Archive for July 2009

MORAL ANALOGY FROM CARS

July 31, 2009

Deprivation makes me philosophical.    The Little Red Car is still in the shop.  Here are some truly random thoughts, as it says in the right-hand column.   Actually, its a collision of thoughts.

Big Red Little Red

This is a photo of my “little lady” visiting her b-i-g cousin.  My cousin actually, she drives a nice-looking rig.   She (they) visited us one day, driving as close to us as the 52-foot trailer allowed, which was the nearest truck stop.   I parked the Little Red Car among the big trucks.  It felt like any one of them could have moved around a bit and crunched us without noticing.  It was a fun place to be.

My cousin snapped this photo after we were laughing about their comparative size, identical color, and – we fancied – their apparent friendship.

So I’m thinking about that, and also about where the Little Red Car is right now:  getting some serious auto surgery done.  With a serious bill to follow.

That’s the deprivation part.  Here’s the philosophical part:   My cousin and I anthropomorphized our vehicles during that visit, projecting our friendship onto them.   Cute…fun.    I still give the Little Red Car human characteristics.  I know it’s commonly done.   How easy it is to say “she” and “her” when I write about….well, her.

Here is the “collision” of thoughts:   Why do I like her so much?  The Little Red Car  is my idea of a truly feminine creature:

She is strong, steady, reliable, and attractive.  She’s there when I need her and she sets wise limits for me.  I, who would rather just “be” instantly where I want to go, have to slow down and adjust myself to her sensible little engine.   I have to “take turns” in traffic (or else I’ll lose her), and she has all sorts of instructions for me to follow – like how to communicate with other drivers, how to get the rain off the windows, where to put my things (Rollerblades on the floor, skis down the middle, dirty things in the trunk, eggs on the seat, coffee cups in….you know. ) She also demands that I be attentive, calm, and self-restrained.

And it really is wisdom, in a “small” sense of the word, to follow these restrictions.   Like a wise maiden, she will not bend to my desires.

Wolf are Men 100  Follow me here….One week, three young people who don’t know each other, each on different days remarked to me about the immorality of our times.  All three, a young woman  (unmarried and wise for her age) and two guys, told me:  “You know, if the girls would just be stronger, the guys wouldn’t get away with so much.” 

(Yikes!   One of these was my son!)

But they referred not only to immorality, but also to lack of character, that is, living in a self-disciplined way with attention to duty and virtue.  Well, they didn’t quite put it that way, but they talked around it with descriptive examples.

Daily_Prayer_Family

It all starts here.   If women aren’t wise and strong, then their immorality and weakness will allow men to become savages.   And I mean “men” in the sense of all humanity.    The Lord of This World knows just how to corrupt and degrade women, and the collapse of our society followed.   IMHO.

STORMS WITHOUT, STORMS WITHIN

July 30, 2009

Join us for our Thursday night class;  Mark 4:35-40

Galilee Waves(the Galilee shoreline)

You can walk along the shoreline and enjoy the ripples over your toes and ankles,  and sometimes before you realize it  there are bigger waves coming your way.  In our personal life, concerns can tickle at us like water over our toes,  or they can lap against us like the bigger waves, and we have to steady ourselves against their challenge.

Whether at the shoreline or wading out further  or  going right into the middle of the “sea of Galilee Jesuslife,”   without warning, big waves can rise up and threaten to overcome us.  There is no guarantee that we have the skill and knowledge to make it through, but we usually remember our Faith and call on the Lord.   Then we make it through these challenges, gain confidence, maybe even begin to take pride in how we handled ourselves.

Last week we all understood that the disciple’s passage across the Sea of Galilee  is like our passage through this life.   Storms come up.  Problems confront us.  On an elementary level Jesus is there and we call  upon Him to help.   When our faith gets challenged, we usually grow.

Now, this week:  Beware!    The skillful, courageous way you handled problems in the past just might keep your attention on the things this world can throw at you.   You feel – and rightfully so –  that you can handle just about any storm that comes your way:  health, finances, peace or war, troubles with the family or the boss, whatever.

Good enough?   No!   I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t remind you that the material concerns of this world are of secondary importance.   You – and me – we were not put here on this earth so that we can learn how to live well in it!

Looking at this story more deeply,  the boat is our interior life in which we travel across this sea of life.    When we “get to the other side,”  we won’t need to be in our boat anymore – we will “see Him as He is”  in a state that we call the Beatific Vision, experiencing God with nothing in between, because we have been made fit and holy to be with Him forever.

