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Whom Will You Serve?

serveIf somehow Catholics didn’t realize it before Friday, I hope the realization has dawned. We have a choice to make.

If you’re a Catholic who feels like celebrating this wretched Supreme Court decision to impose same-sex “marriage” on the nation, may I strongly suggest that you reconsider your cheers.

I saw a lot of that on Facebook all day on Friday. Catholics, using the transparent rainbow on their profile pictures; Catholics repeating the secular line about “not imposing their beliefs” on anyone; Catholics talking about their unwillingness to “judge” anyone who supports same-sex “marriage”, and so forth.

It was discouraging to say the least.

It means that too many Catholics have been catechized only by the secular culture and not by the Church. They believe the lie that by speaking the truth, they are “imposing” their beliefs on others. They fear the accusations of hatred and bigotry from friends or family more than they fear the Lord.

That may sound harsh, but let’s cut through the crap and get right to the point. Each of us must choose whom we will serve. We can no longer live as though agreeing with the world isn’t disagreeing with God.

We’ve gotten away with such duplicity, it seemed to us anyway, until now because the culture tolerated it.

Those days are over.

The Supreme Court has declared a “new orthodoxy”, as Justice Samuel Alito called it. How fitting that he used religious terminology to describe Friday’s ruling and this new mandated form of “marriage” that we must all accept, by their decree.

“Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

Dissent from this new orthodoxy will certainly not be tolerated, even to the smallest degree. This brings us swiftly to the decision point: Who will it be? God or Caesar? There is no middle ground — that earth has been scorched.

If there remains confusion about what our Church teaches on the subject, let’s clear it up. From Canon lawyer Ed Peters:

“Catholic doctrine and discipline can never, ever, recognize as married two persons of the same sex, and any Catholic who regards “same-sex marriage” as marriage is, beyond question, “opposed to the doctrine for the Church” (Canon 750 § 2). I am sorry so many Catholics apparently think otherwise and I recognize that many who think that Church teaching on marriage can and should change, do so in good faith. But they are still wrong and their error leads them, among other things, to underestimate how non-negotiable is the Church’s opposition to the recognition of same-sex unions as marriage.”

And from the United States Catholic Bishops:

“Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.”

It doesn’t matter how popular same-sex “marriage” becomes. It changes nothing, because the truth of the human person and marriage will never change. Catholics need to understand that marriage has an ontology that cannot be changed. There are no such things as round triangles; or green made from two similar shades of yellow; and there is simply no such thing as marriage between two men or two women. It is an impossibility.

In the beginning God created them male and female… Do we now think that God made a mistake? Are we really so arrogant as to insist that what God designed and ordained can be altered because the present age demands it?

On the one hand, I believe there are those, as Ed Peters said, of good will who think Church teaching should change. They are wrong, but I don’t doubt their good will.

I think there’s something else at play here as well though, and that’s self-image, fear, and personal cost. We want to be nice. No one wants to be called hateful. No one wants to be branded a bigot. Nobody wants to lose friends or family over the “issue” of marriage. No one wants to risk being publicly ridiculed and persecuted for not riding the rainbow parade float.

It’s hard to stand against the crowd. When the crowd looks like they want blood, nobody wants to offer theirs.

It’s very hard to withstand the accusations of being narrow-minded, discriminatory, homophobic, backwards, bigoted, and hateful. It means being very unpopular in a world that prizes popularity.

Christians who’ve not suffered for their faith often romanticize persecution. They imagine themselves willing to lose their jobs, their liberty, or even their lives for standing up for the Gospel. Yet when the moment comes, at least here in the United States, they often find that they simply can’t abide being called “hateful.” It creates a desperate, panicked response. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not like those people — the religious right.” Thus, at the end of the day, a church that descends from apostles who withstood beatings finds itself unable to withstand tweetings. Social scorn is worse than the lash.”

Indeed. It’s terrifying to risk great personal sacrifice; even real persecution in the loss of a business or job or position; or agonizing grief at losing a loved one or a friend. It takes some real inner steel, some unshakable conviction to stand firm in the face of all that.

But there is no compromise. If we choose to obey the world’s mandates, we will forsake the God we claim to love and forfeit our eternal inheritance.

Some will read those remarks and recoil, saying how can a God of love condemn me for supporting “equal rights” for all people?

Catholics need to understand there is no “right” for two men or two women to marry, just as there is no “right” to kill the unborn child in abortion. Just because people may want to do something doesn’t mean they have the right to do it.

Feelings are not the barometer of moral rightness. Love is not a feeling!

Is all this hatred toward homosexual persons? No, it is not! At least not what is being called hatred. If by hatred, you mean saying that homosexual sex is not licit and morally right, then there’s the problem. If by hatred, you mean saying that marriage only exists between a man and a woman, then there’s the second problem. If by hatred, you mean upholding the Natural law and the truth of the human person created male and female, then that’s the trouble.

It isn’t hatred to say what is true. It isn’t hatred to obey the sovereignty of God’s law, and to recognize the Natural law. (For the record, it’s also true that adultery, fornication, and pornography are also immoral, illicit, unacceptable. It isn’t hatred to say so.)

