clear as not being "sexism" to thousands of years of humans, and it is only this occult and narcissistic ego tainted past several modern generations that willfully do not understand and obey God's obvious strictures about how he manifests to humans. This is not a diminishing of the human female role at all. In fact it highlights the virtue of patience and the slowness of true growth when one looks at feminine biology as a parallel for spiritual growth and maturity. God "creates," God does not "grow." God wills, God does not "bear." God is the seed, and Jesus is the shepherd of the flock, while humans are the ones who are obedient to time, who change and grow in body and mind, from embryo to maturity and hopefully, old age. God is eternal and unchanging, and thus God the Father cannot be linked to the feminine principle of gestation, containment and bearing. God has maternal feelings, as God is the source of all love, of all goodness, of all emotions that humans can aspire to as best as they can. So God is the fullness of all of reality and all of the possibilities, but he does not "nest" them and he does not "bear" them; God wills creation and action and it takes place in the instant of his intention, not over a period of time. Humans take time to fulfill God's will because they are the ones who must grow and change, under the pulse of time, in order to live.

This is why Catholic priests will always emulate Jesus Christ and will always be celibate men. Catholic priests are the vocation of giving their entire lives over to the will of God and emulating Jesus Christ, God's first Christian priest. This is why there is no dishonor in the many other holy offices and vocations available to women. The road of Catholic priest is the one that is taken by those permitted by God to most emulate his will and word with their very lives. Many men do not take that path, obviously, so it is not for everyone. It is a special and sacred calling and it has nothing to do with being "able to live without a family or sex." It has everything to do with being the ultimate narrow path that only a few men among all men will choose.

It also has nothing to do with diminishing the "spirituality" of women. Remember, as I've pointed out, the Holy Spirit, often appearing as a white dove, is often described with feminine nature. This is because the Holy Spirit, who is the breath of God among humans, operates and works "within time" in order to inspire, correct and fortify humans in both their faith and their bearing of life's burdens and joys. So the Holy Spirit, being of the nature of God, has the qualities of God but is manifest in constant interaction among humans, and thus can be thought of as a "bearing" and "gestating" manifestation of God. For example, the Holy Spirit may have to work an entire lifetime on a lost man or woman of the faith, or even of a nation, as we saw with the former USSR, and now we see in the People's Republic of China. The Holy Spirit moves among humans with qualities of patience and love that can be thought of as very feminine and of a spiritual gestation in individual humans and also among their communities. This is also the reason that the Church is described as the bride of Jesus Christ, in Christianity, and in the Old Testament, the faithful as the beloved of God. The body of the faithful, the groups of believing humans, are inspired and connected by the Holy Spirit. Thus there is a valid identification of journey, of child "bearing," of gestation, of "planting a tree" of a church, of being like how ships are often called feminine, because humans are always on a constant individual or communal journey toward God, and that is consistent with such notions and analogous examples. God himself, however, as the Father, is unchanging, complete as is, infinite and unknowable in all his eternal capacity, and instantaneous in his will and his use of his word to manifest anything and everything that he wishes. Thus one cannot think of God in any other way without distorting his nature, thwarting his will of how he presents himself to humans and, in fact, lying about God.

I really hope you find this helpful. The erroneous propaganda is only damaging and demeaning to humans and it really must stop as it takes you away from understanding God, rather than moving you toward him. The propaganda also lowers self esteem rather than raises it, because humans start to think of vocations as "career ladders" with mean religious people "thwarting them," rather than understanding the incredible heights that all humans have in understanding the true nature of God.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bible Reading: Psalm 8, for the leader

A psalm of David.

O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
You have set your majesty above the heavens!

Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have drawn a defense against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place-

What are humans that you are mindful of them,
mere mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them little less than a god,
crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them rule over the works of your hands,
put things at their feet:

All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Quick abortion history lesson

I've had this on my mind for a few days to share. One inevitable assumption that the younger people have today is that in the 1960's and the 1970's that there must have been a "women's liberation" movement to gain the "right" to an abortion. That's actually not true. There was not a grassroots, cohesive or extensive effort or even a demand for abortion by women. Several small independent advocates for abortion worked to promote it as a "right" and once they got the right they worked on "marketing abortion" to mainstream girls and women.

The first fans of abortion were socialists and communist sympathizers. This is because the USSR (now Russia) legalized abortion before the USA and were thus held up as the darlings of modern "rights" for women and sophisticated attitudes toward "sexuality." If you knew how miserable the average Soviet citizen, including women, were then even with their "prized" abortion "rights" you'd never fall for the propaganda. But the extreme left, especially women, lionized the "advanced" attitudes the USSR had toward women, while actually abortion was just another sign that the opposite was true, since socialism and communism are against the family unit as the foundation of a healthy society (instead, the "state" is the foundation).