And that’s the whole point of this earthly existence, to become fit for our everlasting communion with a good and holy God.    We’ve been challenged, refined, ground, pressed, tried and tested in our souls.

Waves Big Storm 300 ep And what about those storms?   What’s an “interior spiritual” storm?  Some of the winds will come from without, some from the Enemy, but many will come from  you – threatening your obedience and your submission to the grace of God.  As Paul said in Romans 7, he knew what he ought to be doing, but the battle rages on within him.    This is where we can lose our way.  We can never see our way when the storms are really big.

By the mercy of God,  the wind and waves, the obstacles and challenges, the temptations and trials will be tailored just for you.   And they will be just as severe and agonzing as they need to be.      He knows we need to grow our faith, ask for an increase, and grow in the increase…..

And, according to the story in Mark,  when we get overwhelmed, or just want to give up all this spiritual welfare for a while,  there will be Jesus, smiling down with concern: “Why are you so afraid?  Have you not faith…yet?”    (Mark 4:40a) 

Peter Repentant by Goya We can answer:  No, Lord,  not yet.    “I believe.   Help Thou my unbelief.”

For next week:   In the rest of Mark 4:40 the friends of Jesus ask a question they cannot answer.     Next week, in Mark 5:1-17,  it is the Enemy of Jesus who has the answer.

GROUNDED

July 30, 2009

Oh.

Car on tow thingy

There she is,  getting help.    She was stuck in the garage today, making a funny whirring noise, but not getting anywhere.

I never used to understand a guy’s “love affair” with his car…but I think I do a little bit now.   I’ve never had a car that I had such affection for.   Simple.  Basic.     It’s really, really, really nice looking.   And we’re used to each other.    Nine years!    She’s like an appendage that’s there when you need her.

Like for teaching a couple classes coming up.    For buying the husband’s birthday present today.   Banking.   Getting a special book for someone new to the Church….greeting a special friend who owns the bookstore.    

But now I change gears and plan an evening of working and studying at home.     (big grin here!)   My Little Red Car goes to the auto shop — and I’M the one who changes gears.

Bye…

Car Towing away

Car far away

THE MIND IS A STRANGE THING

July 28, 2009

It is said that a sane, intelligent person is capable of holding two contradictory things in his mind – at the same time.   

#1 –  It is with GREAT joy that I see on my Yahoo Start Page that there are only  three…more…weeks….until…the First  Game!  

I’m waiting!

Bears Sweatshrt

Let’s hope Tillman needs only these next three weeks to recover….Now, how does a man have back surgery – and then get back into the game so soon?     I don’t know these things, but let’s wish him many more interceptions……and yes,yes, good health too.   Here’s to 33!

Okay, and # 2.    While Bears have always meant excitment and hope and (agony) and the world being returned to its reasonable routine of football schedules, it came to me the other day, that always, my whole life, bears have been a symbol for the Sum of All (my)  Fears  — with apologies to Tom Clancy, but there is more to fear than terrorists with the Bomb.

It might have something to do with being chased by a bear when I was a young girl, its snout snarling and drooling a few feet away from me in the bushes, with my Dad trailing behind with a .22.     Yes, just a .22.  That would have made the bear darn mad, and I knew it then, and I knew we were at the mercy of fate  (a/k/a God’s will).

I keep photos of bears around, just to remind me the world is a seriously dangerous place.   Everyone knows dangers, but bears represent the dangers that you’re not paying attention to.  And they do pop out and bite you sometimes;   sometimes you get lucky.   I live with lots of bears.

 

Bear Snarl    Bad Bear.

 

 

 

Bear Good

   Good Bear.

SUNBEAMS (and penance)

July 27, 2009

Mondays in tradition are supposed to be days given to contemplation of the Holy Angels who, by God’s command, assist us in our journey to Heaven.   It’s good to think about these spiritual beings once in a while.  Although we are made “a little lower than the angels” right now, those humans who are Redeemed and in Heaven some day, will make the angels astonished!    They will be astonished at the height and breadth and depth of the Mercy and Justice of God-Most-High and how His great love made a way to show His mercy without contradicting His justice.  And Redeemed human beings who serve the Son of God are the Prime Evidence !

However.    Now.    They asssist us.   Not only in spiritual matters.   Also in physical matters so that we live long enough to make it to the end of our lives.    Think about that!   And we have particular angels assigned to us for these purposes.

