Dear Abby’s bad advice about Christians and Gay-Straight alliance clubs

Jesus. He’s a Friend of mine.

I don’t read the dreadful Dear Abby column much anymore, because I don’t subscribe to a newspaper. But I do read it sometimes at my mother’s house, because she does still subscribe.

As usual DA gave awful advice to a young Christian girl who wanted to join a Gay-Straight alliance club at her school. Dear Abby said yes, and that if her church was ‘good’ they would accept it, and Gay ‘Marriage’ as well.

OK, here is the actual truth: if your church accepts Gay ‘marriage’ they are putting the demands of the LBGT movement ahead of the words of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, who did not come to take away the Law but to fulfil it, and who cherished REAL marriage enough that his first miracle was at a wedding. If your church rejects the Bible, you need a new church because your church is one of the dead churches. I predict your pro-gay-marriage church also does not have good prolife activities or an evangelism effort.

If you are a true follower of Jesus, you will put Jesus and the Word of God in an honored place in your life. Your gay friends will call you a ‘hater’ and demand you join a church that they approve of. If you have gay tendencies yourself, you will REALLY get a lot of hate and namecalling if you try to follow the Bible’s teaching about sexuality and marriage. But Jesus never promised that the world would love us, and tell the truth about us.

Biblical Christians believe that if your sexual impulses are all homosexual, God is calling you to a chaste/celibate life. That’s not a bad thing. Read the Epistles— Saint Paul was called to that kind of life. In the Catholic church, our leader, the Pope, lives that kind of life. It’s not a shameful thing but a high calling.

When a representative of the LGBT community demands you give up the Biblical truth or be called a ‘hater’, that is just a political ploy. It’s like when the Democrats, the party of the KKK, accuses the Republicans, the party that ended slavery, of hating ‘black’ people. It’s a lie. It’s just a politically useful one.

As some of you may already know, I am gay/have same-sex attraction. I turned my sexuality over to Christ when I became a Christian and joined the Catholic church. It gave me a lot of joy in my life I didn’t have before. But it attracts some people who call me names. Some even called my cats names. Personally, I think the name-callers may have a lot of hate in their lives. But if they turn their heart over to Jesus Christ, they can let go of any hate in their lives.

The thing about a Gay-Straight alliance club is that the members take it as an article of faith that the demands of the LGBT movement must be agreed with, and that ‘wrong’ Bible verses must be rejected. They believe that those who don’t reject these Biblical verses are haters. So, they are a group that spreads bias against Biblical Christianity, including the Catholic faith. We should not spend time with groups of these people. They will not listen if you tell them the truth. They will just try to weaken your faith and if that does not succeed they will reject you. It’s better to deal with your gay friends one on one. They may have more respect for your faith than a group would.

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Karma: Curse of the East/Celebrating Mother Teresa

It is fashionable in some quarters today to admire the Eastern religions and think they are somehow better than Christianity. But if you really look at the nations of the world that practice Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, you find problems.

If you are a believer in Eastern religions and believe in karma, what happens when you look at a starving child in the street? You think that the child has bad karma because of evil deeds in a past life. The child is being punished for its wickedness in that past life. So you ignore the child’s pain. The child deserves it.

I once read a book by a Western advocate of reincarnation belief. He believed that Nazi war criminals were living new lives as starving African children. The starvation and pain of those children was OK because the kids were ‘really’ Hitler or Goering.

What does a Christian do when confronted with a starving child? Blame the starvation on the child’s alleged previous life? No. The Christian is called upon to pick up that starving child, feed it, and if possible save it. The child has one and only one life and will not get a free do-over provided by a benevolent universe if we ignore it.

Mother Teresa was a Christian troublemaker in India. The people of India were fine with poor people, even children, dying in the street. Or at least,  they were used to it. But Mother Teresa picked up the poor and the dying and took care of them. She taught members of those ‘superior’ Eastern religions a valuable lesson about Christian charity.

Many of the problems of Eastern societies have been blamed by observers on an indifference borne out of Eastern beliefs about reincarnation and karma. I do not know how true that is. I know people of Eastern religions can be generous. Many people in the East give generous donations of food to begging monks— which supports many orders of Eastern monks. I am sure they could be equally generous to poor people should there be any charities for the poor available.

But Christianity, and Western Civilization in general, have a lot to teach the East. It’s sad when Western youth despise our own Christian faith without even properly trying it, and run off to seek wisdom in the East. The East has its own problems.


Normally I’d be posting in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop today. But the leader of that venture, Lexa Cain, is taking some time off due to illness. Please pray for her!

