Everyplace or Noplace Sacred?

I’ve had a number of talks with ‘skeptics’ of the Faith as of late. I always invite them to check Fr. Neo’s White Rabbit, so they are probably reading right now. A common objection seems to be: ‘I can be spiritual anywhere, and I can practice my belief anywhere, why do I need to go to church?’

Beyond the POMO ‘spritual but not religious’ horse caca is a serious question. What is it about the Church that compels people to want to be a part of it? Jesus, of course is the answer, and he’s the One we are directing folks to, but why the Church? I invite your comments.

57 thoughts on “Everyplace or Noplace Sacred?

  1. Without the church, our sample of humanity is too small for us to fully understand the human problem and our need for salvation. The imperfection of man is invisible from afar. Up close, it is too obvious. The church brings us up against our humanity and our sinfulness by immersing us in sin and death, which stand out starkly against the holiness of God in worship. We can more clearly see the devastation of sin and death among us when we do the work of the church, which should take us beyond writing a check. If God is merciful to us, we may glimpse that even our leaders are flawed. Once again, God is showing us the truth of our sinfulness and our need for Christ to overcome it.

    Secularists may filter the context against which they examine life, avoiding the bad parts, relegating them to “those people” of a lesser class or race. Some churches even attempt the same filtering, appealing to the “chosen” in their select community, whose manner, wealth, overt holy demeanor and community status are the source of their hope for salvation. But, fortunately, if the sample is large enough, the enmities and jealousies, the lusts and grudges, the resentments and feuds come out, showing us the paucity of resources that might bring holiness from among the people . Goodness and holiness only come from God. We have no bootstrapping ability to bring righteousness to ourselves. Our holiness is hollow. Our goodness is a pose. We recognize that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord. In despair, secularists may attempt to shape God into their image. But their creation will not suit. It will be weak. In time they will abandon it to a Sunday New York Times kind of life. To their friends they may brag that their parents went to church. But without Him, they will die alone, bitter like Freud, that God was not real.

    All men need Christ. There has never been any alternative. God is our refuge and our strength. If only because nothing else works.

  2. The more things change…the more they stay the same, obviously. The “why church” question is nearly as old as church itself, otherwise why would the author of Hebrews have to address the issue? “let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…” 10:25 First of all we are commanded to attend church just as we are commanded to be baptized…it doesn’t always seem to make sense but we are told to do it. But you still feel you don’t need church. Its a waste of time for you. You are so deeply spiritual that you never get anything out of the pastor’s sermons. It doesn’t minister to your needs. You can worship God in nature, the church is full of hypocrites…etc, etc, etc.Okay…so you don’t need us, we got you…but has it ever occurred to you that we might need you! Maybe you’re called to church not for what you can get from the table, but for what you can bring to it… Maybe our motivation for coming to church isn’t supposed to be about self at all. Maybe it isn’t about us coming and getting the encouragement we feel we need, but about us encouraging the one in the pew next to us. Maybe we have become spiritually arthritic after years of attendance and we need you to be a breath of fresh air…Just a thought. The key to the why is in the second part of verse 25 …”but let us encourage one another.”

  3. “What is it about the Church that compels people to want to be a part of it?”

    Hmmm…Maybe the ridicule, the threats, the imprisonments, the beatings, or the crucifixions?

    Of course, that’s talking about the historic church, not today’s church.

    The problem with today’s church, according to Soren Kierkegaard is that it “has been made so completely devoid of character that there is really nothing to persecute. The chief trouble with Christians, therefore, is that no one wants to kill them anymore.”

  4. Dan,

    You said about the ‘historic church’ that the problem was:
    “the ridicule, the threats, the imprisonments, the beatings, or the crucifixions?”

    Sounds like Hollywood and the academic elite have used ‘Jedi mind tricks’ on you. Which ‘historic church’ are you talking about?

    Love the Kierkegaard quote!

  5. Perhaps I should have said the “Early Church.” I’m talking about Jesus, the disciples and the first few hundred years of Christianity mostly. Although there have been returns of persecutions throughout church history.

    Have I spoken in error?

  6. Let me clarify:

    I’m looking at your last post, fneo, and I’m not saying that was a problem with the early church. It was in response to your question: What compels people to want to be part of the church?

    I was stating that, in fact, there is a good deal that is unappealing about the church, on a certain level.

    And then I was going on to agree with Kierkegaard.

  7. Dan,

    My bad! I see now what you were saying. I thought you meant that the church did this to others (though that is true in some parts of history, sadly). You are spot on!

  8. Not to be argumentative, but there are still Christians who face severe persecution throughout the world. It is estimated that over 45 million people lost their lives for the sake of the gospel in the last century. This accounts for 65% of all Christian martyrs throughout the history of the church. In China alone 129 people were killed for being Christians last year.

  9. Ange,

    You are also spot on. ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’ so said Tertullian. I am resonating over the miles.

    Watch it, or Seraph may strike. We are full of class here!

  10. You asked, “What is it about the church that compels people to want to be a part of it? Jesus, of course, is the answer. He is who we point men to.”

    I’m afraid I tend to disagree with that. In theory that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but unfortunately, in practice too often it’s not the case. Too often people want to be a part of a church because they have been told that’s the only place which affords protection from the fires of hell; thus, their church attendance and participation result more from a fear of NOT going to church than of any true spiritual thirst for Jesus. Unfortunately, too, many people are ENCOURAGED to believe this by the leaders in said organizations. Fear tactics work well for keeping people in line and for keeping the money coming in. More often then not we just want to point people to our organizations and Jesus becomes just a token figure. His name is bandied about, but often He is made subject to our institutions and our doctrines. Often, too, once people are IN our church, we either expect the pastor to point people to Jesus, feeling as though we’ve already done our part, or we just assume they already KNOW Jesus.

    Yes, as you can tell, I’m a bit cynical, but I was once a victim of this mentality, hiding behind the skirt tails of a church for salvation. Thank God, He opened my eyes to Jesus, showing me the One who is greater than the church I was hiding in. There can be no real peace without that knowledge.

  11. I like your style Sheila. Advise a member of the Anglican clergy (we send peole to hell, rather than save them from it), how to help people KNOW Jesus, and not just about him.