Frankly, Catholics have got to stop being so emotional about all this. We’ve got to stop worshiping everyone’s feelings, including our own.

Don’t be deluded into thinking it ends with marriage. Oh, no. Far from it.

The end goal is the family. The militant activists in this movement to normalize homosexual sex will not stop until they have decimated the family unit of father, mother, and children. They call it “heteronormative” as though being male and female is by its very nature discriminatory against homosexuals.

The movement to wipe out gender entirely is well underway and gaining tremendous steam. A man can chemically castrate himself, get breast implants, hair extensions, wear a push-up bra and make-up and voila! He’s a woman, because “gender is a social construct” that must now be rendered meaningless.

“Sex Ed” beginning in Kindergarten now will indoctrinate children into this kind of thinking, and cause healthy, normal, impressionable young kids to question their own sexuality, their own gender, and reject the natural differences between boys and girls in favor of “gender fluidity”. They will be taught to see their God-given bodies as separate and even opposed to how they feel, then told all that matters is how they feel.

We’re on a luge going at breakneck speed toward this depraved societal revolution. Catholics who are celebrating this as a “victory” for equal rights are as sorely deceived as the rest of the crowd, but far more accountable because they are obligated to know better.

Now that marriage means anything (and thus, nothing), now that being male or female either means nothing or whatever we want it to mean, the assault on the family by the enemy of our souls will gain a power and intensity most of us are not prepared for.

We have to stop being afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and start focusing on eternal truths.

The goal isn’t to discriminate against anyone or deny anyone their human rights. The goal is to not be deceived into believing that sin is no longer sin just because that sin has become wildly popular and celebrated by the whole world.

“And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

It’s decision time for every Catholic in America: the false gods of our culture, or the Lord. There’s no fence to straddle. It’s time for courage and fidelity.

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Christian Woman’s Promise: I Will Not Be Dissuaded

A Christian Woman’s Promise: I Will Not Be Dissuaded

I don’t think I ever expected my daily life to become such a fierce battle. I never imagined that I would come to feel as though I’d fallen through some bizarre looking glass; that society at large would resemble a Mad Hatter’s tea party.

I wanted something much different for my children. I didn’t want them to grow up in this insanity, where wrong is suddenly right and freedom is gladly traded in for empirical dictates, but so much for that. It’s time to face facts, and the fact is, hostility toward Christianity is increasing rapidly. We are no longer welcome in the culture. Christianity has always been the anti-culture in every age, but here in America, in this present age, it is now a targeted threat; a presence that will no longer be tolerated.

So be it. 

I am sad for my country, and for the world. I grieve for the immorality that has become so commonplace and celebrated. I grieve for the family — father, mother, and children — as I watch it crumble and be slowly erased from our collective understanding. I grieve for the innocence of our children that is snatched from them before they can even ride a bike.

I grieve for the death of romance and sacrificial love, which has been replaced by indiscriminate, sterile sex without commitment or obligation. I seethe with anger at the objectification of women and the so-called empowerment that is nothing more than vulgar, degrading, pornographic smut.

With every fiber of my being I reject a so-called feminism that says I can only have equality and freedom if I am willing and able to kill my children in the womb.

I grieve deeply for our profane and mercenary practice of manufacturing babies to suit our fancies. We treat children like accessories to be added to our lives whenever we choose, and to reject whenever we choose. We order them up the way we’d special-order an automobile. And we expect that if some defect shows itself, we are entitled to cancel the order and have the product-child destroyed.

Wombs are for rent, and babies must accept being denied a mother or father, depending on the adults’ sexual preferences. No one cares what the children need — only what the adults want. All that matters is affording the adults’ lifestyle the legitimacy and status they demand. The children are there to serve that end, period.

I grieve deeply for the slow death of marriage that has been coming for decades, and the lightning-fast speed at which the final blows are being delivered as we attempt to redefine marriage into meaninglessness and chaos. I shake my head at the blind stupidity and apathy which has taken over the consciousness of so many people.

And all of this must be celebrated and hailed as progress. It is utterly selfish and depraved, yet it must be codified as the new love. To oppose this desecration of life, sex, and marriage makes one now an enemy of the state.

So be it.

What you, the culture, fail to understand is that I am not motivated to please you or appease you. I will not be bullied into submission. I will not “adapt” my beliefs to suit you. It doesn’t matter that you have decided there is no sin in abortion, same-sex “marriage”, sex-on-demand, and the treatment of babies as commodities — I disagree because I know that God has said otherwise.

What you cannot accept is that I will not cease to worship the true God in favor of your gods. I will not abandon the Truth in favor of your empty, self-serving doctrines. It doesn’t matter how many names you call me, or how many insults you hurl in my direction, or how you may wish to ostracize and push me to the outer edges of society. It will not change anything.

Abortion will always be a grave evil and utterly unjust, no matter what the Supreme Court says. Marriage will always be the union of a man and woman, for life, for the benefit of their children, no matter what the Supreme Court or any government says.

Sex will always be designed to be life-giving and unitive, no matter how much you trivialize it or how much contraception you demand.

There will always be fundamental, inherent, and complementary differences between men and women. There will always be only two possible genders of the human person: male and female.