This week I am celebrating Mother Teresa and her work among the world’s poor. Let us pray that the Lord will raise up many people to continue her good work!

Why Christian/Catholic Authors shouldn’t write smutty books

Sexy

Everybody does it, these days. Sex scenes in fiction are oddly considered ‘realistic’ and some unfortunate readers refuse to read books without them. But a Christian (includes Catholic) author must not do it.

Note: the book cover above was chosen at random. I don’t know the author or if the book is as ‘sexy’ as the cover indicates.

Why not? Plotting a sex scene involves cultivating a sexual thought, on purpose. In Christianity that is called ‘entertaining impure thoughts.’  HAVING impure thoughts is not the sin– we have no control when we wake up from a sex dream and continue having sexual thoughts before our self-control can assert itself.

There is an old Catholic story about a teen boy who goes to confession and can’t think of what to confess. The helpful priest asks if the boy has been entertaining impure thoughts.  The boy, wanting to be truthful, says ‘No, Father, they entertain ME.’

Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and many other fine authors that we all should read managed to write novels without having their characters go at it sexually all over the landscape. Dickens even wrote prostitute characters without resorting to sex scenes. Why today’s authors think they are better and more realistic than Dickens because they write their sex fantasies into their fiction I do not know.

A Christian is called to be pure. Why? Because sex is too holy to be taken casually. God instituted marriage so that believers could live out their sex lives in a pure and holy way. Marriage— and the sexuality that comes with the marriage— is symbolic of the relationship of Christ and the Church. What part of that makes you believe that writing out sex fantasies in our fiction is OK?

Some people think that you need explicit sex scenes to be ‘realistic’.  It would also be ‘realistic’ to have an explicit scene of your character’s next bathroom visit. But it would also be crude and disgusting to many readers. Do we really need to know if Harry Potter did a number 1 or a number 2?

Another reason against sex scenes is the unintended effect we may have. We write a gritty, realistic rape scene that is as unsexy as we can make it— and some teen uses it for whacking-off material. Won’t that warp the young person’s sexuality? And what about the recovering sex addict? A sex scene, unexpected in a Christian author’s novel, may cause a relapse.

A very pragmatic reason against sex scenes for the Christian/Catholic author is that the reader base for Christian fiction overwhelmingly prefers traditional fiction without sex scenes. What do you do when the Christian readers reject you? Secularist readers won’t like you unless you reject all your Christian values in a way you probably don’t want to do.

Finally, writing a sex scene can be overly revealing about you-the-writer. It’s hard to write a sex scene without drawing on your own personal sex experiences, if any. And even if you are innocent of experience, folks will figure that you are doing that kinky sex thing you wrote about.

I should at this point admit that when I first started out writing I tried to write a porno. I had to buy some porno books to get the sex scenes right. I wrote one chapter with a lesbian scene and then lost interest in the project. I realize now what a mistake it would have been to have continued with that project.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why we teach catechism and not just Bible verses

Catechism: it’s what’s for dinner. Spiritually speaking, that is. Recently I read something on Twitter (by a Protestant) which questioned the use of catechisms since we have the Bible (or partial Bible if you are Protestant.) But the problem is that the Bible is not a catechism book. It wasn’t written to provide basic training in the Christian essentials to children or to new Christians.

‘Catechesis’ is a word that means the instruction of ‘catechumins’, or new Christians. It is called that whether a catechism book is used or not. Catechesis is a very important part of the faith. It does no good to make converts if those converts never learn anything about Christianity and soon fall away.

Catechisms are most usually based on learning certain Christian basics: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments. Bible verses that are ‘proof texts’ for certain doctrines are often included in Protestant catechism books.

There are also Catholic catechism books. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a universal catechism, translated into many languages around the world. It has a foreword written by Pope John Paul II, now a saint. The Coming Home Network has a guide to reading the whole catechism and the Catholic Bible in a year.

There are also more local Catholic catechism such as the St. Joseph catechism which was used once in schools and religious education, and is now popular among homeschooling families.

The question was asked, why memorize catechism questions and answers when you could be memorizing Bible verses? The thing is, Bible verses can be confusing, especially for people who can’t read them in the original Greek or Hebrew or who aren’t Bible scholars. And we can’t expect ordinary people to become Bible scholars.

The content of a catechism, on the other hand, consists of very basic things, and the people who teach catechism or write catechism books relate these very basic things to other things from the Bible. This basic training is something we Christians keep coming back to— as we recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed weekly in our Church services (though the other creeds, such as the Nicene, are used in the Mass.)

