Thursday, September 30, 2010

The World is On Fire!

Everyone needs to read the Rosh Hashanah sermon by this Atlanta Rabbi.

What Happens When the Church Sells Out To the Culture?

What happens when the Church sells out to the secular culture? What is the fruit of wishy washy "I'm OK, You're OK, God's OK" theology that doesn't demand anything of the believer?

Nature abhors a vacuum. People who are sincerely searching for God will go to a group that sets clear moral boundaries and claims to have all the answers.

Here are two educated former Christian women, one Catholic and one Protestant who abandoned Christ for Islam.

Human beings are religious by nature. We are going to worship something. Lost people will gravitate toward a system of belief that gives them answers to their questions.

Decadent Post-Christian culture is a spiritual waste land. What I call the Old Church (i.e. pre-Vatican II) presented the faithful with an entire way of life with clearly defined boundaries. The Protestant Churches, as well, took spiritual discipline much more seriously. For instance, there was a time when a member of a Baptist Congregation who was caught drinking or dancing would be brought before the Church if he or she refused to change their ways.

My fear is that unless we get back to our roots, these videos may show us the religious future of the West.

The State of the Church

Great Post at REDNECK REFLECTIONS about the current state of the Church Militant.

Monday, September 27, 2010

His Holiness Benedict XVI

I thought this was a great picture of the Holy Father! And the following video I found on You Tube was also inspiring. Habemus Papum!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saint Padre Pio

Today, September 23rd, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Padre Pio

Traditional Orders of Nuns Have Record Number of Vocations

Soldiers of the Culture War: ". . . take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17.

Traditional orders of nuns are having a record number of vocations. Full story here. They include a Harvard graduate who gave part of her commencement address in Latin! In an interesting post, an Evangelical Protestant blogger at Christianity Today admits that she admires young Catholic nuns.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Too Busy To Blog!

"The law is a jealous mistress and requires a long and constant courtship."
Justice Joseph Story (1829).

Since returning from vacation, I have been too busy practicing law to blog. I hate to admit that behind my religious facade, I am one of the Devil's Advocates by profession. One of my law professors once told a class that "All of you entered the legal profession of your own free will, so we know where you will go to when you die. But, oh, well, the company's better there anyway."

I guess that is an awful quote when you think about it. However, after hitting it hard last week and this week, I think it might be true. Of course, hell may be being sentenced to go to Court for eternity . . .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Celebrating the King James Bible

As a Bible carrying Fundamentalist Southern Baptist, I grew up reading and hearing the majestic cadences of the King James Bible. Here's a great article about the 400th anniversary of the translation.

Teaching Islam in the Public Schools

I wonder what would have happened if public school students were taken on a field trip to a Catholic Church, given a Catechism lesson, and invited to participate in the Mass?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, September 15th, the Church honors Our Lady of Sorrows

Yesterday, September 14th, the Church celebrated Holy Cross Day.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that He might draw the whole world to Himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow Him; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Protestant Land Experience

On Friday of last week, Mr. & Mrs. Bad Catholic visited “The Holy Land Experience” in Orlando, Florida.

Like on many other subjects, the Bad Catholic has mixed feelings about this park. The Holy Land Experience was originally created by Zion’s Hope, Inc., a Protestant missionary organization which specialized in witnessing to Jews. Zion’s Hope, Inc. was founded by the Reverend Marvin Rosenthal, a Baptist minister who was reared as an Orthodox Jew and converted to Christianity as a teenager. In 2007, the park was acquired by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). (1)

The park’s founding by Messianic Jews explains why all of the staff energetically greet the visitor with the word “Shalom!” The visitor enters The Holy Land Experience through the “Gates of Jerusalem” into what can best be described as the Bible according to Walt Disney. If Epcot Center had a world showcase display for ancient Israel, it would be The Holy Land Experience.

The centerpiece of “Jerusalem” is the Temple. The Temple, like all the rest of The Holy Land Experience, is a stage for Biblical based live action performances. In the “Shofar Theatre” we watched Jesus save the woman taken in adultery. The production appeared to be well done and well acted by professional actors. The actor who plays Jesus was particularly impressive.

The central production at the Holy Land Experience is the Passion Play. The Holy Land Experience’s Passion Play was well acted, tasteful and powerful. The violence and horror of crucifixion is skillfully evoked. The staff did the best that it could to make the Passion Play a prayerful experience. In this they were thwarted by the crowd. People were noisy, taking pictures, and one fellow was chastised by a member of the staff for happily munching on Holy Land Nachos while watching the death of the Savior.

My quibbles with The Holy Land Experience began when we first arrived and listened to a talk from a park “historian” about the Garden Tomb. As professor Branham says in her Harvard Divinity Bulletin article: “The Orlando passion culminates at a replica of the so-called Garden Tomb, the site in Jerusalem regarded by many Protestant Christians as the place of Jesus’ burial, in preference to the quite different Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the structure widely held by Catholic and Orthodox Christians to be the tomb of Christ.”(2)

According to The Holy Land Experience’s “historian” there’s no doubt that the Garden Tomb was the place where Christ’s body was placed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is conclusively ruled out as being the site. Tourists are told that there is no doubt that the Garden Tomb was the tomb of Christ.

