…because of this…
I cannot think of a sufficiently descriptive headline or even a category for this Christmas display at Saint Susanna’s Parish in Dedham, Massachussetts, and others—yes, there have been others--like it.
Here I was, about to point out the arrogance and anti-religious bigotry of Democratic chair Tim Perez, who just suggested that the only reason anyone opposes abortion must be that they are ignorant and foolishly pay attention to religion, and here is something that supports his view that at least some of those preaching from pulpits on Sunday may not be all that bright, since they have the grasp of reality of a six-year-old.
The dimwit who approved this abomination, Pastor Stephen Josoma, told radio station WBZ, “We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message.” That message this year questions about peace on Earth. He says Jesus represents migrant children being held at the southern border separated from their parents. The wise men represent the caravan of migrants behind the border wall. “Jesus was about taking care of one another. This is not the way to take care of one another,” said Josoma.
How do you even begin to unpack all the ignorance, false logic, bad analogies, historical fatuousness and political nonsense in this statement along with the offensive creche scene it attempts to justify? I’m not up to it. It would probably begin with “There are material differences between 6 B.C. in Gallilee and the 21at Century United States of America. You idiot” and expand out from there. For now, all I will say is that turning Christmas into a divisive, ugly, partisan debate while exploiting the symbols of Christmas into simplistic social justice warrior propaganda is a betrayal of the season, the event, the spirit behind the event, and the cultural purpose it endures to serve.
96 thoughts on “It Finally Happened: I Am At A Loss For Words….”
Interestingly about 30 years later that baby would say “I didn’t come to abolish the law” and also “render unto Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is god’s”.
I love halfway Jesus preaching. Like the man was only about forgiving sins and not simultaneously calling people to righteous living. Antinomians want to hear Christ say “you are forgiven and free to sin more”.
Matthew 25 Christ is the same Christ as Matthew 2. (Matthew 25 Christ is the one that chucks non disciples into the lake of fire). They also don’t like Matthew 17 Jesus who commands us to correct our brothers when they sin.
Personally, I’m not in favor of having prisons where entire families are included in the general population. Didn’t a judge prohibit the Obama administration from keeping kids in prisons with their adult parents? Was he an Obama appointee?
And what foreign country were Joseph and Mary entering illegally? I thought they were just moving around in that part of the Roman Empire to comply with the census. Those nasty Romans, they wanted to know who lived in their country. Shame on them.
They fled to Egypt after Joseph was warned by an angel while they were in Bethlehem for the census..but Egypt was part of the Roman Empire, too.
See, for that I think we do need a little more research. By the time the Roman Empire became the “Empire” (which was only a mere decade or so before Christ’s birth and would be an ongoing transformation during Augustus’ reign), the internal political relationships were complex. Egypt, though a puppet state of Rome, was still notionally a “country”, as were alot of the Eastern Frontier nations. While Rome outright ruled places like Gaul, Hispania, North Africa and Greece, the eastern provinces, garrisoned by Roman legions, were an odd mix of Roman governorships and local puppet kings with notional autonomy.
I know Roman Citizens could move freely, but the occupied nations that hadn’t been granted citizenship…I’m not certain what level of liberty they possessed.
I am reasonably confident, by the end of Augustus’ reign, most of the local puppet kings had eventually been replaced directly by Romans…praetors, procurators, governors or military men, and the Roman Empire was at that point an internally fluid entity, but at Christ’s birth…I can’t say for certain that Joseph and Mary didn’t face obstacles in their flight to Egypt.
The historicity of the flight to Egypt is very much in doubt.
🙂 The historicity of the descent of God into the body of a virgin and the terrestrial birth thereby of the promise and possibility of salvation is also, I think you’ll have to admit! somewhat in doubt in modernity.
It is interesting that what one cannot *receive*, internally, in that sense in which Richard Weaver mentions the ‘metaphysical dream of the world’, that is the understanding that comes through faith, becomes a somewhat remote object of scientistic analysis, and is defeated.
Ah… no, to the first half of the first sentence, and not quite, to the second sentence.
That’s how Egypt had been, right up until Augustus came out on top, defeating Cleopatra in passing. After that, the emperors ruled Egypt far more directly than anywhere else, because its grain supply was so important for stability in Italy in general and in Rome in particular: it was not handled in a hands off way via the senate’s pre-existing institutions that worked through senatorial post-magistracy positions, it was handled through the emperor’s own nominee, drawn from the equestrian order (“knights”) and, thus, directly dependent on imperial favour and support rather than indirectly through imperial control of the senate.
And “North Africa” (which is our term for the whole coast and its hinterland from Morocco to Libya inclusive) was not something “Rome outright ruled” then. “Africa” (which is the Roman term for Tunisia and a little bit into Algeria, the former Carthaginian heartland/base area) was, but that fate only gradually hit further west, in Numidia (much of Algeria) and even later in what is now Morocco (which lasted under a client monarch until Caligula).
An informed guess, but no. Even leaving aside new conquests, e.g. the same approach was used in Britain, not genuinely invaded by Rome until Claudius’s reign, the whole deal was more cost-effective than direct rule, which only slowly displaced it when puppet rulers lost the legitimacy that made them useful (because they were seen through), when Rome really wanted things for itself (whether for greed or strategic value), or when exceptions to direct rule encouraged neighbouring disturbances. It’s useful to compare and contrast with recent colonial history and with older empires, bearing in mind the technological/cultural/demographic drivers that vary between the cases. (Hint: Assyrians and Babylonians carrying Jews and others off into captivity works best when there is spare land to centralise and control them on, and when it is worth keeping them alive because there is spare land – so we just hear of it happening to the Galatians under Rome, but hardly ever to Turkish subjects. It’s also why ancient Jews forcibly and atypically converted Ituraeans to get control of the Golan Heights and surrounds, but modern Jews didn’t even try that on Palestinians).
Useful clarifications of the *general trends* I was describing on for the actual topic we were discussing. I was hoping whoever came in to make clarifications would have illuminated the topic at hand – what levels of mobility the various peoples within the Roman Empire enjoyed or didn’t enjoy.
But good additions nonetheless.
That’s what I was trying to show, that that way to break it down only applies fairly well at earlier stages of development, when entire peoples were corralled – but the Galatians were about the last like that, some two centuries earlier. By the time in question – early empire, wearing republic’s clothing (“the Principate”) – there were constraints on people according to type, e.g. slaves, rather than ethnicity, e.g. a Jew like Paul could be a Roman citizen and privileged accordingly. A couple of centuries later – late empire, out in the open (“the Dominate”) – the institutions of the Middle Ages were developing embryonically, and many kinds of tying down formed across the board to tie down the tax base. However, though the tying down happened to nearly everybody, the details varied by socio-economic class – so it was non-uniform, and only had different effects on different ethnicities incidentally and coincidentally.
So “peoples” stopped being as relevant for mobility issues some generations before this, and really only came back in modern times, with nation states. In between, other criteria were what mattered.
My favorite overlooked trend or process of History that is omitted because of our tendency to oversimplify, is how much the Roman Empire looked more like Medieval Europe than it did like Caesar & Augustus’s Early Empire as early as the 3rd century.