  12. Whence came ye with all this clergy concept?
    Where are we instructed to ordain some preimanat prelate to mezmerize and catacize the masses?
    The clergy have created their own christianity, which is as forgein to the body of Christ as a duck is to the desert. The very idea of a man or a group of men haveing authority over or leading mature followers of Christ liken to a serpent hypnotizing a bird. Paid pulpiteers and socalled spiritual leaders have usurpt every nuance of our Fathers Glory.
    i.e. THE denomination has become the HOLY FATHER incarnate.
    The Hireling posing as the fount of knowledge and the interpreter of the Holy writ. Whose only true function is to expand the organization and glorify himself.
    has effective been installed to the stead of the HOLY SPIRIT. Whom Christ Himself told us was to be our only teach. He commnded that we call no man father for we have one Father who is the creator of us all. yet there are vipers in the darkness of this worlds systems that caudle and pander to the whims of weak minded persons, creating the illusion of sacedness.
    And lastly there are the endless litany of doctrines dogma and directives which pour forth from the scribes that represent each division. These writtings are not just inert ponderings in the minds of the denomination. Their words are indeed equal to the Holy scriptures. e.i. their words have become GOD’s
    The whole ball of wax is consumated and concentrated into an entity that is only viable when it is cloistered behind the walls of the churchouse, where they arrogantly agree that their group is GOD’s true Church and everyone not of us are at best children of a lessor god.
    verily I would posit to you that the only reason for the chirchouse is to in fact keep those who don’t follow lockstep with us out. and the only reason for the denominationaly ordained clown who marshalls their parade, is the very fact that just as the hebrews in the wilderness decline to have a personal relationship with The Father, they sent Mosses to the mountain to intercede for them.
    Plain and simple people, would rather pay a hireling to prophecy soothsaying to them than to seek the kingdom of God themselves.
    Simon the sorcorer was probably the very first clergyman, He offer to pay for the authority to command the Holy Spirit, that he might seduce people to follow him for a profit.
    there is nowhere in the Holy Bible that suggests that any one was ordained to pastor lead or teach. they were indeed ordained to serve the tables of the widows.
    the doctrine of “church” seems vague in respect to the definition of the word church or more properly ecclesia, Two different words with two different origins and two different definitions.
    the origin of the word “church” and the Greek word ekklasia written in English ecclesia which would translate into English as called out, an assembly, or collection. This may be the definition of the word ecclesia, but the English word “church” does not come from this Greek word. Webster says the English word “church” comes from the Greek word kuriakon meaning “the Lord’s” or “the Lord’s house or belonging”. Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? This is what the seminary students are taught when they enter into the halls or walls of christendom as they study to become “heads of the churches.” To most, this explanation would probably suffice, but I am a nosy type, and I like to dig. I discovered this word kuriakon is not in the Greek text of our Bibles. Strange that the Creator of the Universe would name his body on earth kuriakon and then not use the word in His Holy Word. Something did not smell right, know what I mean?
    what has been called “etymology”, that is the study of word origins. I also read much material from different authors who have traced many of our “church” words to pagan mythology, especially Greek, Roman, Babylonian, and German or Teutonic mythology. Most are not aware of the fact that English is really a part of the German language. As a matter of fact, about 90% of the words in the King James Bible are German in origin. The English peoples are also called Anglo-Saxons. The Webster’s Dictionary says under Anglo-Saxon “A member of the nation created by the consolidation of Low German tribes that invaded England in the 5th and 6th centuries, together with native and Danish elements, which continued as the ruling power of England until the Norman Conquest.” Their language dominated England. Even the name England reflects this. I point this out so that you are aware of how German or Norse mythology has much to do with many of our English words.
    Now Webster says that the root of this word “church” is a Saxon word “circe, or circ, or cyric.” Those who are versed in Greek mythology or in the Greek language should begin to be raising your eyebrows. This information is so embarrassing that Webster did what he could to hide this in his first edition, but later editions made it easy to uncover. In the Original Webster’s under the word “circ” are the simple words “see circus.” Who says our Father doesn’t have a sense of humor?

  13. I’m a little frustrated, Fr.Neo. I wrote a response to your comment of yesterday, and somehow it got lost in the posting. My error, I’m sure, as I’m not too computer literate. Anyway, I’ll try to recall the gist of it.

    I guess all any of us can do is tell people ABOUT Jesus, or show people Jesus through our lives. Ultimately, it remains for God to open their hearts to receive the revelation of His love made manifest in Jesus. It’s very easy for me to be cynical about institutional religion, but extremely difficult to discern where the answer might be found. Sometimes, though, I do believe “church” (as we know it) blinds people to the truth of their personal need for a Saviour simply because the seeds, if they are preached, fall upon self-satisfied ears. I say “if they are preached” because I wonder, too, how often the words from the pulpit are soft-soaped to avoid driving off members.

    I’m just curious, Fr. Neo, would you be bold enough to say from the pulpit something to the effect of, “There’s no salvation to be had in this church. There is only one Saviour and He is far greater than this institution, and there is nothing we can do to merit a position in HIS church?” And then, of course, go on to share His love and grace. To be honest, I have never heard anything like this in any church I’ve ever attended. I’ve only heard the implication that “this place is where it’s at, and you’d better be here to get there,” simply, I believe, because individual assemblies would be afraid of losing members. I guess it’s better to let people hide behind their false illusions of their “churches” as a source of salvation than it is to shake them up with the unsettling idea that they’re missing something. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that everyone involved in institutional religion is suffering from false illusions. I don’t believe that at all. I just know that for many years I myself was, so I know there must be many others, too.

    When I say “institutional religion,” I’m speaking of organized denominations with buildings, pastors/priests, programs, etc. Some of those in institutions are in Christ’s Church; some are not. However, if I represent the Church individually, and you represent the Church individually (which we DO), then when we meet here collectively to share our thoughts on things spiritual, then we are “having church,” every bit as much as when we gather in a building on a certain day of the week. For me, this is a wonderful venue!

    Another awesome aspect of being a part of a “kingdom which is not of this world,” is that when we have the assurance that we are part of Jesus’ Church where ever we are, “the gates of hell cannot prevail against (us) it.”

  14. neoluce,

    Just what the hell are you talking about? Go back to your word studies, throw away your ‘church as Babylon’ books, and give it another shot. Your conspiracy theory is showing.

  15. Neoluce…
    And I thought I was cynical! What path have you come that has caused such rancor? Have you, too, been abused at the hands of a “church?”

