The Cost

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

-Luke 14:28, NIV

Everything has a cost. It seems obvious, but sometimes it bears repeating. Everything has a cost. Austrian economists who follow the Kantian principles of von Mises understand economics to be the science of human action and human action to be predicated on choice. Choice is transactional by nature: in selecting one option, one must forego another, even if only temporarily. The cost of doing one thing involves the expenditure of energy and resources to achieve it, but also the loss of doing something else instead.

Sacrifice can be understood in these terms. The pain one endures in order to achieve some noble end is the price paid for it. Such pain can be physical, psychological, or spiritual. In many circumstances there is no clear party to whom the pain is given; it is simply a facet of acquiring the desired end. Many pagan religions, however, saw their gods as the parties to whom payment was rendered in order to obtain supernatural aid. “Do ut des” was the terse Latin expression of this sentiment: “I give so that you may give.”

Grace, defined as unmerited favour, is not a part of this picture. In its purest form, it is selfless giving with no thought of recompense, no obligation attached to the gift in and of itself. Giving that responds to such grace can come from a number of motivations: a desire to acknowledge and show gratitude or a desire to be in no man’s debt. The latter view does not accept grace for what it is, but sees it as an obligation, a chain from which release cannot be gained except by repayment.

Pondering on where we as individuals are and where the Church is as a whole, I find myself seeing both grace and cost as parts of the journey from where we are to where we need to be. God sheds grace on us in order to empower us to do His will on earth, the centre of which is the preach the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard. But answering God’s call involves a cost, if only from the perspective of our old, fleshly selves. One such cost is this: the Gospel is offensive; in preaching it we may lose friends and make enemies. We may lose the respect of those to whom it is the odour of death, even as we gain the love of those to whom it is the pleasant aroma of salvation.

The Faith of Superheroes (and Villains)

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I have no serious message whatsoever for today, except perhaps we need to lighten up for a minute or so. We’ve been really heavy here the last fortnight or so, as we should have been.

So sit back and enjoy, from Hans Fiene, the creator of Lutheran Satire, via The Federalist.

Batman’s an atheist now, you guys. Well, not exactly. After suffering a bit of an existential crisis, Bruce Wayne is questioning his faith in anything, not just the Triune God.

The Caped Crusader is more of a Doubting Descartes than a Determined Dawkins these days. Or, as Rich Cromwell put it, Batman is not so much an atheist as he is a slightly-more-lapsed-than-your-average Episcopalian.

So if the revelation about Batman’s lack of faith makes you fear that your children can no longer look up to a fornicating, spandex-wearing, deranged vigilante, don’t be afraid. Until Batman trades in the cowl for a fedora, he’s still the perfect role model for your seven-year-old.

Batman’s newfound lack of faith raises an interesting question: what do the rest of the folks in comic book land believe? Aside from pious Catholics like Nightcrawler and Daredevil (to whatever extent vigilantes can be pious Catholics), religious devotion is not a common feature of today’s superheroes, at least in their cinematic and small-screen forms.

So what do our various heroes and villains believe about God and salvation? What kind of monotheist is Captain America? What gods does the god of Thunder worship?

If you’re looking for an accurate list of comic book characters’ religious affiliations, check out this website, where we learn that Lois Lane is Catholic and Captain Underpants is Jewish. If, however, you’re looking for completely un-researched, slightly offensive, and wildly inaccurate speculation about the religious beliefs of various characters based on their biographies and personality quirks, I’m here to help.

Here are the religious affiliations of your favorite superheroes and super-villains.

Quite a bit more here.

Enjoy!

Death of the Self

Archbishop Cranmer is on form today. He has posted a piece on the “Human Ken Doll”, Rodrigo Alves, and contemporary culture’s worship of youth, physical perfection, and superficial thought. In his characteristic concern for our souls, His Grace reminds us all that we are made in the image of God, that God has called us to exercise righteous judgment in the earth. Judgment is a facet of the law, and Christ and Paul taught us that the way to fulfil the law is to practice godly love. The Greek term is agape, translated into Latin as caritas, in contrast to the normal Latin word for love, amor, which is nearly equivalent to the Greek term eros.

Humans are social creatures – we so want to be connected with one another, to love and be loved (not necessarily in that order) by one another. This is natural: to be made in the image of God means to live in community, extending God’s rule from heaven to the earth. We were always meant to function collaboratively with God and with each other. But God’s ways have been perverted on the earth through the agency of Satan and the Watchers and through the agency of man. Pride demands worship from others and loneliness demands company. When company has rules for admission, in our desperation we bend to those rules: thus the cult of beauty enforces its will through peer pressure. The call from the cult: “Join us or die in the wilderness.”