That our notion of the Roman “Empire” is very much skewed by a romantic attachment to some fabled “Golden Age”. It’s remarkable how rapidly the Republic became “Empire” and how, very very short lived that “Empire” was before it already showed cracks in the facade and the weaknesses leading to it’s inevitable downfall. I’m comfortable with considering the “Roman Empire” as having lasted in it’s “best” form for maybe 150 years.
I think the takeaway then, for exegetical purposes of interpreting the flight of Joseph and Mary is that the only real obstacle to travel they would have faced inside the Roman Empire, would have been financial. Which shouldn’t at all downplay the notion that they the flight to Egypt wasn’t under duress…just that it really doesn’t have as strong an analog to modern day refugees.
Whether they historically fled to Egypt or not, and whether Egypt was formally part of the Roman Empire or not, is not relevant to the ethical analysis.
In the story Jesus, Mary, and Joseph had true refugee status, being persecuted by Herod, who was said to have massacred 30 children in and around Bethlehem. (They also went home after Herod died and the danger passed). They had a true temporary protected status in Egypt.
There is nothing unethical about being displaced by war (going somewhere else because your village was burned or fleeing persecution (going somewhere else because people like you are being g killed). Such extremes may even, in balance, have more utility than strictly respecting national borders.
Was is unethical is conflating every possible legitimate reason to migrate as a true emergency justifying forceful entry.
Exact duplicate; please delete
(At least on my end, it looked like it posted twice due to a refresh error)
Trying to find the repeat was like finding Waldo, when Waldo hadn’t arrived!
Solid AND succinct. Nicely done.
No. That is, that falls at the last fence: that is all accurate apart from “true refugee status” and “true temporary protected status”, but there was no such status for them, it was that just that the situation they reached wasn’t a threat and did – de facto – protect them. Nobody ever gave them that status, not like (say) Hannibal fleeing to an eastern monarch and getting that from him (which didn’t protect Hannibal after all, in the end).
That does mean that they would have qualified under our specifications for such status, but nobody there was working under our latter day arrangements.
On first viewing the photo, I assumed it was some sort of updated piss Christ. Dog Christ? Son of a Bitch Christ?
I was thinking they were afraid somebody was going to steal the doll. Naïve, that.
That was my thought too. That had happened locally, and the PC comments might have also been handwaving to divert attention from the embarrassment of it being stolen before. Some people do really mean things to others’ holiday decorations. (I classed creche vandalism with destroying gravestones. They could be hate, but most end up being young adults without any particular hatred)
Cameras are easy to aquire, easy to operate, good enough to convict, and cheap.
Caging Baby Jesus was intentional.
Huh. some had been caged when I was a young adult long before cameras were as common. (the preacher might be as old as me to think theft more than SJW) Convicting is no help if it is a unique and irreplacable group heirloom.
Bet Lehem, or “House of Bread” in Hebrew etymology.
PETA approves of this village name.
The current residents, Palestinians, call it Bayt Lahm, or “House of Meat”.
PETA really needs to condemn this name quickly.
Well, they just might!
Good luck getting a Third Temple to be vegan.
The headline is an out and out falsehood, “Animals are not ours”. In Genesis, humanity is given dominion over all the beasts of the field, the denizens of the sea (try explaining that to a shark) and everything that flies. Thus, they ARE ours…God gave them to us.
This might interest you. (It also might not).
See the latest post…
See, this is how we know PETA is a completely self contained bubble. Individual Petaists probably have NO conversations with non-Petaists. See, you cannot have a serious conversation with people who produce things like this. A normal person would laugh immediately and Petaist would know they were in some sort of bonkers zone and they’d reel themselves in.
No, their only conversations are had with other devout Petaists and so they sincerely believe what they wrote was meaningful in some way.
I’m really trying to show pity despite my side splitting laughter.
The greatest amount of ignorance lies in the fact that Mary and Joseph were not migrants. They were returning to their familial area for the tax census. If I travel to any other state within my government’s jurisdictional boundaries I am simply a traveler not a migrant.
Boy, I don’t know if that’s the greatest on the ignorance parade. There is so much competition. Where does “opening the borders to let unrestrained immigration destroy the country is caring for each other” rank?
EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE COMMUNISTS!!!!
whew…had to get that out before someone who really believes that did…
They did have communal (quasi socialist) leanings. The apostles soon learned that such a system rots the soul, and changed to “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” with grace for special hardships.
As all socialist societies compel by force redistribution of private property, the early Christian church was *never* socialist.
I saw this, and a photo on the front page of the Catholic Worker* bearing the Holy Family in the guise of José (sporting a sombrero), María (looking not unlike La Virgen de Guadalupe) and Jesus riding a burro, all wrapped in serapes, making their way across a barren desert(dessert?) in search of a living wage. Man, that made my blood boil. I get that art is supposed to provoke but I detest being manipulated. This creche diorama and that image impugn believing immigration laws should be enforced. They mean that believing a government’s primary responsibility is to protect the interests if its citizens is cold-hearted, vicious, racist, and xenophobic position. And, any position other than embracing open borders and unvetted, unfettered, and uncontrolled immigration is evil. Now, from these two images, and the pronouncements from the Vatican, immigration enforcement is immoral.
*Ed. Note: Don’t cyber-yell at me. I get it a home because I am a member of a parish that subscribes to that publication. Most of it drives me nuts and I rarely, if ever, read it.
Funny how the Vatican has walls, doors with locks, and immigration controls.
Sounds like hypocrisy to me.
Not in the realm of putting Jesus in a cage, but perhaps in the same political environment, I give you God sexual assault’s the virgin Mary:
Oh, for crying out loud…
With that you have an example of how the necessary metaphysical grasp of Mary’s consent — the soul’s willingness to respond to the prompting of the Logos and what exists outside of time and space and yet enters into it with directive stimulus, is completely misunderstood.
I do not think this is a small issue, though it seems even rather irrelevant and petty. When one understands what metaphysical rebellion is, one can better understand what terrestrial rebellion is. It is a hard fact to come to grips with yet in an important sense the assent to the Christian project depends on the willingness of the woman. It hinges entirely on what a woman senses is necessary to serve. It is expressed symbolically at all stages within the religious narratives.
Revolutionary Marxism *empowers* the woman to question, resist, oppose and assert a contrary will. But in a sense this *deviant will* is also noticed in revolutionary Enlightenment activism. The will to destroy hierarchies; a will to turn against the *metaphysics*; a rebellion that takes form in a rebellion within the imagination.
It is a hard *truth* to face (and thus it is denied as a truth!) that just as the woman’s assent was required to these *metaphysical projects*, if and when those *projects* are opposed, it is necessary to gain woman’s assent to rebel and to work to undermine what had been built.
It is unquestionably hard in our present — for all people, not just those who don’t respond at an internal, metaphysical level — to grasp the *rebuke*, for example, of Isaiah:
“If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
How the faithful city has become a harlot!
It was full of justice;
Righteousness lodged in it,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your wine mixed with water.