You see, you didn’t create the human person. You didn’t create marriage. You aren’t the author and giver of new life. You didn’t establish the human family.

You don’t have the power or authority to change what God has ordained from the foundation of the world.

You will try, nonetheless, and to a large degree it will seem you have succeeded. You will perhaps change civil laws, but you can never change the Moral law. You will be able to upend the natural order of things, but you will never undo the Natural law. You will sow havoc and confusion into the very heart of our society, and we will all reap the destructive whirlwind.

As that happens more and more, as the carnage increases and the damage leaves no one untouched, then perhaps people will finally awaken from their deceived stupor and see that they eagerly bought a barrel of poisoned apples. Perhaps then they will look around for someone who can help restore the order, sanity, and morality that had been violently cast aside.

They will find the Church. They will find Christians, the very ones they scorned and sued, bankrupted and put in prison. They’ll find the Catholic Church, and the late Cardinal George’s prediction will come to pass:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

Do not misunderstand me. This is not arrogant boasting or a finger-wagging “I told you so!” I don’t say this to you, the culture, out of spite or snickering glee, but with a heavy heart that longs to see such a dismal future averted. Yet I know that even if the darkness closing in on us is not lifted, then the Church will suffer through it, be purified by it, and will be there, still standing, when souls come in need of healing and hope again. God is not mocked, and He is not dead.

You may hate me and hate my Christian values; you may despise the Church and all Her teachings; you may be certain that if only the old-fashioned notions of marriage and sex could be jettisoned, and if God could be adapted to your enlightened, modern sensibilities, then “equality” would win the day and everyone would be free and happy.

But I know you are wrong. I know it because nothing good can possibly come from eviscerating marriage of its meaning, or of distorting and twisting human sexuality into a pretzel of fabricated varieties and initials; or of wrenching innocence and modesty from our children in the name of sexual freedom and autonomy.

Nothing good will ever, ever come of the brutality of abortion.

Love will never be found in the sexless manufacture of children, or the selfish denial of their right to their mother and father.

Love is “willing the good of the other, as other” the great saint Thomas Aquinas said. If I love you, I will want and do only what is for your good, even if it costs me. If you love me, you will do the same.

The signs all along the road our culture is currently speeding down do not point to love at all. They point to hedonism, nihilism, and despair. When sacrificial love is no longer the guiding principle, we are hopelessly lost.

The plans and vision you wish to bring about in our country are loveless, empty, and hopeless. You may very well be gaining ground, and you may win a few battles, thanks to decades of a lackluster witness and worse, friendly cooperation from Christians who should have known better, and should have done better.

Even so, the Church will survive you. She has watched as every major world empire has ended up on the ash heap of history. She will survive you. But not arrogantly, and not due to any cleverness or merit of Her own, but only because Jesus Christ has promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

As long as I have breath, I will battle to restore to America God’s vision of the human person, the human family, authentic freedom, and genuine equality of dignity. Nothing you can say or do will dissuade me or slow me down.

determinedI just thought you should know.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Gay is the new Anti-Freedom: What I’ve Learned from Indiana’s RFRA

Gay is the new Anti-Freedom: What I’ve Learned from Indiana’s RFRA

Here’s what I’ve learned from the massive kerfluffle over Indiana’s RFRA:

1. Indiana is simply an intolerable (pun intended) place to do business, so mayors and governors from other states have declared Hoosier country off-limits. Bakers, florists, photographers, and restaurateurs in Indiana have apparently had super-secret meetings in which they have solemnly vowed they will never again serve any customer who doesn’t first swear to their heterosexuality. This is a known fact. It says so right there in the Indiana RFRA on page 1,057.

2. The mayors and governors from #1 are joined by Apple, among other companies, in this unqualified condemnation of Indiana and this audacious attempt to preserve freedom for everyone legalize outright discrimination. Meanwhile, Apple’s expansion in the Middle East continues without a word of protest or even a furrowed brow, despite the fact that gays in that region are often flogged. Yes, flogged. We don’t see that word often here in the U.S.A. but it’s what they did to Jesus before they crucified Him. It’s a pretty clear indication of intolerance.

3. Speaking of the RFRA itself, virtually no one in the media or in government cares what it actually says or why. (Or what it said, now that it’s been “fixed.”) They certainly will not be bothered to analyze it honestly or fairly. Facts do not matter. All that matters is that the public be made to hate Indiana and Governor Pence because they are legalizing discrimination against gays everywhere! No gay person will ever be able to eat out again, or buy flowers or cupcakes ever again. Ever. And they will lose their jobs tomorrow as well. Because that’s what RFRA is secretly designed to do. It says so right there on page 1,058.

4. For some unknown reason, travel to and business with New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, or any of the other states who already have their own RFRA laws on the books is perfectly fine, and the mayors and governors from #1 have not issued any restrictions. As noted above, travel to and business with Saudi Arabia has also not been prohibited.

5. Illinois is on the list of 19 other states that have an RFRA-type law. Then-senator Barack Obama voted for the law in Illinois. And don’t forget, there’s a federal RFRA as well. Bill Clinton signed that one.

