Sunday, April 28, 2013

Example #76,239 of sola scriptura in action

Observe to your left two bumper stickers that would flunk a contestant on The Great American Bible Challenge. Let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

1. Jesus affirmed a gay couple.  No, he didn't — he healed a centurion's slave.   

The passage in question, Matthew 8:5-13, tells us nothing more than that the centurion wanted a particular slave healed, but didn't count himself worthy to receive Jesus as a guest. It doesn't tell us whether the particular slave was favored or not; in fact, the Greek word used, pais (παῖς), had the primary meaning of "child", and could be used of either male or female. While some slaves were used as sex toys by their owners in the classic world (as well as in any other culture where slavery has been found), not all slaves were sex toys; given that it's unlikely homosexual orientation was more prevalent in the Mediterranean culture of the Roman Empire than it is today, it follows that female slaves more than male slaves were targets of their masters' lusts. Moreover, slaves were not uniformly treated cruelly or inconsiderately; to be concerned for his servant's health, the centurion merely had to be a prudent man who took care of his possessions. 

In any event, Jesus said nothing about the centurion's relationship with the slave; he merely stated that he would heal the slave, and praised the centurion's faith for believing that Jesus could pull the healing off without even setting eyes on the man. Speculation is free and fun, but to turn speculation into an assertion of fact is to engage in wishful thinking.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nothing to see here ....

That's right, I deleted my last post. It was written intemperately, and without full appreciation of the facts.

Anytime you write to be read publicly, you take the risk of looking like an idiot. I normally take more time to be sure of my facts ... which usually means that, when I do comment, the tide of affairs has already raced past me and I'm left stranded. Besides, when I don't wait for the facts to become clear ... this kind of thing happens.

I suppose I could have just deleted the post without further comment. ("What post is he talking about, anyway?" "Oh, the one about distributists bombing Boston, I think, and some crazy traditionalist.") But I owe it to the few but lovely people who actually read what I write to apologize for my goof.

Carry on with your normal surfing. That is all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Benedictines are back!

Click here to pre-order your copy!
If you liked their last album, Advent at Ephesus, then you're gonna love this! The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles are coming out with a new album, titled Angels and Saints at Ephesus, scheduled for release by Decca Records on May 7th.

The Benedictines are a traditional order of nuns based in the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph. Originally formed in Scranton, Pa. under the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, their primary vocation is a life of prayer and manual work, according to the Rule of St. Benedict. Prayer means daily Mass, celebrated according to the Extraordinary Form (the traditional Latin Mass) and the Lectio Divina, or Liturgy of the Hours; work includes not only household chores and farm work but also making altar linens and vestments for the clergy, the sale of which goes to their support. They also run spiritual retreats for the clergy.

Singing, then, is not their primary concern; as one of the nuns says, they don't spend that much time in rehearsal. However, these amateurs spent six weeks in the #1 spot on Billboard's Classical Music chart, and ended up #1 Classical Traditional Artist(s) for 2012. That's because their sound is so pure and their harmony so spot-on it sends a frisson straight up your back.

Enjoy this promotional video from De Montfort Music. Then pre-order your copy through Amazon or through the Benedictines' website link above. A significant portion of the proceeds go to paying off their debt so they can begin some needed expansion (no, I don't get anything for the plug!). And give praise to God for their marvelous singing!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Best is Yet to Come

I’d like to start with a story my cousin Greg sent me:

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what Scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.
“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.
“This is very important,” the young woman continued.  “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.
“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.
“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.
The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.”
Read the rest at Catholic Stand!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"God forgives, I don't!"

Before Wolverine got a decent hair stylist ...
(© 1967 Cronocinematografica PEFSA)
No, the guy to the left is not Hugh Jackman in a test shot for X-Men. It's Terence Hill in a still from an obscure and ill-regarded Giuseppe Colizzi "spaghetti western" titled God Forgives ... I Don't! I don't think either Rick Ross or the printer of the T-shirt I saw today had this movie in mind; doubtless they thought they were being clever and original.

The T-shirt, oddly enough, didn't reference the rapper either; I say "oddly enough" because a Bing search of "god forgives i don't" overloaded the page with shots of the album cover. The T did, however, share a common color theme and font with another shirt the wearer's buddy sported, which announced "HATERS ARE MY MOTIVATION". Motivation for what we can only guess.

I didn't have time or opportunity to discuss their fashion (non)sense with them. But the first question would have been: "So ... you've decided you don't want God's forgiveness?"

Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Of course, these trousered apes may not have been Christian in any sense save that of being "cultural Christians" (i.e., just Christian enough to sing "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" when Christmas rolls around, but not Christian enough to pray). But there are a lot of professed, church-going Christians out there who pride themselves on their Biblical knowledge but who act as though Jesus didn't draw a big "equals" sign between our regard for others and our regard for God.