God in the whirlwind–and a personal interruption

Well, in our travels, we went through Moore, seeing the devastation that was truly awful–in the sense of both “terrible” and in the older sense of “awe-inspiring.”   A whole swathe of the city, marking the twister’s path, just obliterated, with houses, businesses, and other structures reduced to unrecognizable piles of debris.  Coming back, we went by a forested region outside of town, the trees just knocked over and thrown about like toys.

We didn’t see our two sets of relatives by marriage who lost their homes.  They were at work when the tornado struck (a major reason the loss of life was relatively small being that most people in the neighborhoods where it hit the hardest weren’t at home at that time of day).  They came back to find their homes blown down to the foundations.  We were told that they are feeling philosophical about it all. [Read more…]

The American energy bonanza

The BBC reports that new information about American oil and gas supplies, thanks to our vast shale deposits and the new ability to extract energy from them, will shake up the world’s economy.

From BBC News – US shale oil supply shock shifts global power balance:

A steeper-than-expected rise in US shale oil reserves is about to change the global balance of power between new and existing producers, a report says. [Read more…]

The God whom Christians worship

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, in which we reflect on the One true God who consists of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  That God is a unity of distinct persons means that we can accurately say that He is love, love being at the very essence of God, since love–even human love–can be defined as a unity of distinct persons.  Christians worship the Triune God, a very different kind of deity from that of all other religions.

On Trinity Sunday, churches that follow the classic liturgy recite The Athanasian Creed[Read more…]

Memorials

Have a happy, but thoughtful Memorial Day.  I know it’s mainly become just the beginning of the summer holidays, the first bratwurst of summer (in the words of Those Darned Accordians).  Enjoy that part of it, but the holiday was started as a commemoration of the war dead.  It’s been extended for many people as a day to remember all of the dead, to decorate graves and to reflect on the memory of family members and other loved ones who have died.  It so happens that for the first time in a long, long time, we are close by the cemetery where generations of my family members have been buried.  We loaded up with flowers and are going to participate in that custom of adorning the graves.  I’m really looking forward to that.  We too may end up in that cemetery some day.  I guess I’ve gotten to the age where that thought really doesn’t bother me anymore.  It’s going to be very meaningful.

At any rate, as we have done before on this blog, use this space to write a memorial to someone you would like to remember on this day.

 

More on the salvation of non-believers

In trying to explain Pope Francis’s statement about atheists that we blogged about, a Vatican spokesman, Father Thomas Rosica wrote a piece entitled Explanatory Note on the Meaning of ‘Salvation’ in Francis’ Daily Homily of May 22:  Reflections on Atheists, Christians, and Who Will Be Saved.  He nuanced what the pope said, but he didn’t explain it away, nor did he say, as we did in our discussion, that he was referring to meeting together in the realm of civil righteousness.  Rather, Father Rosica explained the sense in which atheists and other non-believers can, in fact, be saved:

4)  The great German Jesuit theolgian, Fr. Karl Rahner introduced the idea of “anonymous Christian” into theological reflection. Through this concept, offered to Christians, Rahner said that God desires all people to be saved, and cannot possibly consign all non-Christians to hell.  Secondly, Jesus Christ is God’s only means of salvation. This must mean that the non-Christians who end up in heaven must have received the grace of Christ without their realising it.   Hence the term – ‘anonymous Christian’. [Read more…]

Pope says atheists can be saved

Pope Francis preached a homily in which he pretty much said that atheists too can do good and therefore can go to heaven.  (Notice the assumption that salvation is by good works and not by faith, which is being presented as not really necessary.)  The pope’s words are after the jump, along with some other indications of a growing universalism in Roman Catholicism. [Read more…]