Your princes are rebellious,
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
What fascinates me about the *rebuke* is how different people, in different social stations, and at different levels of power, will not to see it as applying to them. I watched and listened intently to George Bush the Younger’s eulogy of his departed father. A spectacular, and deeply bizarre, performance with stunning production values! I thought is actually masterful in its structure and rhetorical competence. Yet George Bush the Senior is a criminal, and is part of a criminal enterprise, definitely a criminal family implicated in many many levels of criminal activity, and is in precisely the Isaiahan sense ‘a rebel’. Not a servant, but a rebel.
The Bush Family has been implicated in entire levels and dimensions of crime. Documented in a dozen important and fair exposés. And yet within the concept expressed in the funeral itself, the shared sentiment I guess one might say, they seem really to believe that at death he translates himself over directly into the realm of the Creator, as if his American service is an example of service to God! As if Americanism is by definition such service!
For example it has been said (suggested? impugned? is it truth or is it lie?) that Prescott Bush was involved in a coup conspiracy. It has further been suggested that Bush the Elder, as a CIA operative (long before his service in the CIA as director) likely had something to do with the coup that actually did take place in 1963.
Yet these are men serving God, at least in their own mind. Bush the Elder is now in Heaven, running through glorious fields of green and lovingly embracing the child who died young, cuddling together with his departed wide Barbara. These were — these are — George Junior’s assertions, and it is not as if he does not believe them! He really seems to. It is amazing!
What we see — in my ever-so-humble opinion mind you! — is the condensation within the structure of America of an absolute and total rebellion. The real question is of degree of complicity. It is not *service* but open and near-total rebellion (if one wished to be really and sincerely honest, but I do recognize that this position requires a defined metaphysical platform and many will not to have it, or it has been undermined in them, for a host of different reasons).
A nation given over to sexual rebellion and open and outright perversion. A nation unwilling to examine its own *heart* and to come to grips with its severe crimes of late years: murder, destruction of foreign cultures, not only absolutely illegal in international law terms, but deeply sinful if one were really to take such things seriously. But America need pay no attention to any of this! What America does is a manifestation of God’s will!
This is the attitude that has PERVADED the upper echelons, obviously, and the lower echelons absorb it as well, or are simply immune to any consideration of the moral and ethical implications of turning against Metaphysical Directives.
What then, what now? is ‘obedience’? What does it mean to assent? To serve? What am I to serve exactly? How shall it be carried out?
Faith, not works, destines one for Heaven. If the faith is true, then the works will follow: one does not meet Jesus and remain unchanged, for better or worse. One either submits or one rebels.
God’s so called ‘curse’ upon the Fall of Man was not an action on His part so much as a litany of what would not happen, given the original act. If my child breaks a window, I can tell them what will happen from that action (drafts in the house, glass cuts, rot from weather, and so on) but I am not causing those things to happen.
Now you’ve gone and done it…
Slick, see if this helps any:
🙂 [All in pure fun!]
Hmmm…. Got any RED foil? We might be onto something here…
Sleek, I am going to have someone coat some foil just for your personalized hat. It will be delivered by drone.
Would you like a personalized motto on it of some sort?
Oh and I did write an interesting postscript as it were to our delightful conversation, below.
Get back to me when you have fully misunderstood it all . . . I can then clarify and we can keep up with le cycle de l’absurde . . .
Deus te amat, quantum ad te . . .
Go ahead, hold your breath for my response to your attacks… You are name calling and baiting like a good little progressive would do. Proud of your behavior?
Done with you.
Alizia has proven herself(?) a smug self-righteous know-it-all. She(?) is the only holder of Truth, and anyone who disagrees will be subjected to name calling and belittling, which (being a Golden Rule violation) is unethical. As as such I will not dignify her(?) responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.
I have been in trouble since the age of 3 my mother tells me.
But have it your way. Not the choice I’d have hoped you’d have made! So much more fun to debate.
(Do you get no opposition from the women in your world?! At least I am not a lesbian…)
Alizia has proven herself a smug self-righteous know-it-all. She is the only holder of Truth, and anyone who disagrees will be subjected to name calling and belittling, which (being a Golden Rule violation) is unethical. As such I will not dignify her responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.
Oh Slick ….
Te pagué con la misma moneda . . .
The elements of any nativity scene (an amalgamation of episodes from Christ’s infancy that could have occurred over a span of up to 2 years):
1) The “Stable” – an element we find from the Gospel of Luke, which we in modern Western eyes always envision as a separate structure in the mold of our cultural building plans, but in all likelihood was a separate room on the 1st floor of the residence whose guest room was denied to the young family, and if it was a poorer residence, the “stable” could easily have been the MAIN room of the 1st floor of the residence where a family would bring a mule or two inside at night for security.
And, we must recognize that there likely ought to be no talk of an “inn” here, because the young family was denied access to the “guest room” or in greek “kataluma” (a word found 2 other times in the new testament, both in reference to the “guest room” where Christ and his disciples celebrated the Passover before his crucifixion). It *could* be rendered as “inn” or “lodging place”, except that Luke, who uses kataluma for the Nativity, uses another word in the “Good Samaritan” for “inn”, or the greek word “pandocheion”. Interestingly, this is an even greater humiliation of the God-become-flesh than rejection from an inn. As the young family could not even be suffered by people who were likely their own blood relatives already occupying the guest room. So Christ is relegated to the animals and sleeping in their filthy feeding trough.
I suppose the “stable” is supposed to be an analog to the greater prison system that the illegal immigrant parents are contained in while separated from their children, while the guest room is America? Except in the case of Luke’s gospel, Joseph’s family was *obligated* to welcome him and his young wife into the guest room. America is *not* obligated to take in anyone illegally. On an interesting side bar and literary note on Luke’s composition: his mention of the swaddling clothes and laid in a cold stone manger foreshadow the linen cloth Joseph of Arimathea would wrap Christ in about 33 years later and the tomb newly cut from rock.
2) The Shepherds – another element found in the Gospel of Luke, but apparently absent as any analog in this Nativity scene as they stand benignly by Joseph. I have no idea what analog they were going for here, but the Shepherds clue us into Luke’s focus on the poor and outcast in his Gospel (though all the Gospels do this, Luke seems to highlight them).
Though historically shepherds would have been seen as an essential function of the community and seen with a relatively moderate status in the early years of the Israelite kingdom…as shepherding was the backbone industry and individual shepherds would have been expected to secure flocks not just from predators but from raiders…shepherds in the Roman Empire (who ensured security) would have been merely the lowest rung of a society, perhaps of a higher rank than the Tax Collectors. These particular shepherds must’ve been the most junior of a low pecking order to receive the night shift. And yet the birth announcement was given directly to them, not to a priest, not a magnate, not to a king. The only other people who received an announcement received it indirectly from deep study of the Prophets and recognizing a pre-ordained sign:
3) The “Magi” or “Wisemen” or whatever the appropriate translation is – are an element given to us in the Gospel of Matthew. A very odd element too. Left out of Luke, as we are told by scholars because Luke possibly has an aversion to people calling themselves “Magus”, as we see in Luke’s other book an episode in which Simon the “Magus” is a devious character in the early Christian community. Yet we are also told that Matthew is supposedly the “most Jewish” Gospel in a semi-midrashic format as Christ exposits on ethics and morals, but I don’t know how the presence of semi-pagan-stargazers in a gospel directed to the Jews would endear itself to that audience…unless it really happened.