Yesterday I posted the Sunbeams-While-Driving photo.  Sunbeams on highway 80 Yeah…

I snapped that photo while driving, at….well, expressway speed.      Don’t do that.   

Those who know me well, know that my “guardian angel”  is not a gentle one. A particularly  ear-splitting and explosive reprimand still gives me chills.  I was guilty.   I knew what it was for.    No pastel feminine robes for such a strong-willed, thick-headed one as I.   

I got the lesson, sorry for not practicing it.       So, therefore, I offer the following two pictures of sunbeams instead.

Here is a much better photo of sunbeams:

Sunbeam life magazine church 300

In ancient times we were not afraid to associate the sun with the Son.    “In Him was  Life, and the Life was the Light of men.”   (Last Gospel,  John1:4)      And here is another picture of the Source of our Light, pouring down on humble men.  (Notice Who is giving Communion…)

Sunbeams man in church dk

I am serious about listening now.   Like the humble man in the picture above,  whatever I want to do (or photograph)  is not the most important thing in the world.

(Please don’t explode my camera.)

8th D P.P. JESUS’s DARK HUMOR

July 26, 2009

Sunbeams driving home

I saw this through my windshield driving home from church.    Interesting.    Nice.   I wondered what I was going to be driving into in a few  minutes.   Sunshine from those sunbeams?   A storm from those clouds?

It’s a 110-mile round trip to church and back, something like that.    I still play that little game:  100 Mile 20x113If I fill up my tank at home, set my odometer to Zero, then on the way home as I pass the 100-mile marker   my odometer turns to Zero.    

I do a lot of thinking on the way home too, sometimes about the sermon we just heard.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses a little judicial sarcasm.    A little dark humor.   In Luke 16:1-9 the bookkeeper-servant got caught cheating, doing his master’s accounting.   He knows his life there is soon going to be over, so he scrambles around, thinking desperately how he can come out on top.    He schemes and cheats and deceives his way into some nice retirement assurance — and he gets some grudging admiration from his master.

So, Jesus says to us:   You’re followers of Me, but you’re so complacent…..You ought to look at what this guy did!    Maybe you could learn something from how hard he worked to save his own….life.    

And maybe you ought to be preparing — diligently — for what lies on the road up ahead.

Sunbeams on highway

Is your faith strong enough — for anything that’s coming?

NIGHT VISITOR

July 25, 2009

There is a lot of activity “out there” on my deck while we’re resting in the dark.   KB Night visitor

We get the usual, expected night visitors, although we rarely see them.   There are deer out there, sometimes making strange high-pitched  barking noises.   (I hope those are deer.)  We get hoot owls of various kinds.   Late last evening I heard gunshots.   About eight of them.    No, we don’t live in a high crime area, but the farmers are not happy with the critters of the night.  

And then last night also there was a strange vehicle that sped down our street.   It made a kind of roaring, poofing sound, very loud.  All I could see was a large rectangle, like the side of a very big truck, with many, many orange and green little lights on the side.   I couldn’t see its headlights, so I don’t know how it could see the dark pavement.   I don’t know who that was.

I’m a night person, and the night is surprisingly busy.   Most people really couldn’t care less about what goes on in the night.

I can’t think of a better analogy for what is happening now.    Darkness falls  over our minds because  we are too busy looking right in front of us, doing what we “must” do.  We  might as well be living in utter darkness with only a dim candle to light our immediate concerns.

We are not paying attention.  We are in darkness and asleep.

We all work hard to earn money, and we spend the money gathering material things around us, or we spend the money to gather “experiences” and information and entertainment, and we  work harder still to gather more things.

Not everyone, of course but I fear for our culture, in general.   I am hoping that the little prophetic book of Habacuc (Habakkuk)  is not really for our country.    Hab. 2:6b – 7 says “…Woe to them that heapeth together that which is not his own…how long does he load himself with thick clay? Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee?  and they be stirred up that shall tear thee?  and thou shalt be a spoil to them?”   And how have  we been living?

Watch where you’re going.   Raccoons bite.    Wake up and see what’s going on.  

Easy for me to say.   I’m a night person.

HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYES !

July 22, 2009

Join us, for a moment, in our Tuesday evening class.

For the summer we are not doing Bible history, but we are doing the “history of the Bible.”  How it came to us, what’s in it,  some study methods….

Bible ribbon 150We’ve talked about the Holy Spirit being the ultimate Author of Scriptures, what inspiration means, etc.     Consider these three things:

The Holy Spirit inspires the writing of  the Holy Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit assists a person’s reading of Scripture.

