Thursday, December 31, 2009

Suggested New Year's resolution

1 Paralipomenon 22:19

Give therefore your hearts and your souls to seek the Lord your God.

[This was spoken by King David as he instructed the princes of Israel, for being aged, David was preparing to die.]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Third of end of calendar year thoughts

To try to understand how deviated and misplaced the emphasis of most people has become, think about the following scenario.

How different would the world be today-immediately-if people thought about and spoke about and wrote about God as often as they individually thought about and spoke about and wrote about diets and weight loss?

That alone is both reassuring (how easy it would be to do so) and terrifying (because it shows how far most people individually have deviated from the appropriate proportion of God in one's life). It's impossible to avoid in casual or media conversation obsession about weight gain, but it is quite easy to go for days, weeks or months without anyone routinely mentioning or proclaiming God.

Second of a few end of calendar year thoughts

This will be short and to the point, but it is the "great unspoken," so I will once again speak and say it.

Another year has gone by, capping another decade that has gone by, without genuine justice, truth telling and peace in the Middle East.

I have found myself wondering often, as I see the evidence most clearly before me, if many humans have been so deluded that they genuinely prefer to see Armageddon type so called "signs" in the Middle East, rather than roll up their sleeves and achieve genuine and honorable peace and justice. You know who I mean.

The angels proclaimed their declarations from God upon the birth of Jesus of peace to men (people) of "good will." There will be no peace in the Middle East until people get back to work on it in the transparent and fresh air of truthfulness and genuine good will. Again, this comes down to living righteously, not self proclaimed self-righteousness.

First of a few end of calendar year thoughts

Hi everyone. Rather than long postings I'm just going to type in a few musings, keeping them to a few moments of reflection. I hope these help to ease some of the angst and regrets that many have about the sadness of the 2000-2009 years.

Many have written really good columns reflecting on this somewhat nameless decade, mentioning how instead of having names like the "80's" or the "90's," the "00's" really have no verbiage except the old expression, the "aughts." Aught is an old fashioned expression that indicates when the digit 0 is used as a place holder in a number. Old school marms would tell their students to write on the chalk board, in the year 1800 for example, "one, eight, aught, aught" instead of saying to write "one, eight, zero, zero." So the best anyone could come up with is calling this nearly past decade "the aughts."

I know that many are thinking that "the aughts" is certainly a correct name as a pun, regarding the regrets and totally missed opportunities for any sort of improvement or enlightenment, peace, love and reconciliation, as those are the "ought" to haves, or the "oughts." Hardly anyone has wrapped themselves in glory the past decade and they have, instead, missed nearly every opportunity to make a wise and/or generous choice in most matters. Even what seemed like great advances or victories, or progress, nearly all ring hollow now, often surprisingly soon after these victories were achieved. I'm not being critical about specifics right now, simply summing up the zeit geist (the spirit of the times, where spirit means the mood of the times) of the past decade.

Regular readers know that one reason the aughts were the oughts was that many beliefs and goals have slowly been revealed as being imaginary, false, unjust or simply plain wrong headed. The truth is never slow to be revealed, for lies are revealed in a flash, the moment the truth is spoken in anyone's hearing. No, it is the acceptance that one has been deceived, taught wrongly, or self deluding that is slower than a snail's pace in dawning.

The aughts aka the oughts are the culmination of previous (snappily named) decades of delusion and misguided focus (on all fronts in all areas of secular life and of course tremendous amounts of false prophecy in the spiritual life). It is like vats of sad gooey slowly burning tar has fallen onto many people's heads, but that tar has been collected and cooking for several decades now.

Here is the second problem with the aughts aka the oughts. Not only do you have the first problem whereby this soon past decade is the culmination (unpleasant consequences) of lack of truth and very bad goals, but the second problem is that even when the truth dawned of bad choices, many continued to try to use the false tools to "fix" things, the tools that were fashioned based on error and delusion in the first place. Often people who claimed to "think outside the box" were those most guilty of being stuck in tar, gum and chains inside a false box to begin with.

The only way to make the next decade bearable is to return to genuine faith and reasoning, with authentic search and emphasis for truth and justice, and not the "identity theft" that faith, reasoning, truth and justice have been subjected to. If I had to give a sound byte or a slogan to help focus good intentions for the next decade it would be to regain authentic understanding of righteousness.

The righteous man or woman, boy or girl not only are the ones who will gain heaven, but they are the ones who have the correct leavening of faith and reasoning to live life honorably and to pursue genuinely virtuous goals. Without faith based righteousness (as opposed to the undesirable self righteousness) each person and their communities are like compasses that not only lack the needle, the markings of the cardinal directions, but also lack the proper container, and one is only grasping at agenda and illusion rather than the truth.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Understanding "why" religions "exist"

I heard someone kind of stumble through a bit of a debate with a talk show host today and during my listening I heard the caller make the same old error in both facts and logic that you all are dealing with in the past two generations. In fact, this error has been taught in schools, so you are not alone in hearing it and taking it for granted. Here is the statement that is not factual or logical:

"Religions were developed by humans in order to make them behave in the way the society feels is proper."

Um....nooooooo, that's so wrong that it doesn't even pass the first and simplest criticism.

But before I shred the facts and logic, let me tell you the proper statement that is factual and logical, and thus you can follow my critique and criticism more easily. Here is a factual and logical truthful statement:

"Religions were developed as a means to interact with divine forces. A true religion is one based on actual interaction with the actual one and only God. A false religion is one based on presumed interactions with divinities that in actuality do not exist."

Here is the first and simplest way to totally refute the first statement and prove the second statement. What part of the pagan religion of the Greeks and Romans (worshipping the various gods of Olympus such as Zeus/Jupiter, Hera/Juno, Mars/Ares, etc) is an attempt to codify good behavior in humans? *tick tock tick tock tick tock....ring ring ring!* That's right: absolutely none. The pagan religions have two purposes and thus two activities (the "what" and the "why"), and one purpose/activity (the "what") is to tell stories (mythologies) about all the things those rascal gods are up to: sex, booze, jealousy, warfare, lots of lying and deception, tons of coveting, etc. So the Greek/Roman religions were filled with voyeuristic watching, through stories, of the shenanigans of the gods, and were certainly not templates for human behavior, and not even an idiot would have written down those mythologies claiming they inspire righteous behavior.

The second component, the "why" of those Greek/Roman beliefs is that they feared the world, which they did not understand, and so they projected (a human psychological term) their own "what if I were a god" thoughts upon the supposed supernatural forces. Ancient story tellers and elders would have thought of, using what they thought were reasonable assumptions, that gods were just like humans but much more powerful, and thus they organized their thoughts about the supernatural to resemble what "all powerful" human families (aka syndicates) would act like. So the "why" is that if gods were just like humans but with hair trigger anger and lots of gift/punishment ability, let's set up a system to worship and appease them with sacrifice and flattery.

So this is the easiest and most obvious way for you to see that for centuries, and indeed thousands of years, false religions developed because humans started with the "what you see is what you get" notion of a template for the so called gods and goddesses, which is what "we humans do here on earth, well, they must do the same thing but on a super scale 'up there.'" That is the opposite of a religion being developed to codify righteous behavior, because false religions imagine that gods are just like humans but "more so."