  16. Sheila Jo I am indeed very sorry you interpret my cry for those who desire truth to come out from among the idolotries of judeo pagan sectarianism.I have no rancor, nor am I cynical. I am one who has been called to preach liberty to the souls of men in bondage to the matrix of the roman whore. As far as seraph is concerned, it seems he has to resort to personal attacks, for like of substance, on the issue.

  17. seraph,
    One comment (or two) on your retort to neoluce concerning a “conspiracy theory.” Is not the belief in the existence of a conspiracy theory the real reason most people are in churches to begin with? Of course, I’m talking about a SPIRITUAL conspiracy which pits the forces of darkness against the Light of Jesus Christ. In fact, the whole premise of the Bible is to expose the presence of a conspiracy and tell us the victory has already been won in Christ.
    However, though we know the outcome of the war, the battle is not yet over. The book of 1st John warns of the spirit of antichrist being in the world, and the presence of many antichrists. If you think about it, the only way an antichrist could almost deceive the very elect is if it was a very close simulation of The Truth. A system which mimics Christianity, but is not Christian. Given my own history, I am very familiar with the way I was deceived by an organization which promoted itself as a saviour, while not acknowledging the existence of a personal, indwelling relationship with Christ. Because of this, I now see that they did not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (has come in me, and has come in you); they merely taught that he indwelt the specific doctrines of their organization, thus attempting to make men subject to their church. Was this not antichrist? And if one such organization could be antichrist, or have the spirit of antichrist, could not others as well, even though they bear His name?

    Although neoluce’s tone is a bit graceless, I’m not so quick to altogether throw out everything he has to say. There very well may be an element of truth in some of it.

  18. See that? And I thought it was
    the early Catholic misunderstanding of “do this (ritual which has been done once a year in anticipation of my coming) in memory of me” once a week in order to get the “flock” to dish out more cash and remain under tighter temporal control. Funny how the clergy leans toward the literal in regards to “this is my body” but toward interpretation in regards to “do this.” But that’s what happens to judgement and discernment when agenda is thrown
    into the mix.

  19. keats, Luce, Sheila,

    I sense hurt and pain from the church and for that I am truly sorry.

    However, you must understand that in the centuries of the church the majority of clergy fall can be characterized as follows:

    loving, gentle (see Galatians 5)

    The majority of clergy I know are: there in the middle of the night when called; don’t make much money; hold the hand of dying people that have no family; work tireless hours; lead and love worship; worry about administrative details; hear about death, divorce, pain, illness; and lastly, bury people they love.

    I agree with so much of what you say, but I sad that you view your spiritual leaders so poorly. Pray for your pastor. And me, a sinner.

  20. Well and it is that someone would comfort the hurting and be willing to sacrafice time and effort to mollify the condition of the indigent, to searh the Scriptures to find the answers to lifes continual questions. BUT; what has happened in reality is the proffesional pull-piteer has convoluted the concept of service to mean an exclusive calling relagated to a few. the very fact that there is a hireling assigned to fulfill the obligation of felloship and ministering, gives right of passage in the mind of the masses to abducate their responsibilty for and priviledge to serve each other personally.
    YES! indeed the clergy has usurped more than the funds from the purse of the poor, more than the honor which is Christs alone, more then the office of Holy Spirit, and more than the authority they abscomb from the fathers over their own household. The clergy have perloined the soul of the body of Christ, allowing themselves to be set up as something preinmenant in the congregation, acceptiing titles and priveledges of nobility, donning the uniform of a saint set apart, and above the hoi ploi.
    If there were no proffesional ministers then the opportunity, obligation, and reward of ministering to onanother would naturally flouish along with the personal resonsibilty to search the scriptures and seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Alas! why would we, or how could we do that which we are called to do when in fact we are as a member of a church are under heavey obligation to not only submit to the pastor priest reverand doctor brother TITLE adinfintum. The commoners in the community are proscribed to set aside shutup genuflect to the prelate at his pleasure if not by constraint then be the tacit consent of the membership.
    It has come to the point if the minister comes to the aid of those who are troubled they accept his consolations as if he were Christ incarnate; yet if a brother or sister not endowed with title were to knock on their door offering condolences and aid as needed, they are regared as something peculiar and possibly suspect their motives.
    I submit to you the clergy has as Jesus taught present themselves a s fellow sheep but are indeed wolves waiting to devour the substance and the souls of men. What makes the whole thing even more insidious is that they actually believe they are doing God a service, when in fact they not only deceive themselves but travers the globe even to make others two fold more the child of hell than themselves as per the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the clergy that pit one believer against the other though persuasion they divey up the household of God through sectarian doctrines and denominational memberships. More hate discontent and trouble has plagued the Body of Christ through the influence of the clergy than all the devils of the darkest hell.
    Yes I indeed pray for those who are captured by the deciet of the hiarchy.
    I pray exactly what Jesus commanded for those in bondage to traditions to do.
    Come out from among them and be not partackers of their iniquities.

    FR. Neo
    thanks for this forum
    your a gracious man to allow this kind of rehtoric on your blog since you are obviously one who is dedicated to the proposition of promoting the proffesional priesthod


  21. luce,

    What you say has no warrant in Scripture, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ This is part of Paul’s argument that pastors can earn a living by practicing their calling. Beyond that, you are assuming that all clergy are money and power hungry. You are sadly mistaken.

    Much anger in you luce. I hope it doesn’t get the best of you.

  22. Indeed I am angry
    angry that my brothers and sisters have been duped into false security, of allowing a MAN to stand in the place of Christ to teach their children and women cling to the words of a priest, instead of turning to their husbands for a patner in their quest for truth. Fr. neo you accused me of not have scripture to base my accuasation.
    where do you find the writ for a pulpit minister.
    church membership
    where do you find the writ to build a chouch house
    where do you find the writ to obstain from obligation of taxes? since Jesus himself paid taxes.
    the very fact that a man is ordained by and entity which is licensed by the state via 501c3 makes that person an emisary of the state. en et every ordained minister is an arm of the state appointed to mollify social behavior. every ordained minister is subject to his order and is licensed for the express pupose of expanding the order and exalting it’s principles.
    I know i seem to pratt somewhat, BUT: when one objectively evaluates the concept of salaried persons who prostitute the Gospel we see simon the sorcer was only the first in a long line of charlatans to take advantage of simple folk

  23. Your sense was inaccurate. I have had no pain from the church. Nobody has hurt, molested, abused (etc.) me. Now…lied to…with an agenda passed down from one of the wealthiest institutions in the world…well… But as long as I don’t allow them to lie to me, they can’t hurt me. Unless you
    count the empathy I feel for
    all the poor, deluded saps who
    pay dearly for their opiate.