Nevertheless, the Magi, likely Babylonian in origin, have pored through the Law and the Prophets and Writings since, as some traditions will have us believe, the time of Daniel during the Captivity. Receiving an understanding of the prophecies relating to the Messiah of Israel they kept watch for the sign and upon it’s appearance kicked off a prophetic hunt for the location of Jesus. They bore the well-known gifts of the Christmas story, incense the likes used by Priests during the animal sacrifices which symbolized the prayers to God, a perfume the likes used by those burying a deceased person yet appropriate for a child in filthy conditions, and gold, a gift fit for royalty and presciently useful for a poor family about to have to run to Egypt with nothing but the shirts on their backs.
Here’s where our social justice warrior analogy gets exceptionally confusing. The Magi are to represent the caravan trying to force its way into America? Huh?? The Magi brought gifts to the young Jesus (side note: who at this point could have been 2 years old). Is the caravan seeking to bring gifts to America or to the children separated from their parents in cages…the analog of Christ? I’m not sure what gifts the caravan brings…they marched here under the banner of their home nation, more the marks of a military-style invasion than a humble application for asylum (an asylum they refused to accept from Mexico).
No, the caravan isn’t here to give…it is here to take, as we see is apparently the likely outcome of illegal immigrants. What’s the number… 67 percent (?) are on the public dole? Of course, I suppose the “star” (also seemingly absent from the image) which led the Magi must then be all the benefits America has to offer, since that’s what guided the caravan here. Though I think the “star” could *actually* be analogous in this bonkers analogy to what essentially amounts to an open declaration by Democrats to “come to America, we’ve got your back”, a clearly bold Sign to follow that doesn’t take a Wise Man to interpret.
My favorite hypocrisy from people who rail that we shouldn’t mix church and state or that we shouldn’t find political motivation from religiously derived value sets is the immigration argument. Inevitably we are told that we should allow an unmitigated flood of illegal immigrants because that’s what Jesus would do.
Wait…a minute ago you screamed at me that we shouldn’t opposed abortion because someone said Jesus would oppose abortion and we shouldn’t let religion dictate policy.
Which is it guys? If we aren’t a Christian nation, then “What Would Jesus Do?” standard doesn’t work to defend amnesty for hordes of illegal immigrants just as much as it doesn’t work to oppose abortion.
Every time this year an article goes around about the Jesus not being born in a stable. It is possible but largely ignores that Bethelem in the first century (and for many years before and after it) was largely a cave town. As such, there would have been no upper room situation.
I haven’t seen any articles like that, link? I just know the greek words involved and the cultural practices of the day. Even if a large portion of the population was living in caves, it would appear that an area allocated to guests in this particular house, where we assume would have relatively elevated comfort levels was denied to Mary and Joseph and they were compelled to reside in an Animal portion of a cave.
The main point of the clarification is not the nature of the domicile but the nature of the rejection. I think being rejected from guest room or area to occupy the animal room or area is far more significant in the Christian stories emphasizing the Kenosis (or the “condescension” of God when he surrendered his dignity as deity and occupied as low of a state as he did) than being rejected from a town inn.
An innkeeper is ethically obligated to run a first come first serve establishment, and if there is no more room in the inn, what is an inn keeper to do? Kick out already established paying guests for late comers, regardless of their condition?
A family, in a home, does have some level of obligation to other family members (especially if they are in good standing, which there is scant reason to assume they are not). Yet Joseph and Mary were denied access to the guest “room” or “cavern” or whatever. Maybe they lost their “good standing” with the apparent scandal of unwed pregnancy or maybe it was all part of the emphasis on the kenotic nature of Christ’s incarnation.
Either way, rejection by those you are related to is far worse than rejection by someone trying to run a business.
And of course there are still generous interpretations of the text, that despite there being no available space in the guest room, the family still tried to accommodate Joseph and Mary, at least inside the residence. Even if there were animals in the main room over night, Joseph and Mary weren’t turned out to the streets. And maybe Luke was merely describing the sterile facts of the situation and not trying to cast aspersions on the homeowners. Instead of this being a gross rejection of cultural values, this may have been a reasonably expected practice, and while less than preferred may not have been a great insult. Though it still fits with the Christian message of Christ entering the world in a lowly state.
Under #3, I shouldn’t have said “devious” when describing Simon the Magus. “Dubious” is a better term. His role in Acts is much debated. Is he a redeemed character still working through what it means to be a disciple but stumbling colossally and ultimately figuring it out? Is he nefarious and trying to turn the Gospel into Joel Osteen-esque play for money and thrills?
I vote for the ‘redeemed but still learning’ role. Simon was viewing events through a lens he had acquired earlier in life. He was trying to fit what he saw with his prior experiences, and therefore made a gross error.
His heart was revealed in his repentance, asking Peter to pray for him to learn better.
I like the sympathetic interpretation but all interpretations are viable.
Agreed. Just my take, of course.
The pastor needs to be removed from his position for bastardizing the message of Christmas.
Father Stephen Josoma is not a pastor, he’s a priest. Saint Susanna’s Parish is a Catholic parish and, according to what I read, a very *liberal* one.
The questionable politics of Father Stephen Josoma, and the liberalization of the Church from its more *traditional* position (which would never have marred the creche in that way: it would be inconceivable), is a simultaneous development within a hyper-liberalization project that gains force in the Postwar.
For the Church, this took place at Vatican ll (mid Sixties). Note also the rise of ‘Liberation theology’ which was, and is, largely a Catholic movement. Father Stephen Josoma’s notions, likely, are linked to liberation theology.
You could not ‘remove him’ since, right now, the Church is pretty furmly in the hands of such *modernists*. But, there is a traditional movement which is gaining power and influence. But that Catholic traditionalism is, it must be said, anathema in many ways to most of Protestantism. (It would not and is not accepted).
Alizia Tyler wrote, “Father Stephen Josoma is not a pastor, he’s a priest. Saint Susanna’s Parish is a Catholic parish”
Petty point when the article that Jack linked to literally called him “Pastor Fr. Stephen Josoma”. I know of at least one Priest at an area Catholic parish that is called Pastor.
As for the politics of the Priest/Pastor, I don’t give a damn about his politics, he is bastardizing the message of Christmas and he should be removed from his position. Period.
What is the message of Christmas, Zoltar?
I’m not getting into a discussion about religion with you so you can stop trolling me.
If you say that the priest is bastardizing the message of Christmas, it implies an understanding of what Christmas is. It stands to reason that it could be stated in a sentence or so.
This is a discussion forum dealing on ethics and all related to it. And one could only be certain the priest is in error if one could state, simply and directly, what is the message of Christmas. It is crucial to be able to decide if he bastardizes it, or not.
I do not troll, I ask poignant and important questions.
Nah, it is not necessary to agree on the message of Christmas, as long as it is crystal clear that the message being conveyed by the display isn’t it. Fake news, partisan politics, open borders and simple-minded bumper-sticker distortions of Christian values to persuade gullible idiots are not in any way consistent with Christmas, no matter what it is.
You say this as one who would have no need to be aware of the process by which central doctrines (I use the word ‘metaphysics’) have been altered, modified, reinterpreted and also reinvented.
But I have to be aware of such things. That sort of understanding is central to my own project.