Nor is the Church immune to this disease; the Church is composed of sinners on the path to holiness – at any given stage before perfection, the old temptations have some traction. The Scriptures do not say that accepting Christ means losing the lust of our hearts; James the Apostle tells us to “resist the Devil”. This is an active task: it requires will and perseverance and the moral cognisance to recognise what is evil and to reject it.

When the Scripture tells us that the old man has been crucified with Christ but that we must daily be crucified, it describes vividly the feeling of loss involved in resisting sin. In saying no to some action or attitude we are letting something go, letting it slide into the category of things that never were. That is a kind of death. Because we want sinful things – even when we know we should not -that death is painful; it causes us – foolishly – to mourn. In another vivid image, the author of Hebrews describes this process as chastisement and says rather bluntly and obviously that no one enjoys chastisement, but that it is good for us. The joy comes afterward in the moment of victory and rest when we can see what chastisement has wrought and no longer feel the draw of sin, no longer believing its lies.

Chastisement is a part of growth. The chastisement that the Church is experiencing as a whole now is to teach it valuable lessons. The shaking of the current order is meant to call sinners to repentance, to cause the Church to remember that God – not the world – is our end, and to wake us up, creating renewed zeal to preach the Gospel. Those who will be most effective in that task are those who have rejected the world’s falsehoods, including the cult of beauty, and who have given themselves wholly to God and His service. These are the consecrated, the holy ones.

Why I Will Never Be Catholic

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The author seems to be a genuine voice, so because this blog which use to be quite diverse is more dominated by Catholics with a few Protestants remaining, I thought it fair to reblog this post with fresh ideas.

My initial comment to his blog:

“Can you explain historically why the Church appears to never have taught Sola Scriptura for 1500 years? For approximately 300 years, the Canon is ambiguous And as most biblical theologians, even Protestant, admit that Sola Scriptura isn’t taught in the Bible. And what counts as the Canon, As Augustine, whom you admire, list the canon of the Catholic Church in On Christian Doctrine?

It appears historically to be an anachronism since even the apostles and the two centuries of Christians mostly taught by tradition of word of mouth. Historically, it must be asked is it a human invention, as many Protestants claim doctrines is the Catholic Church?

Just my thoughts on my problem with the theology. “

The Reformed Alliance

Before I state my case, I want to be clear that I have great respect for the good things the Catholic church has done. The amount of social work that they put in is astonishing when it comes to adoption homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. I also have to say that some of the sweetest people I have ever met in my entire life were devout Catholics. Not only that, some of the people that read up and follow The Reformed Alliance blog are Catholics, and I want to say thank you to them and hope that they continue to do so.

I don’t know what it is about Roman Catholicism, but I genuinely have compassion for those who are a part of it and caught in it. I can understand why someone would be drawn into its rich history and its magnificent beauty. The cathedrals, the art, the fiction…

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The Heresy of Conciliarism

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An interesting reflection on councils, doctrine, and heresies in regards to the Pope. I wanted to share this post with AATW to see if there were any thoughts of agreements or refutation on thesis presented here. Note, I did comment for a clarification of what is meant by “judge.” Please refer to that for further explanation.

HOPE IN THE STORM

Many of the laity are falling into the heresy of Conciliarism, which was condemned by the Fifth Lateran Council , 1512-1517.

The heresy of Americanism also involves the heresy of Conciliarism, which limits the power of the pope and indicates that people have a right to judge him.

Here are some of the facts surrounding this heresy, under a few bullet points. In other words, as much as we do not like a pope or what he says, the laity cannot judge him, especially cannot judge his soul.

Many commentators on blogs are in error regarding calling the present popes names or labelling him. Beware, your own soul is in danger of not only false judgement, but inappropriate judgement.

Points

• Because of the tendencies of both religious and secular leaders in the 13th and 14th centuries, that is kings and schismatics, the nature of the papacy had to become…

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Springtime for Hitler and Germany

Now: Springtime for Francis and Commies

As sad as times are, a little levity is needed as well or we will certainly sap our strength. I was going to name it Springtime for Satan and Hades because there is a strong diabolical underpinning to all of the changes that have swept the world in such a quick amount of time. So the title(s) and the video is about all that you’re going to get from me for a cheap laugh.