    And you forgot one other thing that members of the clergy do…
    They tell people what to do. And
    stupidly, people listen to those “sinners” who perpetuate a
    system which is not of Christ or God. Might want to reply to the specifics of my post instead of
    making an emotional appeal based on an idealized description of “clergy” just before calling yourself a sinner (lol).

    The clergy are neither the saints you depict, nor are they horrible sinners (any more than most). They’re just people–no more, no less. Only, they perpetuate a belief based on emotion, guilt and greed rather than one built on faith, truth and love. If they
    could admit to that instead of claiming authority they don’t have, it would clear up a lot of that hurt you thought you sensed.

  24. Very insightful letter, Keats. I, too, would like you to address some of the specifics we have mentioned in our comments, Fr.Neo. Have you ever questioned your role as priest and leader, wondering whether it is a legitimate position you fill, or whether you are merely a pawn caught up in a system so large it would seem impossible to make a change even if you did have an inkling of a suspicion that things were not quite kosher?

    I suspect sometimes this might be the case with many folks who walk in your shoes. This is where “sin” enters in (in whatever our station), when a choice is made to simply do nothing, but continue where we are at, even though the Spirit has given us greater light. Such a choice perpetuates darkness, perhaps solely our own spiritual darkness (although we all influence those in our circle); however, if you are in a role of authority, then it perpetuates the darkness of many others.

    Keats, I believe the word “lie” you use is key to the whole scenario. The book of Rev. warns of liars and sorcerers. I firmly believe I was under the spell of sorcery for many, many years, sold out to the lie that a particular organization possesses the sole truth of God here on earth. It may not sound so bad if you think, “what’s the big deal…it’s just church on Sunday?” But for those of who are like I was, their church is their whole life, and they become victims of whatever is taught to the point that they live in extreme fear of the repercussions of thinking for themselves. There’s can be no faith in such a situation, faith which enables us to step out on our own in the strength of the Spirit and walking through doors which He opens. Instead, we are tied to the church, hostage to its requirements. And there is certainly no possibility of the abundant life which we are promised. It may not appear to be physically harmful, but emotionally and spiritually, it takes a terrible toll, with ultimate physical repercussions as a result of living in anxiety. It’s no small thing.

  25. keats & sheila,

    You need to evaluate where your theology is coming from. I can see that sheila was hurt by a controlling church that was over-authoritative.

    keats on the other hand, it sounds like you are taking American individualism and applying it to church life. Does Scripture not have ‘authority’ over you, and does it not ‘tell you what to do?’ Indeed clergy are ‘just people,’ but many over the centuries are examples that we should all follow (the apostles, Athanasius, Patrick just to name a few). One can have authority and not be authoritarian can they not? I think that’s how our Lord leads, is it not?

  26. Fr.Neo, I believe, according to the principles Jesus espoused, authority can only be given, never taken. “The meek shall inherit the earth.” I have seen very humble men and women in my lifetime who seem to have the whole world at their fingertips simply because they naturally draw men to them with their loving spirits. They are not weak people; far from it. Rather they have a presence which commands respect because they are confident of their God-given place in the world and therefore have no need to compete with others. I think Jesus was such a man. Authority was given Him. He didn’t demand it.

    With this in mind, how can anyone in a leadership position in a church have this innate character of true authority (resulting from meekness and humility) if they knowingly aspire to such a position? If, as a career choice, they purposely plot and plan to become a church leader and take control over people’s minds? It seems to me that this would fall under the category of SEIZED authority as opposed to that which is given.

    I realize, of course, the role of pastor and priest in churches today has become so traditionally ingrained that most people who would aspire to that position would never question the scriptural legitimacy of it. That’s why I tend to cut such church leaders a little slack, suspecting they are merely pawns in a system long entrenched. However, whether I cut them slack or not is irrelevant in the big picture. We are each personally responsible for the words we speak, whether they engender life or death. Those who are in authority (whether it be taken or given) will obviously be held accountable for much more than those who are not.

  27. sheila jo,

    Let’s look at this practically. Does one ‘aspire’ to minsitry or is one called? How does one carry out his call in your scheme? If there is no pastoral leadership of any kind, that militates against all of Paul’s pastoral letters. I am not comfortable throwing out Paul’s letters because some people abuse their authority. Because someone is abused by their parents, should we eliminate parents in general? Spiritual authority and leadership is abused, but that does not mean we eliminate spiritual authority and leadership.

  28. I’ve not had much to comment upon this thread as I have mixed feelings. But I will come to the defense of the “paid” clergy because ours is so wonderful. If you don’t mind, a little background:

    We were part of a Southern Baptist mission, in a building owned by the local Southern Baptists and not ourselves. Several years ago, we felt God leading us to call an associate minister who happened to be a woman as our pastor.

    She wasn’t necessarily seeking the position. In fact, because the Southern Baptists here are opposed to women ministers, it could only lead to trouble. But she was/is blessed with a pastoral ministry. It’s her gift.

    And so we called her. The Southern Baptists promptly kicked us out of our little building and we set up shop in another little building.

    While my anabaptist roots endorses the notion of having no paid ministers, if ever someone was called to such a ministry, it is our pastor. And if her, then I’m sure others might be as well.

    My thoughts, for all they’re worth.

  29. Fr.Neo, I have seen many people “aspire” to the ministry, many people who wear their aspirations as some kind of claim to fame, or at least as an obvious source of pride. I believe we are all called to “the ministry,” or better said “TO minister” as we are all members of the Body of Christ. We may each have a different ministry, but we each minister with our individual gifts. I think the problem comes in when men believe there actually is an elite class called “the ministry,” because if they do not feel called into it, they feel justified in neglecting any individual ministry God might have for them. The same with “preaching.” I firmly believe that Jesus was not talking solely to the apostles when He said, “Preach the gospel to every creature.” It’s a personal mandate to each of us as His followers. Preach means simply “to tell the good news (the gospel).” I may not do that as often as I should, but which of us is without the capacity to do that in our own arena? If we hire someone whose job we believe it is to preach, we don’t feel obligated to do it in our own circles.