Now let's look at a shade of gray area, which is Hinduism. And remember, as I've stated before, I've never criticized sincere traditional follows of any religion, but I will point out error (and have done so including in my own religious institution (not the doctrine) of the Catholic Church.) So here is the problem with Hinduism: what part of the most rigid caste system ever developed among humanity is a "way to make people behave better" or be more righteous? None, of course. However, you do start to see how even in religions that contain error, the impulse to understand and cultivate goodness is there, and that is why the erroneous but understandable principle of karma and/or reincarnation came into being. So Hinduism is like a blending of the two "whats" about why a religion is developed, why it comes into being: one part is the what of imagining that there are multiple gods in human like family groups with sex, war, coveting and so forth, and so sacrifice must be made to them because they will be angry, or to gain favor, but there is also the second part which is an attempt to interact with divinity by being good, and thus through some un-understandable way receive good karma and better reincarnation.

I explained that the Holy Spirit of the one true God does indeed move among all people of the world, all the time, believers or non-believers (more urgently in the latter, obviously), in order to make the true one God known. Likewise people reach out to the "spirit," knowing in their hearts that there must be some ultimate goodness, even if it cannot be seen. In this effort the people who first codified Hinduism felt a touch of the Holy Spirit and interpreted that in some unseen way one does live on forever based on good behavior.

Buddhism is a prime example of what I am saying, even though people who don't give it much thought ascribe the first hypothesis (the erroneous one) to its existence. People have a reflexive, and understandable, though wrong, thought that since much of Buddhism is about goodness and good behavior that it must have developed for that reason. Well, the history shows otherwise. People, including the Buddha, do not meditate in order to come up with a list of good behaviors and thus "invent" a religion! If they wanted to "invent" a religion they would consult lawyers, judges, elders and so forth and have a list of do's and don'ts. No.... a person who goes into a contemplative life, one filled with meditation, is not trying to come up with a list of do's and don'ts, but is trying to communicate with divinity. So once again, like the Hinduism, Buddha and the early Buddhists touched some aspects of the Holy Spirit, but did not discern the presence of the one God. A key difference is that we know that the Buddha had disciples who wrote down his thoughts and thus created a system for passing on and amplifying the insights and conclusions of his meditations. Again, that's further demonstration that the Buddha's disciples were not setting out to "invent" a religion to "control" or encourage good behavior per se, though they were obviously pleased at whatever work they did that did so as a result.

So here is how you can now turn to the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and easily understand they were not "developed" in order to "make people be good." God initiated conversation with Adam and Eve when they were in Eden, when they had "everything," when they had no need to be "good." God started "talking" to human beings directly at a time when God provided everything for them, not when they were lawless and needing "goodness." A true religion arises (as distinct from being developed or invented) when humans have authentic communication with the actual one true God.

The caller argued that Judaism/Christianity was "invented" when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Um, what? That was thousands of years after when God first made himself known and had many, many, many generations of interactions with believers who had a genuine relationship with him. Um, the religion had already come into being at the first moment of genuine communication with the one true God, well before God responds to the needs of humans in order to serve him (not in order to be "good") by giving them his Laws.

Remember, humans were already "good" because they were created by God, and all his creations were deemed "good" by God. So there is a vast difference between "good behavior," which should be the desire of all people, and "knowing and serving God," which is the purpose of true religion of the true God.

Adam and Eve did not fall from God's favor because they had unlawful or bad behavior in the way that modern humans think of it. They fell because they disobeyed the one thing God told them not to do, which is to try to duplicate what God himself only is able to do. They wanted the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge not so they could commit more burglaries or engage in voter fraud, or have domestic violence, etc.... they wanted to have the wisdom that God alone has. And who tempted them? Not the angel who runs around committing grand larceny, molesting little kids, robbing banks, declaring wars, etc, but the angel who thought he knew as much or if not as much then at least the loopholes of God, the angel who would not serve, Lucifer.

So there is nothing in the thousands of years of factual, legitimate and truthful dialogue between the one true God and the humans who heard and believed him that is a step by step cookbook or programming exercise in developing a list of good behaviors for humans to follow. What you do have is a history of people trying to understand God, know God and most of all, serve God, no matter how imperfectly. When one faithfully loves and knows God, good behavior is a natural outflow of serving God.

Here is where people who still have some trouble with what I am explaining raise the following (bogus but understandable) comparison. "Yes," they say, "But you say pagans sacrifice to false gods out of fear of their moodiness and capriciousness based on their power over humans. So why does the true God 'make' people sacrifice to him, as in the Old Testament?"

Ah, but if you read the passages in Genesis about sacrifice (many of which I have keyed into this blog and commented on), each of the earliest sacrifices (starting with the first documented by Cain and Abel) were not done for fear of God, but to celebrate "giving back" part of their harvests. Sacrifice to God is not idolatry but the first form of tithing, of returning to God a part of what God has given to people in the first place. Each and every subsequent building of an altar and an offering of sacrifice to God commemorated gratitude for a significant event. Abraham was and remains the model for understanding the true purpose of building an altar and offering a sacrifice, so do read the passages where he does so and you'll better understand what I mean.

When God codified the requirements of sacrifice through Moses (where he made formal ritual and requirements for sacrifice) he did so thousands of years after people had already been behaving in godly ways in service to him and had been sacrificing in honor and tithing to God. God made more formal requirements for two reasons (and notice none of them are to "make people behave better.") The first reason is that when people did commit sin they needed a consistency in paying a penalty to God. So the people as a whole were expected to do the same thing upon the same occasions for the same reason that if one of your children lies you make them do without dessert while if the other child lies you beat them, that would be a gross inconsistency. Humans have enough trouble with understanding the All Knowingness and All Power of God, and humans are notoriously bad at determining the price of "other people's" "sin." Imagine if God had not regulated sacrifice how if the person who caught the envy of someone in power would suffer odious requirements for "penance," while for the same "sin" the buddy of the chief would get off with sacrificing an old shoe or something. So God required a constancy and consistency of sacrifice when humans had reached the point where they would be tempted to use God's "forgiveness" in self serving ways.

The second reason that Laws and accompanying sacrifice and other rituals became codified by God is so that people would not have to imagine, rightly or wrongly, what was "all right" or "OK" to do to serve God and what was not. Remember, God has chosen his people, the Israelites, so they were already his, as he led them through Moses out of slavery. Now God is telling them how to serve him, not "how to behave good." Serving God is the first and utmost requirement and it is no coincidence that the Commandments are ordered accordingly. If one truly honors the name of God, fears God, loves God and keeps one's self sanctified to him, one then does not really want to murder, steal, lie and covet.

It's not like the Israelites were all running around in the desert robbing banks or something, and so God puts His foot down and says, "They need some laws to behave right." No, God explained to them how to serve God, and that is the job that they were failing miserably at (all the backsliding into idolatry even as God is right there with them, for example), not lawlessness or bad behavior. In the later books in the Bible, those before and during the captivity to Babylon, you read about the lawlessness and bad behavior in all those conventional ways (rich extorting the poor, etc) but that was because they had already abandoned so much of their service to God in their hearts. Bad behavior is an outflow of not sanctifying one's self to God's service. That is why a person could commit a million "good deeds" to "help fellow humanity" and yet still not be saved because it is serving God that earns one heaven, which is unmerited grace, not "works" or "good behavior."

Notice that Jesus Christ in preaching the Beatitudes, his first great (mega-) sermon to the crowds, that he starts not with a list of "good behavior" or don'ts, but in comforting those who were doing without through no fault of their own the goodness of life's joys.

Matthew 5:1-12
And seeing the crowds, he went up the mountain. And when he was seated, his disciple came to him. And opening his mouth he taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for my sake.
Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven; for so did they persecute the prophets who were before you.

If you truly read and examine the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament, you will notice, just as in the Old Testament, how little is "do's" and "don'ts" of good behavior. It is ALL about serving God and thus goodness is the outflow from what comes first, knowing, honoring and fearing God (read my series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to understand how the path to sanctity in service to God is scripturally explained).