Because of the electronic media, we have a lot of people becoming Christians who don’t immediately receive catechesis. Imagine someone who watched an episode of the Joel Osteen show and prayed the ‘sinners prayer.’ Such a person might not know where to begin, though Osteen does recommend getting in a ‘Bible-based church.’ I assume that means the Catholic Church? At any rate, there are many young Christians out there who lack almost all catechesis and who therefore may be OK with things such as cohabitation, abortion and same-sex sexuality which are forbidden by the Church and the Bible. What would help such people is a little more attention to teaching catechisms.

Churches in chains: ELCA, PCUSA, United Church of Christ

There are churches in the world that are sound, preaching the Apostolic Traditions— at least those found in the Bible— and rejecting demands to ‘change with the times.’ There are churches that are gladly liberal or super-liberal where the congregation joyfully rejects old-fashioned Bible teachings to support rejection of the Trinity, abortion, homosexual behaviors, and same-sex ‘marriage.’ But there are other churches— the churches in chains.

I grew up in the PCUSA Presbyterian church, which was already beginning to go liberal. But we never noticed it in our Sunday School. Our church had a religious education hour before the worship service with Bible classes for all ages. We studied Bible stories and memorized Bible verses every week. My younger brother Mike and I had to bring Bibles to Sunday School class. Our family wasn’t the sort to buy Bibles for young kids, so one of us brought Dad’s old Bible and one brought Mom’s. We were taught how to find Bible verses if we were given verse references.

But by the time I was in college I knew the PCUSA supported abortion, and I didn’t. We had a local PCUSA congregation and the pastor once told us that he, personally, objected to abortion. That was quite daring then. Most conservatives in the PCUSA didn’t talk about conservative things.

Over the years it got worse. But when my dad retired he and mom joined a local PCUSA church, that local congregation seemed like a normal Christian church most of the time. Though at my father’s funeral, the lady pastor pretty much apologized for the Bible readings that were a part of the funeral service. She said they were part of the history of people’s relationships with God— not the inspired Word of God. I was very offended— and I was a Neopagan at the time!

When the Supreme Court exceeded its authority to legalize same-sex ‘marriage,’ a big part of the congregation wanted to leave the PCUSA. But they can’t. The denomination headquarters had contributed money toward the local church building. And so if they left the PCUSA, they would lose their church building. The congregation, mostly elderly and not accustomed to evangelize since the denomination discourages it, could not replace that building— nor do they want to— they are accustomed to the building they have— they and their ancestors supported it.

There are other bad denominations like ELCA and United Church of Christ which have still-Christian, Bible-based congregations which can’t leave because the denomination will take their building. I personally think that God is calling them out of the faithless denominations no matter the cost. But I understand that after going decades without much in the way of Biblical preaching, most won’t dare.

I know some people will scream ‘hater’ at me for not supporting same-sex fake marriage. But guess what: I am gay (and chaste.) So bullying me in the comments section isn’t politically correct.

Pastor Tom Brock, a faithful Lutheran pastor who left the liberal ELCA Lutheran denomination, is also a gay person who lives a life faithful to the Bible. He has a TV show on the Christian channel CTN, which is also available online. He acts as a watchdog, exposing the unBiblical goings-on in the liberal churches, such as the ELCA congregation in California which worships the Goddess— which is OK in the ELCA. Here is an episode of his show that gives 11 reasons to leave a liberal denomination. (Since I’m now a Catholic, I don’t agree with EVERYTHING Pastor Tom says. But I’m inspired by his witness in our troubled times.)

 


You may have noticed I am dealing with faith-related topics on Sunday. I feel this is a part of the mission of this blog. But I could use some support from Christian and/or Catholic readers of the blog. Would you please pray for me, that I can continue this work weekly and find good and useful topics? It would also be kind if you would share this blog post on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Thank you all.

The joy of rediscovering the Tyndale Bible Commentaries

In the long-ago days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in college, there was a popular set of Bible commentaries that seemed to be carried in every Christian book shop around. I bought 2 of the commentaries— Romans and Revelation I think— and wanted to collect them all like they were Pokemon or something.

But at the end of my college years I had what I now think of as a spiritual breakdown— I lost my faith that Christianity is true, in spite of the fact that I had found no logical refutation of the reasons I believed in the first place. As a result, my commentaries along with other Christian books were sold at a garage sale.

In 2005 my faith came back, and I wished I still had the commentaries, even though my faith came back Catholic. I didn’t even remember the name of the commentary series.

