An Open Letter of Apology to the Gay Community (From A Christian)

sorry

I’m seeing quite a few open letters of apology from Christians to the gay community in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. At first, I was angry. “What are we apologizing for again?!?,” I thought. As a conservative Christian, I was annoyed. It seemed – at first – to be capitulation on a very important issue. After reading more than a few of these open letters of apology, however, my heart has softened on the issue. I realize that conservative Christians like myself are in the clear minority. The Supreme Court has ruled. Other churches, like the Episcopalians just yesterday, have found it in their heart to soften from their historic, traditional opinions. And as much as religious people love the past, I’ve had to come to grips with the reality that this – gay marriage – is our present and no doubt, our future.

There comes that moment – even for Christians steeped in conservative traditions – to recognize when the times have changed…and the times have changed. Taking a cue from other Christians who find a sense of closure in writing an open letter of apology to the gay community, I will follow suit and apologize for several things on behalf of not just myself, but my fellow Christians.

Read more

Advertisements

Snake bit: Figuring out (the hard way) which Bible texts apply specifically to you – and which do not.

404307844_640

Jamie Coots, one of the stars of National Geographic‘s reality show Snake Salvation, died Saturday of a venomous snake bite. According to reports he refused medical attention after being bitten in his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky and died shortly thereafter in his home. 

Link

At length he (Jesus) appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.

And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall he condemned.

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils. They shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay their hand upon the sick: and they shall recover.

And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached every where: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed. (Mark 16:14-20)

*******

And when Paul had gathered together a bundle of sticks and had laid them on the fire, a viper, coming out of the heat, fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging on his hand, they said one to another: Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, who, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance doth not suffer him to live.

And he indeed, shaking off the beast into the fire, suffered no harm. But they supposed that he would begin to swell up and that he would suddenly fall down and die. But expecting long and seeing that there came no harm to him, changing their minds, they said that he was a god. (Acts 28:2-6)

*******

But he, (Jesus) considering their guile, said to them: Why do you tempt me? (Luke 20:23)

What is it like to be a Christian?

pumpkinfall

A woman was asked by a coworker, ‘What is it like to be a Christian?’

The coworker replied:

‘It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.’

Submitted by Bob Stanley

A response to Hundreds of Proofs of God’s Existence by “Godless Geeks”

Hundreds of (not very good) Proofs of God’s Non-Existence

TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT
(1) If reason exists then God does not exist.
(2) Reason exists.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) If I say something does not have a cause, it does not have a cause.
(2) I say the universe does not have a cause.
(3) Therefore, the universe does not have a cause.
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) I define God to be something inconceivably absurd.
(2) Since I cannot conceive of that, it must not exist.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
(1) St. Anselm has a proof for God’s existence.
(2) I look at the proof and laugh.
(3) I’m not quite sure how to disprove it.
(4) But I laugh at it all the same.
(5) Therefore, God does not exist.

ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (III)
(1) The Ontological Proof for God’s existence relies on the assumption
that existence is greater than non-existence.
(2) But existence is not greater than non-existence.
(3) Existence is the worst thing there is.
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.

MODAL ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) God is either necessary or unnecessary.
(2) God is not necessary, therefore God must be unnecessary.
(3) If something is unnecessary, then, necessarily, it does not exist.
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.

Many more

Miraculous survival, guardian angels and saintly relatives who have gone to their eternal reward

angel121

by Doug Lawrence

There is a horrific accident. Some people die. Some are spared.

Is it just a random game of numbers, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Catholics and even some non-Catholic Christians will tell you about their guardian angels – powerful, pure spirit beings, personally assigned by God almighty, to keep us safe from harm.

Even less understood and appreciated are the “Kinsman Redeemers” who step forward to right wrongs and save their people from poverty, starvation, death – and worse.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God made man, is the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer, but the Bible shows us many more. The story of Ruth and Boaz is probably the next most significant, since through their timely meeting and subsequent marriage, the sacred blood line of the coming Messiah was preserved. (See 4:22, below.) 