6. Baking a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony is surely absolutely no different than making someone a pizza for dinner on Tuesday night, so anyone who says they just don’t want to be involved in same-sex weddings is lying. They’re really saying they hate gays and will tell them to get the hell out of their establishment, now that RFRA gives them the legal right (it’s right there on page 1,059). Therefore… such vermin business owners must be slandered and ruined. They must be sued until they’re bankrupt. Tweets about burning their business down are not uncalled for. They deserve it.

7. Hillary Clinton said that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman; that marriage has always been known as such throughout history, and that the primary purpose of marriage was the raising of children. Harry Reid said that no state has the right to force its laws regarding marriage on any other state. Granted, they said these things about 10 years ago, but it sure is remarkable.

Finally, #8. Dan Savage, the foul-mouthed LGBT activist who said (among many other things) that “Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope”; and also that Dr. Ben Carson should come perform oral sex on him; and that he thinks about “f***ing the sh** out of” Senator Rick Santorum, has just been given a new Disney show called “Family of the Year”, based on his own life.

The execs at Disney are well aware of Savage’s actions, yet they still deem him worthy of a show on their network aimed at young people. Why?

Why is all of this happening? I think I know why, but it will be most politically incorrect to say so out loud.

I think it’s because Gay is the cause du jour of our time. I’ll go even a step further — Gay is the new (mandatory) ideology and idol of our time. You can be hateful, vile, vulgar, make threats, be vindictive, be dishonest, and seek to ruin anyone – as long as you’re gay (or at least gay-supporting).

It’s especially okay to do these things if the target of your outrage is a Christian, or at least a conservative in general.

For the sake of Gay, journalists will lie and fabricate stories. For Gay, there is no bothering with facts. To hell with the truth. If the person or business or story doesn’t support the agenda and the propaganda, then it will be altered until it hits all the right buttons and generates the needed gasp of aghast from the ignorant and willing-to-be-deceived masses.

For the sake of Gay, and now for the sake of same-sex “marriage”, politicians will become amnesiacs and forget everything they ever said years ago about the sanctity of marriage and the family. They will denounce anyone who holds the very belief they themselves swore they held not long ago.

They will condemn every attempt to preserve the natural family unit of father, mother, and child, as blatant discrimination with purely hateful intent.

They will deliberately misrepresent legislation, twist the intent of others in government, and purposely brand everyone who resists this social re-engineering as out-of-touch, regressive, wanna-be slave owners looking for poor gay folks to trample down.

Dan Savage specializes in vulgarity, profanity, threats, insults, intimidation, and hate, and he seems quite proud of it. And this, apparently, is what Disney feels is appropriate for our families today. This is the entertainment we need. Why?

Because Gay.

We have seen how, with lightning speed, the media and the pop culture will pounce on and smack down anyone who speaks what they consider an unflattering or unsupportive word about a gay person or gay rights. This person is not defending an ancient truth about marriage, the family, and the human person — No! — they are a backwards bigot. End of story.

It is absolutely right that violent remarks, threats and insults are condemned. Nobody should be treated that way. There’s no reason for it, no place for it, and no excuse for it.

So why are Savage’s actions and words excused and tolerated, and now even rewarded? Why? Is it because he’s gay and he supposedly speaks for the gay community? Is it because his targets are conservatives, or Christians? It’s pretty hard not to come to that conclusion.

There is no longer any tolerance for anyone who is not in full accord with the Gay agenda. Such a citizen will not be allowed to own a business, hold an office, speak in public, teach at a school, give a sermon, or do much of anything outside their own home, and if they try, they will be swiftly and severely punished.

So, what I’ve really learned this past week is this: We are, in short order, becoming a nation that actually despises freedom. We have come to loathe the truth, and to crave distorted propaganda instead. We have lost the ability, or have forgotten how, to think at all. We can only react with emotion, and rarely at all employ reason and mature judgment.

In our zeal to abolish God and His law, we made government our god and demanded totalitarianism. We no longer allow any dissent from or non-participation in the government-sanctioned idol.

Gay must rule the day now, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. Gay is the new golden calf that must be worshiped. It has been decided.

So the invented hysteria continues, and the anti-Christian flames are fanned into full roar, and many people will become fearful and quietly fade into the background. Some (most?) politicians who started out strong in their defense of religious freedom will cave under pressure and in self-preservation. People will be faced with the decision to acquiesce or lose their business. They will be bullied into submission. All this in the name of progress and “freedom.”

There’s much, much more than cake and flowers at stake. And this week I learned that what really matters doesn’t matter at all compared to the witch hunt that must be carried out against Christian business owners or anyone who has the nerve to have a conscience that prompts them differently than Gay says is allowed.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

If you haven’t heard, the Rev. Rob Bell has a dire warning for the church in America.

It was against the backdrop of Ash Wednesday, in the still-numb reality of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being martyred for their faith by monstrous Islamic terrorists that I first read about Bell’s pronouncement.

The Church was irrelevant. Christianity itself was becoming more irrelevant with every passing day that it did not embrace same-sex “marriage”.

More irrelevant. This supposedly Christian pastor told Oprah that it was only a matter of time, and he expected the Church to get over itself very soon or perish. He said that since that was the direction society was heading, it’s the direction Christianity needs to be heading as well. Otherwise, the faith founded upon the Eternal God and his Incarnate Son will simply disappear and be left behind.