The second fans of abortion were middle class and wealthy women, precisely the ones who could most afford to actually have a child and give it up for adoption, but chose not to do so. Today it is understandable that many think that the pro-aborts were advocating on behalf of poor women. Not true. In fact, poor people were not demanding abortion at all. They were more concerned with regional poverty (such as Appalachia) and Civil Rights. Poor people wanted families and children and worried about feeding, clothing and housing them, not aborting them. I watched one wealthy or "well to do" girl or woman after the other have an abortion simply because the baby was an inconvenience. You would not believe the excuses when one was offered. One young married couple aborted their first baby after discussion with her father (a doctor) because "she might be at a high cancer risk because she regularly gets cysts in her ear lobe." I could not make this up if I tried. A few years later they had a baby when it was convenient to them. So in the early 1970's, trust me, it was girls from wealthy and liberal families and women who could support a child but did not want to be "burdened" in their careers and dating lives who aborted like crazy, hiding behind the skirts of poor women who were not seeking abortions at all, or at least no where near on that scale.

And, sadly, reform Jewish women led the way for abortion rights. It's something that grieved me very much and I still do not understand. I really can't say much about this because I guess that's what "reform" means, which is to lose one's core faith. That's why to this day I do not consider reform Jews to be followers of Judaism. But even if one is not a devout Jew, would one not have a slight shudder at pushing abortion for historic and cultural reasons? You would think. But, young people, this is how the seculars worked on tempting reform Jewish men and women. They explained that a genetic disorder, Tay Sachs disease, which is predominant among Jewish genetic profiles, can be identified in the womb and the baby aborted. The temptation was that it's not birth control, it's eliminating a birth defect. But it took off like paper on fire and of course became one of the most enshrined "rights" of the liberal cultural Jews. Orthodox Jews responded differently. Some adopted screening before marriage in order to not marry a partner who would together create a mutual high risk profile and thus avoid the temptation of abortion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_Sachs-Disease

So I hope this helps you to see that various small enfranchised interests pushed for abortion, and this was not one of those great "glass ceiling" "barriers" to "women's equal rights" that "all women" were "advocating for." Special interest groups pushed abortion for their own agenda and then coalesced to push it (like a drug) as a tool against "inequality" and "poverty."

They corrupted agencies and organizations that started out as good intentioned. Planned Parenthood USED to be about planning families, not preventing families. I fully supported Planned Parenthood when they were about managing one's birth spacing and creation of a family. Back then they freely discussed even that Catholic approved method of "rhythm" and research was being done with thermometers and so forth to try to refine the predictability of women's natural cycles. But then they got hooked on the drug of abortion and they now should be ashamed of keeping the "Planned Parenthood" trademark.

Also, there was a big population management push in the 1970's and at first I thought they were reasonable too. This is because to me population management means "family spacing." It means giving women, and men, the understanding to space out their births in a healthy way, rather than have continual child bearing. Islam supports family spacing (with use of birth control but not abortion) and Catholics support family spacing (if natural rhythm method is used and definitely not abortion). I always thought that family spacing could have been a more reasonable approach toward the overpopulation problem of that other darling of the communist lovers, China, back when they instituted their "one child, forced abortion otherwise" policy. I had hoped that a pro family "family spacing" movement could have mitigated and prevented abortions and also reduce suffering in impoverished areas. But abortion lovers hijacked all population management associations too, so like with Planned Parenthood, I dumped my support of them in the 1980's.

I hope this helps you, especially the young people, understand how this really was not a movement like Civil Rights, far from it, and that it came from very dubious groups with not very nice agendas, under closer examination.

I enjoy Billy Graham's column very much

Reverend Billy Graham has a daily column that the paper I buy most days carries and I enjoy it very much. It is called "My Answer" and each column answers one question from a reader. I really enjoy reading his answers and his linkages to scripture, and praise his pastoral wisdom.

In fact, I've started clipping each column and then inserting them in one of my Protestant bibles according to the scripture he cites in his answer. You might enjoy doing the same thing. It's yet another way that scripture and the Bible becomes alive in a real daily basis.

As a Catholic of course I might phrase and tweak a few little things in his answer differently, maybe five percent at most! *wink* But his great spirit of love for Jesus Christ and God, and his wisdom, compassion and common sense are wonderful and I fully endorse his answers.

My blogging may be sparse

It's not that I don't want to, far from it, I wish I could do more, lacking the ability to teach in person. But there are three things going on.

One is that I am a bit fatigued. Two is that when I'm fatigued and feeling arid I tend to retreat into more artistic and hobby activities. This morning I made a collage that is an Icon of Jesus over laid upon a painting of a singing sparrow (remember his parable on this subject).

The third and main reason is this is one of those "astrological times" where cultists decide that I need to have inconsistent communications to fulfill their expectations about what stupid imaginary planetary "forces" order, and so they have done their usual hassling of my connectivity and so forth. That's one reason I still run astrology charts every day; it helps me to prepare for the various tired and nasty forms of harassment that they trundle out of the closet on the same tired predictable "astrological occasions." If astrology had any truth they'd not have to do trickery, but that's always been the point of the problem, as the Bible warns and explains. Charltons claim special powers and "spirituality" but it's the same old sad tricks.

On a lighter note I've started writing a little book of memoirs about my observations of the world and society as a child. I'm writing it in longhand in a notebook to avoid Internet snoops ruining the surprise and the pleasantry of it all.