Ruth 4:9-22
(9) And he said to the ancients, and to all the people: You are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and Chelion’s, and Mahalon’s, of the hand of Noemi:
(10) And have taken to wife Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of Mahalon, to raise up the name of the deceased in his inheritance lest his name be cut off, from among his family and his brethren and his people. You, I say, are witnesses of this thing.
(11) Then all the people that were in the gate, and the ancients, answered: We are witnesses: The Lord make this woman who cometh into thy house, like Rachel, and Lia, who built up the house of Israel: that she may be an example of virtue in Ephrata, and may have a famous name in Bethlehem:
(12) And that the house may be, as the house of Phares, whom Thamar bore unto Juda, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman.
(13) Boaz therefore took Ruth, and married her: and went in unto her, and the Lord gave her to conceive, and to bear a son.
(14) And the women said to Noemi: Blessed be the Lord, who hath not suffered thy family to want a successor: that his name should be preserved in Israel.
(15) And thou shouldst have one to comfort thy soul, and cherish thy old age. For he is born of thy daughter in law: who loveth thee: and is much better to thee, than if thou hadst seven sons.
(16) And Noemi taking the child, laid it in her bosom, and she carried it, and was a nurse unto it.
(17) And the women, her neighbours, congratulating with her, and saying, There is a son born to Noemi, called his name Obed: he is the father of Isai, the father of David.
(18) These are the generations of Phares: Phares begot Esron,
(19) Esron begot Aram, Aram begot Aminadab,
(20) Aminadab begot Nahasson, Nahasson begot Salmon,
(21) Salmon begot Booz, Booz begot Obed,
(22) Obed begot Isai (Jessie), Isai (Jessie) begot David.

Nor are Kinsman Redeemers required to be presently alive, here on earth. Catholics will explain the concept of the Communion of Saints – that great cloud of faithful witnesses who have gone before us – now in Heaven – eternally perfected in God’s power, grace and mercy. These holy souls have the right to approach the throne of the Most High God with their petitions – hopefully, interceding with him for us – their beloved progeny and “kin”.

This goes much, much further and it is much more powerful than we might imagine – since by virtue of our baptism, we are all adopted children of God – brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, the Lord – with his mother – the Blessed Virgin Mary, also ours.

Saint Paul sums things up quite nicely:

Romans 8:28-39
(28) And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.
(29) For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the Firstborn amongst many brethren.
(30) And whom he predestined, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.
(31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who is against us?
(32) He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?
(33) Who shall accuse against the elect of God? God is he that justifieth:
(34) Who is he that shall condemn? Christ Jesus that died: yea that is risen also again, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
(35) Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or persecution? Or the sword?
(36) (As it is written: For thy sake, we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.)
(37) But in all these things we overcome, because of him that hath loved us.
(38) For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might,
(39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, the next time things turn out miraculously better than you might ever have expected, don’t forget to thank God, thank your guardian angel, and thank your “extended family” in Heaven. (But why wait? Take a moment to give God thanks and praise, right now!)

Remember too … All Souls Day and All Saints Day are rapidly approaching!

The article that inspired this post:

Toddler cheats death after car crashes into buggy and crushes it against wall

Saint John Berchmans Cathedral Parish: Authentic Catholicism in the “heart” of the “Bible Belt”

CathedralSJB

by Doug Lawrence

We traveled to northwestern Louisiana this past weekend to attend a family reunion. On arrival, it became abundantly clear that the people living in and around the Shreveport area tend to be very religious – but mostly – NOT Catholic.

Out of the estimated eighty or ninety who attended the reunion, only six Catholics assembled early Sunday morning, in order to attend Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John Berchmans, originally constructed in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1902.  (Saint John Berchmans – pronounced “Berkmans” – is the patron saint of altar servers.)

A Cathedral is considered to be the principal church of a diocese and it is also typically, the “seat” (cathedra) of the local Bishop.