Think about this carefully because Jesus is the "beginning" of Christianity. How much of what Jesus preached is codifying "laws" for Christian "good behavior?" This is an easy question to get wrong because Jesus is the model of good Christian behavior, but not because he set forth more or less do's and don'ts. Thus no one can read the Gospel and say that people "made it up" in order to "make people behave good." Christianity is so obviously not invented with the purpose of making more ordered, law abiding, good behaved people. Christianity is the heralding of the New Covenant with the already well understood God, and in the New Covenant of serving God by understanding Jesus to be Lord and Savior (the Messiah), good behavior is the natural outflow of genuine sanctification in God's sight by emulating and following Jesus as he actually was, not how he was imagined or caricatured.

You understand a man or woman by where he or she places their priorities in life. We all know people who care the most about their jobs, or their children, their health or their addictions, etc. Whenever you get a little lost about understanding the divine and human complexity of Jesus, read Matthew 5:1-12 over and over, and think of this. Of all the things he could have stated in the opening of his first, great mega-sermon, he chose to list the comforts, including seeing God, that those who genuinely lack in the joys of life today will receive. He did not start with a list of admonishments of bad behavior. Jesus' priority was to turn those who were poor, unhappy and suffering due to shortages in life toward God's nearness, and not in chastising those who have any part in causing deprivation or suffering. Why? Because Jesus came in order to show the people the face of God via the human form of Jesus and draw people nearer to God, not to regulate their behavior.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
Jesus does not have to list all the ways that people have dirty hearts and then tell them not to do it and chastise them, reminding them of certain punishment. If Christianity were "invented" so that people "behaved better," then this would be the starting place to list all the problems, loopholes, errors and bad thinking, but 1) that has already be covered in abundance throughout the Old Testament and 2) God is comforting those on the right path, that of service to and trusting in God, the Father.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Jesus does not have to list all the "bad" wars, and explain "good conflict" from "inappropriate conflict." Again, if you serve God honestly and with a whole heart it becomes rather obvious who is a peacemaker and who is not. Jesus is reaching out God's comfort to those who already are on the path to being children of God because they have their hearts open to Jesus' message and they need his comfort.

So, to wrap up this posting and give you time to think about what I've touched upon here, do not fall into the trap of agreeing with something that sounds "logical" and "obvious" but does not, if you pause even briefly, stand up to any scrutiny or proof. It seems so "logical" that religions were "invented" so that people "behave good," yet the history of each religion shows that this is not at all what/why and "how" religions were "developed" at all! It's amazing how in these modern generations such errors are repeated over and over. If you asked one hundred years ago any person "why religion" "existed," he or she would have answered "to know God." It's only recently that it seems that everything people used to understand has been removed from their brains, willfully, and replaced with agenda and phoniness. Modern control freaks think that their ancestors were control freaks, and it just was not so and the proof is in the actual writings of each faith. True faiths, even those based on some error, all stem from a genuine attempt to reach and commune with God in understanding and good will. False faiths are those who do not connect authentically with the Holy Spirit, and those that attempt to diminish the all power and control of the one true God into a flawed human model. But even the most false of the faiths (the Greek and Roman pantheon of so called gods) did not arise because some author was trying to "get the people to be good." Har, har, ha ha, some models those were, if so. No, it was from those people's misunderstanding that divinity must be flawed like humans, of trying to pull the presumed dwellers of the firmament down to earth to be "like humans" but with "godly powers." So even the falsest of the well known "religions" of modern times did not spring from the presumed agenda based ambitions of someone with the intention of "thinking up some religion to make people be good." Sometimes the facts are just ridiculously obvious, but one must not be bum rushed into believing something that sounds so "logical," yet withstands absolutely no real scrutiny.

(Hi young people, miss you....) thinking of you as always and hoping that you in particular find this helpful. Someday some of you must tell me just what they ARE exactly teaching in schools, if not facts and logic? Hmm.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today's thoughts about the priesthood

Regular readers know that one of my constant prayer intercessions are for increased vocations, specifically for priests.

While reading another cautiously optimistic article about increased enrollments in seminaries and a new tide of young people who are giving serious thoughts about becoming priests, I thought of another way to explain the joy of the calling to what many perceive to be a thankless (or even unnecessary) "job."

For a Christian, acknowledging Christ as both Lord and Savior is a lifelong endeavor. One does not "Savior insurance policy" one's way into making Christ truly the Lord of their life. So the analogy I thought of just now is that a priest provides continual soul maintenance and "preventative medicine."

We know in the field of medicine that "preventative medicine" is both essential and also neglected, perceived as being not glamorous or profitable. However, those of all religions who are called to their faith's vocations understand that they are like maintenance people/preventative medicine experts rather than glamorous surgeons who operate one time to save a life. Christians are, and should be, no different. Even if one has that moment of committing to Christ and thus, as many evangelicals call it, "being saved," to hold only that view is to believe that one surgery fixes all of a person's medical problems for life. We know that it obviously not true in real life. Likewise, as we read in the Bible the Old Testament priests were there for the ongoing health of each person's soul, which does stumble often during life, if one is honest. Sin, temptation, bad thoughts and bad behavior abound. Also, just as in a marriage, one's connection to God must be constantly demonstrated and renewed, or it is suspect as being hollow and taking the "marriage" partner for granted.

So I often think of priests as, yes, those who save souls for God, the way evangelicals think of the Great Commission, but day to day I think of priests as the preventative medicine guys, the ones who carry the burden of continual maintenance (which any corporate employee can tell you is the least glamorous but most essential job in a company). Many individuals witness and bring people to God, if Christian, through Christ. But the priests maintain the sacraments, the methods that Jesus provided through his example, in order to keep the relationship with God flowing and growing, helping their flock to avoid the dangers and pitfalls, and helping them in the stumbles that many take throughout life.

I hope that this reflection has been helpful and ask you to join me as I pray for and support growing vocations, and the young men who are called to be deacons and priests. Likewise too I never forget the women and men who are called to consecrated religious life in communities, and I pray too for their increase in both numbers and their fervor for God as he really is, ever present in all the people.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My opinion regarding bishops attached to abuse charges

I am writing this to give my opinion about bishops who are, with good reason (not witch hunt false charges), attached to the sexual abuse charges of either covering up or, equally as bad, being negligent in overseeing the purity of spiritual subordinates.

I believe every one of you who covered up or who looked the other way, or who should have investigated but did not, should offer your resignations. This is why.

Being a bishop does not, no matter how much the verbiage and process sound like it, confer higher status or spirituality. I'm saying this in comfort, not in criticism. You must not become so attached to the responsibilities, authority and prestige of being a bishop so much that you view stepping away from it as a diminishing. The highest genuine honors of serving God, and one's flock, is to be a parish priest or priest to a community, or even the contemplative life.

If any of you bishops (including ones who are not in some sort of hot water) cannot follow the imagery I am going to offer you, you have to do some prayer and soul searching.

Imagine that you are no longer serving a bishop's capacity, but you are back to being a parish priest, or one attached to a seminary in a formation capacity, or even entering contemplative service in a monastery. How much of this image makes you feel diminished? Compare this to the feeling of release and of being freed of burdens that separate you from first hand contemplation of God through celebrating the Mass, hearing confessions, prayer, etc.

It is not just humility that caused many saints, when priests, to literally flee when the role of bishop was thrust upon them. Most saints genuinely preferred being parish priests, or members of a community, or contemplatives than they did seeking that princely office. Some of them feigned madness or stupidity to avoid it ha.

