Friday, January 13, 2017

Excuse me, but FAITH and CHURCH are not the same thing!

It is obvious some people don’t realize that faith and church are not the same thing.  I say this from the comments I have received.  It might surprise you, but some of the greatest accomplishments in the church have come from people who had the courage to question the church. 

Each of Christ’s apostles did not doubt the church they doubted that Christ would be resurrected. It was incomprehensible to them… even after having witnessed a man walk on water and raise the dead. All of the original apostles had doubts. And, some of you want to stone me because I doubt the actions of some of the hierarchy in the church and yet you are willing to follow men that even had some doubts about Christ.  GET REAL!

Each of them, one by one, sat there witnessing the mighty miracles that came from this Nazarene. They had questions and problems with much of what Christ had taught, but their minds were open not like some of you. 

The problem exists when a person thinks that they are beyond FAITH. That they are too logical for miracles. That their intellect exceeds the need for faith. I have never said any of those things. People who are honest enough to admit their doubts and then face them head on without becoming antagonistic, making hardline rash decisions, or ruling out the need for faith are some of the greatest contributors to this kingdom. 

If you want to follow men blindly that is fine with me - go ahead!  I am not that naive. You may trust the words of men. I trust the Holy Spirit.  I can reason right from wrong by comparing what man says and what scriptures says. I am not going to rely on tradition and rituals to support the words of man when they are contrary to the words of the Bible. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The church failed me I did not fail the church.

We speak often of the young people straying from God and I do not and never have believed young people are straying from God.  They are straying from organized religion – the church. They are fleeing a religion that has become more about prosperity than love, more about condemning than forgiveness, more about ministers living extravagant lifestyles than helping the poor, more about ministers being the focus of the ministry in order to become celebrities rather than making God the focus of their message.  The young people are not straying they are running to get away from the hypocrisy in the Christian Church which has becoming nothing more than a business to make a few rich beyond their dreams.

Bishop Jake of Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas was not satisfied with the fame and fortune he had accumulated and had to have more.  He is the new “Doctor Phil” on television.  Joyce Meyer’s realizing she is getting older and may want to step aside as the head minister of Joyce Meyer’s Ministries and enjoy all her toys made sure her book royalties no longer go to the ministry, but come directly to her.  Joel Osteen has turned a “self-help” ministry into personal assets worth far more than forty million dollars in a few years.  The Copelands fly around in a twenty million dollar jet while foolish people send them prayer request which the Copeland’s never see or pray over, but make sure the millions sent in with the prayer request are accounted for.   Jesse Duplantis is a onetime used car salesman that should be on a Comedy Hour Show and not in a ministry.  I admit he is entertaining.  Then we have Murdock, Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Paula White, Ed Young, Jr., Ed Young, Sr.,  John Hagee, Charles Blake, Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and the Catholic Bishops and Cardinals that do not have to make fools of themselves on television to live like royalty.

I think a lot of senior citizens, like me, are also fed up with Christian Organized Religion.  I as a retired priest can no longer force myself to go to Mass.  You see I know too much about the hierarchy of my church.  The cover-up of child abuse in my church was the straw that broke the camel’s back, once it became public the hierarchy continued to deny it and blame the messengers. I reported a case to my bishop over forty years ago and was told as many priest were told, “I will take care of it, but say nothing about this to anyone we have to protect the Church.”  It took a long time for me to realize that God did not need us to cover up a crime in order to protect the Church. In reality in most cases the Bishops and Cardinals were protecting their own secrets.  The laity of the church allowed this to happen and many in the church pews today want to sweep it under the rug.   Those that speak out are said to want to destroy the church.  It never crosses their naïve minds that some of us want to help the church be what God called it to be.    