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense…”

Alrighty, then. According to Bell, the inspired, holy Word of God is merely a collection of 2,000 year old letters which are no longer relevant to our modern culture. God is past His expiration date.

Bell’s disdain for the authority of Christ, for Sacred Scripture, and for the purpose and nature of marriage is all too clear, and I know I won’t persuade him otherwise today. But this characterization of the Church as an irrelevant body that is essentially prejudiced, woefully out of touch, and dying on the vine is just feeble, smarmy perfidy.

Bell is a little boy sitting at the table with his Play-doh. But rather than making planes or buildings or weird animals, he’s squishing together beliefs and opinions and preferences to form his own religion. He is the latest architect of Play-doh Christianity: those heretics who prefer a religion, fashioned by an ever-changing culture, in which the only true doctrine is there is no sin.

Since there is no sin, there’s no need for a Cross. No need for a Christ. No need to mention repentance at all. (Except to demand repentance of the sin of intolerance of all the culture says is good and necessary.)

Play-doh Christianity says that since God is love, then He happily allows whatever His children decide will make them happy, and bows to their conclusions about what is right and wrong. He serves at the pleasure of His children, from age to changing age. He bends with the times — or rather, they mold Him to the times and He cooperates — pliable, good-natured deity that He is.

play doh

Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can’t call it Christianity, and he can’t claim it’s the Church.

If Bell’s Play-doh creation was a jarring contrast to the profoundness of Ash Wednesday and those heroic men who clung to Christ when death was at their throats, it seems mild compared to the formless mound of doh being sculpted by the next “Reverend”.

Let me introduce you to John Schuck. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister and considers himself a Christian, despite the fact that he doesn’t believe in God.

He believes that Christianity is merely a human construct, like all religions; that Jesus Christ may have been a historical figure, but is mostly legend; the Bible is a human product and not the Divinely-inspired Word of God. In short, he says, he “regards the symbols of Christianity from a non-supernatural point of view.”

And by the way, he doesn’t appreciate being told he’s not really a Christian.

“Why is that so many people think my affirmations are antithetical to Christianity? I think it is because Christianity has placed all of its eggs in the belief basket. We all have been trained to think that Christianity is about believing things. Its symbols and artifacts (God, Bible, Jesus, Heaven, etc) must be accepted in a certain way. And when times change and these beliefs are no longer credible, the choices we are left with are either rejection or fundamentalism.”

(Again, God serves at the pleasure of the people and their changing times. Otherwise, how could he be credible?)

“I think of Christianity as a culture. It has produced 2,000 years of artifacts: literature, music, art, ethics, architecture, and (yes) beliefs. But cultures evolve and Christianity will have to adapt in order to survive in the modern era…”

(Mr. Shuck, ours is not the first era Christianity has “survived” and it will not be the last unless Jesus returns.)

“I believe one of the newer religious paths could be a “belief-less” Christianity. In this “sect,” one is not required to believe things. One learns and draws upon practices and products of our cultural tradition to create meaning in the present. The last two congregations I have served have huge commitments to equality for LGTBQ people and eco-justice, among other things. They draw from the well of our Christian cultural tradition (and other religious traditions) for encouragement in these efforts. I think a belief-less Christianity can be a positive good for society.

“Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now, even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly. Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in Heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity. Instead of traditional beliefs, they emphasize social justice, personal integrity and resilience, and building community. The cultural artifacts serve as resources.
“But what about belief in God? Can a belief-less Christianity really survive if God isn’t in the picture? Can you even call that Christianity anymore? In theory, yes. In practice, it is a challenge because “belief in God” seems to be so intractable. However, once people start questioning it and realize that they’re not alone, it becomes much more commonplace.”
“Since posting my article — and in response to my ministry in general — many have opened up to me that they didn’t believe in God but they liked coming to my church. One young woman, after going through my confirmation class, joined the church. She read her faith statement in front of the congregation. It was a powerful articulation of her social justice commitments in which she added that she didn’t believe in God. The congregation enthusiastically welcomed her, of course.”
“Someone quipped that my congregation is BYOG: Bring Your Own God. I use that and invite people to “bring their own God” — or none at all. While the symbol “God” is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking. That permission to be theological do-it-yourselfers is at the heart of belief-less Christianity.”

your image hereBelief-less Christianity, in which there is no God but the one you bring with you, or none at all.
Have you ever read anything so dopey in your whole life?

When you get past the dopeyness of it, you recognize the melody. Same old song been sung since forever. “I shall not serve.”

Shuck’s Play-doh design goes way beyond Bell’s. Shuck has squished God out altogether. He simply clings to the name “Christian” for, what reason? Artifacts and resources?

It is Lent. The season set aside for reflection and contemplation of all that Jesus Christ suffered for our sakes. The season given to us as a time for purging and cleansing our lives of sin and obstacles to faith. The time when we are asked to follow Christ into the desert and in the silence, to listen and hear God.

It’s almost Holy Week; soon we will stand in solemn remembrance of a particular Friday in Jerusalem, long ago, when two pieces of wood became a bridge; became a Divine splint; became that thing Bell and Shuck have no use for any longer.

