This news story is almost as good as a Lucha Libre fight, except there’s more credibility in Lucha Libre and the costumes are better. In what can only pass for bizarro religion in America, the Fort Worth police are trying to figure out who threw the first punch in an altercation between some pushy Jehovah’s Witnesses and a hothead “priest” of the non-canonical, small potatoes Mexican National Catholic Church.
Archive for the ‘Religious Wackiness’ Category
From beyond the grave comes the voice of L. Ron Hubbard, (bad) sci-fi writer, tax evader, and shrewd founder of a very profitable business venture, er, pseudo-religious cult. Scientology spokesmen made the announcement during a New Year’s celebration in Los Angeles and likened the finding of more than 1000 hours of previously unknown lectures and numerous writings to the collected written wisdom of the Buddha. Ah, ringing in the New Year with the sound of cash registers, but be prepared to spend $7500 for your own copy of this drivel. What’s that old expression? Fools and their money….
I really thought I was going to avoid writing about the whole stupid Mayan calendar/2012 nonsense, at least not until the director of the upcoming end-of-the-world film ‘2012’ opened his mouth to talk about his medical problems with fear-induced testicular diminishment syndrome.
And may I say – give me a freakin’ break!
This has to be the stupidest condescension to the uber-delicate feelings and ‘oh-so-easily provoked sensibilities’ of Muslim clerics I’ve ever seen. It’s OK to obliterate to smithereens the religious landmarks of Christians or Buddhists, but God forbid the Kaaba bites it.
And why was it ok for director Roland Emmerich to trash iconic Christian symbols, such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro? Says Emmerich
Because I’m against organized religion.
(Insert head scratch here, because I thought Islam was a pretty organized religion already.) Mr. Emmerich continues on…
You can actually … let … Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have … a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is. So it’s just something which I kind of didn’t [think] was [an] important element, anyway, in the film, so I kind of left it out.”
Oh, I get it. He’s only against organized religions that won’t put a religiously-mandated hit out on him.
I say let’s have a little equal opportunity world destruction here. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans and atheists. That’s what the confraternity of man is all about – we all die together. Unless you’re John Cusack and can outdrive seismic faults and collapsing buildings in the most amazing road-jamming limo that Detroit, sadly, could never have produced – and that’s why this movie is science-fiction!
Not content to celebrate Halloween with a “Harvest Festival”, the blind sheep at Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina, will be adding a bonfire fueled with ignorance and spiritual delusion. Here’s a portion of their original website announcement listing some of the satanic BBQ briquettes they’re planning on warming their hands around (not suprisingly, their webpage has been removed – this is a rather “hot” topic for them right now):
Come to our Halloween book burning. We are burning Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, etc…
These are perversions of God’s Word, the King James Bible. We will also be burning Satan’s music such as country , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.
We will also be burning Satan’s popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort, Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham Rick Warren Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.
We are not burning Bibles written in other languages that are based on the TR. We are not burning the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva or other translations that are based on the TR.
Wow, Billy Graham and Benny Hinn in the same list! Did you notice that the Fathers of the Church, like Saint Athanasius, Saint Cyprian, Saint Basil the Great, aren’t even on the list? I doubt it’s because of their “orthodoxy”, but because these folks are so ignorant of Church history and the source of their own Bible that their vision doesn’t extend to anything past the Reformation.
Oh and by the way, they’ll be serving a BBQ or fried chicken dinner to everyone who attends.
Hmmmm….maybe a jigsaw puzzle Last Supper and a velvet painting of the Good Shepherd for the walls? Those Swedes. Another news story I saw said they put it together without any glue at all. You can’t tell me they’re gonna let every grubby, sticky, snot-nosed kid who comes through the door touch this. Mine’d have it busted in 2 seconds flat. 2 seconds! Maybe Swedish kids are more behaved than mine – socialism and cold winters will do that to you.
Tomorrow will be the celebration of the Forefeast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and All the Bodiless Powers, the Archangels Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, Barachiel, Salathiel, and Jehudiel. Angels are woven into the workings of the Kingdom of God and into the core beliefs of the Holy Orthodox Church. Unfortunately they have also become equally woven into the beliefs and practices of a lot of New Agers and spiritual syncretists – people who might acknowledge Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a ‘good teacher’ or an ascended master and the perfect example of ‘Christ Consciousness’, while revering angels as semi-divine guides, protectors and energy sources. For some reason, angels are acceptable while the message of the Gospel is not. They fit in with a self-centered spiritual creed that glorifies self-actualization and personal ascendency, rather than submission, self-denial and war against the passions. To these deluded people, angels are a commodity to be used and exploited, both spiritually and commercially.
The misconceptions and misinformation about angels extends even to the average Christian. Who hasn’t said, “My little angel”, “You’re an angel”, “sleeping like an angel”, “(s)he’s one of God’s angels now”. Angels don’t sleep; they aren’t little and no, people do not become angels when they go to heaven (which is odd because no one seems to think sinners become devils when they go to hell). As Christians we need a clear idea of what angels are and what they are not. It is because we do not retain an ‘orthodox’ view of angels that their true nature and purpose have become confused with kitsch refrigerator magnets, angel adorned coins to play your scratch-off tickets and crystal powered angel wands . (Honestly, it’s kind of hard to take anyone seriously when they’re waving around some phallic-looking thing that’s named Lady Demetria. Real angels must be laughing their incorporeal asses off in heaven.)