I am closer to God today than I have ever been in my life – no thanks to the church hierarchy.  I will confess I do not understand why God allows the hierarchy of the church and religious organizations to continue to make a mockery of Him.  I try to rationalize that perhaps the few and seldom truths they spew in pulpits and on television help some.  I believe that one day God will seek revenge as He did with Jimmy Swagger of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I do not fault the poor naïve people that these religious leaders take advantage of because all people are looking for love. God makes that plain in this verse in Proverbs. What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar (Proverbs 19:22).  True love comes from God.  There is a part of us that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God. The love of a man or woman simply cannot take that spot. Just because our experience with church – organized religion has proved unfulfilling, abandoning God for something physical will only leave us emptier inside.  These charlatans prey on the need people have for unconditional love.  

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
Psalm 63:1-3

Hypocrisy is a real problem in the church today. Hypocrisy exists in church because there is hypocrisy not only in the religious leaders, but also among the laity. That’s a truth that most of us know and some will not admit. Let’s face our own hypocrisy so we can root it out.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41,43)

Today, men and women must struggle to find his or her own identity in an oppressive culture of church.  God isn’t the problem. Neither is the kind of church we learn about from the Bible. Loveless religion changes when we live lives that make God attractive, build relationships that feel like family, and do good in our own communities. Now that’s real church.  That is what the younger generation is looking for and not getting in the church today.  Instead of real love they are getting empty words and even I nearing eighty am sick of it.

As long as those running organized religion continue to blame the Internet, liberal thinking, lack of religious upbringing, gays/lesbians, same sex marriage, etc. and continue to blame non-believers, politics, worldly distractions, etc., instead of looking within people young and old will continue to leave the church/organized religion.  The solution is simple stop putting the emphasis on religion and the organizations and start putting it on a personal  relationship with God.

In our current cultural moment, unprecedented millions are sick to death of what religion has become today. There are more people who do not want to be associated with any organized religion in the United States than there are Catholics and nearly as many Protestants.  

I am a Bible believing Christian. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that the Bible is reliable and is the basis for truth. I believe that God wants to have a relationship with everyone on earth and to see them come to salvation. I have a hard time believing in religion. I am seldom religious any more ... God created us for relationship. He wants to walk with us, talk with us, help us to learn and grow. We are spiritual beings, created to know God. One of the problems I see with the church/organized religion is that it takes its focus off of the relationship and puts it onto the “lifestyle” of Christians.

There is a Christian lifestyle defined by man — common dos and don’ts, ways of talking and behaving, an expected political view — and unfortunately, a common critical eye towards those who believe differently and act differently. I find the biggest fault with Christianity/organized religion is  the focus on sin, both personal sin and the sin of others rather than grace and forgiveness. Jesus Christ did not come and die on the cross to get us to stop sinning. He knew that was impossible. He came to set us free from sin. He came, not to put our focus on sin, but to take our focus off of it ... God wants our focus to be on Him, not on the rules.  I have found through the years the more you try not to sin the more you sin – trust God!

I don’t lay down the law against my best friend. We have a relationship; we love each other, and learn and grow together. Rules don’t make that relationship work, love does. God wants the same thing to be true with the relationship He has with us.

Now after saying what I have I think the church community is important (critical) to a believers life.  It is sad that trying to find a church today that allows you to discuss, agree and disagree with one another, to question freely what you do not understand or believe and not be judged is hard to find.  It is difficult to learn in a vacuum or alone.  To truly learn one must be able to express their ideas freely and be able to share and receive knowledge from one another.  It is far better in my opinion to be spiritual and religious, but finding a place to do that is like I said nearly impossible. I think Jesus called us to transcend petty religion.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Jesus backed up this invitation with his life. He overturned Temple tables, healed on the Sabbath (and taught others to do the same), called religious leaders “broods of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs,” cursed fig trees symbolizing fruit-less religionists. This kind of confrontation was not uncommon: So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”  He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions” (Mark 7:5-9)!

Jesus’ overall appraisal of the religionists of His day is “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Jesus seemed to be about creating a new kind of community, one where the values of repressive religion and empire would be absent.  We have forgotten the lessons of Jesus pertaining to His followers and have reverted back to the ways of the Pharisees. (Matthew 20:25-27).  Paul advocated for a Spirit-led rather than rules-led community.