Near as I can tell, most everyone else at the family reunion was Baptist, but the thing that I noticed most was the sheer diversity of Christian denominations in the area, along with the fact that most of the AM radio band and more than half of the FM band seemed to be devoted solely to religious programming – and NOT just on Sundays! (Thank God for Sirius Satellite Radio!)

Non-Catholic Christian churches could be observed on almost every block, while Catholic churches were comparatively rare.

Here’s the mix:

Apostolic Churches (4)
Lutheran Churches (6)
Assembly of God (20)

Baptist Churches (333)

Bible Churches (6)
Methodist Churches (37)
Nazarene Churches (5)
Non-Denominational (15)

Catholic Churches (21)

Orthodox Churches (3)
Christian Churches (11)
Pentecostal (13)
Church of Christ (17)
Presbyterian (13)
Church of God (32)
Reformed Churches (1)
Seventh Day Adventist (2)
Episcopal Churches (5)
Vineyard Churches (1)
Evangelical (1)
Other Churches (23)

Source: USA Church

But while the Catholic “profile” in the area appeared to be definitively low, the quality of the Catholic faith experience there turned out be pleasantly high – at least, at Saint John Berchmans Cathedral Parish!

Here’s a little of what we experienced, this past Sunday:

The church was traditional and beautiful – as were most all cathedrals of similar – 1920’s “vintage”.

We were suitably impressed by the vaulted ceilings; the detailed wood and plaster work; the abundant and exquisite stained-glass windows; the deep-breathing, antique pipe organ;, the marble columns and the genuine stone (not wood) altar; along with the traditional statuary – which was both elegant and easily recognizable.

The tabernacle could be found in the very center of the sanctuary, directly behind the main altar. There was a raised pulpit/ambo for proclaiming the Word of God and the sanctuary was fully provisioned for a quick turn around and transformation, in the rare event of a TLM (Traditional Latin Mass.)

We observed altar boys/servers (not altar girls) – and the servers were NOT wearing the usual dreaded, gaudy, overly casual – popular but seriously out of place athletic shoes. Coincidentally, this parish also produces more than the average number of new, priestly vocations.

The congregation appeared to be well rounded and diverse, spanning the ages from eight months to around eighty years – with a number of young families in attendance.

The standard Novus Ordo liturgy was celebrated reverently and totally “by the book” – with no shenanigans.

A small group of RCIA catechumens occupied reserved seating. They seemed very happy and privileged to be there,  reverently filing out at the appropriate time.

A Deacon proclaimed the Gospel and delivered a homily that was both technically excellent and distinctly on-point.

tenlepers

Afterwards, I began to wonder if the nine of ten lepers
who never returned to thank Jesus for their healing
might have suffered a relapse at some point in the future! 

The Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel was led by the priest and deacon, immediately following the official end of the liturgy.

michael_fighting_devil_4x6

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Compared to some very disappointing similar experiences in New York, Minnesota, California and Washington State, I would rate this as one of the best. A very pleasant surprise, in a part of the world where the Catholic Church remains seriously under-appreciated!

The parish website will tell you much more, as will this Wikipedia post.

I suggest you also take a few minutes to watch a very nice video presentation on the saint, the cathedral and the parish.

So much negative Catholic stuff comes across my desk every day.
It’s nice to be able to post something almost entirely positive,
for a change! 

T H A N K  Y O U,  J E S U S! 

Christian University president spells out reasons why provisions of Obamacare violate the U.S. constitution

At Oklahoma Wesleyan University we are filing suit against the Obama Administration, Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius and the Affordable Care Act because we believe. We believe whether you are Catholic or Jewish or whether you are Mormon, Methodist, Mennonite or Muslim that you should be free to follow your faith in matters of morality and contraception.  We believe women should be free from any obligation to pay for a drug they find immoral and will never use.  We believe that the racial genocide at the hands of a racist abortion industry must be stopped.  We believe in personal privacy that no judge, legislator or President has any right to violate.  We believe our nation’s girls and their sexuality should be treated with dignity rather than being degraded.  We believe in a culture of life and not a culture of death.

We are filing suit because we believe God is God, not the government and that “we must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)

Link

Submitted by Francis V.