Monday, September 29, 2008

Fear of God

The barometric measurement I am commonly bumping into with Calvinist Protestants lately is this seeming infatuation with examining every other "believers" Fear of God level. It comes quite strikingly at times. An emphasis on working out ones Salvation with "Fear and Trembling" (Phil 2:12) is made and one is approached with a skeptical glare, as if we should be walking around in an anxious sweat, and if no fear is visible, we are Judged NOT to be Saved by said Protestant. This, sort of, Internal Affairs Bureau (Rat Squad) mentality is virtually identical in many Calvinist Protestants I know. I can understand not wanting to commiserate with the enemy (or a mistakenly mis-identified enemy) but the whole spiritual body scan act is completely not what Jesus would do.

Having a developed belief system in our (human) being, of a God, that motivates our life through Servile fear is not Biblical. To fathom that a follower would emulate the love of Christ so that a lack of punishment is the reward is a spiritual contradiction. This Servile fear is essentially a motive trigger. Believing in Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in order to NOT suffer fire and brimstone, may produce an initial turn away from sin, but sustaining such a fear as the foundational basis of our belief is archaic and pagan at best. It is however one first step available to work out or form a faith of Salvation, that is tied to Sacred Scripture.

Once I experienced Filial fear of God, that fear of hurting and offending a God who loves me, I began to comprehend the context and reality of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and get my first real glimpse of the incomprehensible magnitude of Gods grace for his children. Without the First Gift....Filial Fear, none of the other Seven gifts are possible for us. Those gifts of Piety, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom are all based on and tied to our committed love (filial fear) for Him and are a result of those "works" which he places in us through grace. When I am able to discern that I have to make a decision or act that may have a consequence of Sin, and I consciously turn away from it because I know I would hurt my God that loves me, I am revealing a work of God in me.

I have run into a few Protestants who fully recognise Filial fear, and live it out...the a-C is one of them. He/they have a well formed Conscience and practice their truth which is, in my experience, compatible Universal truth. They are far more Catholic than they would ever admit ...and I quietly smile when I notice this and think "maybe someday they will come home".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kingdom of Heaven

Last Sundays Gospel Reading, and our Parish Fathers Homily about this parable, was significant and I am compelled to publish it here. I have been meditating this understanding frequently since then.

First the reading:

Mt 20:1-16a

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

If we insist on legalistic results from God for our own life, that being... compensation measured by merited effort, then we are taking Mercy off the table from God for us. If we insist that God "play fair" on our limited human level of justice, then we are insisting he never grant us more than we deserve, which is the definition of Divine Mercy. Gods "generosity" transcends our own human equivalent, it has to.

The last three lines are exponentially revealing. Are we envious of Gods ability? Do we "box" God into what we believe "just reward" is in an earthly meaning? Sure we do.

The last will be first is a repeated lesson fom Christ Jesus in other Gospels and provides an example to follow once again in multiple ways. In this stated parable as a description of the "Kingdom of Heaven", Jesus clues us into a new reality of "fairness" to be experienced now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Catholic Carnival #190

Is posted here, have a read or three!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mother Angelica Rocks Marian Apologetics

I am watching a rerun of EWTN's "Journey Home" 4th anniversary show, where Marcus Grodi and his network CEO Mother Angelica are talking spirituality, about 20 minutes in, Mother pours out an epic take on our holding of Mary, Mother of God (transcribed from the show itself):

Marcus (MG) : "Protestants say 'Why do you worship Mary, why do you pray to Mary rather than Jesus?"

Mother Angelica (MA) : "Well the misunderstanding is we dont worship Mary. We can only worship God, our Lady herself can only worship God. The problem is twofold, its human and its satanic (read "Enemy"). I am not blaming anyone who doesn't believe in Mary, as having a problem with the 'Enemy'. But I think he (God) does inspire us with common sense instead of spiritual sense. Our Lord himself says in the Commandments 'you have to honor your mother and your father'. When we speak of God and then we speak of the Father, designing that his eternal word would become man, he had to create someone special. Specially beautiful and Holy, not only without sin at conception. (Pause)

This is what amazes could anyone think, that even for a split instant, the Son of God would be in possession of his Enemy?