The Holy Spirit exists out of time, but can reach into our time.

Anytime a person reads the Bible, the Holy Spirit helps him understand what he is reading.  Now, when you, yourself, live on for a few hours, or a day, or days, you are not quite the same person.  All the input and all the experiences have changed you a little bit.    When you go back to the Bible, you now have different experiences, different thoughts.   And the Holy Spirit  in Eternity reaches down to you and assists you again.

Because you are alive and interacting with the Bible and because God, the Source of life, is there, interacting with you, the Bible is a Living Book, growing with you – and becoming more and more pertinent to your life.

Jesus and mud It’s not unusual to think:  “I never saw THAT in the Bible before!”     And that’s the way it is supposed to work.    Remember the story of Jesus healing the blind man by making some mud and rubbing it into the man’s eyes?   The man saw!   But not too well.   The man was better, but he could be better.  And so it is with us.     We come to God through the Bible, but we could be better.  

“Here’s mud in your eye!”

WELCOMING THE DEVILS

July 20, 2009

  I write for my ancestors today;  or the great-great-grandparents of my ancestors.

Saamiland

I have no photos of them, of course, but I suspect some of the men in my family look a lot like them.   Well over six feet tall.   Light-colored hair.   Deep blue eyes.   Lots of muscles in their arms and shoulders.    I look at my grown son and sometimes think: “Popeye!”     ( Good thing he doesn’t know that.)    Although he is a kind and caring medical professional, I saw a strange, glowing happiness in his eyes recently, with a sledgehammer in his hands, pounding down an old wall.    I’ve seen him pretty happy with a chainsaw too.   He looks at things directly and honestly.   I think he would have made a good warrior.  

Well, I have a feeling these ancestors of mine were pretty direct and straightforward in their actions.  Keenly aware of duty and danger.  Loyal to the family (clan) and courageous.    And religious. I don’t think they expected a long life here anyway.   Death comes frequently for babies and young children, for the injured and the sick, for the fishermen at sea, and for the warriors.

Thor

Does it sound like I’m praising them?   I’m merely admiring their strength and their good qualities.    This picture is not a Viking warrior.    This is their god.    Thor.    Thor is a bit lesser than the One True God-Most-High, but a god anyway.    A barbarian god.

The first written record we have of the Vikings is from about the last decade of the 8th century.  Christian men of England saw them approaching in their longboats.  The Christian men thought they were similar to themselves and must have come a long way to do some trading with them.   They “welcomed” them and “dialogued” with them and tried to understand what they were saying.  

There were few survivors.

Viking Attack

I want to bring my “Serious Series”  to a close this week.   It  is my observation that there is another kind of invasion going on in this country.    A certain international faction is invading with a ferocious barbarity – not with warfare, but with a series of relentless steps that have us surrounded, weakened, and soon to be defeated.  

I would like to shout out to my countrymen that the barbarians are here!   Defend yourselves!   Defend your familes!  Defend your country!      But it will not happen.   My country is in no mood to defend itself.

Just not in the mood.

7th SUNDAY P.P. – A TERRIBLE GOD

July 19, 2009

The Readings for this 7th Sunday After Pentecost are Romans 6:19-23  and Matthew 7:15-21.      As I was preparing myself for hearing the Readings today, I thought:  Good Grief!  More gardening!   Good trees, good fruit.  Bad trees, bad fruit.

Trees cherries

But there was so much more.   Both of the Readings today are so rich in meaning that they don’t just add to each other, they multiply each other.  And the sermon we heard delved into  many of the rich threads and pulled them all together into a powerful reminder of the seriousness of sin and how crucial it is to “yield your members (of your body)  to serve justice unto sanctification . . .because the wages of sin is death…..”

We were “set up” for this right at the start with the chanting of the Introit:   “Clap your hands, all ye Gentiles; shout unto God with a voice of joy!  For the Lord is Most High;  He is Terrible!   He is the Great King above all the Earth!”   What a grand beginning!

We were reminded in the sermon that today’s culture doesn’t like to hear about the “justice” of  a Great and Terrible God.   It is politically correct not to talk about love-and-justice, but rather to oppose the “love” of God against the idea of His justice.    Love, but not justice.

wolf in clothing 150  Today’s Readings are an antidote to the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who would rather teach us about a “God of love”  who is not also a “Terrible” Awe-Inspiring God of Justice and Righteousness.   Why work on our sanctification if we don’t have to?    But the Fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom

Trees dead 125

 

The Gospel goes on to say (Matthew 7:21):   “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of My Father.”    We find out that those wolves are our enemies,  whether they be false teachers or the evil spirits who inspire the false ideas in our culture.  