2017 is as good a time as any to bring life back to the church and organized religion and we will not do that with stage shows and entertainment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Do you believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ?

Most Christians believe and most Christian denominations teach – “Can a person reject the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian? The answer is no. The Virgin Birth was never meant to stand alone. It is not a random truth plucked from thin air. God never says, "Pick and choose what you want to believe." The story of Jesus is a seamless garment woven by the Holy Spirit. Take out his miraculous birth and you have ripped the whole garment to shreds. (I guess that means if Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin then Jesus Christ cannot have divinity and to me that limits the power of God the Father.}

Christianity is not just a collection of random truths, any one of which could be dropped with little harm. It is true, and truth is a whole. Consequently, a diminution at any point inevitably affects the rest, given enough time. When we begin to drop this doctrine or that doctrine, even though we cannot see at the time how it will affect the rest, it nevertheless does affect the rest.

History teaches us that when men begin to doubt the Virgin Birth, they do not stop there. One doubt leads to another until the Jesus they believe in is not the Jesus of the Bible. In truth, the Virgin Birth is no more miraculous than the Resurrection. They stand or fall together. (I think God expects us to question, Thomas did!)

Do I understand it? No.
Do I believe it? Yes.
Why? Because the Bible teaches it and because it makes perfect sense. (Does it really make perfect sense if so then why do we Christians claim there are many things that we will not truly understand on earth?}

Can we still believe in the Virgin Birth? We can and we must.”

Joseph doubted Mary’s story about the birth of Christ. It is true that the Bible says he believed Mary after an angel appeared to him in a dream, but initially he doubted. Does doubt alone about the Virgin Birth make it impossible for you to be a Christian? I am sorry, but I do not think so!

Do I think it is enough to doubt the Virgin Birth because We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples. This may sound ridiculous, but many use this as an argument to not believe in the Virgin Birth.

The fact that Paul, the earliest New Testament author, never mentions the Virgin Birth gives credence to some for not believing. We do rely on Paul rely for much of Christian theology, it is a bit strange he did not mention it. Paul refers to Jesus’ birth twice (Rom 1:3; Gal 4:4) and never says he was born of a virgin or of different means than anyone else. You would think that would be important. Did Paul think that Jesus birth was natural and conventional?

Between 49 and 55 CE, Paul recorded the first known written reference to Jesus' birth. In Galatians 4:4, he writes: "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law." If he knew that Jesus had been conceived by a virgin, the information would have been of importance. Paul would have undoubtedly replaced "woman" with "virgin", or made some other change to show that the birth was miraculous. This passage was written some 45 years before the gospels of Matthew and Luke were written, and 55 to 62 years after Jesus' birth.  Can you blame some Christians for having doubts about the Virgin Birth?

Again, In about 57 CE, Paul wrote his only other reference to Jesus' birth. In Romans 1:1-3 he writes: "I Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and separated onto the gospel of God...concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."

The phrase "of the seed of David" strongly indicates that Paul believed Jesus to be the son of Joseph, because Matthew traces Jesus' genealogy from David to Joseph. The phrase "according to the flesh" seems to imply a natural, normal conception and birth.

Paul does not write anything about Jesus' family in any of his Epistles except for a single reference in Galatians 1 to James, the head of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. Paul called James "the Lord's brother" -- an individual with whom he had many disagreements.  I know conservative scholars claim Christians called everyone brother/sisters then.

The virgin birth is also not in Mark, the earliest gospel, or in John, the only other gospel not based on Mark. Why is such an important story left out of all the early sources? This certainly causes some to doubt the Virgin Birth.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Some scholars say “virgin” was a mistranslation in the Septuagint (the Greek translation the gospel writers used), and should have been translated “young woman.” That means the story might have been based on a mistranslation! Again a cause for some to question the Virgin Birth.