    As for pastoral authority in “churches,” I’m still pondering on that one. Like Dan T., my religious background is one which does not subscribe to one man in authority, and it has influenced my thinking in this area. I do believe we are all called to submit to one another in love, and there is definitely a command given to “obey them that have the rule over you.” Just who it is that rules over what, I’m not real clear on, although I do appreciate the parallel you gave concerning abusive parents. Good point, and food for thought definitely.

    To reiterate, though, I definitely believe a problem developes when a separation is made between “clergy” and “laity” for the reasons above stated. Do you realize that some folks believe that this clergy/laity distinction is in fact the hated doctrine of the Nicolaitanes spoken of in The Revelation?

  30. Geeze…where to start. First of all there is a scriptural mandate for leadership within the church, among other places I Timothy 3 gives us an outline for appointing overseers and deacons…whatever you want to call the position, pastor, priest, reverend…its clear that there is a Biblical foundation for the office of clergy.
    I beleive that the pastor’s main role for his church is to provide and communicate cleary the vision God has entrusted to him for the church God has entrusted him with. Is it his job to visit all the sick people, feed all the hungry, visit everyone in prison?..Absolutely not. We are not absolved from our responsibility to enflesh the Gospel on the grounds that its the pastor’s job. The pastoral role isn’t just heading a church. Anyone from a parent to a sunday school teacher who helps to nuture the spiritual growth of another is operating in a pastoral role. The OFFICE of pastor is unique, but not elite. Christ made it clear that anyone who seeks to be a leader must assume the role of a servant.
    Are there bad clergy out there? Of course. Are there bad police officers, doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, car salesmen. Yes, but I’m not going to disobey the law, never see another doctor, forego my education, and stop driving because of them! Paul himself questioned the motivation of some of his fellow clergy, but said regardless of what their motivation was, he rejoiced that Christ was preached! (Philippians 1:18)
    As far as authority…it all has to be based in the Word and our relationship to the Word Incarnate. John 1:1. You won’t have any authority without both components.In Titus 2:15 Paul tells Titus to encourage and rebuke with all authority.
    Now having said that… I know first hand the experience of Spiritual abuse and the devastating effects of being under the leadership of a pastor who overstepped his authority. But I knew something was off and I began to pray for a more “intellegent” example of spiritual leadership. Over the course of a year I was led to the church I have been attending for the last six years. Is it perfect. NO! I know my pastor very well. I work at the school and see him nearly every day. I see sides of him that most others don’t see and know things that most others don’t know…his failings and all his quirks. Is he perfect. No. But he is sincere, and that is all that matters to me.He works harder than any human being I have ever met and gets paid next to nothing. He is asked to do speaking engagements all over the world for which he earns about $125,000 all of which he donates back to our church. He has had his life threatened by drug dealers, his job threatened by the Cardinal, and his sanity threatened by his congregation… but he just keeps plugging away. He has earned international recognition from leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Coretta Scott King, and yet he us one of the most humble and accessible people I have ever met. but regardless of all of this he always points the eyes of his congregation away from himself and towards Jesus…plain and simple. And as far as claiming exclusive truth, we hear guest speakers from a variety of denominations regularly… We are taught that the church is composed of the body of Christ and is not confined to the walls of a buliding. We are taught that just because someone disagrees with your doctrine doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to teach you. We are taught to be open and to think critically.
    My last and final thing…do people get hurt in church? I’ve had things happen to me that would make some people’s hair turn white overnight… but I learned its a matter of focus. I know what I am about and I try to hang with people who are about the same thing. Jesus told us from the get go that the goats would be with the sheep, the wheat with the tares… You gravitate to what you are focused on. My focus is on eternity and I am running to win. Anger, unforgiveness, negativity, bitterness…its all so draining… I just don’t have the time or the energy.

  31. Morpheus was right. Angevoix is the class of this blog. Thanks again for being spot on. I am, yes, resonating with what you said.

  32. Knowing two class acts such as you and my pastor, I couldn’t not say anything in defense of the clergy, Fr. Neo!

  33. this will be my last posting on this blogg, which I’m sure will be no loss to the good fr. and his mermadons. None of the questions I have posed previeously have been addressed except by fr. neo when he ascerted the the scriptures don’t address the questions I make about the clergy. which was entirely accurate of course because the clergy is an animal of a different stripe. Ezcept in the old testament temple religion.
    I would make one more statement about the concept of PASTOR, in that it is not nor ever was an office or an ordained position sanctioned by an man men or group of exclusionist who would lord themselves over the body of CHRIST.
    the pastor was in th eold testament as it is in the new, even as Jesus assigned Peter to that role.
    Jesus said if you love me you will feed my sheep
    not eat
    not milk
    not fleese
    not herd.
    BUT; FEED!
    three times Jesus reiterated FEED! FEED! FEED!
    and another aside as you might have read in eph.3 there are gifts given to the body of Christ for the edification of the saints, one which is that of pastors (PLURAL)
    and not only were they gifts given by the Father and not by man or some man made dominion, they were only for a very brief season to fill a very pricise purpose.
    Ephesians chapter 3 verses 11-14
    And (((He))) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets (not profits) and some, evangelists; and some, pastors(plural) and teachers;
    {{{in verse 7 of this same chapter is says, But unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
    these gifts enumerated in verses 11 are assigned to indiviuals first and foremost, yet not exclusively.
    Now on to verse 12
    For the perfecting of the saint, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying og the Body of Christ:
    verse 13
    TILL we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
    verse 14
    That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    we see at least 2 things that I wish to address in the course of my essary, that in verse 13 the very first word is TILL, till means there is a point in time a point where the person who has been gifted with the ministry assigned him by Christ has reched unity of faith in the knowledge of th eSon of God, a perfect(or complete in understanding) man, unto the measure and the stature of the fulness of Christ.

    So we learn from the scriptures that when a person comes to the full realization of Christ and who we are in Him then the speacial grace we have been gifted with to come to this knowledge is become mute and passe. becuase then we are individually free to come to our one mediator Christ Jesus the Lord.
    in verse 14 it says that we henceforth or should no longer be as children tossed to and fro.
    it says we should not follow after the doctrins of men BUT; rather we being kings and priest are to enter into a distinct unique and personal relationship with Christ.
    the remainder of eph 3 expands on the teachings. I will let you seek that truth if you indeed desire to be free.
    I would like to share 2 other verse in eph.5
    verse 15
    See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
    Redeeming the time, because th days are evil.
    evil days are upon the so-called church which everyone you may choose. because they ordain unto themselves fools who for a price will not only seel their own soul, but will tirelessly sacrifice their time and substance to bring into bondage as many weak minded people that can. the price they receive is unique to the individual, some desire money, some fame, some exult in a sense of humiliation, others desire praise of men. the litiny of motives is as diverse as the charactars who poccess them. never the less we have instuctions not to follow men but to seek wisdom from God james chapter 1.