Either way, the goal is  to prevent us from realizing how serious it is to strive to do the will of the Father…to serve justice unto sanctification.      These wolves would much rather have us become dead trees with no fruit.

But now I’m getting close to my gardening again….

FLOWERS OF DECEIT

July 18, 2009

Every flower garden you ever see is a marvel of deception…..

Flowers Daffodil field

They sit there in great bunches appearing to effortlessly spring from the ground.  But I can tell you the real truth:

Flowers Rosey

I know the secret of the posey

White or red or sweetly rosey

Any garden seen from within

Is evidence of Adam’s sin! 

    The flowers sit there all attractive

    Demanding we get interactive

    with the mud and bugs and bites,

    wiggling worms and slithering frights.

With snakes and snails and leaky pails

Webs and mud in fingernails

This is one Daughter of Eve

The “Garden” she would gladly leave!

If Adam needs food cooked or clothes sewn or home embellished, I will gladly comply.   But let ADAM do the TILLING!

Garden Footprints indoors dkr

“….Cursed is the earth in thy work;  with labor and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life.  Thorns and thistles shall it bring to thee…”  (Gen 3:17b,18a)

   I believe this was addressed to ADAM!

…….I’ll handle the cleaning up afterwards.

ENOCH’S 6th WEEK

July 17, 2009

I walked out my front door one evening a few weeks ago and was confronted by this.    It got me thinking about the world I am in right now, or rather the end of it.

Sunset Across St darker

I wrote about Enoch yesterday, that God took him out away from the Earth, preserving him for a job that he had to do at the end of this present age.  As one of two human beings recorded in the Bible who did not yet die, it is plausible to believe that Enoch will be one of the Two Witnesses sent to testify to a world which has become anti-Christ  and which follows the powerful world leader called the Antichrist. 

We don’t know where Enoch is right now.  Tradition says he was taken to a kind of Paradise, elsewhere.   He is out of Earth time, unaffected by the passage of  our years, but he has witnessed the passing of time on Earth and the panorama of human history, past and future.

The Book of Enoch presents Enoch’s experience and teachings, and we have several more writings which tell about him.   One intriguing section in his book tells about his vision of the Ten Weeks that this Earth will pass through, world after world after world, as I wrote about yesterday.

I won’t copy all Ten Weeks here, just the ones I like.

“I was born the seventh in the First Week, while justice reigned yet upon the Earth.”     I think that means he was in the seventh generation but I especially like the though that justice – the knowledge of God – reigned.

“And after me, in the Second Week, will come a great evil…” and he goes on to make reference to the Flood and the “one man” who was saved out of it.

Abraham was called in the Third Week.    The beginning of the Chosen Race is thus of cosmic significance.     I think Moses and the Law are referred to in the Fourth Week: “….towards its end, visions of the Holy and the Just will appear and a law for all generations and an Ark shall be prepared for them.”

“Then, in the fifth week, towards its end,  a House of Glory and domination shall be built for them.”     The Visible Body of Christ on Earth, the Church?

And here is why I think we might be in the Sixth Week:     “Then in the Sixth Week, those that live in it shall be all blinded and their hearts shall fall into iniquity, far from wisdom……and the House of Domination shall be destroyed by fire and the race of the powerful Root shall be dispersed.”     Is this the 3rd Secret of Fatima, a vision in which the pope will be killed and the Vatican be in fiery ruins?    Those who are left of the True Faith will be “dispersed,” scattered and in hiding?

Meanwhile, what is developing?    I think Enoch’s Seventh Week:  “Then, in the Seventh Week, a perverse generation shall arise, and many shall be their works of abomination….”

SUN Explosion

I just don’t understand what I read in the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth weeks very well.    Maybe because we are not fully there.    Enoch writes of the Holy One going into action, “and what child of man can stand before HIm?”   and he writes of a sword being given to Justice….

And the Tenth Week?    The destiny of the human race?   “At the seventh part (end) of the Tenth Week shall take place the Great Eternal Judgment…And the first heaven shall disappear and pass away, and a new heaven will appear, and all the Powers of heaven will shine eternally, seven times greater…”    It will be like this for “innumerable weeks”  for ever and ever, “for kindness and justice, and from thence, sin will be no longer named forever.”