Was the Virgin Birth story an honest mistake: Most liberal theologians and biblical historians believe that the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke copied the belief in a virgin conception from a Greek mistranslation in Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew word "almah" (young woman) was translated in error to the Greek word for virgin? This is perhaps the most commonly accepted explanation among skeptics, secularists, and religious liberals.

It is true there were others that claim to be born of a virgin with divine fathers before Jesus. Jesus was not the first said to be born of a virgin. Mut-em-ua, the virgin Queen of Egypt, supposedly gave birth to Pharaoh Amenkept III through a god holding a cross to her mouth.

Ra, the Egyptian sun god, was said to be born of a virgin. So was Perseus, Romulus, Mithras, Genghis Khan, Krishna, Horus, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope.

In the ancient world, great men were born of divine fathers and human mothers. Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor Augustus were great men and said to have divine fathers. Jesus was also a great man, so he too must have a divine father.

The virgin birth may have been copied from a Roman fable: Livy, a famous Roman historian, had written a very popular book on the history of Rome that was widely circulated in the first decades of the 1st century CE.  In it, he explained that Mars, the Roman God of war, fathered twins Romulus and Remus, the original mythical founders of the city of Rome. Their mother was Silvia, a Vestal Virgin. Some Christian groups may have slightly modified this fable and adopted it as their own, in an attempt to show that Jesus was a person of very great importance -- an individual at least as important as the founders of Rome.

These stories may cause those that know history and legends to doubt the Virgin Birth.

The report of a Virgin Birth didn’t appear until over 50 years after it supposedly happened. Why? If ancient history is recorded by word of mouth and there was recorded history before the Virgin Birth appeared why did he take so long to record it?  How do you answer that to remove ones doubt about the Virgin Birth without adding your own personal opinion? There are no facts to stand on.

Would we believe a similar story if it happened in 2016?  Most of the people today would never, ever, believe it.

Imagine if a teenage girl in your neighborhood claimed that her pregnancy was due to God impregnating her and that she was still a virgin. Would you believe her? Or would you think she was lying or mentally ill?

Why then are some Christians so judgmental, bias and claim without any doubt that if you do not believe in the Virgin Birth you cannot be a Christian and you are destine for Hell?

Most liberal theologians do not believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth.  Skepticism about the virgin birth is not a recent development, as evidenced by a 1823 quote by Thomas Jefferson: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." the membership of mainline and liberal denominations like the United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church, USA, etc. tend to be significantly more conservative than their ministers and theologians. Belief in the virgin birth is much higher among the laity than the clergy in these denominations.  

The Virgin Birth may have been copied from another religion.  History records that various religions claimed virgin births: Buddha was born of the virgin Maya after the Holy Ghost descended upon her. The Egyptian God Horus was born of the virgin Isis; as an infant, he was visited by three kings. In Phrygia, Attis was born of the virgin Nama. A Roman savior Quirrnus was born of a virgin. In Tibet, Indra was born of a virgin. He ascended into heaven after his death. Greek deity Adonis was born of the virgin Myrrha, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. He was born "at Bethlehem, in the same sacred cave that Christians later claimed as the birthplace of Jesus." In Persia, the god Mithra was born of a virgin on DEC-25. An alternative myth is that he emerged from a rock. Also in Persia, Zoroaster was born of a virgin. In India, there are two main stories of the birth of Krishna, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, and the second person within the Hindu Trinity. In one story, Krishna was said to have been born to his mother Devaki while she was still a virgin. In the other, he had a normal conception and birth. Is it really fair for Christians to judge non-believers of the Virgin Birth as lunatics.

Why was the Virgin Birth story delayed in being told.  Some say no respectable Jew would have ever condescended to buy into a Greek/Babylonian mythological base for an account dealing with the birth of the Messiah." This may explain why the story of the virgin birth first appeared in the Gospel of Matthew. It was written circa 80 CE at a time when most Christians were converts from Paganism who had been taught about virgin births in their former religions.