Recently I asked my assorted FB friends if they knew the commentary series. One of them shared a list of Bible commentaries with me and as soon as I read Tyndale Bible Commentaries I knew that was the right one.

I Googled, hoping to see a picture of the commentaries with the covers that I remembered (as pictured above.) While doing that, I found a picture of the commentaries with a different cover— and this picture was from an eBay auction of 14 of the commentaries in the Old Testament series for a very reasonable price. I snapped those commentaries up like they were bound in imported dark chocolate.

When they arrived I learned a few things I hadn’t known about the commentaries before. They were a series based in England and most of the Bible scholars who wrote the volumes seemed to be English or Australian. The dates of the commentaries ranged from 1964 to 1984. And one of the authors of the commentaries, Derek Kidner, is popular enough today that his commentaries are available in a reprint series called the Derek Kidner Commentaries.

I’ve currently been reading Kidner’s commentary on Psalms as a part of my Bible and Catholic Catechism reading program, based on a leaflet provided by the Coming Home Network. I read the Psalm I’m supposed to read for the day’s reading, and read the related pages of Kidner’s commentary with it. It’s far more enriching than to just read the Bible text which I’ve read a number of times before. Of course, it will probably slow down my progress a bit. It will probably take more than one year if I read all the Bible passages with a commentary. And I’ve already gotten far behind the goal. But at least now, with the commentaries, I have an excuse.

As a Catholic, I’m also interested in getting some good Catholic commentaries. I’ll share some about that search on another Sunday.


These are the commentary volumes I currently own:

Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, IVP

D. J. Wiseman, General Editor

2. Exodus – R. Alan Cole (1973)

4. Numbers – Gordon J. Wenham (1981)

5. Deuteronomy – J. A. Thompson (1974)

7. Judges & Ruth – Arthur E. Cundall & Leon Morris (1968)

12. Esther – Joyce G. Baldwin (1984)

13. Job – Francis I. Anderson (1976)

14a. Psalms 1-72 – Derek Kidner (1973)

14b. Psalms 73-150 – Derek Kidner (1975)

15. Proverbs – Derek Kidner (1964)

16. Ecclesiastes – Michael A. Eaton (1983)

17. The Song of Solomon – G. Lloyd Carr (1984)

19. Jeremiah & Lamentations – R. K. Harrison (1973)

20. Ezekiel – John B. Taylor – (1969)

21. Daniel – Joyce G. Baldwin (1978)

24. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Joyce G. Baldwin (1972)

 

Martin Luther and the Lutheran Hail Mary

Can you imagine Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism in general and Lutheranism in particular, kneeling down in prayer and saying the ‘Hail Mary?’ Impossible, right? Well, Martin Luther himself didn’t think so. He included the Hail Mary prayer in a prayer book that he published. It had the first part of the modern Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

This shortened Hail Mary was the original form which is used in the rosary, and which early was used as a substitute for praying the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, for those who could not read the Psalms or who didn’t have access to a book of the Psalms or the Liturgy.

Since Martin Luther by that time was in the Catholicism-rejecting business, he certainly did not need to include this prayer. He did not retain all of his former Catholic beliefs about the Virgin, but he— and other reformers such as Zwingli, Calvin, and even the later John Wesley, retained some Catholic teachings that their modern-day followers universally reject.

One thing I lament about  the world today is that so many of us don’t know what other churches teach, and many also don’t know what the founder of their church taught, or even what the creed or catechism of their church teaches. Perhaps Christians would be better able to understand one another if they would learn some of these things?

The Lutheran Rosary – https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/the-lutheran-rosary/     The top post on this blog

 


In my research for this blog— I read that including links in my posts makes my own post ‘Google’ better— I came across a very new blog by a LCMS (conservative Lutheran) seminarian. He wrote a good post on Luther and the Hail Mary, which is here: https://dsmondayblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/the-hail-mary-according-to-martin-luther I think it would be a wonderful idea if all my readers would stop by his blog, read his article, and drop some encouraging words in a comment.

I also ran across an article called Martin Luther’s Devotion to Mary. The author turned out to be a friend of mine, Dave Armstrong, a former Protestant who is now a Catholic apologist. His blog is here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/

Here are two other articles for further reading:

Mother Mary and Martin Lutherhttp://www.interfaithmary.net/pages/mary_Luther.html

Martin Luther believed in devotion to Mary? (James White)http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/2013/10/17/martin-luther-believed-in-devotion-to-mary/