If you are really in service to God and his flock, most of you should feel that if your bishop responsibilities were taken from you, that it would be a relief and that once again you are getting down to the brass tacks (American slang for back to the basics, the fundamentals). The more a person seeks being a bishop (or outside the Catholic church, giving themselves that title) the more I wonder why they are seeking it so very much. Usually the answer is that it is viewed as a promotion.

Friends, brothers, though, remember one thing. A promotion upward in human circles is usually a lateral promotion or a downward promotion away from God. Layers of artificial concerns intrude upon even the most well meaning bishop's office. If you stop thinking of a bishop's chair as being a promotion or "increased authority," you will move closer, again, to God. This is why I think this is a valuable mental imagery exercise of visualization for even well functioning bishops who are serene and capable in their calling. Once in a while remember that it's not really a promotion and, further, the most humble duties of a priest is usually that which is closest to God's heart.

I hope that you have found this helpful.
Honoring always JMJ.

Another meditation about God's love

Here is another thought about that subject, so that it can help you to better understand God and his mercy (which is not extended to the blatantly unrepentant, but that's another subject). God is the source of and the capacity for infinite love, on such a dimension of vastness that humans cannot comprehend. Here is a real life recollection of mine so you can compare (and also see things a bit from my point of view).

Years ago I had great affection and ardor for a man who did not return it (and indeed, was quite insincere). One of the women who worked for me, and who was on a friendly basis with me (though I cannot call it a friendship as she would never socialize with me beyond the occasional work luncheon) commented basically the following to me:

She said, with some disdain (kind of like she thought I was a rather pathetic sort) something like "I would find it a great turn-off to love someone who didn't love me in return." In other words, she thought it rather stupid and pathetic of me to care for someone who did not care for me in return.

I thought, but could not say at the time (since as my regular readers know, I was not public in my witnessing at that time, since it was both not my time yet and also a matter of my safety): "Wow, it's sure a good thing for YOU and for everyone else that God does not feel the same way!"

You see, God is used to loving humans who do not love him in return. In fact, if you think about it, there's no human that deserves his love at all, yet he continues to pour it onto them, mostly through the constant urging and nudging of the Holy Spirit, who tries to reach and soften even the hardest of hearts.

If God felt the way this lady suggested, there would be no human beings at all, none would be created and none would be alive.

God understands that no one can love him the way he is able to love a human. He doesn't expect even a fraction of what he can extend in love. But constant scorn and negligence of God is not only foolhardy but also such a wasted opportunity, since God extends such leeway in the amount of love that he would find pleasing from any human being. If God was "turned off" by a human not loving him in return, well, let's just say earth would be abundant in plant and animal life, a garden of Eden, with no non-loving humans!

But God created humans in his own image and as a result 1) they all have the capacity to love God and 2) the Holy Spirit works constantly to touch the heart of every human being with love, whether they believe or not, and whether they love in return or not.

For you idiot cult believers, she was a Libra ha ha, you know, the sign of "relationship experts" har har har.

How can humans ever spiritually advance, say nothing of being saved, if they consider love a "you first then maybe I will love in return" game?

Really, it is sad.

Another thought, what if before Jesus was born, Jews were given ballots with a brief description of him in advance, and could vote whether he was worthy of their love before "allowing" him to be born? Like I said, if God waits for the love first, none of you would be around, alive, at all, that is for sure.

I hope that you have found this helpful.

And, to show you I always think of you.... Hey again, my young people readers and fans! I wish that I could speak with you in person. When you wrestle with love and its issues, be sure to think of what I just said, which is that God loves you first, no matter how much love you offer him in return. Believe me, if you begin to know God as he really is, you would not be able to halt in loving him, no matter how much you tried! :-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas meditation

I'd like you to think about something, so I'm presenting it as a meditation, one that is easily applicable to anyone who believes in the one true God and the Holy Spirit. It's particularly appropriate to think about on Christmas Day, however, it is something that I try to explain to people in my spiritual direction ministry all the time.

While the Holy Spirit must and needs to be defined in a number of ways in order to be truthfully understood, there is a meditative image that is also proper and essential, which is to think of the Holy Spirit as God breathing outward and exuding pure love.

Many Christians think that they understand God's love because they are grateful to God for the gift of salvation, after suffering and rejection on their behalf, of God the Father's Son Jesus Christ. Friends, here is what I am trying to share with you. Even if you fully understand and appreciate God's love in the form of Jesus Christ's love for you and sacrifice on your behalf, you only understand a fraction of God's love.

Loving God through Jesus Christ is good and it is correct, but understand it this way. To consider yourself completely aware of God's love only through the gift of Jesus Christ is like loving your parent because he or she gave to you an awesome and perfect present. You are still in danger of only loving your parent, and in this case God, because he gave you the best gift that you ever had. You still are not loving God, and thus, not feeling in return, all of God's love that you could experience, just as you are not appreciating the parent for all that he or she does because of the awesome one time for all gift.

In other words, I am telling you that you can understand and experience God's love directly, which is the source of the gift of Jesus Christ. In addition to loving God for having given to you, to all of you, Jesus Christ, you should also love God, and receive his love, simply for being God day after day, minute after minute. God is constantly exuding, through the Holy Spirit, a purity and constancy of love that few, except the most special saints through the ages, have comprehended even exists. But the Bible is complete with beautiful words, often those of God himself, expressing his love before he sent the best gift of his love in the form of Jesus Christ.

Do not love God because he gives you things, either real or imaginary (as you assume to have "abilities" that you presume are from the Spirit) because even as correct or well intentioned that love is, it is only a fraction of the entire spectrum of love that constantly beams down from God in the heavens upon you. That is another useful analogy. Loving God for all he has given to you is good, and correct, but if you love God only for the good things you have received (or hope to receive) it is like loving just the yellow visible band of light in the light spectrum, without loving the light itself.

If one experiences even for a few seconds a genuine acceptance and reciprocation of God's pure love through the Holy Spirit, it is amazing beyond belief and makes all other imagined loves (and transcendental experiences) fade in comparison into nothingness... but here's the thing. God's pure love through the Holy Spirit does not rival earthly attachments but enhances them in their goodness too. In other words, you do not become addicted to being totally within God's love through the Holy Spirit, rather, you are able and empowered to experience genuine earthly love... you do not need continual "hits" in order to carry on. Once one realizes in one's heart the amount of love that is available from God through his Holy Spirit, it does not have to be "re-administered" as if it were a ritual or a "high," but it makes you aware of the light in its fullness, even as you continue to live in the partial reality of material and earthly life.

When you feel the pureness of the Holy Spirit's God bearing love for you, it rocks your world and changes you forever. Rather than detaching and diminishing it makes you more protected and secure within actual reality, including life in an imperfect world. Too many modern "meditations" lead people away from attachment to the source of all pure love, which is God through his Holy Spirit. As one thinks one is reaching spiritual enlightenment and spiritual strengthening, one is actually detaching not only from the reality of the world, but the reality of God's personal and individual love available to you.

Here is another analogy to help. Suppose that your mother gave you an awesome gift, the best gift you could ever have, and it is a good thing to have, for it is godly and worthy. But suppose by having that gift you are immensely grateful to her for giving it to you, but you forget about all the times she bound your wounds when you fell, encouraged you in your homework, gave you hugs and kisses even when you considered yourself too grown up for them, when she went without new things of her own in order to provide for you, etc. You have become so blinded by the one awesome gift that she gave to you that you no longer notice how she does the other 99 percent of the time things of love and sacrifice FOR you, not given to you. Likewise you could love your father for something great that he gave to you, but forget that he labors in a job he detests but endures in order to support you.