I did not ask that he ‘agree’ to the message of Christmas, I asked a question of him that I sensed he would not be able to answer. Because the meaning has been undermined. It is not *understood* and it is not *appreciated*. It is not felt to be true, and in this way is either dismissed as unreal, or intellectualized away.
This is certainly true, or to state it a bit differently it is largely true, or has true elements. The definitions of what Christianity is, what its purpose is, and what it means to be a Christian and live as one, are all in tremendous disarray.
Therefor, the question of definition becomes important. That is my area of interest. It does not have to be anyone else’s.
Sorry to toss a contrary item at you, but there is cause and effect in the situation created over the last 30 years in Central America. US policies, and politics, have had influence there. In my view, the Christian questions are very relevant. They would have to do with helping or influencing people (in these foreign places) to construct better lives. Therefor, the issue of militarizing the area, or toppling unliked governments, is a Christian question.
I say this for preamble purposes: the priest in question is likely one influenced by some modernist Church ideology, and likely Liberation Theology. This has to do with desacralizing the sacraments and augmenting social service (this is a truthful statement, I am not inventing this).
Not an irrelevant point! Christian doctrines, and certainly Church doctrines (properly understood) are holistic. They have to do both with the inner person and his and her outer activity and effect. Catholic social doctrine very definitely has something to say about policies that are destructive to human communities, and therefor I must also have something to say about them.
I don’t agree with the priests rhetoric about the migrants for all the reasons that you don’t. But I do agree that proper policy should work creatively and responsibly to help afflicted people through proper actions and undertakings. A superficial look at US policy in the region leads, in my view, to honest critical postures that are necessary, proper and good.
Alizia wrote, “I asked a question of him that I sensed he would not be able to answer.”
That my dear Alizia is trolling delivered straight up without a twist.
No, it is not. And you engage yourself with a mistruth. You take it as trolling because you do not like the challenge of confrontation. I love the challenge and I desire to be challenged.
Be more heroic, my son. And know that God is not entirely ambivalent to you (a twist on God Loves You).
Alizia wrote, “you do not like the challenge of confrontation”
I don’t like the challenge of confrontation, HA!!!
Now you’re a comedian?
Great, then answer the question: What is the meaning of Christmas?
Oh forget it . . . 🙂
Also, I am best seen as an (annoying) species of μύωψ or ‘gadfly’ in the Socratic sense.
We have our use!
That is a definition remarkably like that of ‘sealioning’ where the questions are designed to waste time, frustrate, and hopefully force an error on the part of the authority.
Not that you were sealioning, Alizia, just noting the similarities in definition and intent between the terms.
Since you keep pressing the point, and since I keep getting clearer about my relations with, for example, this Blog and its intentions, and the various personages who participate here and share their thoughts, and then strictly in relation to me alone as someone trying to understand things (working very very hard in fact against a great deal of opposition), I will give you some more information. Do with it as you wish! It is direct speech: parrhesia. [In rhetoric, parrhesia is a figure of speech described as: “to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking”. This Ancient Greek word has three different forms, as related by Michel Foucault: parrhesia, is a noun, meaning “free speech”; parrhesiazomai, a verb, means “to use parrhesia“; and a parrhesiastes is one who uses parrhesia, for example “one who speaks the truth to power”.***
It would be a total — indeed it would be a very insulting assumption, and from you especially — if you did insinuate that my purpose here, at any time, ever, had been to ‘waste time, frustrate, or to force an error on the part of an authority’. But I do not control and would not ever seek to control your choices in perception, nor in what labels you attach to things.
I have come to a rather hard conclusion, and it came rather suddenly, almost like a mild epiphany, that what *the issue* is here, and also what your-singular issue is and then you-plural, but also and by extension *our problem*, the problem we face in this very strange and confusing present, is that of 1) heresy and 2) intensity or profundity of connection to ‘Cultural Marxism’.
You are Cultural Marxists — to one degree or another. This is a precise term and not an insult term so I hope that you will carefully note this. The Cultural Marxism that I speak of is a unique American version of it. It has penetrated very deeply into the Academy and into so many different categories of thought and perception-understanding. But it is a form of Cultural Marxism that is quite a bit more rabid than the Frankfurt School version. That is what *we* are dealing with in this present. This is the root of the problem and it is what has to be opposed, confronted, and turned around.
The essential reason you are upset with me — your contempt is clear and plain — is because you notice that I do not toe this line. And I continue to confront, probe, poke and challenge the manifestations of Cultural Marxism that manifest themselves in the ideas, thoughts and feelings that are expressed here. You-plural are not the problem, that is, you are not the source of the problem, and in my view to the degree that Cultural Marxism has influenced how you-plural think I cannot blame you-singular.
This likely does not make a great deal of sense to you. How could you, an American Conservative, have a relationship to Cultural Marxism?! It is unthinkable thought, isn’t it? And yet this is, at the base, the issue we all face. The degree that we have come under the sway of these powerful, penetrating ideological constructs.
My project will now begin to deal on this more profoundly. I do not mean here necessarily. But in my own studies. As with all complex things it will require explanation and confronting people who have wedded their ‘self’ with ideologies and certain beliefs and feelings.
The other issue has to do with heresy. This is even more difficult and complex than that of Cultural Marxism infection, yet it is connected. Heresy in the sense of *profound deviation for core Christian concepts*. America has become, and now takes a role in the world, as a perverse and heretical nation. This does not mean that there are no properly ordered individuals, and perhaps groups or institutions, it means that at a meta-political level the US is manifesting its being as a heretic nation. As one that has deviated from the right and proper track and veering out of control. You will have noticed a critical streak, as it were, in my writing and my view. Well, now I see more clearly. And my 4 years on this blog, despite perhaps the intentions of the Blog (which have noble and important aspects) has helped me to see and understand what this heresy is, and what its consequences are.
It came our strongly when I realized I was dealing with Christian Zionists on a recent thread. Christian Zionism is a terribly consequential, and also an evil, heretical doctrine. Not only can this be stated but I can prove it!
So, in fact you do not accept that I describe myself not as a ‘sea-lioner’ but as a philosophical gadfly? In fact this is what you are saying, without desiring to say it outrightly. You think I am ‘wasting your time’, et cetera. I accept that you basically and fundamentally don’t grasp what I am up to and concerned about, and I accept that this is so.
I just thought — out of respect, and I have always respected the people who write here even when I chided or challenged them — I thought that you might appreciate that I clarify my position. If you don’t like it, well, there is nothing I can do. I will go on expressing my views.
Every day something new is added. Every day, after sinking into non-comprehension and confusion, new understandings come to light. It is both a question of internal process (what I call *spirituality*) and greater understanding of what is going on around me and us.
Que tenga usted un excelente día, Señor.
***The Greek lesson comes free of charge!
Whoa, there, girl! Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…
My observation was just that: a sudden realization that the two terms are more related than I heretofore had thought. There was no deep underlying murky meaning, nor any malice directed at you.
“It would be a total — indeed it would be a very insulting assumption, and from you especially…”
This is why I states that it was NOT my intention. Indeed, I recognized that my little epiphany might come off that way to you, and stated outright this was not the case.
“You are Cultural Marxists — to one degree or another….”