Imagine, an eternity of “kindness and justice.”     Uh,  Enoch doesn’t talk about the Earth specifically at this point.    But the last book of the Bible does.    Whew!

ENOCH and THE SPRUCE TUNNEL

July 16, 2009

The Spruce Tunnel, my symbol for the interior life:

Kris on Leafy Path blog 200

I can go physically into the Spruce Tunnel, as I am here in the little photo.  The stately trees tower over me like some other-worldly sentinels, and I walk beneath them in quiet wonder.   They…and all of nature…the universe…the world…all the humans who have gone before me.    This all produces a connectedness which I can reach only in this solitude, here in the Spruce Tunnel.

Our period of history is so tiny.   We are in a temporary inter-glacial period within a larger glacial epoch.   Is it only 11,000 years since most of the big glaciers melted?    

Is it only 6,000 or so years since civilization once again roared into Creation 2 175existence somewhere in Sumeria – and so began our own period of written history? 

This is the world we know;   world after world after world.     The Earth has gone through many worlds since its creation.

Once, early on in our world, there was  a man, Enoch, who was so perfect in God’s eyes that God took him out of our world.  He was not taken out of this world of fallen men for his sake;  he was taken away for God’s sake.  

Enoch was taken up to...

Enoch was taken up to...

Enoch, the holy human who walked with God, was taken out of our world so that he could be preserved and then used in our world at a later time….for some time when God will bring all things to their consummation.

Great holiness means that great things can be expected. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required…(Luke 12:48)

Much will be asked of Enoch  as this particular world comes to its end.   He will have to stand against evil in the time of the antichrist.  

Wherever Enoch was taken to, he was out of time itself.    He even saw all the worlds on this Earth, world after world after world after world….

Next posting I’ll take a guess about which one we’re in now.   It’s my guess;  I don’t presume to really know.    But the solitude and peace of the Spruce Tunnel will have to remain with me.

AFRICAN BANISHMENT

July 13, 2009

How interesting!  Last night’s post on certain groups standing in the way of the “social progress” envisioned by the extreme Left matches today’s Martyrology! After the Vandals conquered their way across the Roman Empire, they reached northern Africa, a Christian land, and Moved On all the way to Carthage.  They destroyed the city and rebuilt it according to their own needs.

Carthage by Artist R.S. Duncanson

Carthage by Artist R.S. Duncanson

Now they did it not only by military conquest, but also by political conquest, playing off one nation against another, making treaties with one region, abandoning the treaty and forming new alliances — Just read the history of the 20th century and you will see a parallel with the advance of these Vandals.

Two interesting notes:   (1)  They ruled over those who agreed with them.   And (2) they – the Vandals – were former Catholics.     They still called themselves Catholics, but they deviated from traditional Catholic teachings;   they were Arian.

Wilderness Desert

Wilderness Desert

Although the history of this 5th century A.D. is breathtaking, with scenes of intrigue and drama worthy of a Cecil B. DeMille,  I will skip over to today’s Martyrology:    In  defeated Carthage, which was a major Christian center, a bishop (Eugene) and 500 of his priests and lay people refused to adapt to the new Catholic-Arian teachings.   So today we remember their martyrdom which consisted of this:   they were beaten, scourged, and banished out into the African wilderness, where they died of their wounds or of starvation.

I tried to com-passionate with them, imagining severe, life-threatening wounds with no medical care, my city having abandoned me, dying of increasing infection and dehydration;  and then hiding out in a wilderness that I was not equipped to survive in.

But here is what I couldn’t quite successfully imagine…..”…and driven into a most painful banishment which they bore with joy for God’s sake.”      And “joy” has been on  my mind lately because a friend just emailed me with the reasons why he wakes up joyful every morning, and I kind of tweaked him back by sending him all the references to “joy” in half the Bible…..back and forth on “joy.”

Wild African vistaAnd now this.    What is “wilderness” in Africa?    What is “banishment”?    You can’t go back to your own home – ever.   You can’t go back and get your pots and pans or blankets or warm clothes.     Or camping supplies.     Or ever see familiar things again.

Joyfully leaving everything behind “for God’s sake.”   No wonder the Church sees fit to remind us of their lives.

OUT OF FOCUS WORLD

July 13, 2009

Next in the steps of destruction in this “Serious Series.”