That's how it often is with God. Even the most godly person is overwhelmed with gratitude for God's gift of the Savior Jesus Christ so much so that he or she no longer gives or seeks God's day to day love, in its most awesome and even knee shaking form, the pure love of God given to you through the Holy Spirit. It's like even the most godly people are so focused on being (correctly) grateful to God and the things he has given to them (both individually and also in the form of the Savior) that they never experience and thus do not feel even a fraction of the awesome purity of God's love like a beam of the purest gold and silver enfolding them in wings. If you catch the Holy Spirit's eye in genuine love, not trying to "summon" its "force," the purity of love will just about bowl you over and it will change you and your understanding of God forever.

Irish Cathedral gutted by fire Christmas Day

All I wanted to say was to remember to thank God that no one was injured and I most especially want to thank the brave fire and police personnel. I know, having grown up in the snow belt in the USA, fighting a fire in sub freezing temperatures is one of the most difficult and dangerous challenges. A cathedral can be rebuilt, and the people's faith continues in their heart, but a fire fighter's life cannot be restored, so I thank them for all they have done and am glad that they are safe, while they strive to determine the cause.

My condolences to the Bishop and his diocese and parishes.

Article and photographs in the local paper:

The dark side of Christmas

Unfortunately this is also the day that all the phony bull crap cult "believers" kiss the arses of each other, celebrating the "reincarnated" (there is NO reincarnation at all) baby bejesuses in their family, and of course all the "reincarnated" so called mumsymarys, etc. I tend not to have much dinner on Christmas because thinking of those blasphemers makes me puke. Think of all the times they have worked their mugs (American slang for faces) into holy card poses for distribution to not only their so called believers, but into the hands of honest Christians who don't know that these people have totally infiltrated the religious art world. (Advice: stick to devotional art and religious representations based on paintings and art from more than one hundred years ago. Many modern images, including those you get in the mail, wittingly and unwittingly have the sour faces of these cult crazies who make their supposedly holy pouts to the camera, paintbrush or airbrush).

Sorry for the commercial interruption but God expects me to repeat and repeat the truth as clearly stated in the Torah, Bible and the Qur'an, over and over until some people pick up the clue telephone from the real and only one true God. It makes me SICK that people who have never had a saintly thought in their entire lives continue to kiss each other's arses congratulating themselves on their wonderfulness, based on biology, false works and delusions (also assisted by lots of mind altering drugs, booze and brain damage).

In a way, this continued problem of blasphemers and false prophets underscores what I blogged about recently, that the actual one and only Holy Family had little time to celebrate the birth of the only, once for all Savior, as phony power brokers, such as King Herod, the Pharisees and the Scribes, could hardly wait to start their murderous hatred and blasphemy. In the days after Christmas we celebrate or, rather, commemorate the first martyrs, the little babies of Bethlehem that Herod slaughtered in order to try to kill the infant Jesus. We also commemorate the first disciple killed after Jesus' resurrection into heaven, St. Stephen, as recorded in the Book of Acts.

If you have been stuck in the darkness of cult families and associates, try to make this the Christmas where you start to understand the truth.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Photo Album

To those of you new to my blog in the past year, please look at my Christmas Photo Album by following the label.

Even those of you who have seen it before, a year since might have deepened your perspective of it...

Excerpt from 1600 yr old Christmas sermon

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, born in Antioch, Syria lived from c. 347 to 407 and was famed for his preaching. Here is the first fifth or so of his Christmas morning sermon. So yes you are reading a Christmas sermon that is one thousand six hundred years old, spoken only a few hundred years after Jesus Christ lived.

I behold a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in the place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of Justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, He had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God. The day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

When he was born the Jews denied His extraordinary birth; the Pharisees began to interpret falsely the Sacred Writings; the Scribes spoke in contradiction of that which they read. Herod sought Him out Who was born, not that he might adore, but to put Him to death. Today all things proclaim the opposite. For they have not been, that I speak with the psalmist, hidden from their children, in another generation (Ps. lxxvii. 4). And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead. And behold kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory; soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven; women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of childbirth into joy; virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy; infants, that they might adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings, He might perfect praise; children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod; men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants; shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep; priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech; servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom (Phil. ii. 7); fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men; publicans, to Him Who from amongst then named a chosen Evangelist; sinful women, to Him Who exposed His Feet to the tears of the repentant; and that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.

Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, nor shaking the Thyrsian staff, nor with the music of the pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ. For this is all my hope, this is my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing: Glory to God in the Highest; and with the shepherds, and on earth peace to men of good will.

This day He Who was ineffably begotten of the Father, was for me born of the Virgin, in a way no tongue can tell. Begotten according to His nature before all ages from the Father: in what manner He knows Who has begotten Him; born again this day from the Virgin, above the order of nature, in what manner knoweth the power of the Holy Spirit. And His heavenly generation is true, and His generation here on earth is true. As God He is truly begotten of God; so also as man is He truly born from the Virgin. In heaven He alone is the Only-Begotten of the One God; on earth He alone is the Only-Begotten of the unique Virgin.


From "The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers: A Manual of Preaching, Spiritual Reading and Meditation," Volume One, Translated and Edited by M. F. Toal, D.D., Ignatius Press, SF, 2000 (New Edition).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas for the sad & grieving

I just read the article in USAToday regarding the understandable sadness and gloom many families who have loved ones lost, wounded and/or traumatized at Fort Hood, due to the massacre, during what should be the joyous Christmas season, celebrating the infant Jesus, our Savior, being born. People are hurting, for many reasons, this Christmas. Here is my advice.

While Christmas, the celebrated Nativity of Jesus Christ, is a moment of great joy, most assuredly the most blessed gift by God to humanity, on that day or, rather, later in the week, it was not an occasion of unaffected joy. I'm not referring to the bogus story line of the "poor baby" or the "homeless" family, the secular, politically correct spin that ultimately destroys the message of that time. No, what I am referring to is that a mere several days after the birth of Jesus the Holy Family had to flee to save his life from slaying by King Herod. Not only that, the Holy Family, Joseph and Mary, and of course Jesus, would have known that King Herod slaughtered many male infants during that week, hoping that one of them would be the Savior himself. Christmas for the Holy Family was never about "family," "gift giving," or peace and joy. They held the promise of all of that and more in their arms, in the form of the Infant Jesus, but at that "first Christmas" they witnessed the first little martyrs, babies being torn from their parents' arms and dashed on the ground, cut to pieces by sword.

Matthew 2:13-23

But when they [the Magi who had brought gifts to the baby Jesus and who had been questioned by Herod] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and remain there until I tell thee. For Herod will seek the child to destroy him." So he arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and withdrew into Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod; that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son [Matthew is citing Osee 11:1].

Then Herod, seeing that he had been tricked by the Magi, was exceedingly angry; and he sent and slew all the boys in Bethlehem and all its neighborhood who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had carefully ascertained from the Magi. Then was fulfilled what was spoken through Jeremias the prophet, A voice was heard in Rama, weeping and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted for they are no more [Matthew is citing Jeremiah 31:15].

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." So he arose and took the child and his mother and went into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there; and being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee. And he went and settled in a town called Nazareth; and there might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

In Sunday school at the church I attend last week, one of the well read and long studied God and Bible loving women commented that Mary must have been so proud when Jesus was born. I gently corrected her and said, "How can that be, when mere days after he was born they had to flee for his life, knowing that innocent children were slaughtered behind them as Herod killed all who might have been Jesus with impunity?" Pride and "first Christmas joy" were the last emotions that Joseph and Mary would have felt. They had to worry about Jesus being killed only a few days after birth, and then for years after that.