The “faith” Bell and Shuck preach is merely a vehicle for social justice according to their terms. It’s not a religion but a political and secular movement trading on God’s generosity and good nature.

But Christianity is first and foremost about the Cross.

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is just wicked babble.

Bell and Shuck both want a “Christianity” in which there’s no cross for them to carry, so first they must do away with the cross. Let us not speak of Calvary, they whisper. Let us not speak of sin. How ugly and accusing. God is looove!

God — whatever he may be to you, or nothing at all if you choose! — does not dwell on unpleasant things like rules, laws, right or wrong, good or evil. He cares only for your pleasure and satisfaction. All that offends him is the intractableness of some folks who insist that Jesus Christ is Lord; the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

It’s a very popular message in our culture today, where rights and opinions are paramount, and autonomy is inviolate. Obedience is a very bad word. Humility and reverence and sacrifice are spit out like sour milk. We’re quite sickened by the very concepts.

Bell’s and Shuck’s words sound very sweet indeed to ears itching for such pleasing affirmation and permission. Come, be your own god. Establish your own law. Determine for yourself what is good and what is not. Worship yourself. Worship your own ideals. Make social justice your religion, and by your own decree establish what justice means. Listen to the wisdom of the age and mold your god accordingly.

Bell and Shuck are fools handing out Play-doh to more poor fools who listen to them and start molding and squishing their own god.

Their malleable inventions will never save them. For that you need solid wood.

I’ll take the foolishness of the Cross over the wisdom of this world any day.

crucifixion“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor 1:18-21,25

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Marriage is Not a Water Fountain, via Public Discourse

At The Public Discourse, by Anthony Esolen.

Separate Water FountainsFive stars! One of the best pieces I’ve read on the subject of same-sex “marriage” and why opposition to redefining marriage is not analogous to discrimination or segregation. Simply excellent, thoughtful, and solid. Would that this sort of thorough thinking would spread through our culture like a welcome winter flu. We would be healed.

An excerpt:

“Marriage is Not a Water Fountain”

Conjugal Marriage: Not Peculiar, But Universal

“Now, none of these conditions characterizes our efforts to restore and protect the institution of marriage. If anything, they characterize some of our opponents in the debate. Let us see why.

First, the idea that marriage requires a man and a woman is not peculiar to us. It is universal in human culture. Its universality is based upon the obvious functions of the reproductive organs, and the obvious need to propagate the species. We may add, too, that in a multitude of manifestations, wide in variety but recognizably of the same kind, what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman are also universal in human culture. That too is observed and accepted as natural and good, most nobly embodied in the complementarity of marriage, man and woman.

What is peculiar? The idea that there are no such things as manhood and womanhood; that the sexes are empty of significance, except in the sole case of what must then be considered a mere irrational and inexplicable desire: that this particular male must have another male, and this particular female must have another female. We can pretend that a man can possibly marry another man, because we have shut our eyes to what marriage is, and what men and women are.

That means that we have to shore up a lie. Suppose I say, “A marriage by our bodily nature requires a man and a woman. If we think about it for a moment, it also requires a vow of permanence and exclusivity, because marriage involves the time-transcending act that brings a new generation into being.” What about that is not true? When a man and a woman unite in the congress of the sexes, that is exactly what they are doing, even if they try to thwart its natural result. Nothing in human reality is comparable to that act.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/09/13730/

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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More Than Traditional, It’s True: A Call to Change the Way We Speak of Marriage

at Catholic Online

Don’t shoot me, but I think maybe the choir is singing the wrong tune.  At least I think they’re getting the lyrics mixed up a bit.  So I’m sticking my neck out (I may regret it) and piping up.  Here goes…

Honestly, more and more these days I find myself feeling like Eliza Doolittle. Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words…   (Campaign season does nothing to help. Ugh.)  Especially since words are being twisted into such wildly contorted things; words are being drained of their real meaning and stuffed with something cunning and artificial; words are being hijacked and deformed. And sadly, words have always made pretty powerful weapons.

So it’s all the more incumbent on us as Christians in a culture descending into an immoral abyss to choose our words wisely and use them well. Let’s make sure what we say accurately reflects what is true about the human person; about God; about marriage and the family. Above all, we must make sure our words aren’t crafted to cause harm but to shed light.

I want to scream when I read articles containing the ever-popular term “fertilized egg.” It’s a favorite of the abortion industry because it’s a handy dehumanizing term in their rhetoric war against the fact that life begins at conception. But I’ve also seen the phrase used by pro-lifers and people of faith.

The term drives me nuts because it’s wholly inadequate at best, and just plain inaccurate at worst. Fertilization is a singular event in time when a sperm joins with an ovum and once it happens, what you have is no longer an egg (fertilized or otherwise) but a newly-conceived human — an entirely new and distinct being.

Think of it this way: it takes yellow and blue to make green. Once you mix yellow and blue, what you have is not “yellowized-blue” or “blueized-yellow” but green. You could no longer separate the yellow from the blue if you wanted to. They have combined to create something entirely new and different and it has its own name.

We’re now caught up in a similar word-game with marriage.

