Daily Archives: May 24, 2015

From God to me to you

Gifts of the Spirit - Isaiah 11 2-3

Fruit of the Spirit - Gal 5 11-13

I believe we do not have political or racial problems in this country; I believe we have heart problems. The article below says it better than I ever have, so here it is in its entirety.

Turning Politics Inside-Out By Marc – May 22, 2015
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2015/05/turning-politics-inside-out.html

Candidates are about to spend billions of dollars carving out the time to tell us how great they are, and there’s no one we can assassinate to change the fact. So before it really starts, I want to get a solid Catholic critique of the entire scene: Our basic mode of bettering the world is backwards.

Justice is not the state of the city or nation. Justice is a virtue, the interior disposition of a particular person to give each other his due. Charity is not primarily a social activity, a non-profit institution, or an annual giving. Charity is a virtue, a mode of being, an interior disposition of a particular human being which enables him to love his neighbor. The reversal which sees charity as an institution and justice as an exterior state of affairs long before either are a way of the heart is bogus. The world is changed if hearts are changed.

It’s been said that this sort of talk suppresses action, that if the Christian were less concerned with the state of his “interior life,” with doctrine, prayer, moral quibbles, and church attendance; if he were instead concerned about the injustice outside his front door, then he would change the world, opening himself to the radical call of the Gospel. But where on earth do we think action comes from, if not from the interior person? Where does the free choice to do some good come from, if not from the will? Action bursts forth from the person like seedlings from the cool, dark earth, and it is only by plunging into this darkness of the interior life — through prayer, contemplation, and keeping the divine law — that we become effective sources of action, springs of justice, centers of right political activity and a betterment to our community. The city is restored to the precise extent that the soul, through boring-ass things like discipline, restores itself. The nation is made just to the extent that his quiet, uneventful decisions to do good and avoid evil take root and make the person just.

The Church presents man as a joke — a strange creature for whom being inside-out is the right way round. The Cosmos around us reacts to exterior realities. Atoms hit atoms and change occurs, the environment lights up the animal consciousness, and off it trots, duly effected by the outside. Man, alone in the universe, determines the outside through the inside. He decides and acts, changing the world by the externalization of what first ferments inside.

So it is no “call to action,” to diminish the personal cultivation of virtue in favor of exterior acts. It is a crappy anthropology, one which thinks it can have action while diminishing its source, exalting “change” without its cause. It is a perversion of effective action performed by a world which externalizes the responsibilities of the interior life, absolving us from being charitable and being just by contenting us with making charities and promoting justice. We are content with expecting from our politicians the exterior acts of goodwill and justice, which can be faked, at the expense of actual justice dwelling in the soul, which cannot be faked. Then we are surprised when they crumble under the dichotomy of their interior and exterior lives and perform this or that evil. We have developed a politics of hypocrisy, because we have separated the person from his acts and indulged the quaint, secular notion that on can “change the world for the better” without changing oneself.

So I am skeptical of any revolution that is not first a revolution of the heart, cynical of any reformation that is not directed against the only corrupted institution undoubtedly given to us to reform — our soul. Catholic social teaching starts at the locus of personality which is given to us to work on, and does not indulge the lazy, ineffective delusion that the heart is changed from the outside in.

What is true for the person in general is doubly true for the Christian. “The Christian is the soul of the world,” the animating principle, the leaven that fluffs up the whole lump. It is his duty to give the world its flavor, to be the type of seed which bears much fruit, to spread goodness, justice, and mercy wherever he is planted. The Christian is the soul of the world — the world is not the soul of the Christian. To save the world, save the Christian. To kill the world, reform it without reforming the Christian, its soul.

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Indy 99: All Eyes Open for Airborne Cars

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Being a Hoosier, born and bred, and having worked in the press box overlooking the finish line at the Indy Speedway, it goes without saying that I’ll be watching the 99th running of the race today. If you are so inclined also, here is a handy rundown from SBNation.com about the things unique to this racing season. Tops in everyone’s mind this year is probably the incidence of accidents due to problems with car body aerodynamics. Here’s what you need to know:

1. The No. 1 starting position has been good to pole-sitter Scott Dixon, whose only Indianapolis 500 victory came from this spot in 2008.

2. Simona de Silvestro and Pippa Mann are the only two women drivers in Sunday’s race. They will be looking to eclipse Danica Patrick’s record third-place finish by a female set in 2009.

3. The No. 3 is the most successful car numeral in Indianapolis history with 11 victories overall. That total includes two by Helio Castroneves, who again will have the number on his Chevrolet Sunday.

4. Speaking of Castroneves, another Indianapolis victory would be his fourth and move him into rarified company. He would join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners. No other active driver even has two wins.

5. Five former winners qualified for Sunday’s race — Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Castroneves (2001, ’02, ’09), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014).

6. The introduction of new aerodynamic body panels this year has produced mixed results thus far. In the season-opener on the street course in St. Petersburg, Fla., a piece of debris flew into the stands and fractured a woman’s skull. And things haven’t improved since the kits were used on the Indianapolis oval for the first time. Leading to …

7. After accidents that saw three drivers get airborne and a fourth wreck that seriously injured James Hinchcliffe, a feeling of apprehension hangs over the garage. IndyCar decreased boost and made the cars easier to handle, but there’s been minimal track time to see if those changes will make Sunday’s race any safer.