Friends, those of you who are sad and suffering, burdened with grief, illness, poverty or oppression, must understand that Jesus himself, and his parents, never had "Baby's first Christmas," or even the second Christmas, or the third... Take comfort in knowing that you are struggling through an emotional hardship just as Jesus himself did, for he was born into a world not yet ready to have a "Happy" or "Merry" Christmas. His birth was celebrated by an evil King slaughtering all the boy infants of two years old or under in the neighborhood that had hosted Jesus' birth only a few days before. A Merry Christmas is the right thing to strive for, but remember that is also, like Jesus, a gift from God to a world that is not quite ready to deserve it, apparently.

So draw near spiritually to the Holy Family this Christmas, those of you who are grieving, who have experienced losses and you will be comforted by thinking of them as they actually were: on the run with a baby that a jealous King sought to kill and just to be "sure" he had, he killed all the baby sons in the neighborhood. Herod did not try to kill Jesus due to theology, or at the behest of Satan. No, he killed for the same reasons humans killed before and continue to do today: for power and control over others. Herod was afraid of being unseated in his political power.

Yet Jesus was born directly into danger, but not without protection, for God sent his angel to guide Joseph's steps. Notice the obedience of Joseph who at every time he received word from the angel of the Lord, he "arose" and immediately obeyed. Joseph also used his own leadership in recognizing that the son of Herod was an equal danger, and then received confirmation of that from the angel of the Lord.

People today often think that it was a giddy time of joy and pride for Joseph and Mary, when Jesus was born, and little could be further from the truth, as the events documented in the scripture shows.

However, there is nothing wrong with celebrating in the present the Nativity of Jesus with joy, happiness, fellowship, presents, overeating, and all the other festive events. But one would not be accurate to imagine that Jesus or his holy parents had such an experience, and not because of their presumed poverty and displacement from an inn while traveling. No, they had only a few days to marvel at the birth of Jesus until they were immediately put on the run by one of the most notorious baby killers of human history, Herod. They would have felt little pride or joy as word reached them that many grieved the slaughter of their infant sons.

So lean on them, those of you who mourn, and marvel that they persevered through such sorrow and persecution, and seek their spiritual consolation for your sadness. Those of you who do not sorrow but who seek deeper understanding of God, and of the Savior Jesus Christ, remember that a festive Nativity, a Merry Christmas, is a modern gift from God, but not a reenactment of the grim times that followed the birth of Jesus in actuality.

Osee 11:1,4,5
When Israel was child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son...I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer...he shall return to the land of Egypt...

The Bible is always read at two levels. One is the actual current reality which, in this passage from Osee, who was a prophet living seven hundred plus years before Jesus was born, who is chiding the faithlessness of the Israelites. But because scripture is the word of God, it must also be read with the understanding that much of what is current is also applicable and prophetic for the future, particularly when it comes to how humanity will be redeemed by the Messiah. Thus Matthew and the other disciples and Apostles would have learned from Jesus (and also through their own knowledge of scripture) which passages were fulfilled and completed in Jesus beyond their original reference when they were written. God is basically telling Osee that just as the patriarch Israel went to and from Egypt, treated as a son by God, someday his actual Son, the Messiah "shall return to the land of Egypt." If you read all of Osee 11 you will see this dual purpose of God's word, comforting them in the time of the exile to Babylon, but also forward looking to the Messiah with prophetic words.

Jeremiah 31:15-17
Thus says the Lord: In Rama is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy's land. There is hope for your future, says the Lord; your sons shall return to their own borders.

Again, you see the dual purpose, the present and the future hope and promise, of what the Lord says in scripture either directly or through his prophets, in this case Jeremiah. At some point Matthew and the other disciples would have recalled this scripture and understood that it applied both to the actual time of Jeremiah, but also to the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod. "The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward" refers to not only earthly consolation but also eternal consolation.

Special "hi" and "hey" again to the young people. I hope you have found too this to be helpful in helping you to understand how Christmas "really was," and thus regain some of the appreciation of the profundity of the Nativity. At Christmas each year we remember this greatest gift from God, the birth of Jesus, but place it in its true and actual historical context, not as a mishmash of sentimentalizing secular aspects, such as their "poverty" and "homelessness." This was about Jesus as Messiah, Savior and true King, so filled with authority from God that a human king, Herod, sought to kill him at birth simply from jealousy. Each Christmas people must ponder, has humanity changed and improved in this regard at all? At this point I'd not bet on it as spiritual envy is more powerful than ever, right along King Herod's secular envy. Pray for more truth and humility to defeat the snares of pride, which leads to infant killing and even worse, the loss of soul.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Understanding Revelation/Apocalypse

I really want to blog about Christmas, when I get back into the swing of things, as I've not blogged much, but before I do, here is a quick point. I'm raising this uncheerful topic again because people insist on bringing it up over and over again, yet with less rather than more understanding. I thought of a pithy way to put it in perspective for you, and hope that you will do so and then move on into living good, genuine, faithful and most of all believing in God mindset from here on out.

People have lost touch with something I've discussed before, so I will repeat it. We are far from seeing the Antichrist. We are, however, in the time of false prophets that Jesus spoke of, yet that does not at all mean that the Antichrist is imminent, as he is not. How do we know that? Because the Antichrist will be so terrible that he will make all of the evil humans that lived previously, such as Hitler, Pol Pot, etc look like teddy bears in comparison. His evil will be monstrous beyond current imagination. So do not waste your time further "wondering" if the Antichrist will be soon among you because he is not, nor will he be. With what people know today, no matter how depraved, brain damaged and morally challenged you have become, none of you would fail to recognize the Antichrist within one minute of viewing him.

So why did Jesus say that it will be like "a thief in the night," coming suddenly? The answer is simple. It will be sudden for the people who live during the time of the Antichrist because so many of them will be so depraved themselves that they will not recognize him as being evil. You see, at some point humans will degrade incredibly (even as their technology may continue to increase) as they increasingly surrender their own humanity. Then when he springs up he will seem like a great leader because compared to the filth of most of humanity, he will seem "effective," and "inspiring." That is because he will organize the surrendering of humanity based on the groundwork already laid in day to day degeneration.

Here are two analogies to help you understand what I am explaining. Suppose that a person today, even one of the lowest moral character, total disbelief in God, and lack of interest in charity was time traveled forward to the time of the Antichrist. That person would faint in horror at what the average person would be like and would spot the Antichrist, fear and loathe him in a New York minute. (That's just an expression, not linking NY to the Antichrist). The biggest thug of modern times if moved forward to the future would faint in horror at the sight of average people, and would of course spot the Antichrist immediately, even though few others of that time will do so.

How do I know this? That's kind of a "duh" question by now, is it not, but I want you to learn on your own how to understand the scriptures. The reason I know this and you should be able to deduce that too is that the Antichrist will have what no other human ever had, which is an indwelling of Satan. An indwelling of Satan will take the Antichrist, a human, to a point far, far FAR beyond what any evil madman of a human can or will ever achieve on his own.

But people will not recognize that of the time, and that is why the End of Days (the Apocalypse) will be a "surprise" to them. The people will have already laid the groundwork, unwittingly, for the Antichrist by accepting and adopting horrific life views and practices, ones that are being only sampled today. For example, the creation of false life by combining living humans and animals will be common and even thought to be "progressive." The road to hell is "paved with good intentions" as the saying goes, and the small steps people are taking today, if not stopped immediately, will be pathways from the laboratories into Frankenstein reality, and the Antichrist will take it to its ultimate, which will then trigger the Apocalypse.

