Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Chinese Government Re-writes John 8:3-11

I got a sense of déjà vu after reading this article from The Christian Post,

A communist textbook that's being used in Chinese schools falsifies the biblical account found in John 8:3–11. The textbook claims that Jesus murdered the woman who was found in adultery and said He, too, is a sinner.

The textbook, published by the government-run University of Electronic Science and Technology Press, states: “The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per their law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one. When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death, saying, ‘I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.’”

Blasphemy. 

Not since the times of Hitler's Reich Bishop, has there been an attempt to re-write the Bible in order to further the ideology of a totalitarian regime, but that was not the déjà vu I was talking about.

You see, I have listened to so many revisionist priests and bishops give false interpretations that I couls have sworn that one of them must be writing for the University of Electronic Science and Technology Press. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Find the Hymn

 This Sunday's reading from Philippians 2:1-13 contains words which would later be made into a hymn.  See if you can spot them.

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

 who, though he was in the form of God,

   did not regard equality with God

   as something to be exploited,

 but emptied himself,

   taking the form of a slave,

   being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

   he humbled himself

   and became obedient to the point of death—

   even death on a cross. 

 Therefore God also highly exalted him

   and gave him the name

   that is above every name,

 so that at the name of Jesus

   every knee should bend,

   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 and every tongue should confess

   that Jesus Christ is Lord,

   to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Okay here is the hymn by Vaughn Williams, 


 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

UMC Minister's BLM Liturgy

Everybody should know by now that the United Methodist Church is in the process of splitting up. One of the prime reasons has to be the differences between revisionist clergy and those that reassert the traditional interpretations of Holy Scripture. A perfect example of the former is the Rev. Michael C. Johnson.

"Rev. Michael C. Johnson is a United Methodist Elder from the Baltimore Washington Conference, serving on extension ministry as a spiritual director in Pennsylvania. He is married to Bishop Peggy A. Johnson Bishop of the Philadelphia Area of The United Methodist Church. His passion for Holy Communion is the well-spring of his many creative 'Great Thanksgiving' liturgies found on this website."

Going to that website reveals his creative liturgy for Black Lives Matter. Here it is, 

Great Thanksgiving (Black Lives Matter) by Rev. Michael C. Johnson 

The Lord be with you.

And Also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.


Black lives matter to You, and always have.

Black lives matter.

Black male lives matter.

Black female lives matter.

Black female trans lives matter.

Black female trafficed lives matter.

Black gay lives matter.

Black uneducated as well as educated lives matter.

Black poor as well as rich lives matter.

Black homeless lives matter.

Black Christians and non-Christians matter.

Black lives with disabilities matter.

Black immigrants and refugees matter.

Black children matter.

Black teens matter.

Their lives are sacred.

Their lives are valuable.

Their lives are precious.

Their lives are important.

Their lives are necessary.

Their lives are integral to Your magnificent beloved family.


So we join with them and all the others who are just as sacred, valuable, precious, important, necessary and integral to Your plan of salvation to sing Your praises.

We join with all the angels and archangels, the great choir of saints before Your throne, from every nation, from every culture, who speak every language, worshiping endlessly before Your throne of grace saying:


Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes to the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


You are holy, and so is your presence with us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus was not white.

Jesus did not speak English.

Jesus was not a Christian.

Jesus lived as the citizen of an occupied nation.

Jesus was part of an oppressed people.

Jesus was a refugee who found protection on the Continent of Africa.

Jesus experienced mob violence.

Jesus experienced police brutality.

Jesus was lynched.


Jesus gave up his own divine privilege,

and chose to live as a slave and to live a life of service.

These acts defined his greatness,

and defines our discipleship.


Giving up his own divine privilege,

Jesus took the bread used as a call to compassion for the oppressed.

Gave thanks for it, broke it and shared it with the whole community, saying:

“Take and eat, this is my body broken and given freely for you.”

Remember how this act defined his greatness and defines our discipleship.


Giving up his own divine privilege,

Jesus took the cup used as a call to hope for Divine deliverance.

Gave thanks for it, and shared it with the whole community, saying:

“Drink from my cup, each of you;

this is my blood that I shed to testify to God’s eternal covenant,

poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Remember how this act defined his greatness and defines our discipleship.


Christ’s life mattered.

Christ’s abuse by religious authorities mattered.

Christ’s murder mattered.

Christ’s resurrection mattered.

And so do our lives, and so we choose to follow Christ

and choose to live according to this divine mystery, we now declare:


Christ has died;

Christ is risen;

Christ will come again.


Life, Meaning, Giver of Sacred Worth,

cause these gifts of bread and wine

to become for us the body and blood of Christ,

the reason our lives matter.


Life, Meaning, Giver of Sacred Worth,

cause the gift of our lives

to become for our neighbors, Your church,

the living presence and beloved bride of Christ,

a reason for their lives matter.


Life, Meaning, Giver of Sacred Worth,

touch the lives of any who feel that their lives don’t matter;

who feel they are not valued,

who are treated with disrespect

and fear that their precious lives will be thrown away.

Change us, so others might have hope.

Change us, so other might be valued.

Change us, so that no one will have to stand before their oppressors alone.

Change us, so Christ’s life will matter.

Change us, so the Holy Spirit’s life will matter.

Change us, so our Creator’s life will matter,

and that we might more fully give Them the honor, glory, and praise, due Their holy name, today, tomorrow, and always.