The Virgin Birth story was inspired by the Hebrew Scriptures: Throughout the Old Testament, we hear of the very unusual births of Ishmael, Isaac, Samson and Samuel. Usually prior to the birth, an angel appears to the parent-to-be; the latter is afraid; the message of an upcoming birth is given; objections are raised; and a sign is given. Matthew and Luke could have replicated the essence of these stories, and added a Virgin Birth as proof that Jesus' birth was beyond simply unusual; it was a miracle. This would establish Jesus at a much higher status than the four famous figures from the Hebrew Scriptures. Without a miraculous birth, Jesus might have been considered to be only equal in stature to those heroes.

Only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain references to the Virgin Birth.  In John 1:45 they refer to Jesus specifically as "the son of Joseph" and in 6:42 the townspeople ask, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?" If the author(s) of John believed in the miracle of the Virgin Birth, why would it not have been mentioned somewhere in the gospel of John, and why was Joseph allowed to stand as Jesus' father on two occasions and no attempt to clarify the statement was made.

Do I believe the Virgin Birth was possible – YES!  Do I believe you must believe it in order to be a Christian – NO!  Until I am shown in the Bible that you must believe in the Virgin Birth in order to have your sins forgiven, receive salvation or spend eternity with God I will continue to believe it is not necessary to believe in the Virgin Birth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Expats - Immigration Laws - Senior Citizens

I wonder how many U.S. citizens would become expat's if they could use some form of government medical care abroad?  All the talk about Obama Care and cost of maintaining our senior citizen population and that the system is going bankrupt has any of our intelligent politicians ask this question?

First off the senior protection programs are going broke because our intelligent politicians stole from the fund to finance projects that would get them reelected. They not only mismanaged the fund they ROBBED the fund.

They are robbing the younger generation by borrowing money to finance projects in hopes it will guarantee them a lifetime job in government. Sadly some have even found a way to enrich themselves while service in government - they are corrupt!

I have spend more than a decade in the Philippines and have cost the United States Government NOTHING!  I also have paid on average $2500 a quarter Income Tax in the United States  for NOTHING!

I am now in bad health and not able to return to the United States. I am home-bound and need a caregiver. Thus far, I have been able to manage on my extra income from investments that will end shortly and my only income will be Social Security. What happens after the extra income ceases is a mystery to me.

What would it have cost the United States Government if I would have remained in the United States?  My medicine in a Third World country cost over $900 a month which I pay for.  What would that cost have been to the Social Security System in the United States $10,000 a month or more?  What about the cost of about two hospitalizations a year that run about $1000 each time.  The hospital expenses would be ten thousand plus yearly in the United States.  Again it cost the United States Government NOTHING.

Now I am in a situation since I am not married to a Philippine citizens I must leave the country every three years for twenty-four hours and then return. I am unable to meet those requirements.  I am in the process of trying to get some type of exception and praying it goes through or in two months I face a real problem.

You mean the United States Government could not establish some countries as places where Medicare or OBAMACARE could be used. In the Philippines there could be limited private hospitals and doctors allowed to except United States Government elderly insurance in Cebu, Manila and Davao. It would only take limited personnel in the Embassy to monitor these programs and prevent corruption.  The money saved the United States Government could probably be a billion dollars a year if done around the world.


I do not know why countries like the Philippines have actively not pursued these benefits for it would help their government and the United States Government and those that chose to be expat's.

Most American's consider expat's as some kind of traitor or deserve what they get for living abroad without thinking that most chose to live abroad because they can no longer maintain their lifestyle in the United States because of politicians and the laws they pass without considering the repercussions.

Quite frankly, I do not desire to receive handouts from food ministries because I cannot afford medical care, utilities, food, clothing, etc. in the United States. EXPAT'S DO THE UNITED STATES CITIZENS LIVING AT HOME A FAVOR - WE LEAVE MORE HANDOUTS FOR THEM THAT ARE NOT WILLING TO TAKE THE CHANCE ABROAD.

President Duterte says President Elect Trump is his friend.  If that is so why doesn't he approach President Elect Trump with this idea. I bet he would be speaking to the DEAF!