May I use a turn of phrase I admired in your posting? “I do not control and would not ever seek to control your choices in perception, nor in what labels you attach to things.”
This assertion may be true, depending upon how one defines the terms. It may even be a valid viewpoint from outside the USA: actions speak louder than words, while intentions can remain hidden or be lied about. I give you the space to have that opinion. Of course, I see things otherwise, being in the thick of my society. (Does that bring visions of biscuit gravy to your mind? Odd, that)
“So, in fact you do not accept that I describe myself not as a ‘sea-lioner’ but as a philosophical gadfly? In fact this is what you are saying, without desiring to say it outrightly. ”
I actually said the opposite, and I meant it. Don’t be so thin skinned! A self professed ‘philosophical gadfly’ must realize that as such, shots WILL be taken, as the highest nail gets hammered! 🙂 This simply was not such a shot.
“The essential reason you are upset with me — your contempt is clear and plain — is because you notice that I do not toe this line.”
Speaking for myself, I hold no contempt for you in my heart. I get weary with the ‘navel gazing’ exercises, but understand that this is how YOU process ideas, events, and perhaps feelings… and that is perfectly fine. However, I am not required to agree with you, nor to remain silent when I perceive refutable points. This is the point of EA, at least for me: see how other people think. I learn from you, even if it is ‘only’ a Greek lesson!
“The other issue has to do with heresy.
Would it shock you, my dear, to learn that I AGREE with you on the spirit of this point? Much of what the USA has been doing in the world is indeed heresy. Allowing and subsidizing abortion, for instance, is an abomination before God. (As an aside, nor is it new: the worshipers of Molech were the same)
We have far to much entanglement in foreign affairs, and play as police to the world. We allow other countries to take advantage of our good nature (and our naivety) for their selfish political and financial gain. Our system allows our enemies (progressives, the media, most Democrats, etc.) to compound our cosmic bookkeeping (which have enough unforced errors in any case, even when Conservatives are in charge: we are human)
I could go on, but I think you see my point.
“ I thought that you might appreciate that I clarify my position.”
Fair enough. Now I have clarified my own.
“Que tenga usted un excelente día, Señor.”
Gott segne Dich, Madchen.
One thing I am not sure you understood: I lived for many years in the Sacramento region and in the Bay Area. I think that you imagine I write from a position of one outside the US? But I went to school in the US and also went to college in the US. And I am a naturalized US citizen.
If I say — if I assert — that America in a general sense has been influenced tremendously by and is under the spell of Cultural Marxism and that it has penetrated to all corners and influenced all people, yes, that is a forceful statement and I would have to back it up. I think it can be done. Cultural Marxism has become, unfortunately, a general attack-term used to discredit the ideas, perhaps the values, that some people hold to, but it is used in lieu of solid argument.
Obviously, the so-called Frankfurt School is what is being referred to, and men who deviated from traditional Marxism and channeled their rebellious spirit into a cultural project (or an anti-cultural project as the case may be) which developed, very strongly, and very obviously, in the Sixties and post-Sixties. This was and still is in a significant sense a particularly Jewish movement and, unpopularly, I link it to what I understand to be ‘the Jewish revolutionary spirit’. [See E. Michael Jones for a fuller definition].
In this aspect, I would argue, the general trend of Cultural Marxism is anti-Christian at a fundamental level, and for this reason (better said this is a contributing reason) it is not unfair to notice that the so-called Jewish revolutionary spirit has worked against, and will continue to work against, and must by nature undermine, Christian metaphysics and what can be called ‘Christian culture’. In my view, both to understand our present, and to begin to militate against it and its destructive direction, one must accurately see and describe *what is going on*. This is an analytical project and a demanding one. It takes place within a general cultural atmosphere of noxious inebriation. That is to say that dumbed down Americans (I regret the force of that statement) cannot see their way through the trees nor the forest. I have to be very bold here: I mean everyone. I mean you, I mean people like Jack and I mean most of the people who are writing on this blog (in good faith of course). I say — it is an assertion that I will have to back up, and I can and will — that in this sense you are ‘Cultural Marxists’ and have been influenced by it to a degree that it emasculates you. It renders you manipulatable sheep who *bleat* to tunes that do not ultimately serve you.
I further say that *America* (to use this horrifyingly general term) is deeply sunk in a narcotic sleep, and that the surrounding powers work day and night 24/7/365 to keep Americans mystified. I am not referring to a *them* I refer to *you-plural*. If the head is positioned *where the sun don’t shine* one can expect nothing but mystified blather especially when it comes to meta-political and metaphysical issues.
Make more sense? I am not simply saying these things for effect or to be controversial: I have determined them to be (largely) true and I will now redouble my efforts to clarify my thinking and to express it with greater force and determination. Once the Ideas have been established, rhetoric is assembled around it, and if ‘all speech is sermonic’ my effort is to communicate why, at a basic level, one must deal on sound metaphysics as the very basis for all ideation.
It should be obvious that these efforts, these *projects* [of Cultural Marxism], arise out of the disaster of the two European wars, and especially out of the Second World War. What this means — and I refer to this in a very general way — is that there is a destructive spirit, or intentionality, operating within Occidental culture and within the psychology of Occidentals, that turns a peculiar hatred and contempt inward into a sort of *will to self-annihilation*. There, I suggest, one can see and one can isolate a destructive, undermining *spirit*, and it is in that *spirit* that American Cultural Marxism resides (if I can express it that way).
I have read some Adorno and some Horkheimer and find numerous points that I agree with their analysis. Their ‘cultural criticism’ is not without merit. But I would argue that American Cultural Marxism is a virulent and extremist form of the former ‘cultural critique’ and it has infected literally everything. Everyone who writes on this Blog, including the Blog’s founder, gives evidence of being under the spell of the virulent form of American Cultural Marxism — as I say: in one degree or other. The question, for me in any case, is to discern it and to isolate it.
You have just insulted me again. You are not the only one though and I do not blame you. Jack came up with this term ‘navel gazing’ and ‘counting the angels on the head of a pin’ in order to attack my ideas without having to take the time to understand them. I need to make a particular point very clear, and I need to do it without even the smallest trace of disrespect and in the spirit of parrhesia: Jack is an atheist and can by his nature have no understanding nor respect for Christian metaphysics or for any metaphysics for that matter. This is not a criticism of him, it is a simple statement of fact. I would argue that a particular form of American atheism which rejects transcendent comprehension and *value* (if I can use this term here) has become linked, very substantially, with the general anti-Christian mood or *philosophy* (such that it is) that significantly dominates our present. In this way, there is a link between the Cultural Marxism I speak about (and against) insofar as CM is a manifestation of Marxist materialism and is, by its nature, destructive of Occidental categories and certain Christian categories.
If you wish to insult me by implying that my assertion here, and the ideas that stand behind the assertion, amounts to ‘navel gazing’, then I will tell you that your brain is not working properly and at capacity. I will not insult you back, that is with an ad hominem, but I will try to explain to you what precisely you are not understanding. Big difference wouldn’t you say? You have just insulted me at a most fundamental level. But you are not alone. Numerous people on this blog have done the same, and for the same reason: they do not, and the will not to, understand the essence that is at play here. The underpinning, the significant and determining issues that underlie the whole cultural project. I make an effort to locate *that* and to speak to *that*.