My point is not to give you the scripture, which I of course can, to back up all I've written since I'd like to actually think about Christmas right now, thank you very much. But it's hard for me to avoid as even in Sunday school people who ought to know better are still glomming onto the Book of Revelation as if it is "about" to take place, and the news and pulpits are of course filled with it too, most inappropriately. All of that is an excuse to 1) avoid fixing the problems of today as the Bible (and the Qur'an) command otherwise and 2) total lack of understanding that while God and only God determines the Apocalypse he does so in response to the ultimate sinning and falling away of humankind in general. Only a total defeatist would think that humanity is at that point, as much as so much is horrible crap and neglect of human well being now. God triggers the Apocalypse when humans have gone way, way WAY too far, and as rotten and sinful as they are now, it's still a drop in the bucket of what the world will be like when the Antichrist arises from the corrupt soil that human nature will have made for itself.

So stop the crap and false propheting (and false profiting) and get on with the great Commission and spread the word of God, and of the Savior Jesus Christ, with genuine doctrine and understanding, and regain genuine understanding of charity.

The second analogy I want to give to you is the lobster in the slowly warming pot analogy. People who cook the shellfish called lobster know that the theory is that if you put the lobster in a lukewarm pot of water and slowly heat it, the lobster will go numb, fall asleep, become unconscious and then die. This is how disbelief will grow among humans, and how their total decay will take place. They will start out with the familiar and then gradually introduce more and more depravity and disbelief until each addition is not noticed. Each dose of depravity and disbelief will even seem comfortable and "logical." For example, more and more heinous medical "advances" will be made to "cure diseases," until people don't realize that they are creating interspecies humanity busting Frankensteins. Like the lobster they won't know that their humanity is warped, depraved and then dead and dying because each new dose will seem "compassionate," "fair," "logical" and "medical progress." That is just one example and you do not need to look far in the news to see humanity has put itself in the pot and the heat has just turned up a notch of their own doing.

The Antichrist will appear when people are at the second to last stage of this dying depravity, even though they themselves might think they are splendid, wonderful and thriving, since they've become used to the boiling water. That's why the worst thug alive today if forwarded through time to see anyone, even an average person, in that time would be horrified probably totally out of his mind. The people alive at that time won't have a clue what our theoretical thug will be so shocked, disgusted and horrified by, and they will wonder why he would in particular scream and go nuts at the sight of their superb leader, the Antichrist. Even the worst dirtbag lowlife of today who puts porn on the Internet of his or her own son or daughter would be horrified beyond his or her own capacity to endure it by what will be routinely going on the pre-End of Times "society." It is against THAT kind of backdrop that the two witnesses and others will speak up since of course not all will be deluded. There is no comparison at all between then and now except for one thing: humans refuse to understand they have put themselves into that pot and started to warm the water toward their own demise in preparation for the Antichrist in the far future.

When Jesus said to be watchful he did not mean to sit around like dumb stone heads and figure that "it's going to happen anyway." Yes, it is going to happen at some point that only God knows, but how can you ignore the mundane everyday evil, neglect and disbelief that is humanity's own created "plagues" now? You are supposed to care about how many souls of each generation hear the good news, believe and obey God, become saved and join God in eternal life, and not sit around thinking "Oh well, and I'm alright anyway." If you think that then you are NOT "alright."

Here is how to explain it. Remember how Jesus used the parable of the bride's attendants who are supposed to be ready before the wedding when the groom arrives? He points out that some are ready, but others let their wicks extinguish and are not ready. But here's the point: there IS a wedding, there IS joy and a real life. I think that some people today totally miss that Jesus is saying to be ready for collective and real life joy, in addition to the joy of his return. Otherwise the parable would be "And then they canceled the wedding because hey, after all, it was the End of Time and who cared anyway, except for their own assumed salvation?"

Are you the person who has extra oil, but figures not to share it with those who do not have it, simply because "Hey, the world's going to end anyway and 'I'm saved?'" Well, think again because with that attitude you are ignoring not only the great Commission but the example that Jesus Christ gave in the reality of good day to day life with preparedness, yes, but not "checking out" and neglecting life that is far from being ready to be extinguished.

Sheesh, I really wonder sometimes, what are people thinking. Well, unfortunately I know what they are thinking, but I find it hard to relate as to why they think that way and find it desirable to do so. A lot of it is pride and that ever craving for "specialness," where people think they "know" what is "going to happen" and that they are "OK with God," yet all they do is "phone in" their supposed faith instead of living it in a full and real life, one that is not going to be truncated by the Antichrist and his milieu to come.

If you really want to win souls for Christ then you don't want to hasten the depravity and hasten the neglect because that only increases day to day suffering of the innocent, but also loses souls rather than gains them for Christ as people lose hope in daily life as well as eternal life to come. Further, if you are not concerned with winning souls for Christ then you have to be a bit concerned if you really are supposedly "OK with God" after all.

When you die and are given individual judgment in front of God (and Satan will be the accuser, as he will know all the failings) do you think you can say "Well, I didn't care if others were comfortable and cared for in real life, nor did I care if they were saved, because I *knew* that I'd be *raptured* and that the Apocalypse is coming *soon...*" and then you look around and your mental voice trails off because after all, duh, you are there in front of God and obviously you weren't so called raptured and the Apocalypse did not happen, but you died of cancer, a heart attack, drunk driving, or whatever instead. Ooops.

For the love of Pete will you all get a grip and use this blessed Christmas season to think once again about how Jesus showed humanity how to know God, how to love and serve God, how to respectfully fear God, and how to do his will throughout one's ordinary life and in charity to others, and not how to fly in a holding pattern thinking you are "OK" and everyone's "on their own" because "the end is coming anyway?"

Whenever you think about the Antichrist remember that he will have an indwelling of Satan and that can only take place against a normalizing of the most horrific daily life attitudes and "advances" and that even the dimmest thug dim bulb alive today would be faint with horror at the sight of the real Antichrist and/or his cohort humans if he were put forward in time to see them. Like I said, even Hitler would look like a teddy bear compared to the Antichrist, but like the lobster in the pot, not because the Antichrist will outdo Hitler at being Hitler, but because he will have an indwelling of Satan within the context of a totally, totally, TOTALLY fallen humanity who think that is normal life and even admirable. We are only having bitter foretastes of that path today and that is entirely by human choices alone.

I hope this helps, especially you young people (hi my friends) who were raised with much of this error by those who should have known both their faith and their logic/common sense better than what you were given by them.

May I please get on with "Merry Christmas" now? Thank you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas thoughts

I have not blogged in a while because, frankly, I can only keep repeating the same things over and over without 1) tiring of it and 2) watching God's wrath only grow as people continue to believe the false instead of the true. So we enter another Christmas season where it is even more profaned than the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that etc. Have you seen the billboard by a "church" in NZ showing a depiction of St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary "in bed" looking mournful because, and I shudder to even repeat this, Mary having "been with God" makes Joseph, er, "inadequate." Do you think anyone who created that billboard or who enjoyed or admired its "message" will avoid hell? Get real people.