One thing President Duterte could do would be influence the Philippine politicians to change Immigration Laws immediately and not demand people to leave the country as long as they meet all other requirement for Immigration.  NOT EVEN THE UNITED STATES DOES THAT.  President Duterte talks abut fairness in Immigration Laws in the United States then why doesn't he make Philippine Immigration Laws fair to SENIOR CITIZEN EXPAT'S who can no longer travel and do not want to marry a Philippine citizens because they are already married or like me took vows of celibacy. Mr. President Duterte your predecessors and you plus your men and women in Congress and Senate have talked about attracting Medical Tourism and Senior Expats then why don't you do something to really attract them to the Philippines!

For those that believe this is a matter for my Church please keep in mind that I am RETIRED from my Church and do not want them dictating my life any longer nor do I want their hand outs. I have always paid my way and have taken care of myself and I want to continue to do so until I die.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mary the Mother of God - WHO?

I have often said and written many Catholics recite words at Mass that have absolutely no meaning to them.  They recite Catholic prayers out of habit that they memorized long ago.  They have become just words.

Then to my shock I found that I am as guilty as anyone else.  "Holy Mary Mother of God" - "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you,- blessed are you among women, blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.  HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD...."  I have said the rosary thousands upon thousands of times and just recently it hit me - Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ.

Many Catholic prayers have in them "Mary the Mother of God".

Those of us who believe in a triune God believe there is ONE God, but three separate and distinct Beings. The Trinity is really impossible to explain and one must except it on faith.  I was told in seminary to describe it like this - water is a liquid, water can become ice and water can become steam.  That is not really a good analogy because water is not liquid, solid and gas ALL at the same time. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist all at the same time.

The Jehovah Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (Mormons), Christian Scientists and others do not believe in the Trinity.  Some Christians teach Christ was born with divinity and others say Christ got His divinity on earth from the Father.  It is said by some when Jesus was baptized and the Father spoke from heaven and said, "This is my beloved Son" is when Jesus Christ got His divinity.

There is much about God that man or woman cannot and will not understand while on this earth.  It is a shame that a lot of theologians believe they must be able to answers everyone's questions instead of saying "I DO NOT KNOW".

If Mary was the mother of GOD that would mean she was before GOD (Father) and no one believes that. Many will say that is not a big deal so why even mention it.  I say we should think about what we say because I am sure the atheist think about every word we say.

Did men in the Catholic Church centuries ago use "Mary Mother of God" to put more emphasis on Mary?

I wish I could take credit for realizing what we were saying, but I did not.  In all my ministry no one every question me about that phrase, but an eight year of little girl recently ask me "Father, is Mary the mother of the Father and the Son or just the Son?" WOW!  I guess the poor child was thinking something weird is going on here if Mary was the mother of the Father and the Son.

We must accept that the nature of the Trinity is debated among Christian denominations.  Trinitarian denominations use quotes from the Bible to support their interpretation and those that do not believe likewise can quote scripture to support their beliefs.  It is all in the interpretation.  Who is right and who is wrong - I DO NOT KNOW, but one day we will know.

I do not think God holds us responsible for honest mistakes.  I would leave any church or denomination that said, "You must believe our way or you are destine for hell". What  arrogance to think you are on God's level and understand everything God said the way He meant it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Forgotten Man - Jospeh

All the attention is given to Mary the Mother of Christ, but what about Joseph?
Joseph had as much to do with raising Jesus as Mary and maybe even more. 

After the bar mitzvah the Jewish boy became the responsibility of the father. That is how Jesus was left behind in Jerusalem. Jesus got separated from his parents after his bar mitzvah and they started home. Going he would have traveled with His mother and returning it would have been the custom for Him to travel with his father. Each parent probably thought Jesus was with the other. 

There is not much said of Joseph in scripture. He is only mentioned by name about 17 times. The preachers do not mention Joseph much and do not preach sermons on Joseph. Sometimes he is mentioned on Father's Day.

