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Author Topic: February 21, 2010: First Sunday of Lent ... Dt 26, Rom 10, Lk 4  (Read 2545 times)
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« on: February 21, 2010, 04:41:50 AM »

The readings:

The first thing I want to pick on today is the second reading.

Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart
—that is, the word of faith that we preach—,
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.

If the word is in our mouths and hearts, then I think we should not be afraid to speak what we truly believe.

Just looking at the logic of this statement, "if X then Y" where X="if you confess ... " and Y="you will be saved," notice that if X is false, Y is not restricted.  That is, if you DON'T confess that Jesus is the Lord, then will you NOT be saved?  Note it doesn't say that.  What I'm thinking is that such confession will enable you to be saved via Christ and what He did.  If you don't, then I'd like to think the issue of "being saved" is moved to a different paradigm than the one of Jesus -- but I'd say we still have a chance because if the word is in our mouths and hearts, then we can still speak Truth because it is true, not necessarily only because Jesus was the one who taught us.

I'm always looking for what happens to a person if they don't confess the above facts, if for no other reason than I sometimes have my doubts whether God really exists in the "image" provided by the Church and the Bible.  Ideally, for myself, I have tried to construct a scenario where it doesn't matter whether God exists or not in order for me to benefit from what I've learned about Him and Jesus.  I can live a totally Christian-ish life without necessarily believing, for example, that Christ rose from the dead of that He was born of a virgin.  I'm not saying I don't believe these things, just that at times I am uncertain of whether I wish to believe them or not.  I want to learn to live my life in freedom and confidence that I'm OK whether or not those things are true, and consequently even if I don't believe the "correct" religion while on this earth I still don't fear going to hell.  I have enough crap to worry about on this planet to spend time running scared and avoiding shadows so that I won't burn forever because of something I was wrong about, forgot, misunderstood, or was misinformed about.

I mean, come on.  What actual tangible evidence do I have that any of the Bible or Christian mythology is even true?  None.  I have some circumstantial evidence, such as the fact I am still alive after all I've done in my life to risk ending it early.  Such as "miraculous" events that appear extraordinary.  Such as "conversions" I've seen that seemed so unlikely it seems that a Higher Power must have had a hand in it.  Such as the marvels and beauty and complexity of the universe.

All of this "evidence" is nice, but it is all circumstantial.  I was not there when anything in the Bible happened, so for crying out loud I was taught to think critically, and taught the hard way not to believe what certain Church authorities said.  When they lie and cheat, why is it a sin to doubt that the Book they handed me is authentic -- especially when I see them doing all sorts of ungodly things, obviously not following their own alleged "Bible?"

Is God going to give me a brain and a free will, then force me to believe something based on faith of what other humans have preached to me, under penalty of eternal punishment?  Ummmm.... I don't think so .... but I hope not.

I remember some lyrics from Blood Sweat and Tears, And When I Die:

Now troubles are many, they're as deep as a well.  I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.


All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.


P.S. Here is a link to the rest of the lyrics:
« Last Edit: February 21, 2010, 04:44:44 AM by Alan » Logged

... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2010, 10:36:31 AM »

Our pastor spent his homily today talking about different ideas and mindsets that accompany true "firstfruits" as mentioned in the first reading.

He said something I really liked; it was a quote from Idunno Whom:

"If you give when you are asked, then you have waited too long."


... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2010, 11:14:30 AM »

It was a different part of that second reading that really spoke to me, as it always does when I hear this reading.

For the Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We call upon Him in many different ways and with many different understandings of His being, but in the end those who put their trust in God rather than men will be "saved" in whatever way that ends up meaning. To me this is pretty unequivocal and it really makes me wonder how the "one true church" crowd justifies a position that only Catholics--or only southern baptists or whatever--will be "saved". To me it possibly makes heretics out of those popes who proclaimed the idea of "no salvation outside the church" and those who continue to follow that belief since such a belief would seem to be totally irreconcilable with scripture.

The closing verse from the psalm also follows along with this, as do many other passages from both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures:

Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and glorify him.


"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."
This is the effect of true charity, to be on good terms with all men, to consider no one your enemy, and to live at peace with those who hate peace.--Robert Bellarmine
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2010, 03:20:12 PM »

I see it as this...God is God...the church is the church!

Two seperate entities by a long stretch.

If i call upon God, and believe me, i have...then there is a personal relationship there, and no go between. I am speaking to him, and he to my heart. We are taught to practice this, and our "hearing" will improve with the more often we use this form of independant prayer life. We are designed to do this, and God wished it this way...for us to need him enough that we have two choices. We can try to use the strength and skills we have learned to do things with in life, and do it on our own! OR...we can call upon the Lord, express what we know, and what is before us and ask him to be along with us for the journey.

With this latter knowlege, we are prommised help from God and the holy spirit will give us strength to move forward when what we have is not quite enough. God will always give us an out spiritually if what he places before us is brought to his feet. Also in the end, he prommises us a reward! What fool does not want to be rewarded for his behaviour, bravery and strength in the eyes of God??

The gift is Grace....he will give us things in our life that will bring comfort and peace when it might not be placed before us!

So we can go it alone, be blocked, frustrated and move forward, and bunny step back a few hops doing it alone...or we can ask our fearless leader for a loving sholder to share this with, and he will grant us the strength to get through it, and grace us simply for allowing him to help us! It is a no brainer, but in my case, i forget...i forget he is watching me, and anxious to be let in on the game. But he won't...never...not without the invitation!

So when we choose not to invite him into our woes and help us...we have to accept the fall out and take full responsibility for his lac of presence, and lac of we chose our it URKS me to no end when another person will go it alone, and have the audacity to STILL blame others AND God for their own life and troubles!

He sits and thinks often, and is ever ready to come in...but first we must invite him is our choice...and he died for it to be so!

Look closely...there are weeds on the unused path, there is no door handle
for him to open it, and no way for him to be let in without us opening the door,
and inviting him in.

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