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Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Islamist militants explode five bombs in Nigeria
Reuters, Sun, Dec 25 09:13 AM EST

On one of the Holiest days of the year for Christians around the world, Islamists try to bomb out Christians. They have destroyed several Churches and have killed in excess of 27 people. The bombs went off during services for Christmas.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska.

Pagans Kill Christians in Pliska circa 800AD Image via Wikipedia

It is very difficult to love people who are trying to kill us and destroy our Churches, but we must try. But remember, loving them does not mean we should not bring them to justice for the deeds they have committed.

Lord, have mercy! News like this makes it hard to remember that on Christmas we celebrate the Birthday of the King of Kings.

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Stardate -312779.64056950784

(calculated using the Star Trek Stardate Calculator)

The other night Himself was very sick. I was so very worried about him I got a big lump in my throat. I was letting him get some rest and sitting at the computer in the family room. Then I got to thinking.

No one really knows what goes on with others. No matter how much one person has gone through, he can’t understand, truly, what another is experiencing or feeling. Essentially, each person goes through life alone.

We can offer sympathy, even, to a degree, empathy to someone, but we don’t know, really know, their thoughts, their feelings.

My mother died when I was 34. It was not unexpected. In fact, we knew she was dying for over a year, and the last few days we knew the end was only a day or two away. But the actual event was stunning to me. My Momma was gone. I firmly squashed my emotional responses, not wanting to distress my husband and children or my friends. I realized only later that I seemed to be “cold” and “uncaring” about losing her! Far from reality! No one, not even those closest to me knew what was really going on inside me. I was alone in my grief. O yes, I cried on my husband’s shoulder – mainly at night when we were alone. But even he, who is my friend / partner / part of me in every positive sense of those words, did not know just what I was (and continue) feeling.

Similarly, when his mother died, in 1986, he was unable to communicate how he was feeling. For a year he seldom spoke except to say things like, “please pass the salt,” or “please answer the phone.” He buried himself in books for that year, reading 2, sometimes 3 or 4 books a DAY. After that, it took him months to gradually crawl out from the extreme pain he was feeling. But I could not feel it with him – I only saw and tried to respond to the symptoms of that pain that I could perceive.

What I’m describing is not loneliness, but is an intrinsic estrangement from the rest of the world and from other people. There is no way to describe how we feel to another person in such a way that they truly and completely know how and why we are feeling. No one can understand all the points of pain that another feels. No one can understand all the intricacies of another’s pain – that seeing a pond with water lilies will bring deep remorse and sadness, and why that happens, for instance.

Our internal emotional connections are hidden – from others and even from ourselves. How many times have I been startled to react in unexpected and, almost, inappropriate ways to something that seemingly is neutral? How can I possibly explain that to family members and friends?

Essentially, each person is alone in his thoughts and feelings. Others can perceive and react to a small portion, but only as they perceive it. If, as was the case when my mother died, one is so frozen by an emotion he only shows coldness and a rigidity of spirit, then that is what others will react to.

Being “sensitive” to others is a “touchy-feely” process that only means you try to perceive the other’s feelings and react with compassion. That’s a nice thought, but the largest part of each person’s feelings are hidden – many from himself. His uncertainties, fears, hopes, loves, and griefs may present as nearly anything – stony coldness as in my case, or total withdrawal in my husband’s case.

We each were incapable of “reaching out,” and depended on the solidarity of our family and friends to sustain us. They did, but we each were still alone inside ourselves. Not even each other was able to provide the comfort we each needed.

Only God could do that. And He did.

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Religious Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience if Laws Don’t Respect Faith

Saturday, November 21, 2009 2:52 PM

A formidable coalition of 150 Catholic, Orthodox and evangelical leaders are calling on Christians in a new manifesto to reject secular authority – and even engage in civil disobedience – if laws force them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage and other ideas that betray their religious beliefs.

On Friday (Nov 20, 2009), these leaders released a 4,700-word document – called the “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.”

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Human Life

The lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are ever more threatened. While public opinion has moved in a pro-life direction, powerful and determined forces are working to expand abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Although the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the first obligation of government, the power of government is today often enlisted in the cause of promoting what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.” We pledge to work unceasingly for the equal protection of every innocent human being at every stage of development and in every condition. We will refuse to permit ourselves or our institutions to be implicated in the taking of human life and we will support in every possible way those who, in conscience, take the same stand.

Marriage

The institution of marriage, already wounded by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is at risk of being redefined and thus subverted. Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise. The impulse to redefine marriage is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil law as well as our religious traditions. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. Marriage is not a “social construction,” but is rather an objective reality – the covenantal union of husband and wife – that it is the duty of the law to recognize, honor, and protect.

Religious Liberty

Freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized. The threat to these fundamental principles of justice is evident in efforts to weaken or eliminate conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, and in anti-discrimination statutes that are used as weapons to force religious institutions, charities, businesses, and service providers either to accept (and even facilitate) activities and relationships they judge to be immoral, or go out of business. Attacks on religious liberty are dire threats not only to individuals, but also to the institutions of civil society including families, charities, and religious communities. The health and well-being of such institutions provide an indispensable buffer against the overweening power of government and is essential to the flourishing of every other institution – including government itself – on which society depends.

Unjust Laws

As Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers. We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust. And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral. Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will.

Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.

Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family.

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

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