Jul 27, 2007
"The world’s opposition (to the gospel) is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advanced beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it."
-- John R.W. Stott, from “The Message of 2 Timothy”
Jul 25, 2007
NEWS FROM THE HOLY SEE
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Vatican City, Rome
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vatican Recall Hotline: (800) ASK-RATZ
July 10, 2007
VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer products. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Products: African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.), Amish, Anabaptist, Anglican, Baptist, Calvinist, Christian Science, Congregationalist, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Huguenot, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Puritan, Quaker, Seventh-Day Adventist, Shaker, and Zwinglian Christian sects (frequently labeled "Protestant").
Name of Products: Albanian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Czech Orthodox, Cypriot Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox, Finnish Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Latvian Orthodox, Macedonian Orthodox, Montenegrin Orthodox, Polish Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Slovak Orthodox, and Ukranian Orthodox sects (frequently labeled "Eastern" or "Oriental" Orthodox).
Manufacturer: The devil (listed on the New York Stock Exchange as "Angel of the Bottomless Pit," "Beelzebub," "Belial," "Dark Prince," "Evil One," "Fallen Angel," "Foul Fiend," "His Infernal Majesty," "Lucifer," "Mephistopheles," "Mr. Applegate," "Mr. Scratch," "Prince of Darkness," "Satan," and "Tempter").
Hazard: Can fail to achieve salvation on contact.
Incidents/Injuries: Widespread reports of salvific malfunction and consequent exclusion from the Kingdom of Heaven. Users complain of being rerouted to Purgatory and in a few instances to the Fiery Pit.
Cause: Because Jesus Christ subsists only in the Catholic Church of Rome™, adherents to other faiths that self-advertise as Christian must rely on infrequent guest appearances. Although He is omnipresent, He can't be everywhere at once.
Sold at: A complete list of retail outlets has been unavailable to the Church for the past five centuries. We continue our efforts to compile one and will post it online when we can.
Manufactured in: Wittenberg, Germany; Canterbury, England; Zurich, Switzerland; Istanbul, Turkey; Alexandria, Egypt; Boston, Mass.; Palmyra, New York.
Remedy: Consumers should desist adherence to the abovementioned sects, now proven unreliable, and transmit their souls to the Catholic Church of Rome™. United States residents may use this Catholic Church locator. For those who are already deceased, and therefore ineligible for salvation, the Church has commenced discussions about reopening Limbo, which the Vatican decommissioned in April.
Jul 23, 2007
On this last weekend's trip to Kyle/Austin, I drove down 35 on a Friday mid-day. It took over six hours due to heavy rains and slow traffic. Highway hell, I assure you.
But I also stopped for lunch in Belton. I've heard about Schoepf's BBQ, but I'd never seen it. I had a general idea of where it was, so I exited before the Killeen split, and drove into uncharted territory. I drove by the campus of Mary Hardin-Baylor, saw the Bell County Museum (I'm going back).
Schoepf's is an "open pit purchasing" style place. You go to the pit and select your meat(s). Then you go inside and pay, either by the pound ($8 to $10 a pound), or as a prix fixe plate. Sides are available, as are breads and desserts. The brisket looked too grey for my tastes, so I chose ribs and sausage (which came from Elgin, the throne of Texas sausage making). The available sauce was a tomatoey/astringent affair that wasn't without merit (I couldn't help but think that served cold, with a few slices of avacado in it, it might make for an interesting gazpacho). The ribs and the sausage don't need the sauce. Perhaps the brisket and pork chops do.
Good stuff. I'll re-visit another day.
Jul 12, 2007
THE PACK - Joseph Beuys
"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over
our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms
about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
-- C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Regarding the basics of being a follower of Christ Jesus, there is so much confusion, dissension, error, and ignorance held as truth and taught by “churches”, that it is no wonder there are so few actual “followers” of Jesus.
A few points to clarify:
- God does not condemn us to a fiery Hell. The “
” in John’s Revelation is a place for the Serpent and his demons. Hell, in the way Jesus spoke of it (Gehenna), is something more akin to a landfill where the garbage is taken and burned (although the fires burn forever). Our willful separation from God is what sends us to the “dump” at the end of our lives. It’s not so much our “punishment” as our reasonable end... to be thrown out with the rest of the useless garbage. When I throw out the garbage, or put an old, un-repairable TV on the curb for rubbish day, I don’t rise from my chair and say “Damn you trash to Hell!” But if the broken item or trash can be refurbished or recycled, I keep it from being thrown into the landfill. As a redeemed sinner, I have been “recycled”. And as someone in whom God’s Holy Spirit resides, I have been “refurbished” (born again). Lakeof Fire
- We do not save ourselves, (i.e., by being good and doing good things), nor are we saved by the actions of others (i.e., ceremonial baptism). We are saved by being united with God via his Holy Spirit’s presence in our selves. Grabbing a “big donut” will not save a drowning man. The buoyancy of a life saver will keep him above the waves so he does not drown. It is the life saver that effects the salvific work. The drowning man merely reaches out to it. But he must decide to quit thrashing, and reach for it. Repent = Reach Out. Failure to reach out to Jesus for rescue results in an eternity in Gehenna (see above). You don't want to go there.
- The Holy Trinity is a concept meant to say more about how we experience God than about the nature of God. The Trinity is a concept based on our understanding of God in our dimension. He is a Unity experienced by us as a Trinity. This is one place in orthodoxy where it is indeed “about us”, or at least about our experiences. God (Yahweh) is not so much "Three in One", as he is "One as Three", from our limited observation point.
- A vengeful God did not require the brutal murder of his son. The Atonement – how God himself died so that our sin could be removed as a barrier between our Creator and ourselves – is a deep mystery. But the key to it is that God himself became human and suffered a human death at the hands of evil. Somehow, his human death and human resurrection re-established the link between God and mankind lost at the Fall. By becoming human and dying, God somehow set up a way for his Holy Spirit to live in us. I don't understand it, and neither does anyone else here on Earth. Yes, blood sacrifice in pagan cultures is an archetype for God's atoning sacrifice, but Jesus' death on the cross is not the same thing as Polynesian priests throwing virgins into a volcano to insure a good harvest.
- The Roman Catholic Church is not the one "True Church", although it is part on the one (there is only one body of Christ), holy (set apart from the world), catholic (universal), and apostolic (derived from the teachings of the apostles) church. Where do they get the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the sole franchise? It's just Turf Wars fought trying to re-make God in our own image (although in the Roman Catholic Church's case, it does have a lot to do with the fall of the Roman Empire and the "Church" taking on the identity of the Empire). All denominations cling to versions of this popular heresy (The Church of Christ is a prime example). Thank God (truly) we are entering a new, glorious, post-denominational period for the Church. Perhaps the owner is about to return to inspect the property. Trash and useless furniture will all be sent to the dump.