I know my denomination teaches there were no other children than Jesus, but I personally do not believe that teaching is correct. I do not accept the doctrine that my denomination uses to explain away the reference in the Bible of Jesus siblings in order support the doctrine of Perpetual Virginity.

We do not know much about Joseph, but we do know he was a carpenter and trained Jesus to be a carpenter. We do know he was an honorable man. He married Mary in spite of the pregnancy.

We can use our imagination and assume since Joseph was a carpenter (craftsman) he would have been creative, patient, dedicated, disciplined, took pride in what he did, quite and humble. I say humble because God always chose the humble for great things in scripture. Scripture makes clear God always looks into a mans heart when judging him.

Joseph did not build houses because he worked with wood and houses were not made of wood in Israel. He made furniture, doors, shutters, etc. requiring great skill and dedication to perfection.

I would also assume Jesus had a good relationship with Joseph and called him daddy, since Jesus called His Heavenly Father Abba meaning daddy.

Yes, I would say Joseph was a good father and a good man all together. Jesus had a good role model on earth.

We can learn much from Joseph, especially daddies. If we do perhaps 26 percent of young men that were surveyed in the U.S. in 2016 when ask next year about their relationship with their father’s will not say they have a bad relationship with their father's.

What have we all done (mothers, daddies, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles) to be good role models to children and young people today? We need to model our faith in order to pass it on to the next generation. We need to demonstrate love of God, others and self.

You would be surprised how many men and women avoid a relationship with God the Father because they had a bad experience with their earthly father.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Random Thoughts - Christmas

Well it is about time for all of us Christian to celebrate another pagan holiday. I have no problem celebrating Christ birthday, but if we are going to do so then why not do it at a more appropriate time.

Most people know that Christ was not born in December.  It snows in the mountains of Israel in December and no Shepherd would be carrying his sheep to the fields to graze.

There was a priest named Augustine, not Saint Augustine. He was sent on a mission trip and had tried to get Catholic Christians to stop celebrating the pagan holiday that came around December 25th.  He contacted Pope Gregory and said no matter how hard I try I cannot stop them from celebrating the pagan holiday. Pope Gregory replied basically, "If you cannot beat them then join them".

Guess what? A Christian holiday came to be at the same time as the pagan holiday and it was Christ-Mass (get it) Christmas. Now the Christians could celebrate the pagan holiday and it would be a Christian holiday. I am sure they thought they had it all figured out.

The Christmas tree is a carry over from the pagan holiday. They would cut down a large tree and burn the stump and have a bond fire.  The office party is a carry over from the pagan holiday. The people could drink alcohol during that time as much as they wanted. The mistletoe and holly is a carry over from the pagan holiday. During the  time of that pagan holiday they were allowed to have casual sex.

I first really became annoyed about how we celebrate Christmas when I moved to Davao, Philippine. On Christmas morning a priest and some altar boys came carrying a cross and crib with the baby Jesus in it (DOLL). I went to the gate and one of the young boys lifted the baby Jesus (DOLL) out of the crib so delicately and put it right in front of me. He said, "Father, you can kiss baby Jesus and you will be bless next year."  I gave them the donation they came for, but I did not kiss a DOLL!

The Catholic Church teaches against superstition, but out of cultural tradition it is allowed even if it goes against the Bible. Jesus Christ is no longer a baby He was 33 years old when He was crucified. I do not dress up like a baby on my birthday and I doubt if you do. No one pretends I am a baby on my birthday.  Many homes and businesses in the Philippines has statues of they baby Jesus in them and often have a candle burning by it. Folks that is not Jesus in 2016.

The nativity scene we Christians have is not even accurate according to scripture.

By the way the doll they brought to my house on Christmas morning had BLUE eyes and pale, pale skin that is not how Jesus would have looked - He was a Jew.

I have no objection to celebrating a holiday on December 25th. If families want to gather, have a meal, pray, and exchange gifts that is fine with me. I enjoy it myself. But, I think it is time we take CHRIST out of a pagan holiday that has been commercialized.