Why would a correct assessment and a sound definition from you )as agreement) shock me? But you do not completely grasp what I mean when I use the word ‘heresy’ because, you too (as we all are) are married to heretical ideas. It would be a careful and a demanding conversation to define ‘heresy’. But I mentioned a specific manifestation: Christian Zionism and American Christians selling out to actual Zionists, and to hyper-Zionist Neocons who have penetrated deeply into American government, as ‘foreign agents’, and work to influence and to determine policy in the Middle East. Getting more clear? These people, and these policies, have resulted in hundreds and thousands of murders, and the destruction of entire countries, and you-plural say nothing about this! You are complicit up to your ears in the larger crimes of the 21st century. You either see this and admit it, and begin to rectify it, or you go one within the LIES that will lead your polity to destruction.
So, I have made some efforts here to clarify ‘Cultural Marxism’ and to contextualize it in sharp, honest and direct terms. It would require a much longer essay — a book perhaps — to spell it out in detail.
But in closing the other aspect of heresy (and I use this term in a Christian-Catholic and Greco-Christian sense) is even more demanding and difficult than merely noting the evil of unjustified and unjustifiable war. This is to say that to recover America, if it can be recovered, is to recover a relationship at a metaphysical level with the Christian core. I have no other (mealy-mouthed) way to say it. Do it or perish. I think it is that simple.
Gee, let me summarize:
1. “My thinking is too deep for Americans to understand”
2. “There is no way you can relate, yet I will keep writing word clouds in a futile effort to educate you”
3. “Israel bad”
4. “I am offended”
Since we stopped communication in this thread, I will you well.
Not an intelligent summary. If it works for you stay with it though.
Now who is butt hurt and calling names.. I mean, more so than before?
Good response… very telling.
You are mistaken. If I notice ‘insult’ it does not mean that I feel insult. I don’t feel anything. And if I seem to react it is in a way a sham. Or, the proper act when one is insulted.
I am only concerned about ideas, my dear friend, and (if I may be frank) the salvation of my own soul.
This I wish for you, SleekWilly:
Have a good day, Alizia
My only purpose of participating with this blog is to take full advantage and to learn. Not to network with people, not to team up against the *liberals* (Chris, Charles Green, valkygrrl, etc.), not to play mamby-pamby with what I recognize as *pseudo-conservative Americans* who are, in truth, liberal radicals, and definitely not to please anyone, conform to their thinking, none of that. I must be 100% independent and free to decide issues as I think they must be decided. I seek no allies and avoid what I call forum games. I obviously challenge authority but I do so respectfully. I do not seek to undermine authority though, and this is an important distinction.
With that said, and after some days of thought, I want to address this particular, peculiar, tendentious and also false assertion of yours, and to do so through reference to a specific and highly relevant example and issue. Indeed, it could be said to be one of the most important and consequential issues of the day: Christian Zionist support of Israel based, as it is, in sola scriptura interpretation of the sacred writings. I realized, when conversing with Michael West (to the degree that he did or can *converse*) that I was dealing with Christian Zionists here. Even Michael R. who I think is Catholic seems to have absorbed the essential ideology, as has occurred and as has been noted by various Catholic intellectuals and exegetes.
Let us start with your statement:
I will show you — in any case make a strong presentation — of why this declaration is false. Those who are influenced by the sola scriptura approach to the reading of the Sacred Scriptures — and that is the root of your assertion that ‘faith not works destines one for Heaven’ insofar as it arose out of Protestantism — apply this skewed understanding to their relationship with Jews and with Israel in relation to the specific Biblical passage:
The ‘thee’ here is taken to mean ‘the Jews’ and this passage from Genesis is taken out of its context and applied to ‘the Jews’ of our present. The first — and serious — exegetical error occurs right there. The ‘blessing’ that was foretold and promised was, according to Christian doctrines, is the appearance of the Savior in the person of Jesus Christ. A *proper* Christian reading of the Scriptures, old and new, point expressly to this appearance as the blessing foretold. And at that point, and from that point on, Christian history begins and ‘the Christian project’.
Radically erroneous and very questionable *interpretations* begin at a later period, and as it pertains to Christian Zionism these questionable, and consequential, false interpretations have been noted in the Scofield Bible commentaries. American Christian Zionism has its root in these strange doctrines. The idea developed that there is one ‘dispensation’ for Christians and another for ‘the Jews’. It therefor is improper to preach to Jews, or to convert Jews, and indeed it is suggested strongly that to do so is *wrong* and unnecessary. These bizarre assertions lead to numerous other bizarre assertions such as that ‘the Jews’ are to be God’s ‘earthly people’ and the Christians God’s ‘heavenly people’. But most importantly, in our context, it has led to the notion that Christians must support the modern State of Israel and must also support its basic illegality.
But there is more, and the *more* is very consequential. According to Jewish theological (scriptural) doctrines it is only the Moshiach that will bring dispersed Jews back to Israel. Jewish Zionism, within a religious and faithful context, is anti-Biblical and, significantly, opposes the belief that it will be a divine agency that will *restore* Israel. Jewish Zionism was set in motion not by religious Jews — who would not have conceived of it as possible — and by secular, indeed by atheistic and socialistic/communistic Jews. These are facts.
Zionism, Christian or Jewish, and the forced establishment of Israel through political machinations, operates against and opposes the essential cores of Christian belief. But the consequences of Zionism are not merely in theological errors, they have profound consequences in and for our present. To understand a developed and coherent Catholic/Christian grasp of the many problems within the Christian Zionist perspective, I will link to a talk that I also shared with Michael West. It would take 1-1/2 hours to listen to the 2 parts. Yet if you or anyone wanted to understand the position that I incline to, and why I incline to it, most of the reasoning will be found in the talk.
As you wrote: “If the faith is true the works will follow”. I suggest — I only present the most basic outline here — that in this case the ‘faith’ is incorrectly founded, and thus the following work is as we see it: destructive. The Middle Eastern wars, which go on & on & on and appear to serve America’s master in the region, Israel, are linked to not only theological errors but dangerous political choices which result in ‘evil policies’ and ‘evil results’. Not the least being the harm done to the American social body.
All of the elements that I refer to can be looked into, examined, thought about, and considered. The questions really are moral and ethical. I do admit that for many — especially in our *post-Christian* context — that Biblical prophecy and depth-theology issues, are problematic. For example Jack’s position has no relationship at all to any other issue but that of *international law* vis-a-vis the post-Shoa Jews of Europe, or at least the small portion of them, who chose to go to Israel. But I would suggest that, for Christians, and also for Jews I should say (there are anti-Zionist Jewish groups), that theological issues cannot be separated out of the question. Unless of course one really does live in a *post-Christian world* (which is largely true!)
Christian Zionism: Tracing the Lines of a Warmongering Heresy.
I have long had to put up with people who abuse religion to advance their political agenda, and this is just more of the same. That a pastor is doing it does not surprise me at all. There is a word for people like him that has ancient roots in the Christian faith – Pharisee.
It’s synonymous with the hypocritically religious and those religious leaders who place their politics above their faith.