Since I worship a risen Lord who isn’t in a tomb, I was able to overlook this since it doesn’t matter which empty hole in the ground Our Lord rose from. But The Holy Land Experience’s historical errors didn’t end there. During the Passion Play, the actor playing Pontius Pilate loudly condemned Jesus “in the name of Augustus Caesar.” Of course, the problem with this is that Tiberius, not Augustus, was the Emperor of Rome when Jesus would have been crucified.

The worst part of The Holy Land Experience was the Evangelical Protestant version of Church history presented in the Scriptorium. Professor Branham’s description is still accurate:

“During the hour-long walking tour of the Scriptorium, guests encounter more than a dozen time periods and geographical settings crafted to support the history of Bible production. Guests are greeted by a lifelike talking “animatronic” figure of the Bible translator John Wycliffe. There’s a Babylonian courtyard dominated by a recreation of the impressive Ishtar Gate to give a palpable context to the clay cuneiform tablets in the exhibit. Visitors travel from an ancient rotunda echoing with “the voices of the prophets” to Egypt’s historic Library of Alexandria to view ancient papyri; from an early church bindery from Constantinople to Gutenburg’s fifteenth-century print shop in Mainz, Germany, including a working replica of his revolutionary printing press; from William Tyndale’s ransacked workshop in Cologne to London’s vast Metropolitan Tabernacle, a scene of nineteenth-century evangelical preaching; and from a simple prairie church on the plains of the American Midwest, where guests learn about missionaries to a rotunda for the tour’s finale, featuring major biblical personalities in an impressive laser show where tablets of the Ten Commandments are etched atop Mount Sinai. The lights go out and an enormous cross hangs suspended and illuminated overhead. Finally on their way out, Ex Libris, the Scriptorium’s book shop, offers guests an extensive selection of Bible and history related merchandise. . . . the Scriptorium represents the Protestant antidote to gesture, sacrament, and action in its presentation of words, ideas, and personal faith.” (3)

As one would expect, according to the Evangelical Protestant version of history, although Catholic monks copied the Bible during the “Dark Ages,” it was all written in Latin and they wouldn’t let the common people read it until Brother John Wycliffe, Brother William Tyndale and Brother Martin Luther came along and overturned all that evil tradition and got back to the Bible alone.

The message is definitely that the Bible created the Church. The inescapable conclusion from The Holy Land Experience’s version of history is NO BIBLE, NO CHURCH. Of course, we know that this is exactly backwards. As Father Joseph Nolan has said “What many evangelical Christians do not seem to understand is that the Bible found it’s existence within the context of a living community. That community’s lived beliefs - written down - formed the New Testament. In other words, the Bible did not create the Church; rather, the Church - that early community of believers - created the Bible.”

After a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Mary Queen of Universe, which should be the first thing the Catholic visitor does in Orlando, between trips to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, The Holy Land Experience is worth a day. Just take the Protestant view of history with a grain of salt.

1. Branham, Joan, The Temple That Won’t Quit: Constructing Sacred Space in Orlando’s Holy Land Experience Theme Park, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Autumn, 2008.

2. Ibid. p. 25.

3. Ibid. p. 28-29

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Everybody Will Be Infamous for 15 Minutes

Andy Warhol once said that television would make everybody famous for 15 minutes. The world wide web and instant communications merely amplify that effect.

For instance, why is the entire world, from the State Department to the Vatican, worried about the doings of some insignificant small congregation of whacked out Fundamentalists in Gainesville, Florida?

This just goes to show that in the modern world, if you want to get noticed, just do the most outrageous thing that you can think of and put it on the internet and call the TV stations.

The global reaction to Preacher Terry Jones' "Burn the Koran Day" just incourages others who want to get noticed to do equally outrageous things. The thought that these Goobers burning a couple of books in Florida can cause a global reaction is scary.

I taught Criminal Justice at the college level for about four years before returning to full time law practice. I used to enjoy pointing out to my students that the reason there are so many conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination is that it is comforting to think that something as monumental as the murder of a President was the result of an organized group with a master plan. It's comforting to believe that it was the Mafia, or the Communists, or the C.I.A. or whoever.

What's scary is the hard fact that one idiot with a cheap rifle can change the course of world history.

Let's hope that the Koran burners get their 15 minutes of fame and that everybody forgets about them.

Episcopus Stupidius

A great post from Creative Minority Report.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Official: Stephen Hawking Says There is No God!

Well, folks, it's true. We're all wasting our time with all this God and religion stuff. We might as well stay home Sunday and watch TV in our underwear. And, oh, by the way, life is totally meaningless and the universe is purposeless. It's great that we could finally clarify that.

Physicist Stephen Hawking has written a book saying that it is definite that the physical universe sprang from nothing out of the Big Bang and God had nothing to do with it. So Everything came from Nothing. Well, a reasonable belief at last!

Read the article from the UK Telegraph here.