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Universal Mafia

I heard a question the other day posed to a Catholic, “why do you pray to the saints and not just Jesus or God?” The Catholic answered, God/Jesus are so in demand and busy; so we pray to the saints because we know a guy that knows the Guy. The Guy (Jesus/God) is very busy, and we don’t wish to waste His time with trivialities.

Are the saints nothing more than a go-between, for humanity and the Godhead? Should we see a heavenly kingpin in the person  of Jesus? Do we need to go to the saints to get to the Guy?

If any of the above is true, then Jesus was a liar, and His sacrifice is greatly belittled.

Jesus came and lived as a man among humanity. He “poured out” His God-ness for a season, so that He could be like us in every way. He tells us that “you know me, so you know the Father also.” That sounds pretty relational and open to me. Jesus is called our “advocate” to the Father. Again, it really doesn’t sound like we need a go-between to reach the Godhead. The Holy Spirit is our Paraclete, literally “called alongside one”. This seems to imply that the Holy Spirit is never to busy or overtaxed to be there to help. So, both Jesus and the Holy Spirit seem to already make the Godhead all-access. 

The term “mafia” has specific implications. I use the term in this sense, “a closed group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence.” Another way to see this is a hierarchy of organization, which is certainly the case in heaven and all of God’s creation. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church one might point to the College of Cardinals and the Vatican for examples. They are certainly a closed group in a particular field. The Holy See, the Pope, is selected from the College of Cardinals, He is “made” by them as God’s presence and voice on earth. Most of the Popes are canonized, made into saints, and continue to do their work as a go-between for earth with heaven. Throughout all of the clergy of the RCC the idea of go-between is encouraged. 

One must go to Mass to commune with God, it is not possible to know God outside of the consecrated priest. It is through the service of the Eucharist in the RCC that one is saved. The elements of Communion served by a consecrated priest brings redemption. Last Rites are required as a last entreaty to heaven for the soul of the dying. Without these things the individual could be lost, or at the very least know additional suffering in the afterlife.

Do we need a go-between? Perhaps, but not because we need a “guy that know the Guy.” Rather, it seems we need someone to vouchsafe our place in the hierarchy of heaven. Through Jesus, and Him alone, are we granted this privilege. Then each of us becomes the “guy that knows the Guy,” and we need no other. Jesus conquered death and sin for us. A personal relationship with Him is literally all that matters. Do you have to know Him, or believe that He saved you? No, you have a choice. Jesus made you a deal that you can refuse, but you shouldn’t. The Heavenly Mafia want you, but it is up to you to believe it and become a re-“made” man.

Until next time, Fight the Good Fight….Fairly

T.

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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Jesus, World Religions

 

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Have you Pi, it’s irrational.

Today, 3.14, is Pi Day. Pi is a mathmatical constant and an irrational number. In the first case it is necessary for geometry and trigonometry and much of our understanding of the physical world would have not been possible without it. In the later it is difficult to express exactly as a common fraction and it is a transcendental number, meaning it is a non-algeabraic.

  Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity is much like Pi. Jesus’ sacrifice prima fascia seems irrational, yet it was/is necessary for the possibility of humanity’s justification. Likewise, Jesus is transcendent in His divinity. For a time he “poured out” out that divinity so that we might have an acceptable “constant” as a sacrifice. 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Jesus, Things about God

 

What Do You Look Like?

What Do You Look Like?

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When people see you, what do they see? Life is about image and perception. Gene Simmons of the band KISS made this statement, “ Sweden has a king…do you know what he looks like? No? But all of Sweden knows what KISS looks like. 

The members of KISS developed 4 larger than life personas, and figuratively took over the world. They proclaimed themselves as the “World’s Biggest Rock Band” and then they became  the embodiment of that idea. Was it hard? Absolutely! Was it worth it? No doubt.

Image is important. Who do people see when they look at you? Do they see a broken, helpless person; or do they see a son or daughter of the King? In medieval times warriors were associated with personal or household armorial pictograms. The idea of uniforms as identification is still  strong in the militaries of the world today. One can fairly easily identify country of origin and branch just by the clothes of the soldier.

So, arguably we are who people perceive us to be. Often outside perception is what makes or breaks us as individuals. First, in Christ, we are never individuals, we are always part of a unit. When we identify with Christ, our reflection and actions are judged as His. Just like when a Marine does wrong the Corps is seen in that light as well and its reputation is injured by the association.