Amen.

Now as those who recognize the value of the oppressed and abused, let us pray with Christ who walks this path with them and us.

Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against him.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.


(Prayer after Communion)

Thank you for sharing with us this holy mystery found in Jesus Christ.  It has changed us: the way we think, the way we feel, what we understand, how we desire to live, and the value we see in the lives of others whom we have harmed through our sin of racism.  Now send us out to demand that others be treated with the value they hold within Your heart.  May Your love become more visible in us, that we not bring shame upon the name of Jesus, now or ever.  Amen.

While I believe that all lives matter,  I would run from any minister who used this "liturgy" in church.

When I read words like, 

"Life, Meaning, Giver of Sacred Worth,

cause these gifts of bread and wine

to become for us the body and blood of Christ,

the reason our lives matter."

I want to run. 

His wife the Bishop should correct him. Isn't that what bishops are supposed to do?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Is This Any Way To Run a Business?

 In this Sunday's reading from Matthew 20:1-16 tells the parable of the generous landowner,

‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’

 "But real landowners would never do that!", you say.

Exactly!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

California Approves of Non-consensual Anal or Oral Sex With Minors (if you are LGBT)

 This is sick folks. In California, a 24 year old man or woman or transexual or other can seduce a 14 year old boy or girl into a sexual act and get away with it if a judge so rules.

I first heard about this from The Blaze

"The California General Assembly — comprised of a Democratic supermajority — has advanced legislation that could ease the criminal punishment for LGBT adults who have sex with underage teenagers.

The bill — SB 145 — was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), an openly gay man, and seeks to prevent gay adults who sodomize or perform oral sex with underage teenagers from being automatically assigned to California's sex offender registry.

The bill was then signed into law by Gavin Newsom the Governor of California (Christian Post),

"Under the new standard, individuals who are no more than 10 years older than a minor, with the minor not being younger than 14, would not automatically be added to the registry, though they would still be guilty of a crime. LGBT advocates argued that the old policy discriminated against homosexual men. Now, on a case-by-case basis, the change allows judges to apply the same discretion when it involves voluntary oral or anal sex, according to ABC7-Los Angeles."

I seem to recall that God's wrath tends to come down on great cities where this kind of thing goes on.  

 


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Seventy times or seventy times seven?

 In this Sunday's reading from Matthew 18:21-35 as Jesus teaches us about forgiveness, I heard something different in verse 22 than what I had learned as a child,

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven* times.

23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29 Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’ NRSV

Bible Hub presents the ways other translations have interpreted Matthew 18:22, and most commonly it comes across as the familiar (to me) "seventy times seven" rather than "seventy seven" times.

The Greek seems to favor the former over the latter.

ἑβδομηκοντάκις (hebdomēkontakis)

Adverb

Strong's Greek 1441: Seventy times. Multiple adverb from hebdomekonta; seventy times.

ἑπτά (hepta)

Adjective - Genitive Neuter Plural

Strong's Greek 2033: Seven. A primary number; seven.

I think Jesus would in practice favor the higher number, 490, but 77 seems more like a number that a first century Jew would consider symbolic. 

In the commentaries quoted at Bible Hub we get this, 

"Seventy times seven. No specific number, but practically unlimited. There is no measure to forgiveness; it must be practised whenever occasion arises. Some translate, 'seventy-seven times,' making an allusion to the retribution exacted from Lamech: 'If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold' (Genesis 4:24). Christian forgiveness must be extended as far as old-world vengeance. Mercy rejoices against judgment. But the genius of the language supports the rendering of the Authorized Version. St. Paul has caught the spirit of his Master when he writes, "Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). In the Mosaic dispensation there was some foreshadowing of the doctrine of forgiveness in the enactments which enjoined tender treatment of debtors, and in the terms of the jubilee law; but there were no rules concerning the pardon of personal injuries; the tendency of many prominent injunctions was to encourage retaliation. Herein is seen an important distinction between the Law and the gospel, the institutions antecedent to the death and atonement of Christ, and those subsequent thereto."

Matthew 18:22 Commentaries

I don't remember anyone asking me for forgiveness more than a couple of times, probably because I avoided them after that, so the number 77 is probably adequate. Anyway, we live in the Blame Age in which people don't ask for forgiveness much. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Amazon: Cancelling Useful Medical Data on the Dangers of Homosexual Activity

From LifeSite News comes the story about Amazon banning a book on the health hazards of active gay lifestyle.
August 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Amazon banned a 600-page book on the danger of homosexuality for being “offensive” after selling copies for more than three years.

MassResistance, the pro-family activist organization responsible for the creation of The Health Hazards of Homosexuality, wrote that “Amazon has suddenly notified us that it has banned it from being printed or sold on its site. Amazon is also refusing to allow us to print any more copies for our own use and has even blocked us from accessing our account records.”

The book was not printed and published independently, but through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which allows users to cheaply publish e-books and paperbacks, while having access to Amazon’s unparalleled marketplace.

According to MassResistance, “In 2017, we worked with the Amazon staff that helped independent publishers … For over three years they unquestionably knew what the book was about and what it contained. They had no problem with its content – until a month ago.”

“On July 17, we were notified that they have determined that the book violates their ‘content guidelines’ and they have thus taken it down completely,” the article explained. “They closed our account and will not allow us to open another account.”

I hope they come out with a new edition and self-publish it.

Maybe we should cancel Amazon as well.