Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Private Communications, Hackers, Dictators, Terrorists, Bishops, and Hollywood

In a curious confluence of the stars and meteors, this week presented us with leaks of hacked Hollywood communications, the possible involvement of a foreign dictator's hackers, and an Episcopal bishop's publication of letters  inhibiting him and in effect deposing him because he expressed a desire to bridge the gulf that separates the Diocese of South Carolina from the Episcopal church.

The fact that all electronic communications are subject to potential publication is somehow infuriating to the Hollywood left now that they have been exposed and everyone gets to see what used to stay hidden behind the  silver screen.
Why are people so upset? I do not believe it is just because of possible terrorist threats on the film industry. There must be something more. I think it is because this explodes the modern secular human myth that privacy truly exists.

Is anything really private?

Don't we Christians believe in the omniscience of God? What could we possibly keep from Him?

Nothing.

We all are totally exposed, naked, there is nowhere to hide before Him.

So what should be our reaction to being hacked?
"What is the proper response to God’s omniscience? The inspired apostle Paul provided a fitting answer in Colossians 3:24: 'And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.' Those who refuse to serve the Lord should be frightened by God’s omniscience, because God knows of every sin. And unforgiven sin will be punished (Psalm 90:8; Romans 6:23). For God’s children, however, the implications of God’s knowledge are sources of peace and strength (2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 3:22; Romans 11:33). Ultimately, the God Who knows everything will judge humans based on how we use the knowledge that has been revealed to us. We must act based on our knowledge to prepare for eternity." Caleb Colley, Ph.D. at Apologetics Press 
The whole Hollywood hack fuss may be bad for their business, their pride, and their reputations, but I would hope that it would be an occasion to point them towards that which is truly important.

Lord, if this year's season of Advent does anything at all, let it shine The Light on our lost paths, and help us to see that all of our secrets are revealed to you, and that we must beg for your forgiveness and forever thank you for coming to our rescue in the form of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent Lights Are Not Enough

Last night I went outside to look for any Geminid meteors that might be bright enough to be seen through the urban light pollution, some of which was due to all the houses in our neighborhood that had placed electric "candles" in the windows as part of our typical Advent/Christmas decorations.

Mea culpa


The brightness of the sky-glow made me question the need for all those Advent/Christmas lights. Jesus should be able to find his way without our help. It seemed to me that humanity's ability to light the night might be a reflection our growing amnesia of the powers of darkness, of our needs, and of some of our ancient Christian themes.
"A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." Luke 2:32 King (KJV)
Only children are afraid of the dark these days. We make our own light.

Today's lesson featured the interrogation of John the Baptist, who testified to the light, and the question posed to him of by what authority he performed his baptisms.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, 'I am not the Messiah.' And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the prophet?' He answered, 'No.' Then they said to him, 'Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' He said, 'I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord," as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, 'Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?' John answered them, 'I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.' This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing."
John 1:6-8,19-28
John was clearly a target not only of Herod but also of the priests and Levites, much like Jesus will be during his time.

Given the importance of John the Baptist, isn't it odd that he is not commonly found as a Christmas tree ornament? Maybe one holding a candle?

Given his usual depiction, maybe not.



But doesn't our season of Advent remind us to also be preparing the way for the Lord?

Now I don't expect you all to rush out and don a garment of camel's hair with a leather belt around the waist, nor do I expect you to live on a diet of locusts and wild honey, but maybe in this increasingly secular world where children may not have been raised in the Christian faith, maybe we should step up and proclaim the good news as well,
"...to give knowledge of salvation unto his people." Luke 1:78
We are still a people in need of salvation, and I think that is where the Christian understanding of reality differs from the prevailing worldview in the west. As Albert Mohler wrote in his blog this week,
"The Christmas story cannot be reduced to a sentimental tale that gives humanity a warm glow." 
No, humanity was and still is broken, living in darkness, and we are still in need of a redeemer.

So maybe we need to keep the candles lit in the windows of our homes to signal to the rest of humanity the need for the True Light to come into our darkened world.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TEc Bling: "The Episcopal Church, We don't suck"

This was given out by an Episcopal bishop at a youth event and posted on Facebook,


"The Episcopal Church We don't suck"
C'mon man! Bishop dude needs to stash the bling.

I have to agree with the message in a way: TEc certainly has not been sucking in new members.

Question: "Just what is that great sucking sound that we hear in TEc anyway?"

Answer: "The sound of people being sucked out the door."

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Pearl Harbor Reflections

"The lesson of Pearl Harbor ought never to be forgotten... We need to keep that in mind." Oliver North 

If you ever go to Hawaii, you must not forget to pay your respects to those who died at Pearl Harbor. For us, it was a sacred duty as well as a rewarding experience. I pulled these from my photo album.

Oil droplets ascending from the U.S.S. Arizona

Flag over the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed." 2 Peter 3:10


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Slippery Staircase

The first step away from God is when we deny the authority of the scriptures found in the Bible.


I saw this illustration over at Churchmouse Campanologist, and I agree that it as true today as it was in 1922, and I asked if there were any steps lower than the last two. You will have to step over to Churchmouse's pages to see what we came up with.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Resolutions

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and it marks the beginning of a new Church year. I never have been too keen on New Year's resolutions as the whole new year thing always seemed rather arbitrary to me.

After all, who made January 1 the first day of the new year? Julius Caesar?  Pope Gregory XIII?

Do we really want our year's beginning be a remembrance of a two faced god?


Janus: the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.
Nope, not me, no way.

Perhaps every day should mark a new beginning, and it should demand new resolutions from us.

Nope, that would be too tough.

The liturgical year begins today, so why do we not start the year with Advent resolutions?

I can hear it now, "Are you nuts?"

Yes I am.

So this year I resolve to...

Oh God, I hate resolutions, and I hate to write them down. That makes them so permanent.

Alright, I resolve to pray daily.

Today I will pray for peace as the choir did today as they sang Vivaldi's "Et in Terra Pax".



Luke 2:14 "Gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis."

There.

Done.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of California: The Earth and the Cosmos Are Reaching Out and Calling You

One should fully expect to see the prerequisite Episcopal delegation at anything related to "climate change" or "earth Day", so the following should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of California, Marc Andrus whose Magical Mandala Tour was featured on these pages a while back (Part 1 here, and Part 2 here). The following invocation is from the "People's Climate March" and it strikes me as something that one might hear at a pagan ceremony.
Invocation for the Conclusion of the People of Faith Service
People’s Climate March
Sunday, September 21, 2014
New York City
 
“Who calls the clouds of Monarch Butterflies to their annual 4,000-mile migration?”
“The Earth!”
 
“Who prompts the Arctic Tern in the air, and the Blue Whale in the Ocean to make their 12,000-mile migration?”
“The Earth!”
 
“Who starts the 500-mile Serengeti Migration, beginning with 250,000 Zebras, then 1.7 million Wildebeasts, and 400,000 Gazelles?”
“The Earth!”
 
“And who called you to make your journeys, from Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Everywhere to come to the People’s Climate March?”
“The Earth!”
 
“Then you are the prayer of the Earth, you are her invocation to God! The Earth and the Cosmos have reached out and called you to make your life a prayer for healing, peace, justice and integrity!” 
+Marc Andrus
Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of California 
Uh, like seriously, I mean get real Marc, ya know...

Shouldn't the answers to all of his questions be "The Lord!"? I think he has the whole thing upside down, but I guess that is the way people see things until their eyes are opened.

I hate to be one who quotes scripture to a bishop... not really, I enjoy it,
The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. Psalm 115:16