That is because times are perilous within and without the Catholic Church and among the other Christian Denominations. We are awash in a new “morality” that used to be called by its proper name, immorality. Evil is good these days and has its rights whereas on paper, at least the Catholic Church affirms that evil has no rights while affirming practices that gives rights to these very same evils; not only hypocritical but downright satanic in its glorification of objective moral evils.

So is this the new normal of the world and Christianity as a whole? That we now find adultery too hard, celibacy impossible, homosexual acts as good and wholesome as the marital act? It may very well be and is probably responsible in large part to the decline of Christianity in both Europe and the United States. If this keeps up Christianity will be a liberal meeting house that claims moral superiority while rejecting all that our fathers in faith counted as among the worst sins listed in the Bible.

Satan, is gloating. He has been at this for about 2000 years to infiltrate and to destroy the Christian faith; and he is having his best success during our sad generation it seems. But satan can do nothing without willing co-conspirators.

Enter, at least in the Catholic world, Francis and his Very Merry (actually) “gay” entourage and closest allies. His new teachings that take us back to the days of Moses rather than embracing the corrections by Christ on the nature of marriage and what constitutes adultery as a serious sin. We see him making saints of Communists, neo-Marxists, Peronists and his brother Liberation Theology adherents. And of course, he cannot help beatifying anyone that unleashed the ‘open the windows to the world’ cry of the Second Vatican Council. I guess that is to lend it some sort of credibility amongst those who think these ‘saints’ are truly Saints as they were made since the Council of Trent. Sadly, it is John Paul II that stripped the process of 141 rules and regulations that were required prior to his pontificate. You must hand it to Francis to take advantage of any crack that might be available in order to drive the thin end of a wedge through until the whole door is wide enough for one and all. Who knows who will be the next big saint; perhaps Che Guevara or Fidel Castro.

The twentieth century saw the demise of Christian taboos amongst all Christians starting with contaception, then came abortion, women pastors, homosexual pastors and now so-called same sex married couples. We are so much more enlightened it seems that for 2000 years the Christians simply didn’t have the proper teaching techniques and brain-washing techniques to use on our children and our susceptible college kids.

Well what now? Where do we go from here? We can either shut the doors or try like hell to take back the high ground. But do we have the desire or have we all lost the fortitude and courage of being Christ’s warriors? Its either that or our churches will amount to nothing more than meeting halls or NGO’s who pander to the government and the various UN agencies for more money to do all the ‘good’ work that they do.

Spiritual guidance, holiness, piety, sanctifying our lives in hope to get to heaven? I hope someday that it will once again be the purpose of the Christian churches. But if we want it to be that way in our lifetimes you must first have to realize that this is not the business that they are currently in. Politics, raising money, exerting power and living lavish lifestyles and indulging in their every vice without consequence seems a new mission for the new Christianity. You might find that appealing in which case the True Churches will go underground and we will be prosecuted relentlessly. If we find that appalling then we better get busy and retake that which is rightfully ours as Christ gave the Church for the sole purpose of  shepherding the sheep not to sheer them and slaughter them for their own amusement and pleasure.

Ignatius of Loyola asked us to answer and think about the following questions:

What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ?

If you get those questions answered rightly, we will not have a problem. If you ignore them then we might be back in the catacombs sooner than you think.

Pope Francis: Letter to the People of God (full text)

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Pope Francis’ letter on the present scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church. In the original blog’s comments Gertrude had an interesting analysis of the letter.

Just in case any of our readers have not seen this this, Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such “atrocities”.

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis
To the People of God

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26).  These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons.  Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in…

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Omerta

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Bill Donohue of the Catholic League just wrote a piece entitled, DELIRIOUS REACTIONS TO CHURCH ABUSE. In this article the outspoken defender of the Catholic Faith, Mr. Donohue goes on and on about the abuse that is present in the filthy subset of American Culture called Hollywood. He points to the rapes, the pedophilia, the overall corruption of the industry and he seems to go on and on as if this excuses the sexual crisis that we find ourselves embroiled within the Catholic Church at the moment. And it is for more than just a moment. This has been going strong since before the advent of Vatican II.