That just doesn't make any sense to say that the birth of our Lady was natural. (to say) Its really Josephs son, etc.... Because we don't understand how it happened, we say it didn't happen.

But that's a lack of humility on our part. You cant know and understand God. So when you say (Mary was not free from sin) you're accusing God of not following his own Commandments, He honored his Mother.

And they (Protestants) always bring up the Wedding at Cana, it always burns me up. (MG laughs) 'Whats is it to you and to me'...ok...well...he asked her to say fiat to his coming. We don't think of what might have happened if she said no. Her fiat brought him, and it was her fiat that had to begin His 3 years of Miracles and Ministry. That's why he said to her :

'What is it to you in me?'

In other words, (Jesus said) 'You're going to start my Passion, you're going to begin now, you know what you are doing?'re going to begin my public brought me here, and now you are going to begin' So what is it? He wasn't correcting her, he was reminding her what is it. She knew immediately, she responded as always 'Do whatever He tells you'. Otherwise it don't make any sense. If I say 'What is that to you?' you would have to say what it is. See...and that's why we have to love our Lady.......remember she stood at the foot of the Cross. she began, she said fiat, she said 'Do whatever he tells you.' She stood, that word stood is not just another word indicating a position, it indicated her own position as Mother of God which means she too added her terrible pain with her Son. And St. Paul says that, every good Protestant knows that..." (end of transcript)

The pure logic of the scripture, to refute the virginity and sinless purity of Mary would be agreeing that the Son of God was in possession of his Enemy, and in violation of his own Commandment "Honor thy Mother..."

Immaculate evidence indeed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Interupt this Blogcast #2... say, take a deep breath, watch and listen to what Gods gift of ten fingers can produce:

Notes from a Subculturist

How much fun is it, that is....chasing defense strategies for Mary's "Romanist" position?, or the crusades? or praying the rosary? Haven't we all seen enough spilled ink over these issues to fill a stadium already?

I read a pointed article on the subculture of Catholic Apologetics by Mark Shea that speaks well to this subject. While nearing the end of the article I found myself saying "hey...he's talking about me" (and Mr. Troutman, and Mr. Stellman and a few thousand other bloggers/writers).

Marks' take rings a Centrist bell in me that a balance of content, perspective and experience is essential in this quest for the Church's ultimate truth. Fanaticism is sometimes one post or email away for alot of us, myself included at times. I read volumes of no win fight tactics at the Catholic Answers Forums on occasion and cant help but shake my head and think...forget ecumenism, these people shed zero Catholic Light. Alas...I have been guilty of same.

Intellectualism, and perfecting a vocabulary of stunning effect is impactful, I must admit, I am impressed with the skills those on my Blog List possess, (and on their lists), but there is a time for balance and perspective and open minded pondering of all viewpoints.

Matt Maher was on "Life on the Rock" this past week and was pushed somewhat to point out his apologetic approach when put in that position (not musically). He was beautifully simple about it..."speak in their language, which is the language of relationships."

I am down with that.

So why bother? One could rightfully ween themselves off this Apologetic effort once the volume of already documented positions are counted. The sheer mass of counterpoints that have been published and spoken and recorded and read and regurgitated in book upon article upon tract upon blog should be enough to have the entire planet at Mass on Sunday five hundred years ago. Aren't we all so derivative? Don't get me wrong...I am in for the long haul. And that's one of the primaries I keep this up.

Here's the thing....Someday, Karl and Scott and Jimmy and Patrick and Mark Shea and the rest of the first wave of Catholic Apologists will need us to take up their song harmoniously. Another primary motivating factor is the amazing way apologetics force us to explore the depths of Christ and what he left for us....all of it. The more I discover, not just Catechetically, but from all these other humans' viewpoints, the more the depth becomes, exponentially. The beauty is immersive. The knowledge to be attained is vast.