Out of Focus World

We have recently been told (in a June 30, 2009 White House address) that it is the traditional Judeo-Christian values that is causing “unfairness”  because of its outmoded ideas and worn-out arguments.  This is an outright lie, but it caused not even a ripple among all the people I know in my personal life.    This has to be because it takes such effort to see past the blur of distorted information that pounds into us every day.

In order to propagandize a world against Christian values,  reality and truth must be put out of focus.   Word experts can do that with subtle precision and  Coud of Debriseffectiveness.   Communications technology just makes their job easier.  We are already witnessing  the takeover of our nation by an old international faction that has moved against nations one by one in the 20th century and are now here.   They are triumphant – so far – because they have taken over the means of communication.    “Verbal engineering precedes social engineering.”

If society gets the idea that a certain group is  “different”  from others, it is easy to believe that its  “odd”  ideas stand in the way of “social progress.”   And once the momentum gets going, these “odd” ideas  will appear to be slightly distasteful,  not something you’d want to bring up in “polite” conversation.     I’ve seen this happen.   It’s like quantum  entanglement.   The Christian Faith seems to be a code word for all the violent and repressive attitudes of  human history.   This too is an outright lie.   It is looking at Christianity through distorted glasses.

The next logical step when accepting such a lie is to pass restrictions against the expression of traditional values.    It is part of the process of “defining, silencing, demonizing, and criminalizing” your enemy.

This week’s Congressional vote on yet another attempt to enact Hate Crime Laws is not aimed at those who want to end freedom of expression — it is aimed at those who want to protect freedom of expression.    If passed, this law will be applied in only one direction — against traditional values.  And it will have been passed in a hurry, with deception, and without legislative argument. goth baby   (Look for it as an amendment on a bill “helping” our military.)

It will also open the gates to further restrictions on Christians.   You know, the ones with the outmoded ways of thinking who have caused such pain to their fellow citizens.

No argument around here.   Not even a ripple.

6th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

July 12, 2009

Mark's Sheen Hands

The Gospel Reading today tells us of a second miraculous feeding, 4,000, not 5,000;   7 baskets of leftovers, not 12.  I was busy learning the reasons for the differences…

But quite simply, as I read and then heard in the sermon today, the meaning is that Jesus is sufficient.  Whatever is needful will be supplied.  He said, “I am with you until the end of the world..,”  seeing to it that our deficiencies, either collective or personal, will be filled up with what is needed.

Mark, chapter 8:  “I have compassion on the multitude….And they did eat and were filled.”

We are fed, by His hand.

ST PIUS I SPEAKS TO…SUNDAYS

July 12, 2009

St. Pius I, whom we honored yesterday, is associated with some very important matters that came up in the Church of his time – matters which “matter” to us today.

Yesterday, before I had to run off suddenly, I was speaking about the equality of all humans , all equally loved and called to become like our Creator, and all invited into His kingdom.   (A bit of a “messy” kingdom right now.  It needs weeding.  but the Lord hasn’t sent His harvesting angels yet.   Good thing…I’m a little “messy” yet myself.)

Black Glove Before

Another important thing Pius I accomplished is his correction of abuses that went on during worship in the churches, committed by the priests.   And this is that the material items of bread and wine that are used in the Mass were being handled less than reverently.   In fact, spilling of crumbs of consecrated bread and drops of the censecrated wine occurred with increasing regularity.   Pius I insisted on correct teaching and on 40 days of severe penance for further infractions.

Besides being disrespectful, does this matter?  How much does it matter?   WHY does it matter?

In the photo above, the Host is sitting in the palm of a gloved hand.  (I apologize to the photographer, I no longer know who you are.)   This is what we imagine the Host looks like during the whole process of Communion.   But it is only our imagination which makes it so.

Black Glove After

This is a second photo, taken just after the Host has been carefully handled by the priest….perhaps in some traditions, by lay people.

If one truly believes the words of Jesus, along with the testimony of St. John  (chapter 6), along with the teaching of St. Paul, and along with the consistent teaching of  all those who belong to the Kingdom of Christ on Earth, that the consecrated Host  IS the Body of Christ (and the wine, the Blood) — then what we see in the second photo will affect us deeply.

The reason for this  is clear from the Teachings:   This IS the Body and Blood of Christ – actually.   He has chosen this way to make it possible for us to participate in His Holy Sacrifice.  See, the when we divide the blood from the body, we are speaking of death, in this case the Death of a Sacrifice.   When we are communing in this way, we are co-uniting ourselves with His Death as He offers Himself to the Heavenly Father. …each moment in time joined to this One Eternal Sacrifice.