8. A Graham Rahal win would make him and father Bobby just the second father-son to achieve victory at Indianapolis. Al Unser Sr. won four times, while son Al Jr. won twice.

9. When it comes to Indianapolis car owners, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi are unquestionably the measuring sticks. The two IndyCar titans have fielded cars that have combined to win nine of the past 15 races.

Read all of Jordan Bianchi’s Indy news items here.

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How far we have fallen

May 24, 2015: This Pentecost Sunday will be the 1982nd birthday of the Christian Church.

Before He ascended, Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all those “who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”  -John 17:20-21

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (link below) estimated that in 1900, there were about 1,600 Christian denominations world-wide.  As of 2012, that number had grown to approximately 43,000.

Heads up, all y’all who are familiar with my blogs about “Satan’s Century”!  Jesus prayed to the Father that we would all be one so the world may believe in Him.  Satan wants us divided so the world will NOT believe in Him!

Jesus' church timeline

Each of these 43,000 denominations falls roughly into one of three categories. FYI: The following is highly simplified for the sake of clarity only. It’s also going to get some of your panties in a bunch, but church history is what it is.

Christian denom - 3 groups by numbers

CATHOLIC

More than half of all Christians identify as Catholic; 70% of these identify as Roman Catholic.  All of the churches in the Catholic grouping can trace their histories back to the Apostles and include “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” in their creeds. The Greek roots of the word catholic — kata and holos — mean “with respect to wholeness.”

All of these denominations teach that Scripture is inerrant and primary, but that it came out of, and is therefore a part of a larger wholeness known as Tradition (with a capital T). Thus, while these denominations also teach that the Holy Spirit inspires individuals in matters pertaining to their personal walks with Jesus, they also teach that His inspiration on issues of doctrine must be discerned in union with the combined wisdom of the Church’s elders as it has been passed down to us from the first century through to modern day.

Important sources of Tradition include the Bible, first and foremost, plus the writings of the early Church Fathers and the rulings of Ecumenical Councils.

The Assyrian, Orthodox and Anglican groups split off from the Roman communion in roughly the centuries shown below in parentheses. Their disputes are largely political, not doctrinal.

  • Roman Catholic (Matt 16:18) = 1.2 Billion
  • Assyrian (5th c.) = 600,000
  • Orthodox (12th c.) = 386 Million
  • Anglican (16th c.) = 85 Million

PROTESTANT

Most of the 43,000 denominations fall into this category. These churches reject all of Tradition apart from the Bible (minus 7 books*).  They call this Sola Scriptura. Each denomination can trace its history only to the 16th century or later and to an individual founder whose interpretation of Scripture conflicted with that of his mentor’s.  The first of these was the Catholic priest, Martin Luther, who decided the Holy Spirit had dropped the ball at some point in the 15 centuries since Christ, but that He was now ready to correct Himself … via Martin Luther … with the truth about what the Catholics had messed up.

Jesus said, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name — he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.” – John 14:26

Some of Luther’s own disciples decided he had got it wrong too and went off and started their own denominations where some decided they had got it wrong too and went off and … etc. etc. etc. … which is how we got from the unity Jesus prayed for to the 43,000 that is a scandal and a stumbling block to non-believers.  In doctrine and in practice, these denominations differ from one another in ways both large and small.  Yet each claims to have discerned their own variation on the truest interpretation of Jesus’ teachings via the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit.  (And you wonder why I’m Catholic?)

  • Lutheran (16th c.) = 65-90 Million
  • Baptist (17th c.) = 75-105 Million
  • Reformed (18th c.) = 55-85 Million
  • Modern Protestant (20th c.) = 400-500 Million

NON-TRINITARIAN

A handful of 19th and 20th c. denominations reject the Doctrine of the Trinity which is attested to by all Catholic and Protestant denominations.   The First Council of Nicaea (325 CE) declared the full divinity of the Son; the First Council of Constantinople (381 CE) declared the divinity of the Holy Spirit.  At this time — i.e., the 4th c. — Christendom was still fully united.

  • Mormon (19th c) = 15.5 Million
  • Jehovah’s Witness (19th c) = 8.2 Million
  • Oneness Pentecostal (20th c) = 6 Million

*About the Protestant Bible

Protestant Reformers rejected certain parts of the Old Testament that had been accepted by all of Christendom for more than a millennium. These included the Books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Ecclesiasticus (Sirach, Ben Sira), Baruch (includes the Letters of Jeremiah), First and Second Maccabees, plus some sections of Daniel and Esther.

I read several articles on this subject, which are linked below.  One by a Protestant claimed that the inspired status of these books had been contested right through the Middle Ages, but another by a Catholic cited a Protestant church historian saying this was not true, that these books had always been included and considered authentic.

I understand it is common for modern Protestant Bibles to include the contested books, though they are stigmatized in a section labeled Apocrypha, which means “of doubtful authenticity.”

This article on the “Canon of the Old Testament” goes into detail about the history of the alleged “lack of full acceptance” of these books @ http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm.

Sources:

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