Tip of the berg indeed.

Besides, if we all had Catholic "buy in", what would we podcast and blog about? Pizza?

Not much fun in a Pizza blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Christs "Family"...a Calvinist perspective

The a-C writes a position as follows which I post here in fairness, exactly as he wrote it and with no response from me yet. While I do what he proposes, and take my time to consider and examine this perspective, I ask the readers to do the same and feel free to comment in advance of a formal response by me. Combox is wide open.

(a-C writes)
I put a lot of time into this, take your time and chew on it

Mary’s Christocentric biblical position…I am sorry, but that is such and incredible attribute to esteem to someone. Is she the only one that has this attribute? Are there others who are Christocentric? Has this same quality been identified in others. I will explain the text of John as the author intended, above all you and I must agree that irrespective of anybodies thoughts on anything, we always go to the intent of the scripture and interpret what the writer conveyed and see how all of scripture establishes this. To say that John intended to convey that Mary is Christocentric is simply not there. If this is all it takes to establish such a doctrine, well then, employing such techniques renders the establishment of doctrine to be nearly limitless. Mary said to the servent, do what ever he says…that establishes something about Mary? I am not being cynical, this is a reality. You must agree with this! To take a mere conversation and exchange between Mary and some servents at a wedding and infer that this establishes anything about Mary is simply beyond me.

The purpose of John is

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Similarly, the opening renders its same objective

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The reality is that John’s conveyance of the personification of onlys as they pertain to Jesus are innumerable and solely pointed to the Lord

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The writer of John says his intent of writing is to convey that Jesus is God….that belief in Jesus Christ results in a supernatural Birth that is the only means of entering the Kingdom of God (this in and of itself refutes most all of papal doctrine about the means that Catholicism establishes…but I will ignore that for now, difficult as that is).

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the word (logos in the greek mean word and is referring to the person of Jesus Christ) and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God, all things that were made were made by him, and nothing that was made was made apart from him. Christ had no beginning, he had no mother who created him, he existed prior to the foundation of the World and made every single thing in the universe according to John.

Then he shows how John the Baptist was sent by God to be a messenger …… Jesus esteemed John above all other men (and women including Mary) when he said among man, there has never been one greater…this was the person that the Gospel writers revealed the quality that he must decrease and that his ministry was complete as he desired to see the Lord Jesus Christ alone magnified. That is the heart of the doctrine that equally refutes all this trash of praying to saints or Mary or dead popes or any such notion of anyone contributing to the work of Christ. It is singular!

The fact that Mary instructed the servents at the wedding is revealing about Mary. But look at the Lord’s response to her preceding, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." Mary was anticipating something of the Lord, she knew that something was different, but she clearly did not understand how his ministry would play out. This is evidenced by the reality that none of her children, none of the Lord’s brothers and sisters believed in the Lord Jesus Christ until after his death! They did not understand. The author John also includes insight as to how ordinary the people thought Jesus was in that the knew how ordinary his family was. This rebuke evidences her involvement was so unconnected to the Lord, that she was rebuked for even speakin about the ability to perform miracles. his rebuking of her involvement in thinking that. John further makes it clear that the people were astounded that Jesus was able to do things as he did yet his father and his mother were astounded that his parents (and family for that matter, were extraordinarily ordinary John 6: 42 And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?" If John intended for something about Mary to be conveyed, wouldn’t the Lord have used this opportunity to demonstrate a Christocentric quality about Mary and let her perform the miracle apart from him?