As Peter  (II Peter 1:4) and Iranaeus and Augustine and Aquinas and so many others have said:   The Son of God took on human nature so that by entering communion with Him, He could raise us up to take part in the Divine Nature.

It is a serious matter what you think you’re doing in Communion.    And serious consequences when you don’t know what you’re doing.   (See I Corinthians 11:23-31) 

Is it any wonder that we have the urge to make the sacred chalices as beautiful as we can to express this sublime, ineffable reality!

ST. PIUS I – SPEAKS TODAY

July 11, 2009

Rome in Glory

Today, July 11, is the “simple-feast” day of St.  Pius I.  Yes, the first.   He led the Church from about 140 – 155 AD. ,  during the height of the glories of Imperial Rome.    One of his visitors was the great St. Polycarp.    The Roman Emperor at this time was Antoninus Pius, so there was a little less persecution of the Christians going on.   

I wonder if the Christians thought the bad times were over.   I wonder if any of them had a clue that the next emperor, Marcus Aurelius, would soon begin a vicious campaign of persecution against them….

But meanwhile, it was a complex time of growth and intellectual thought in the Christian community.  The Church was kept busy straightening out doctrinal errors, fending off growing heresies, and figuring out how to apply the doctrines that had been handed down to them, without changing those doctrines.

Contemporary writings , two major ones that have come down to us after all these centuries,  indicate that Pius I was the brother of Erma (Hermas) who is the author of  “The Shepherd of Hermas” – highlyrecommnded – which nearly made it into the New Testament.   Since Erma (Hermas) describes himself as a former slave, it is likely that the two brothers were freedmen, once slaves.   Thus:  a slave becomes a pope.    This is the ideal and this is the teaching of the Church, that the Church of Christ is open, universally, to all humans,  no matter what their origin.

Indeed, this particular pope is known for several important decisions, one of which is to allow Jewish converts to freely enter the Church, without limitation.    The enmity and virulent writings against the Christians by the Jewish scholars of this time were not to be imputed to every Jew.   As St. Paul had written, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female….

It is ever a tendency in human society to develop strata, from an elite ruling class down to the least privileged.   The divisions are most commonly made along the lines of wealth, as with social and political ruling classes, or along the lines of initiation into  systems of knowledge, such as with secret societies, clubs, and also with the concept of gnosticism which was developing strongly at the time of Pius I. 

This is contrary to a “universal” Church in which membership and distinction are open to absolutely everyone.    

 

Yikes – to be continued tomorrow!…

SUMMERTIME BLEAHS

July 11, 2009

I have a story to post later, for July 11.

Sunset 300x125

Meanwhile, how can one even  think with this staring down at you?   B leahhh!

I dream of traveling to Nuuk.    In fact, Kulusuk looks even better.    Find them where the climate  is better.

Greenland.

SAILING LAKE HURON

July 8, 2009

I’ve had a few “peaks.”    This is one that stays with me:

Prow spray side view 500

This isn’t the exact photo, but it’s close to what I was experiencing that day.   I was out in a 20-foot sailboat on Lake Huron, plowing through huge swells at…at…at some high speed.    I was seated on the prow, with my legs overboard, dangling out in front,  hanging onto the metal rails as we dove through the waves.   The sound of the water hitting into the boat was tremendous.  I couldn’t move my legs because they were being plastered against the front of the boat and I dared not move my arms which were entwined around those railings.   

I think people were shouting at me from time to time, but I was fine.   I wouldn’t have moved if I could.   

It was like being totally immersed by the power of the present moment, moment to moment, feeling the full force of  the thick frothy spray of the waves, feeling the jerky up and down motion of the front of the boat,  adjusting the muscles in my arms and shoulders according to whichever way I was being tossed.

There was power in the sails, power in the wind, power in the weight of the rolling waves fighting with the sailboat itself.   

And I was right where I wanted to be, feeling it, meeting it, matching its challenge!

Prow Spray 400

I said I couldn’t hear anything above the roar of the spray and maybe the powerful snap of the sails, but I couldn’t see much either.   All I knew is Lake Huron is big enough to have sailed on for hours like this.

I’m so energized, just remembering this day!   

Look, I tell myself, maybe I can’t see what’s coming ahead;  maybe the forces that will crash against us are bigger than any tiny human body — but maybe it’s the challenge that’s invigorating!    Hang on!   And do what you have to do!