Young people...young people, I've thought about you often the past several weeks, as I always do. No matter what I say I see the denial, the defiance, the lack of respect and the profane secrets in the eyes of your elders...those who raised you, taught you and set examples for you. Even when God strikes down a member of their family they continue to look at me with insolence under hidden eyes as I explain that people must return to pure belief in the Bible (and the Qur'an if you are Muslim) and stop with the "tech," the "astrology," the "numerology," the "scripts," the false belief that Jesus on the cross was a prepaid credit card so you can continue to sin and the false belief that the Antichrist is near, the false belief that the Bible says anyone will be "raptured" out to avoid the fall when it comes, and the false belief that there were "secrets" or "alien" interventions "behind the scenes" in the Bible. All of those are one hundred percent overqualified ways to end up in hell, sooner or later. What disturbs me so much, young people, who I love (even if you have not always loved me in return) is that while they do not mind going to hell, apparently, they don't seem to mind dragging all of you along, and your children and your neighbor's children in turn. Why oh why does anyone consider that a good thing?

Young people, return to belief in the one real God and study his word in the Bible (and the Qur'an) without adding any of the plastic, the false beliefs and distortions of the previous generations. As I've shown you that does not mean being a blind "literalist," since God expects you to use your head and your heart when studying his word, and trusting in his ability to do all things. But people must stop adding their own sickening distortions because that leads only to pride and then the fall.

If I have a chance I'll add a few more thoughts and scripture citations later.

Meanwhile, enjoy the happy and hopeful, the glorious genuine aspects of the holiday and the veneration of God.

Merry Christmas! I won't wish you a Happy New Year, yet, because that entirely depends on you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A few gentle thoughts re: heaven/the universe

I've had an image that is somewhat gentle and sweet that I want to share with you as yet another way of understanding the explanations I've given you about what heaven's like. This also ties in with my recent discussion of genuine awe being reserved for God, but legitimate awe can also include marveling at the natural wonders, such as earth, space, the universe, of God's creation.

God created the universe, and it is exactly as it appears. The more that humans develop telescopes and other scientific equipment, the more can be seen about the universe, marveled at and measured, studied and better understood. I have noticed that those who study the universe as a profession tend to have a strong sense of aesthetics too, for they really enjoy and marvel at photos of outer space, or of earth as seen from space, and want to look farther outward and thus backwards in age. So the wonder of space is genuinely felt by the workers in that profession.

There's a slight temptation associated with studying anything, whether it is a small device or a large natural feature. Familiarity breeds contempt as the saying goes, and I'm not saying it is that strong, but the temptation is that the more one thinks one has collected information, the more one is tempted to feel that the topic (and unconsciously, the thing itself) is "understood" by you and hence somewhat "under your control." Let me give an example. The more one is able to photograph a remote and dim region of the universe, the more the person tends to forget that no one will ever go there. Scientists and other space fans can look at a million photographs of a galaxy that is 200 light years away, for a example, and start to feel that the galaxy itself is "at hand" as much as the photographs are in their actual hands. That is something of a flaw or, rather, an affectation (not affection, but affectation, a presumption) of human thinking. They lose their appropriate awe because familiarity has bred contempt. They now start thinking they can imagine "what it would be like" in that galaxy, just because they have collected some data. They confuse scientific speculation with familiarity. They forget that no human will ever visit distant parts of space, and likely not even venture outside of the solar system itself. Why? Because of the inherent limitations of human physical ability combined with the simple physics and lack of time that humanity can expect per generation. See all my previous lifespan discussion. The universe, indeed the solar system, is simply too vast to ever be explored by humans. Imagining otherwise and taking photographs and making plans simply does not "make it so."

So one can and one must have appropriate awe about the universe, and enjoy it, study it, and even explore the parts that one is able to, in safe, logical and proportionate ways. But the bottom line of reality that everyone must always maintain is awareness that 1) no matter how much you collect "data" it's not the same as assuming you have any genuine insight and 2) it is simply too vast to ever be traveled.

Having said that, follow this analogy with me. As wonderful as the universe is, it is still a created thing, a thing that was created by God. Heaven too is a created thing, but there is a huge difference. Heaven was created by God to be inhabited by his companions, the angels, and the souls of humans who are brought there upon their death if they are believers and they are just and righteous, and heaven does not have matter, energy or the passing of time. The universe was created to be the framing, the infrastructure for life, and human life is all that any human has to really think about, and thus it was created in order to support a system made of matter, energy and time. So on the one hand you have the heavenly realm that was created to support matter-less, energy-less and time-less beings (and is God's natural abode, though he is of course everywhere too), while on the other hand you have the universe that was created to support matter-based, energy-based and time-based beings and objects (people and rocks, e.g.)

So here is my analogy and image. Imagine in one hand a really cool and beautiful piece of plastic. Let's say that it's a pretty, super lightweight and durable object, very high tech and fun to look at and to use. Now, picture the same object in your other hand but made out of solid gold. Here is the bottom line:

Even the most awesome sight that one sees in the universe, peering out into space using the Hubble telescope or whatever, is like seeing really impressive plastic. Ultimately even the largest supernova, the biggest galaxy, the oldest stars, the most mystical appearing nebula or clouds of gas, they are all like marvelous and very useful plastic, plastic that was created by God to be useful and to support existence that is based on matter, energy and time.

One can marvel at how well God created something so good that it is perfect for its niche, its niche being the place where objects and life that rely on having matter, energy and time can and do exist.

But heaven, ah heaven, is so far beyond even the most wonderful sights of the universe that it must be compared to being made of gold, but gold that is not even of matter or light. That is what St. John tried to describe seeing in the Book of Revelation, but here I'm just using it as an analogy to help you imagine the distance between appropriate awe of the universe and appropriate awe of heaven. Not only is heaven of, in this analogy, a much finer material, wrought by God of gold while the universe is wrought by God of really cool plastic, but the beings that exist in heaven exist totally on God's presence: they do not have matter, they do not have energy, they do not exist within any structure of time itself.

So heaven is like a sheet of gold yet it's gold that has no atomic structure, and thus no matter or material existence, no energy, and thus it is not "mental" or "light" or "spirit beams" based, and there is no thread or sequence of time (that is the most difficult for humans to understand), so things do not come into being, or arrive in heaven, and then experience elapsed time. Heaven's eternity is not endless time, it is the absence of time in total and at all. Time will only become relevant again when at the Second Coming bodies are raised and a new place that does have something akin to matter, energy and time is created for those who are saved and who live in the Lord's presence. Regular heaven, however, has no matter, energy or experience of time, not because people are so happy that they are oblivious to time, but because time does not exist as a concept or a reality in heaven.

So no matter how marvelous anything is that one observes in the universe, from the subatomic to the intergalactic, remember that it is still a place that was created to be utilitarian, to provide a use, which is to support in a good way (as all of God's creation is good) objects and living creatures (humans, animals and plants) that are composed of matter, energy and time. Thus it is appropriate to be awed at God's creation and the complexity of life and matter and energy that it supports, all of which have limits to their existence. That's why a really cool plastic item explains it well, since it has a purpose, even if it is only visual or supportive.

However, one can't start thinking one can imagine what heaven is like by looking into outer space, or by smashing atomic particles and looking at the bits. That's because heaven simply does not exist in either matter, energy or time format at all. God, the angels and those who are the dearly departed who are saved and find themselves in God's presence after death are not to be found within structures, no matter how large or small, that are material, energy and/or time based. There is no "God particle" and there are no "angels" in stars. There are no "hidden" dimensions or "multiple universes" (sorry scientists and science fiction writers!) God created and natural laws put into place by God rule all that is needed to support matter, energy and time on the one hand, the one universe, and all that is need to support non-matter, non-energy and non-time, subsisting only on God's actual presence, on the other hand.

That, by the way, is why hell is so terrible. Those who are cast into hell still experience the effects of time, matter and energy, even though they are no longer in the universe. Those in heaven do not experience time, matter or energy; they only experience the complete fulfillment of God.

I hope that you have found this helpful.

(hi young people! just a quick shout out...)