Mary never performed any miracle, never spoke the gospel in the book of acts and never had any role at all subsequent to Jesus departure, never shared scripture with anyone, never was esteemed with teaching Jesus anything, never wrote any scripture (nor did any other woman). never was the object of the Jeruselum council in Acts 15, is not anywhere in the marriage feast of the lamb in Revelation, is not in any way to be deemed to be anything other than a sinner in need of God’s grace in the same way that you and I are. She is not mentioned anywhere in the epistles, no explanation about her supposed intercession, her co-redemtrix, or any such thing what so ever. My friend showed me the Catholic church bulletin and asked how a quote from Luke (I think, don’t have it in front of me) establishes a position about Mary. He read the scripture and said, this does not even speak to this subject. He has grown in biblical discernment as he has now the ability to explain how 8 consecutive chapters of Romans fits like a glove and is overwhelmed when he hears someone explain something with the contents of Romans that is completely outside any scope or intent of what the Holy Spirit spoke thru Paul. The same can be said about John’s Gospel. He stated his intent builds it, concludes with it, and clearly establishes it.

John not only does not esteem any such attribute to Mary, he continues to make it extraordinarily clear that Mary was earthly ordinary and following his departure made it clear that it was John’s responsibility to care for her after the Lord’s departure. John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" That again reveals that the Lords appointment to John to care for his mother was a responsibility that was needed to be done and that the danger that those of the way of Christ faced was imminent. His brothers were not around, likely they were in fear for their lives and did not believe in Jesus at this point. Mary could not even care for herself such that the Lord charged Jesus with the need to care for him to which he did according to John 19:27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own [home.] as the Lord commanded him.

John did not in any way esteem Mary as Christocentric…In Fact that term is not even in the Bible as one might infer it to another person. To the contrary John portrayed her as a woman who was addressed in ordinary terms…woman what does this have to do with me…woman your son….she needed to be cared for, not prayed to at the hour of his death….John did not do any such thing. And to esteem that from these words is beyond incredulous of any person trying to teach such a quality…their condemnation is just.

If you would like to examine Luke’s writing I would be more than happy, first though you must answer the question…am I seen by you as faithfully conveying the biblical intent of John?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

CJ Podcast # 003 is up

CJ Podcast 003 is here.



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Whats to come on this Blog....


No Abdication here

Back to the a-C's request that I go line by line IE.:


JP3 claimed that Mary was his savior when he was shot, his view of Mary is far and above that of simply a departed Saint, she was actively involved in his life and responsible for aspects of his life….She was responsible for his protection, she was responsible for saving his life….He wore her initials on his clothes and so on and so on.

First, his acronym is JP2 not 3.
Second, the fact that I wear a "Fender" logo on my shirt does not mean I worship Fender. It can be said, as you say above, JP2 is a big Fan of Mary. There is nothing in Canon prohibiting anyone, even Peter's successor, from having a tatoo of Mary on his forehead. It does not dishonor or disrespect, just as wearing a Fender shirt does not disrespect Fender.

What Catholics do with Mary is wrong…I don’t have to defend it against your definition of worship. The reality is that it is wrong. Wether you call them worship or not is ridiculous…to say that I don’t understand why Catholics do what -they do is ridiculous…but even more decieiving is to laugh and say….see,,,,,I told you this Is not worship is silly….what ever name you give these is blasphemous against scripture.

What we have discussed, on many occasions, must not have been clear enough. In our conversations your assumed emphasis on the attention Mary receives is far greater than the level of attention most practicing Catholics pay in real life. I nor any Catholic I know, including Priests, Deacons and Catechists dont walk around with a constant adoration and mental vision of Mary. Your emphasis greatly exagerates the proportional amount of attention Mary actually receives in the daily life of a Catholic in general in my experience. In fact, to try and convey this with absolute clarity, Mary is hardly mentioned in the Mass on a regular basis. Its all about Christ.

What Catholics do with Mary is engage her closeness to Christ. All aspects of Mary point to Christ. Everything about Mary is Christocentric. Look at the Wedding feast at Cana in John 3:5 she says "Do whatever He tells you". She said herself in the Gospel of Luke 1:46 "My soul magnifies the Lord".