I have a little bone to pick with well-meaning people who are using the phrase “traditional marriage” to refer to marriage, in an attempt to distinguish it from same-sex “marriage.” This idea is everywhere these days in secular as well as religious media. It posits that there is “traditional” marriage (between a man and a woman), and now other, more modern, progressive forms of marriage as well (same-sex couples). Christians and other people of faith have begun adopting this language right along with the rest of society.

I politely suggest it needs to stop. Language matters. We are not doing marriage any favors by using such terminology, no matter how good our intentions, or even if we’re just seeking clarity in dialogue. The world has decided that marriage will now be classified into types and that same-sex “marriage” is now one of those types. We cannot go along with that classification.

Marriage means something. It has an intrinsic and unchangeable nature. If we reduce marriage to simply an agreement between any two people who love each other then we have utterly destroyed the meaning of marriage. It will become a trivial, throw-away concept because its core will be only self-seeking.

In the same way that we do not call abortion “choice” because it isn’t in any way a legitimate moral choice but is in fact murder, so we cannot succumb to the easy temptation to call marriage “traditional” in order to set it apart from same-sex “marriage.” Two persons of the same gender cannot enter into marriage. It is ontologically impossible. So it’s quite silly for us to begin describing marriage as “traditional” vs. “same-sex” because it’s drawing a distinction between marriage and something that can never even exist in the first place.

Using the green analogy again, no matter how forcefully I insist that I want to make green with two yellows or two blues, it will never happen. It’s just not possible.  The nature of green cannot be changed.

There is a better way to draw a distinction and that’s the way Deacon Keith Fournier has been doing all along: using the word true. True marriage only happens between a man and a woman. Some may feel that’s a more provocative term, but it is accurate and faithful to the integrity of marriage.

There is only marriage, and it only happens between a man and woman. That’s not my plan or your plan; it’s God’s plan. We have to understand this, and be unflinching in stating it and defending it. Whatever relationship of sexual intimacy, fidelity, and love exists between two men or two women, it can never be marriage. That’s not bigotry or discrimination or hatred no matter what the world says. Leave the hyper-charged feelings aside for a moment: refusing to call a thing what it isn’t is nothing but logical, reasonable, and factual.

For thousands of years human civilization has known that marriage is only between a man and a woman, as the foundation of society, ordered toward the raising of children, but now suddenly in our so-called enlightened age those of us who refuse to part with reason and morality are on the wrong side of history? Absurd.

So there’s my two cents’. Fellow defenders of true marriage, choose your words wisely and well. Don’t join the rest of the world in declaring what is true to be merely traditional.

Our challenge is to be unafraid and resolute without ever abandoning love. That’s not an easy task, and I admit I have failed often. We’re not wielding weapons, and we don’t seek destruction or discrimination.

For myself, I don’t write with animosity or any desire to wound. But like so many others in America today, I won’t be bullied into capitulation either. I won’t forsake what I know is true. I won’t call something that is not marriage, marriage. It’s that simple.

For the sake of true marriage and the family, even though I’m getting quite sick of words, words, words… silence is not an option.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Homosexuality, Marriage, Family, and the Truth: What Would Love Really Do?

at Catholic Online

It seems my choices these days are either: 1. Celebrate homosexuality or be a homophobe. 2. Support the “right” of two men/two women to marry, or be a hateful bigot. 3. “Do unto others…” or be a hypocrite.

Loving my neighbor seems to have gotten a whole lot trickier.

Just how the heck am I supposed to love someone who demands something I cannot give? How do you love the person who requires you to celebrate their sin or be punished? How do you love the neighbor you must engage in the battle for our culture? How do you love the person whose lifestyle you must actively oppose for the sake of protecting what’s right?

It’s a good question. WWLD? (What would love do?) And what is love, anyway? What does love have to do with all of this? Everything. Just not what you might think.

Mr. Obama now says his opinions about marriage have “evolved” as dictated by his Christian faith and the Golden Rule, and no longer can he deny same-sex couples the “right” to marry. See that? In one fell swoop the President, in his infinite wisdom, decreed that all of human history, the Natural law, and the revealed moral law are suddenly contrary to Christian love. He has determined what “love” really means, and no one can honorably disagree any longer.

I disagree anyway.

St. Thomas Aquinas said: “Love is wanting the good of the other, as other.” Love can never want what is bad for the other. What is good for the other? The truth. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.” Not the popular truth, or the current truth; not the truth that makes everyone feel good, or the sentimental truth; not the truth that makes people happy and gives them what they want, but the real truth.

There’s such a thing as objective truth and it comes from a perfect and unchanging God. Love tells the objective truth. It does so as patiently and gently as possible, but it does so without flinching. Love does not apologize for the truth. Love will not amend the truth in order to spare someone’s feelings.

The sentiment in America today says that love is all about “equality”. If I love this or that person, I will make sure they have all the same rights I have. I will not deny them what they desire, because that would be discriminatory and mean. (The exception to this, of course, is the child in the womb. That person must never be granted equality or any rights whatsoever!)