  34. I would consider the office of Overseer as being that of Pastor

    “they were only for a very brief season to fill a very pricise purpose.” The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

    pastors(plural) – I addressed this.

    If you really believe that all pastors are evil and on the take, I think you need to examine the wind that is carrying you…To be unwilling and unable to find anyone who you feel would be suitable to nurture your spiritual growth smacks of arrogance…
    There are pastors who are in it for the take, but there are many more who do it from sincere motivations for very little in return. Your inability to acknowledge or see that is your loss.

  35. dim-luce,

    Your exegesis is muddled. You said, “I would make one more statement about the concept of PASTOR, in that it is not nor ever was an office or an ordained position…”

    Too bad no one in the history of Christianity agrees with you! The orders of ministry are clear: Bishop, presbyter and deacon. (btw, the Greek word for ‘overseer’ in the NIV is ‘episkopas’ which means ‘bishop.’)

    This is clear in I,II Timothy and Titus as well as in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (early 2nd century). Why listen to Ignatuis? He was a disciple of John the Evangelist and is much more reliable than Dave Hunt or Jack Chick.

    We’ve enjoyed you, luce. Despite your anger.

  36. I hate to drag this out. We’ve all stated our positions, and all that.

    Just a minor correction, Fr. Neo. When you say “no one in the history of Christianity” doesn’t believe in paid positions such as bishop, etc, that is not exactly true.

    Some in the anabaptist tradition don’t. I believe most quakers don’t and there may be others.

    Certainly most traditions do believe as you suggest, but not all. Just making sure something is not stated in error.

  37. Your right, Dan. And the Protestant traditions (oxymoron?) would differ on what the role of a biblical bishop, presbyter and deacon is. Still, it took 1500 years to move away from the traditional bishop/priest/deacon order of ministry. The anabaptists, Quakers, etc. have rightly shown the importance of the laity and all Christians’ priviledge of having a living relationship with the living Lord, not mediated by anyone. Obviously I have hesitations about the degree to which they have moved, but I do see the strengths in those traditions and appreciate your anabaptist and sheila jo’s Quaker(?) contribution to our little webzine.

  38. I’m no myrmidon Neoluce. Fr. Neo can vouch for me on this. If anything, I walk in the footsteps of Odysseus.

    What joy, what life is there in what you espouse? Forget about proof-texting. Doesn’t your heart need a rest? You labor over irrelevant minutia. The style of your rhetoric reminds me of the “Left Behinders.” It reveals an appetite for wrath and judgment to set the rest of us right. If you’re understanding of God and all the rest is right then let Him damn me. I don’t give a damn.

    There is no “golden-thread” or remnant of true believers. There never has been (don’t go quoting me about Noah) and there never will be. It just ain’t so. Whoever thinks this, and I don’t care who they are, needs to try and see the world through the eyes of Jesus. Yep, it’s often a big hodgepodge of a mess and sometimes a royal pain in the ass, even dangerous and evil, which in turn requires a prophetic voice getting a tad pissed off, but there is a time and season for everything Neoluce, and you gotta have balance. I’d say it’s time you have a vodka & tonic and let your soul take a Sabbath.

  39. “What joy, what life is there in what you espouse? Forget about proof-texting. Doesn’t your heart need a rest?”

    Well said Constantine. Well said.
    Ditto for the Vodka & tonic.

  40. LOL! Neoluce should try the same–it’s good medicine for the heart.

    Don’t push me though, Seraph. 🙂

  41. Maybe Neoluce’s tone has been abrasive, but nevertheless, are we not all called to sound a warning when and where we see danger? And you err, Constantine, not knowing the scriptures, when you say there is no remnant of true believers. Paul says in Rom.11:5, “there is a remnant according to the election of grace….no more of works.” “By grace” means that God Himself does the calling. It’s out of your hands, other than to humble yourself before God and cry for mercy. But no, it’s much easier to sit back in the comfort of our lush, padded pews and “rest our souls” in the false hope that we will take an easy ride to heaven hiding behind the skirt tails of our major religious system, giving a damn neither about what God thinks nor what He says. What’s the Bible for if it’s not for proof-texting, for verifying what the Spirit shows us?

    And as for Jesus, I believe He had a very specific agenda, one which allowed no toleration for the major religious system of his day, warning them of the wrath to come and hurling toward them some very choice phrases such as “whited sepulchres full of dead men’s bones” and “generation of vipers.” These were people who were satisfied with themselve and their own lives and could not see their need for repentance…much like the majority of people in religious systems today. There is indeed a remnant… a few found within all churches…but it sounds to me, Constantine, like you are blindly following the blind with your blithe attitude toward caring for your own soul and the souls of others. Neoluce may be abrasive, but I believe he is attempting to sound the warning as closely as he has heard it, which we ALL should be doing as WE hear it.

  42. When I see a drug house down the street, I sound the alarm. I am vigilant. I keep watch, and I call the police. But I don’t go there to live. And I don’t brand everyone else who lives on the street a junkie. I don’t let my concern over the drug house rule my life and consume my thoughts, emotions, and philosophy of life. I don’t let the drug house keep me from functioning and doing what I need to do on my block. I am very concerned about the state of the church. My Pastor speaks about it all of the time. As you know,I wrote a post called “Strange Dreams” which speaks to the issue. But I am at rest as I am commanded to be in Hebrews 3:18 – 4:11. That is the rest Constantine is talking about. It isn’t about sitting back and doing nothing, its about having peace and joy, patience love and kindness in the midst of the hellish circumstances of life. I can assure you, I am very active in my faith. Luce’s proof text are a complete distortion of the scripture, out of context and inaccurate. I wouldn’t even begin to try to go verse by verse with him because his application is so helter skelter. How do you discuss scripture with someone who pulls verses out of nowhere and hacks them to fit their agenda? Constantine’s attitude is not blithe and rest he is speaking of has nothing to do with the position of his body, but is insted an attitude of the heart that trust in God.
    I think you have misjudged Constatine.I believe it is very judgemental to speak as though there are only a few in each church who are sincere. I believe most are sincere and the tares and goats are few.
    It is okay to be angry…but our anger should not consume us and distort how we see the world and those around us. It shouldn’t linger and rob us of the rest God has promised us.