Her singular role as virgin Mother is engaged via prayer to get results with Christ. JP2 must have gotten results with her engagement/intercession and advocates doing this by wearing her insignia. What is essentially important to address is a distinct difference between Worship and Honor that must be understood. When anyone prays to God, they attach "latria" to this communication. Latria is sacrificial in character, and may be offered only to God. Catholics offer other degrees of reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Saints; these non-sacrificial types of reverence are called Hyperdulia and Dulia, respectively. Hyperdulia is essentially a heightened degree of dulia provided only to the Blessed Virgin. This distinction, written about as early as Augustine of Hippo and St Jerome, was detailed more explicitly by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae, A.D. 1270, II II, 84, 1: "Reverence is due to God on account of His Excellence, which is communicated to certain creatures not in equal measure, but according to a measure of proportion; and so the reverence which we pay to God, and which belongs to latria, differs from the reverence which we pay to certain excellent creatures; this belongs to dulia, and we shall speak of it further on (II II 103 3)"; in this next article St. Thomas Aquinas writes: "Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the Lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude." From St. Thomas it is apparent that a clear distinction exists among latria and forms of dulia within Catholic theology.

True practicing Catholics know the difference. When a non-Catholic attempts to blur the Worship radar screen with what he sees on the outside, not knowing what is on the inside of said Catholic, thats subterfuge.

We don’t need someone to intercede for us

We agree here. Essential it is not, however it is biblical as stated in Rev. 5:8, thus: "And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" There are accounts as the benefit of praying to Saints. One either accepts this or does not accept it. What one cannot do is read it, then ignore the content and twist it beyond its intent.

God does not need assistants to bring our requests to him

Even if he did, scripture does not distinguish assistants.

Scripture does as stated above and in Mark 12:26-27, your assertion of the term assistants is not relevant.

Full of Grace is used of other in scripture

Correct but not to the exclusion of Mary.



We don’t need one to pray for us at the hour of our death (at the instant of death believers go to heaven to be with the Lord (2 Thes) why do I need her to pray for me….

This is repetitive, the "need" may not be there, but the benefit is historically validated by thousands.

deceived Roman Catholics do not go to purgatory, they perish in hell eternally, Mary praying will be of no avail.

Scripture makes reference to Purgatory as a place of cleansing for those believers who are in Christs Grace but who are not sinless enough for admission through the narrow gate:

"Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny" (Matt. 5:25-26).

"Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor. 3:13-15).

These passages mark plainly the path which Purgation shall take place.

We don’t pray in vein repetition TO GOD OR TO ANYONE

You must be referring to Matthew 6:7–8. "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Jesus says explicitly that we should not "heap up empty phrases." You may be aware that the word battalogeo is used only once in the New Testament: here in Matthew 6:7. It seems to be a word of special importance. It also can be translated "to babble on" or "to repeat endlessly." You would also logically ask if praying the Hail Mary is not a vain repetition.
Don't stop at the end of verse 8. In verse 9, Jesus says explicitly, "Pray then like this." He then goes on to teach us to pray the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father). If Jesus was against standardized prayers, why did he give us one to pray? And I presume you would agree that he wanted us to pray this on many occasions.

In addition, not all repetition is vain. Consider the prayers spoken of in Revelation 4:8 offered day and night without ceasing: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" Another repetitious prayer pleasing to God is contained in Psalm 136: "For his steadfast love endures for ever." This phrase is repeated over twenty-five times. Finally, Matthew 26:44 tells us that Jesus himself prayed the same prayer three times in the garden in Gethsemane.

Statues and images of Mary are bowed down to around the world and prayers are offered to her directly...Idols are sold by the millions every year with her as a pendant on woman

It isnt that hard to come to an understanding that we mortal humans are limited in our expression of spirit. Showing reverence for any Holy symbolic statue, image or material thing when it is done with intent to acknowledge the supreme reverence of God is based in respect. One should have a compassionate and loving heart to comprehend that the things put in Gods House are for the purpose of glorifying Him.

Mary was a servant of God to bring about the fulfillment of our Mesiah…John the Baptist was declared to be above all other Men…let’s carve a statue to him and light candles and pray to him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! while were at it, think of the take if we make one’s for money boxes and kneeling to all the popes….Oh I guess my thoughts are old news…that is what the Vatican did

Now you're getting comment.