A Shout Out to Papa on Mother’s Day: Pope Francis Joins the March for Life in Rome

I am soooo in the bag for Pope Francis! 

He is my spiritual leader, and I feel that he genuinely cares about the likes of me … and the likes of you. He showed that again today when he made the “highly unusual” move of joining the annual March for Life in Rome. 

We have a Walk for Life here in Oklahoma each fall, and we are trying to start an on-going March for Life in the spring. A sprinkling of clergy show up for these events. Another sprinkling actually mention them in announcements at mass. But for the most part, these are laity led, laity run and laity done events. 

I’m not saying that’s bad. The clergy can do nothing in this world without a laity that is willing to go into the boardrooms and back rooms and onto the streets to stand for Christ. But, on the other hand, we can’t do much without their active and enthusiastic leadership. 

Pope Francis, for all his 77 years, brings enthusiasm to his job. He seems willing to inconvenience himself, take risks and step over barriers in order to be the shepherd of this great flock God has given him. 

Leaders lead. 

They don’t talk about leading. They do it. 

Churchill didn’t hide during the blitz and keep himself safe. He went out into the streets of London and let the people see him. That is the kind of leadership that can get a people through something as daunting as what the British faced during the early years of World War II. 

Pope Francis has that great leadership touch. He will actually step out, go to the head of the line and lead. 

The Holy Spirit has given us such a gift in this good man. God bless Pope Francis, and as the Protestants say, Thank you Jesus. 

From LifeSiteNews:

Pope surprises, delights 40,000 Italian pro-lifers, joins March for Life

ROME, May 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Francis surprised about 40,000 Italian and international participants in today’s Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Internazionale in Rome this morning, when he left the Apostolic Palace to greet them personally from his popemobile in the street where they were lined up.

Monsignore Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that for the pope to have effectively joined the March for Life was highly unusual.

Since his election, the pope has gained a reputation for making spontaneous gestures that have sometimes taxed his security staff, beginning with taking the bus back to his temporary residence with the other cardinals the night of his election, instead of the car reserved for the pope.

In this case, however, the Vatican appeared to have prepared the event ahead of time. Monsignore Barreiro noted they had prepared crowd control barriers to guide the popemobile out of St. Peter’s square and across the adjacent piazza and down the wide Via della Conciliazione that leads up the Basilica.

But if organizers knew about a planned appearance by the pope at the march, they made no mention of it before the event, leaving participants delighted by the unexpected arrival of the pontiff.   

The pope also gave a shout-out to the marchers from his usual weekly Regina Coeli address, briefly welcoming them and endorsing a European-wide pro-life petition against embryo research. 

The ‘One of Us’ campaign is seeking to gain 1 million signatures as part of a European Citizen Initiative. If organizers of the campaign achieve their goal the European Parliament is duty-bound to schedule a debate on the issue. 

“I invite you to keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception,” the pope told the marchers. 

He also invited all to attend the Vatican’s “Evangelium Vitae Day,” which he said would be “a special moment especially for those who care about the defense of the sanctity of human life,” to take place “in the context of the Year of Faith,” on 15 and 16 June. 

March organisers were delighted with the greeting and with the extraordinary surge of numbers from last year’s march, which attracted 15,000 from around the country. 

“The welcome of Pope Francis represents the highest recognition for the initiative and the confirmation of the sensitivity of the Pope to the non-negotiable principles, beginning with the right to life,” organisers said. Read the rest here.) 

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Martyrs of Otranto: An Entire Village that Chose Death Rather than Renounce Jesus

The Holy Father canonized the 800 Martyrs of Otranto today.

These 800 people chose death rather than renounce Christ. Their courage and the resistance of their fellow citizens saved Rome from the fate of Constantinople, which had fallen to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

These videos tell about their sacrifice then and canonization in Rome today. The second video also describes the canonization of two other saints.

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My Golden Mama and Her Slow Good-bye

Let me tell you about my mother. 

She is 87 and she gets confused.

She gets confused a lot.

For a couple of years there, every day was a challenge just to keep her alive. We rushed her to the hospital several times so they could drag her back from the edge. Now, her physical health has stabilized, but her mental health is going downhill, a little bit at a time.