  43. So, Sheila Jo decided to take ole Constantine to the woodshed and take a stick to him. That’s fair. No problem by me. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Hence, using that same goose/gander logic, I served up for consumption a brief “exhortation” (how’s that for a B-I-B-L-E word) to Neoluce. I think it’s a fair assumption that most who take a peek at this Blog, and certainly those who decide to comment, know Fr. Neo is the real deal as to his clergy status (he says so explicitly in his profile). With that in mind, it’s my contention that it doesn’t stretch credulity to say that Neoluce’s comments were perceived by some…hmm…how to say this in a way that’s not “R” rated…let’s say as an ad hominem attack. His first post was caustic in the extreme given Fr. Neo’s role as a priest. It’s one thing to present for consideration and debate here an unpopular idea (I’ve done it more than a few times regarding Universalism). It’s also reasonable to expect a counter-argument to your idea if it’s not normative for the folks you are engaging in debate. But, it’s an entirely different thing to launch acerbic attacks and not expect some resistance. So, when you called my comments blithe, my response back to you is that you’re absolutely right and I made them so by design. Neoluce has passion and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. In my estimation, it’s fine, even shrewd, to be appropriately polemical when making a point about something that you think matters. Even if one is compelled to take some liberty in a forum such as this (I do it often) and take some shots, I’d say that’s o.k. too (Fr. Neo says as much in the header of this Blog where he speaks of “sparring”). But ole Neoluce needs to take a step back because he’s not sparring but assaulting. While his proposition, or at least its underlying premise (church/holy orders = bad/abuse/wrong vs. the priesthood of all believers), is worthy of consideration, Neoluce would do well to remember the axiom that it’s easier to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Now, as to my knowledge of scripture…well…there was a time when…well…let’s just say that I’ve learned from personal experience that knowing scripture and applying it isn’t necessarily the same thing. By way of an example that is apropos to our discussion, in times past I would have said that the following verse, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13 KJV), was tantamount to Divine Election/Predestination (I speak here of a Reformed/Calvinist grid of interpretation). You ain’t gonna get more “remnant” than that, but I’d say now in hindsight that my earlier view was decidedly a misinterpretation and skewed. I didn’t always think so, but things change I suppose. So my point is this. Just because someone throws around bible verses (proof-texting) under the pretext they are acting in accordance to the example of the Bereans doesn’t make it authentic. Of course, the same can be said of the use of theology, philosophy, etc. But because Holy Writ carries such weight in our faith, caution as to its use must be the first order of business. This is where jholder would say we need the “consensus of the Fathers” to guide us, or where Rome would assert that the teaching Magisterium is essential and required. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but there is an element of wisdom to be found in that line of thinking. Sheila Jo, I agree that Jesus had harsh words for the religious system of His day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if He had some choice words for us too. Yes, there are those who are “called out from among the heathen,” in order that they might be “salt and light,” but that doesn’t grant them the status of “remnant believers” with the implied instructions to batten down the proverbial hatches because the rest “out there” are about to be zapped. This seems to me to be the tone of Neoluce. To extrapolate as Neoluce does that clergy are by definition inside the camp of the Enemy is absurd, and his bluff needed to be called. And indeed it was and in a polite and effective manner by both Fr. Neo and Angevoix. When I made my blithe comment I was just playing by the same rules preferred by Neoluce, so it came across flippant, which of course it was meant to be.

    Some final thoughts Sheila Jo. I obviously don’t know the specific circumstances of your past church experience, but it seems safe to say given your comments here and on your Blog that it wasn’t good. I empathize wholeheartedly. And I can tell you that I make no bones about the harm that can be done in the name of religion. I’m also not as forgiving as Angevoix, who said that she’d seen things that would make our hair turn white. I’m a 37 year old daddy to two glorious God given gifts, namely my two daughters. I can say with candor that if they were exposed to things within the church establishment that would make their hair turn white before their day, they could rest assured they would have a fiery defender in me. I would offer little forbearance to the offender and would not be a worthy model of our “turn the other cheek” ethic (though of course that would be the correct attitude, as demonstrated by Angevoix). I also don’t give the Church a “get out of jail free” card and let them pass go and collect $200 without voicing in a variety of ways my demand for accountability. (See my comments in this Blog under “Inclusion via Exclusion” regarding my own church.)

  44. You are too generous, Constantine. I try to be very Spirit led now in my response to conflict. Trust me…there are times when I have said my peace and issued my own walking papers.My anger was always directed at the one who had invoked it, not everyone! But there are also times when under the unction of the Holy Spirit I have sat back and allowed God to prepair a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I’ve found He does it quite well. Notice when I began to feel ill at ease at my former church the first thing i did was PRAY! Then I moved… unfortunately many times we move and then pray! Which is unfortunate because what I have discovered over the years when I have had conflict is that rather than changing the circumstances or the people around me, God’s real goal is to change ME! But that will never happen if I run or play the blame game everytime I’m not happy about something.

  45. I believe I am being called on the carpet here, which is alright. Perhaps I was in error when I said “a FEW from all churches will be saved.” You’re right, Angevoix. Who am I to know? But the same goes for “MOST in all churches.” My point was, it’s God who is sovereign in the matter of salvation, and is not contingent upon our association with a particular church.

    As for drug houses, if I was a former addict, a former dependent upon said drug houses, whose life was suddenly turned around in mid-stream and whose chains were loosed from the terrible bondage which addiction represents, and if I had a new lease on life because of a new perspective which allowed me to see beyond my constant, gnawing need for drugs, then you bet your booties, I would be both overwhelmed with the grace that was given me in the granting of my body’s and mind’s release, but also driven by a terrible, burning urgency to warn others of the dangers of drugs and the drug house I’d come from. I would have a new focus on life, but also still be influenced by the path which I’d come. In fact, that’s why we have some Christians who have ministries to former and current drug addicts. Very possibly, their release from addiction was part of God’s plan for their lives in order that they would in turn be able to minister to others in the same bondage.