If you want to save $19.95 on my future best-selling and highly profitable book ANGELS FOR DUMMIES, read on:
- Angels are beings created by God – the first creation of God
- They are active spirits endowed with reason, will and knowledge
- They are incorporeal spirits, unconfined by space or distance, but not omnipresent
- Their spiritual powers are superior to Man
- They are immortal
- Their purpose is to serve the will of God
Since the angels and souls are incorporeal beings, they are not in a particular place, yet neither are they everywhere. They do not sustain all things, but themselves depend on Him Who sustains them. Hence they, too, are in Him Who sustains and embraces all things, and they are appropriately delimited by Him. St. Gregory Palamas
Angels are not unique to the Holy Bible, but have played a part in the Hindu (devas), Buddhist (devas), and Muslim (Malaich) faiths. Zoroastrians have many similarities to Christianity with their classes of angels (Amesha Spentas, Yazatas, and Fravashis). The Amesha Spentas are similar to archangels – the Fravashis are guardian angels. Yes, I know the claims that Zoroastrianism is the source of Christianity. No, I’m not buying it.
In Orthodoxy, as well as Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, the biblical accounts and descriptions of angels have resulted in the categorization of angels into ranks and hierarchies.
…we know there are Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Powers, Splendors, Ascents, Intelligent Powers or Intelligences, pure natures and unalloyed, immovable to evil, or scarcely movable; ever circling in chorus round the First Cause (or how should we sing their praises?) illuminated thence with the purest Illumination, or in one degree or another, proportionally to their nature and rank…so conformed to beauty and molded that they become secondary Lights, and can enlighten others by the overflowings and largesse of the First Light. Ministrants of God’s Will, strong with both inborn and imparted strength, traversing all space, readily present to all at any place through their zeal for ministry and the agility of their nature… St. Gregory Nazianzen (Second Theological Oration no, 31)
This ranking of angels was first outlined by a 4th or 5th century writer known only as the pseudo-Dionysius, and expounded in his book The Celestial Hierarchy. Orthodoxy has in general accepted this view with some reservations that a strict interpretation risks incorporating a neo-Platonic tendency towards grouping things in threes and classifying them as matter vs. non-matter.
Archangels – the great heralds of good news – are one of these nine ranks of angels. Not in the first tier of angels that surround the Throne of God (the Seraphim, the Cherubim and the Thrones), but in the third tier This does not mean Archangels are inferior, just created for a different purpose. They are responsible for “revealing prophecies, knowledge and understanding of God’s will which is transmitted to them from the higher orders of angels and announce(d) to the lower orders…” (OrthodoxWiki) The Archangel Michael is probably the most famous and popular Archangel and is called the the Archistrategos, the Chief Commander of the bodiless powers. He intercedes for the human race and is the Defender of the Faith. His name means “Who is like unto God?” (Dan. 10:13, 12:1; Jude 9 and Rev. 12:7-8).
I suggest the next time you think about angels, don’t confuse our Orthodox understanding with the New Age angel above. He looks cool as a World of Warcraft avatar, or a LOTR elf warrior or any of a half-dozen other multiplayer on-line gaming characters. Rather, the power and majesty of angels is beyond anything earthly and we should remember them with awe and respect, asking for their protection and help in accordance with God’s will, and not our own.
0 great and holy Michael, Archangel of God, standing at the head of the angels before the everlasting + Trinity, 0 advocate and preserver of mankind, who – with your hosts – has broken in heaven the head of the daystar, Satan, the exceedingly proud one, and who always puts to shame his evil and cunning servants on earth, we run to you with faith and pray to you with love….ask from on high for us the true spirit of repentance, true sorrow and contrition for our sins before God, that we may spend the remaining number of our days in this temporal life, not in the satisfying of our feelings and in the bondage to our passions, but in the blotting out of the evil we have done by tears of faith and heartfelt compunction, by works of charity, chastity, and holy acts of loving mercy.
I can’t decide whether I want to shake my head in disbelief or slap these people silly. How do you reach out to people who just don’t get it? And I’m not just talking about the viewers, I’m talking about the idiot clergy who are promoting this idea. This is the extreme end of religion done “my way”. That’s nothing new, but Americans seem to have a knack for opening up so many novel avenues of religious weirdness. Back in 1921 it was the first radio broadcast of a religious program. In the 50’s, the car culture and cheap gas saw worship popping up in outdoor drive-up movie theaters and supermarket parking lots. What can you expect in an on-line age? Apparently Internet communion. I get choked up watching It’s a Wonderful Life with a big bowl of Blue Bell Ice Cream – that don’t make it eucharistic, sacramental worship.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America links the weekly celebration of the Divine Liturgy to its website, but no one would ever think this is a substitute for real worship, except in the instances when someone truly cannot go to church, and then it is participation in only the most rudimentary way. If you are homebound, the Church, in the form of a visiting priest, should come to you. As Orthodox Christians our sacramental unity is achieved by worshipping together and sharing in the real Body and Blood of Christ. Not bagels and Crystal Light (or Ritz crackers and grape juice, depending on your own interpretation of leavened vs. unleavened bread).
My 2 cents for what it’s worth – if you can, get off your ass and go to church.
(For any of you poor, lost souls who do not have access to Blue Bell Ice Cream, I can only say Brenham, Texas and its Little Creamery, are to ice cream lovers what a trip to the River Ganges is for Hindus. Just float my ashes down a river of Homemade Vanilla and I’m headed for Nirvana. Just kidding – but I would like Blue Bell served at the mercy or memorial meal after my funeral.)