So now if I really love my neighbor, I will support same-sex “marriage” and stop denying homosexuals the “equality” they are supposedly entitled to. If I continue to oppose same-sex “marriage” then I must not love my neighbor; I’m a hateful bigot, and I’m ignoring the only thing Jesus ever said — “Don’t judge.”

Love has been reduced to tolerance, and tolerance has been warped to mean embracing everything and opposing nothing. But love that has discarded the truth is not love at all. It is sinking, mindless, sentimental mush.

WDJS? (What did Jesus say?)

At times I’ve thought it would have been nice if Jesus, at some point in His three years of teaching, had stood on a hillside and proclaimed, “Amen, I say to you, homosexual sex is a sin. Two men cannot marry each other; two women cannot marry each other. Marriage shall be a covenant only between a man and a woman. Anything else, I tell you, is wrong and you shall not do it.” Or something like that.

At least then we could move past the “Jesus never said homosexual sex is sinful” argument. But He didn’t explicitly say those words. Does that mean Jesus is okay with homosexual sex and same-sex “marriage”? Hardly.

The same challenge is issued regarding abortion. “When did Jesus ever say abortion was wrong?” Well, in so many words, He didn’t. Are we to conclude that He had no opinion, or that He would say women have a “right” to abortion? Not so fast.

It’s a grave mistake, and usually a self-serving manipulation, to say that Jesus’ spoken words are the sum total of His teaching and the sole barometer for determining right and wrong. Jesus is The Word. His coming into this world speaks volumes about the will of God and the blessing of God and what God considers holy and right.

He did not descend from heaven a grown man (though He certainly could have), but God the Father sent His Son to be born of a woman. He began His earthly life unseen in Mary’s womb. He grew in exactly the same manner that each of us grew. He took on our humanity from its very single-celled beginning and declared it holy by virtue of His holiness. Though Jesus had not uttered a word, yet He taught us that the life in the womb is sacred and human from the moment of conception.

He was born into a family. If God the Father had chosen, Jesus could have been born to an unmarried woman, or He could have been left as a baby to be found and raised by two men or two women. God is purposeful and precise in all His ways. It is not an accident that God gave His Son into a family: husband and wife, father and mother. This again is a deafening statement on the significance and primacy of the family. God does not violate His own standards or His own laws. Children are the fruit of marriage. By His coming and His birth and His life, Jesus proclaims the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman which forms the only proper foundation of the human family.

Without saying a word, He testifies to the Natural law, the plan for the human person, the holiness of human sexuality, the sanctity of life in the womb, and the nature of marriage.

It’s also significant that when Jesus wanted to shake things up, He didn’t abolish the moral law and say that this thing that used to be sinful isn’t sinful anymore — no, He actually tightened the moral law by upping the ante. So, you say adultery is a sin? Well guess what — I’m saying that if you even look at a woman lustfully you’ve committed adultery in your heart! You’ve heard, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’, but I tell you to love your enemy! You say you can give a certificate of divorce and all is well? Well, I say anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery!

No ambiguity there! He plainly reminded the people, God “created them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together let no man put asunder.” (Matt 19: 4-6)

You know, come to think of it, that sounds an awful lot like a declaration from Jesus that marriage only exists between a man and a woman. Huh.

The truth is that God does not and cannot join together two men or two women in marriage because He created woman for man and man for woman. That’s how He designed it, and we have neither the power nor the authority to alter His design. That is so plainly obvious, it’s absurd that suddenly saying so out loud qualifies me for the label of Hateful Bigot.

So… WWLD?

I love the truth. I also desire to love my neighbor. If loving my neighbor is determined by my willingness to discard what I believe is true, then I will surely come up short. And I’m okay with that. I reject the new prevailing definition of charity.

Love is not capitulation to someone else’s wants in order not to offend them. Love bears all things, but it does not include all things. Love does not take bitter for sweet and it certainly does not call evil good. Contrary to current thinking, love does not treat all things equally.

Love cannot contradict God. Since God does not change His mind about sin, I cannot love my neighbor by telling him a particular sin is now magically okay. Sin never evolves into something righteous. And here’s the thing — homosexual sex isn’t really a “special” sin. It doesn’t require more of Christ’s blood than the sins of murder, adultery, stealing, or lying, for instance. It is noteworthy because it involves a peculiar distortion of human sexuality, and a disordered expression of the sexual love that is the prerogative of marriage. That’s what makes it so harmful to the human person.

Loving the truth does not mean I hate you. I do hate the rising conflict and cultural upheaval being forced on us right now. I do hate that human society as it’s always been is under threat of dismantling in order to create a new order based not on objective truth or right reason or the common good, but only upon individual wants and “evolving” rights.

I hate the damage being wrought on the family by homosexual activists who want to redefine marriage and sexuality for generations to come; by bullying activists and politicians who want to silence the Church and silence me, and set themselves up as the new moral authority.

I hate the perverse, insidious thinking that says human sexuality is a spectrum reality for people; that gender is some kind of fluid condition or continuum we travel, morphing as we go.

Come what may, I have no choice but to oppose with all my might the redefinition of marriage and the normalization of homosexual sex. I won’t go quietly into this strange new world where marriage and human sexuality look like the twisted images of a carnival house of mirrors. Love won’t let me do that.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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