    Why would it be any different for me, as a person who has been freed from the psychological chains of religious addiction which held me captive to the demands of an abusive church? It was only by God’s grace I was released. I had no power of my own. I was beyond hope and was certain that I had committed the “unpardonable sin” in leaving said church. Do you not suppose that God may have had some purpose in releasing me from the fear which held me for so many years? Should I bite my tongue when I see such abuse taking place in the lives of others, for fear someone will think I’m over-reacting, or that I’m harboring anger and unforgiveness toward church in general? I think not. I, too, have been influenced by the path which I’ve come, as we all have been, and I pray that God can use something of my experience in the lives of others.

    However, I will agree with you that the possibility exists that at times I may go overboard in my suspicion of the motives of “church people.” I try not to be that way, because I realize the danger of “overcompensation” is very real…overcompensating for my former dependence by becoming too independent. I have tried to get beyond the hurt and the anger that I felt for so many years, but I will have to admit, I have not altogether found the middle ground. Some anger for the right reasons is good, but too much is damaging. I am still searching for a balance, searching for a deep relationship with a community of believers, yet without a dependence on said relationship as an overcontrolling force in my life. We each need to know Jesus as Lord of our lives individually, and use such knowledge to live in community. It’s an ongoing learning process for me.

    Constantine, thank you for being so gracious about the “beating” you received at my hands, but from my perception at the time, you had it coming. Good thing you have such staunch defenders!

    If you all are interested, I intend to post a poem in the next couple of days which I’d like for you to read. I wrote it a few years ago. It’s a short synopsis of my life and my “Martin Luther” experience (as you put it, Constantine.) It will probably give you a bit more insight into where I’ve come from.

  46. Sheila Jo,
    I look forward to reading your poem.

    When I mentioned that the proposition regarding the “priesthood of all believers” vs. the clergy was one worthy of consideration it wasn’t, as you know, because I agree that they are in opposition to one another, but that it is a topic worth discussing and clarifying.

    I doubt my generosity is overstated. Saying your peace wouldn’t in my book negate a person’s pose. You mentioned, “I am very concerned about the state of the church. My Pastor speaks about it all of the time.” Would you be willing to elaborate? What would make you feel “ill at ease” in church?

  47. What made me feel ill at ease was a combination of several things. First and foremost I felt my pastor was very controlling. He was also prone to strident perfectionism, and fits of rage. His preaching was harsh and condemming. I felt as if God’s acceptance was something I had to work for. He at one point stood and told the congregation that if they didn’t participate in a specific church function they would be cursed. Is that controlling enough for you? Also he stressed prosperity theology. It was an ongoing theme of nearly every sermon. And yet while he was living an excessively lavish lifestyle I was being paid $13,000.a year to teach at his school…hmmmm.

    My main concern about the current state of the church is similar to Sheilajo’s actually. In some circles, my God if you can survive the church politics, you can survive anything!!!! Also my pastor’s concern as well as mine is that in some circles we seem to get so caught up in building “our ministry”, that we lose focus that we are actually supposed to be building the kingdom of God. For us church isn’t about what goes on inside the building, but is rather about what goes on outside the door after we have left the building. We should be advancing the kingdom of God, rather than filling our coffers. In some churches you pass three ATMS before you will ever see a cross!
    Our community is an example of my pastor’s vision. When I first came here it looked like any other south side ghetto. Vacant and borded up buildings, etc… we worked in cooperation with the alderman and the community has been totally revitalized. There is new contstruction, parks, entertainment centers and businesses and everywhere. Property values have skyrocketed, etc… the transformation is a miracle along the lines of the kind you like, Constatine….ha ha! And countless people who will never enter the door of our church or drop a dime in our collection plate benefit from it! We work towards may social justice issues in this way.

    Sheilajo, I’m not speaking as one who doesn’t understand where you are coming from. I understand all too well your statement “I realize the danger of “overcompensation” is very real…overcompensating for my former dependence by becoming too independent.” It took some time for me to recover… a lot of time actually, from what I had experienced… You may very well have a calling to deal with people who have suffered spiritual abuse. This is not a calling that I have so far as I know… But make sure you are healed first.Our frame of reference has to be that of a free & healed person,not a victim.

  48. For the moment, I just want to let you all know I now have my poem posted on by blog page if you’re interested in reading it. Be warned, though, I fibbed a bit when I referred to it as a short synopsis. It’s actually extremely long. In relation to my years on the earth (44), it could be considered a short synopsis, I suppose, though.

    Angevoix, I intend to get back to you when I have more time to write concerning the above comment you had.

  49. Impressive Angevoix. Wow. Btw, you are spot on–my kind of “miracle” indeed. 🙂

    Given the great outcome(s), why do you think your priest encounters so much resistance from Church leadership? Is his theology too liberal? He certainly sounds inclusive, though, of course, being “inclusive” can go hand-in-hand with any ilk,conservative or liberal. Just curious.

  50. We ask ourselves the same question all of the time… You know, honestly it seems like the Cardinal makes it up as he goes along. We are constantly hearing different stories…One week its that our worship is too expressive, the next its that our pastor has been here too long, the week after that the Cardinal is upset because my pastor has spoken up about something he didn’t think is kosher…its hard to keep up, the week after that we aren’t Catholic enough, whatever that means… Personally I think there is a lot of envy over the attention my pastor gets. Desmond Tutu wasn’t coming to see the Cardinal after all… By the way, yes we got in trouble for having an Anglican in our pulpit… Even though we are very active concerning issues of social justice, my Pastor is totally in line with moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage…

    Speaking of my pastor, I would really appreciate any prayers that would be lifted on his behalf. He is experiencing some serious health issues right now. They are still running test on him and are not sure what the problem is, but he was unable to take a much anticipated trip to South Africa per his doctor’s orders.

  51. “The Church” is mostly crap. I do not support the forcing of one groups “morals” onto the youth of our nation. Please do not give me any of the freedom of choice speech. In most religious organizations, parents introduce malleable children to have the religion preached to them as absolute truth without exposing them to other options. It is the same principle as an election run by a mass party. “You can go wherever you want, but you can only see within this box.” By the time a person is old enough to make a descision, they are so blinded by the familiarity and habit of their current religion that few of them could be forced to change.

    The church as a whole serves only as a way to control people. It teaches what society views as “good” or “right.” None of the good little church boys will grow up to be murderers and rapists, no, not if they follow the church.

    If you have thoughts on my opinion, please, post comments on my blog, “Living Towards the Cataclysm”

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