Our actions matter. Christ’s reputations matters. We might not know what the king of Sweden looks like, but the World should know what Christ,the King of Glory, looks like. Jesus isn’t  the artist representation European representation. Rather, the world should see Christ proclaimed and embodied in you and me. We may be the only representative of Christ that a person sees. 

Do they see just you in a shirt with Christ’s emblem on it , or do they see Christ? 

Until next time; 

Fight the Good Fight….Fairly

T.

 
 

Book Review: The War on Christmas – Battles of Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression. Edited by Bodie Hodge

I did not really like this book. In fairness though, I don’t think it was written for the serious scholar.

This book is intended to drive home one single point; “No Christ, no Christmas.” In so doing this book is extremely repetitive, to the point of making it difficult to read through the 144 pages of text and illustrations.

A variety of issues contained within the Christmas stable are addressed: Christmas star, Wise Men, and Christmas tree. The thread of the argument is that these things are not essential to Christ, but are part of the Christmas celebration. I was interested to see the unusual opinion that the Magi were most likely not believers, but rather astrologers who had seen signs and portents in the sky.

The one serious bone I have to pick is the explanation of pagan religion’s development in Chapter 4. While the explanation is somewhat possible, it seems to me to be largely untenable. It is certainly true that some pagan religion is based on ancestor worship, but there is little evidence to indicate that such practice is the root of all pagan religion and practice. Helen of Troy is connected to Elishah, and regional syntax is given as the reason. The idea that all the personages of pagan religion are descended from the children and grandchildren of Noah is a little far-fetched.

In conclusion, there is certainly a war of thought in play today. Christmas is part of that war. A good deal of this book seems to be well researched and its message is certainly laudable. However, I would be careful whom one recommends this book to. It functions as a decent overview of the salient issues. It does get preachy at times, and sometimes the claims are simply the stuff of fantasy. Even for that the core message is the same; No Christ, No Christmas.

Disclaimer: This review was written as a member of the War on Christmas launch team.

 

Chart: Jesus in other religions

I found this chart at http://www.religionfacts.com/jesus/religious_views.htm.

I thought I would share it here to start out a proposed series on Jesus’ identity in other world religions. Sometimes the best approach is to know what the people in our lives think about the person, Jesus, we hold most dear. In this way we can better show them the truth of Christ, and help them through the falsehood they believe as gospel.

 

God or Man?

Who Jesus Was

Jesus’ Purpose

Resurrection
Happened?

Traditional (Nicene) Christianity Both: “fully God and fully man.” Second person of the Trinity, incarnation of God, Son of God, Savior. Die for the sins of humanity. Yes
Arianism A created divine being. A divine being, but created by God and inferior to Father. Son of God. Savior. To save humanity from sin. Yes
Baha’i Faith Man A “manifestation of God” and prophet. Since superseded by Muhammad and Baha’u’llah. To reveal God’s will as part of progressive revelation to humanity. Only spiritually.
Buddhism Man Wise and enlightened man who taught similar things to the Buddha. To teach humanity wisdom and the way to enlightenment. Not addressed
Christian Science Man Wise man especially attuned to the divine Christ. To teach humanity, heal, and overcome death. Yes
Christadelphians Man (or half-man, half-God). Son of God but human, because mother was human Mary. Lived a sinless life and died sacrificial death. To show God’s love for humanity and redeem humanity from sin. Yes
Gnosticism God Divine being sent from the supreme God. To rescue humanity from the material world by revealing true knowledge. Most Gnostics reject that Christ died at all. The human Jesus was ordinary and did not resurrect.
Hinduism Views vary Incarnation of God akin to Krishna, or wise man. Not addressed Not addressed
Islam Man True prophet sent by God, but superseded by Muhammad. To reveal God’s will in a progressive revelation that ended with Muhammad. No
Jehovah’s Witnesses An archangel Son of God, Word of God, God’s first creation, Archangel Michael. Teach about God, provide a model for right living, die sacrificially for human sin. Yes
Mormonism (LDS) Man Son of God, Savior, originally one of the spirit beings that all humans used to be. Has a physical body. To teach about God, provide a model for living, die sacrificially for sin. Yes
Theosophy Man Great teacher.   No
Unitarian Universalism Man Great teacher, faith-healer, “incarnation of God’s love.” To demonstrate God’s love for humanity and teach about justice and compassion. No official teaching; most do not believe physical resurrection.
 
 
 
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