The news report on this is worth watching and reading. This is a perfect example of where religion and government have been conflated recently. When I was a kid in Catholic school in the ‘fifties, we were given little boxes to put coins into. Peter’s Pence or something like that. The idea was that the money would be collected at the end of Lent or something and be sent off to poor kids in Africa or somewhere.
Sixty years later, we have obnoxious priests and their parishioners telling the general populous and the taxpayers how to run the country. To whom I say, “Fuck you.” If these people want to help their neighbors, by all means. Collect money to send to Guatemala or Honduras. Go down there yourself and start businesses and create jobs. Kill a few gangsters down there. Sell your house and buy them a house down there. Just don’t tell other citizens and taxpayers they are constitutionally obligated to let anyone in the world avail themselves of the United States’ welfare safety net.
Again, stick with Faith Hope and Charity, particularly Charity. Stay out of government. Keep your greedy little hands off the U.S. Treasury. It’s not yours. No one elected you. It’s funny how liberals despise religion but want government to act like a religion.
“It’s funny how liberals despise religion but want government to act like a religion.”
In all worldviews there is some entity with God-like influence. Remove “God” and he’ll be replaced by something. In the atheistic left, he’ll be replaced with self-styled omniscient busybodies who, in their zeal to be our angels ministering to us will in reality be our demons tormenting us for our own good.
(and yes before someone tells me C.S.Lewis said it better, I didn’t recall his exact quote so I had to wing my own version of it)
And here I thought lefties were smarter than “those people,” you know, the ones who cling to their guns and their religion.
Remember, a lot of ministers and priests are atheists. Surveys point to at least 1 in 6 Christian clergy members are atheists. The Catholic Church currently seems to think it is OK. Any criticism of the failings of the clergy is called Donatism. Under this view, the entire Catholic Church could have zero believing priests, bishops, or even the pope, but the faithful would still need to seek the sacraments from the unbelievers. In an environment like that, is it any wonder that manger scenes like this occur.
A strange anecdote
I arranged an appointment with a priest in Cali (Colombia) because I hopes to find people interested in traditional Catholicism. When I explained my desire to this man he said he could not help as he did not know of any. He also said that whenever he and people like that got together they tended to ‘clash’ (using the gesture of two fists striking). He said that he would send me a selection of his writings on spiritual topics by email so I could better understand his position.
What he sent were 8-10 strange essays on largely incomprehensible themes. I remember references to the ouroboros, to odd mystical symbolism, and all manner of different topics, none of which I remember because they seemed abstract and rather vain. Not one reference to anything Christian or Catholic. In the course of my meeting with him he said that he was not only a modernist by a postmodernist. He only meant that he was significantly more of a modernist than any average modernist. “In order to go forward the Church must change”.
It made me realize that what has happened for many of these men — and as it happened in the 50s and 60s much modernizing tendencies came from the Latin American priests (and not all for bad reasons) and had a significant effect on Vatican ll — what happened is that they had, in fact, ceased to be Christian and Catholic. What they have become I am uncertain. They could well be atheists. But more likely they exist in some netherworld of belief, like The Hunter Gracchus in the Kafka story:
More when I know more . . .
i would put that priest in a different category than atheist. I would put them in the category of ignorant or ‘progressive’ Christian. In recent years, I have found some of the people most ignorant of Christianity seem to be ministers. Many of them learned crazy, ‘cutting edge’ theories of Christianity in seminary (because you can’t get published and get tenure by agreeing that the orthodox interpretation is right). Much of it is incompatible with Christianity (like Communism). I was at a church with a new minister who was sure their message from seminary was going to resonate with this poor congregation. This minister began to preach that God only cared about the poor and that the poorer you were, the more God loved you (liberation theology). The congregation was really appalled and explained that they were poor and it wasn’t a lot of fun. They didn’t believe God really wanted everyone to suffer that way. They wanted to not be poor, but this message basically told them that they were sinful for that desire. I would put the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ preachers in this category as well. I drove by the local ‘Prosperity Gospel’ church in town on Christmas Day a few years ago (a Sunday). I found that they had canceled services…for CHRISTMAS! They didn’t want church to interfere with CHRISTMAS! (sigh) I want to call such ministers unethical, but I think ignorant is more accurate. This is what they were taught, they don’t know any better, and they apparently have no ability to read and independently think.
As for the atheists, studies seem to show that such people become ministers because they want to help people and they want to be in a position of authority. As atheists or unbelievers, they feel they aren’t doing any harm because Christianity is just a make-believe joke anyway. As long as they go through the motions, they see nothing wrong with taking money to spiritually lead people in beliefs they don’t believe. I do think these people are unethical. They view their congregation as a bunch of superstitious rubes and they have no problem pretending to be their minister and taking their money.
I read your post with interest and I would agree with it.
I don’t know about the situation very well up in the States themselves (nor could I speak for Europe), but in Latin America it must be understood that generally all people tend to see culture, society and life itself through a Marxian lens. Meaning, it is always about economics and economic struggle. That is hard to avoid of course in cultures that are so divided (and unjustly so in many respects).
As to the particular priest I met with, one day perhaps I will go back and talk to him more and see what, in fact, he does believe.
He could exist in some variant of the vague state I referred to in the Kafka quote. Many people here exist in such a state. The reason is because, sadly, there is so very little *liberal education*. People get just the basics in grade-school, but then immediately have to choose some career choice if they go to University. They have no time for philosophy, history, religious studies, literature studies, and thus no real appreciation of the European traditions. They can’t afford to dedicate time to such things and, therefor, it is not taught.
What is emphasized though is a level of political understanding of Latin America vis-a-vis ‘the Colossus’ immediately to the North! It is a sort of victimology or resentment indoctrination that comes through a work (a manifesto) like Open Veins of Latin America (Eduardo Galeano, 1971).
A funny anecdote is that when Hugo Chavez did meet President Obama at one regional meeting, Chavez made a big deal of gifting Obama with Galeano’s book. Exactly the same (Venezuelan) edition that I picked up years ago!
You can see it here at 1:20 [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pxgQQr6AQM ]
Another priest I met with — a more aggressive and frankly unpleasant man — spoke of the ‘sickly traditionalism’ of some of his priest-brothers with positions in Cartago, Colombia. At no point in our talk did he make any mention of anything particularly Catholic nor Christian. It was all, essentially, political and resentment-oriented. He was also of the age to have been educated in Liberation Theology principles in the 70s.
Before I read the story, I thought the wire cage around the statue of Baby Jesus was just intended to protect it from vandalism. If Father Josoma added the wire cage to make a political statement, though, that is just plain creepy/crazy/blasphemous. Father’s entitled to believe whatever he wants in regard to politics, but not to desecrate religious statuary (owned by the diocese through the parish, not by him) to make his point.
I wonder how progressives would react if the baby Jesus was portrayed as a destroyed fetus at the hand of Herod. Herod’s sanctioning of killing the male infants to protect his governing power plays right into Senator Gillibrand’s statement that the future is female.
I need something else to think about.
Try this to get your mind off of it!
One could write, with equal plausibility, that jesus represents children of military deserters who become separated from their parents.
There is a much stronger case thatthe baby Jesus represents Shaneen Allen’s kids.