Now I don’t know why, if he wants to give excuses for our present situation he leaves out Government politicians, large Corporate enterprises and of course Organized Crime. Their sins are as scarlet, but we all know that and almost expect it. they are on a whole a corrupt bunch who are primarily psychopathic narcissists which care little about anyone but themselves. Their thrill in their crimes against people and the laws of the land and by getting away, in plain view, with these crimes and acts of moral depravity that others go to jail for. This is their thrill. They have no love for their associates and ‘friends’ as they are being used during moments when they are needed for their own benefit; to climb the ladders to success, amass power and prestige, and of course live a life that few could live without spending a life in jail.

What particularly struck me was the offense that Bill Donohue seems to take with ordinary, outraged Catholics as well as others in the media and other people who are not all that enamored with Catholicism in the first place. So it comes across as an apologia for the Catholic Church by pointing a finger at others and diminishing the number of crimes against our clerics including Bishops and Cardinals within the Church. It seems that he is setting up a convenient straw man defense as if these others are equivalent to the crisis at hand. It is not.

They all have one thing in common however and that is their practice of what the mafia calls omerta; the unwritten law of silence, that is practiced among all groups of psychopaths who rise to power, attempt to retain power, in order to promote those who obey and punish those who do not. When their usefulness is over and they are no longer relevant then it is OK to single them out and humiliate them. And should the person who is caught with his hand in the cookie jar retaliates, then all the forces of the clique of blackmailers will come down heavy upon them. Their legal fees and their pensions may be revoked and they will be shuffled off to jail or to seclusion depending on the information that they are willing to share with police and civil authorities. It can even cost a man his life if he breaks the code of silence.

It seems that Bill Donohue is having a hard time trying to convince Catholics who are angry and calling for justice that his argument is essentially the same. But this is the entire fallacy of his article. We know that these things go on in the underbelly of society but doesn’t Bill understand that the Catholic Church is supposed to be a beacon of moral relevance in this world? Does he understand how much worse it is for a successor to the Apostles who is supposed to care for the souls of the Church has a duty that far surpasses any group out in the world? We are supposed to be separate from the world and perhaps that is part of the problem. It seems that we are becoming more and more like the world? And when you fall from a place that is infinitely higher than the atheistic and hedonistic places of power in this world it makes a bigger splash and is far more tragic and meaningful. 

Yes, the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by homosexuals, incontinent prelates, blackmailers, Communists, freemasons and others who are little better than organized crime. And it seems that omerta and the covering up of their crimes is standard operating procedure. It is a scandal, and we should all call it a scandal, for it is precisely what it is. No use in mincing words and no use in making excuses or saying that this group or that group is more filthy than we are. That just doesn’t cut it anymore. Are we the Mystical Body of Christ or not? Are we to be saving souls rather than killing the souls of our own and perhaps chasing them away from the Church for the rest of their lives. Do their souls count for more than your feeble excuse for their equivalency to other fallen groups like Hollywood? I would be ashamed to try to equate the two as a defense and as a way to silence the scandalized Catholics who are abused themselves by all of this. For this scandal puts a black mark on everyone who is a Catholic and drives those who were considering becoming Catholic to go elsewhere. 

I’m sorry but when the Church practices omerta and operates like a gay mafia then we need to start a war to drive them from our midst. Homosexuality in the clergy is a large part of the cliques that have formed and it is also a large part of the malfeasance of the Church’s money and the state of the Vatican Bank as well. It is time to clean house. No excuses, no equivalencies and no pointing of fingers to the guy next to you. Lets point the finger at ourselves and get to work cleaning out the mess.

Foolish to the Gentiles – The Atonement

In light of a series on the Atonement that I have been following on another site (http://drmsh.com/dr-johnson-responds-questions-atonement-discussion/) and Philip Augustine’s recent reposting of a piece by Geoffrey Sales, whom we all miss, I thought it might be good to revisit this post by Rob, who is also much missed. I very much empathise with Rob’s concerns shared in this post about evangelism and one’s own understanding of the character of God.

All Along the Watchtower

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The cross is meaningless to those who are perishing. Christ crucified is a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles but to us who are being saved it’s the power and wisdom of God seen in Jesus Christ. In this manner of redeeming us God’s foolishness proves wiser and His weakness stronger than we can conceive. I began in faith simply knowing God gave Jesus for me and that believing I would experience His life.

However as time moved on there was an underlying disturbance in my soul over the explanation I was receiving of how Christ was given for me. The picture emerged gradually that Jesus agonising death on the cross was in order for God the Father to punish Him for my sins so that I could be released from the punishment I deserved.

Love for Christ was the response whenever I considered His suffering, but accompanied with…

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