She reminds me quite often that I took her car away from her. She’s lost that sense of time that lets the rest of us grieve a loss and then move on, leaving it in our past. When she remembers that she doesn’t have a car, the indignation is as fresh for her as the day it happened. The day I took that car was a sad day for me, too. When she tells me, as she does at least once every day, that I “took” it from her, it re-opens the pain in me, as well.

Other than the car memories, my mother is as sweet as a small child. She accepts whatever I suggest as the best thing and she trusts me the same way my children did when they were little. Like them, she talks almost non-stop, prating along about things that happened, or didn’t happen but that she thinks happened, 60, 70 or even 80 years ago.

For my part, I’ve fallen into the same u-huh, u-huh, answers that I gave my babies when they chattered to me as they “helped” me wash dishes or plant flowers or whatever. I do a lot of the same things with her that I did with them. We sat in the backyard yesterday and counted the blue-jays and the robins to determine which are the most numerous.

The differences are that when I told them something, they remembered it later that day. Mama doesn’t. That, and the fact that my babies were moving forward toward independent life, while Mama is moving inexorably away from independent life and then on to the next life on the other side of this one.

Forgetfulness is a blessing of sorts. At the beginning of this journey, she knew when she forgot and it upset her. Now, she no longer remembers that she doesn’t remember. She’s much happier this way.

I never remind her that she’s asked me that same question several times. I just answer her again. I don’t chide her about calling me 10 times in 15 minutes when I’m at work. I just talk to her each time as if it was the first call; because for her, it is.

I love my mother. I always have. But in some ways, she’s more precious to me now than she ever was before. She is so sweet, and so good. The pretensions we hide our real selves behind are gone from her. Her personality is stripped down to the unself-conscious realness of its bare self. What that is in my mother is a person who is all love, all generosity, trusting and deeply, profoundly innocent.

Caring for her during these years of her slow good-bye has given me the chance to see my mother as she really is without any cover. What I’ve seen is that she is a wonderful person, all the way through.

This is precious time, these years with her. I would not trade them for anything. There are moments, every once in a while, when I miss who she used to be. I would love to just sit down and have a talk with Mama as she was. But that can’t be and I know it, so I run my mental fingers over the weave of the thought and then fold it up, put it away and go back to the reality of the sweet baby Mama I still have.

Old age is not a tragedy. It most certainly is not a waste or a burden to those who aren’t there yet. It is a gift and a treasure; a phase of life like any other. My mother is going through a slow and beautiful passage from this life to the next one. It make take her years yet. Her family is a very long-lived tribe. Or, it may end suddenly, at any time.

Whichever way that happens, I know that she and her ultimate future are in God’s loving hands. I only thank Him for giving me this present time to love and cherish her now. It is, like she is, golden.

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Is Government Intelligence a Contradiction in Terms?

Is government intelligence a contradiction in terms?

The reason I ask is because an 83-year-old nun and her two not-so-Rambo-esq buddies managed to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex last July and spend two hours putzing around hanging banners and putting up crime scene tape before anybody noticed.

They also sprayed baby bottles filled with human blood on the walls.

Now think about this. An 83-year-old nun breaks into our nation’s top nuclear weapons manufacturing facility and doo-dahs around the missiles for two hours before somebody asks her what she’s doing there. 

If that isn’t enough to make you question the intelligence of our intelligence people, consider this. The laff-alot boys put her on trial. And the equally glum jury found her guilty.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll sleep a lot better knowing that Sister Megan Rice of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus is behind bars. Of course, the fact that she managed to do this at our nation’s top nuclear weapons manufacturing facility may still have me tossing and turning a bit.

After all, if an 83-year-old nun can do it, there’s a slight possibility that someone who wants to do more than hang banners and splash blood on the missiles might get in there. We’ve already seen what mass murderers with initiative can do with fertilizer and ball bearings. Do we really want a demonstration of what they can do with nukes?

Putting this elderly nun in jail does not make us safer. In fact, it probably makes us less safe. I regard the whole trial as the brain flab of a bunch of government bureaucrats who got their pants pulled down in public and are angry about it. People like this act like embarrassed cats when their stupidity gets paraded around. That, and not national security, or some slavish devotion to “the law” is the reason for the trial.

If they gave two flips about keeping this country safe, Sister Rice and her elderly cohorts would never have been able to pull this off. Let’s face it. We aren’t safe. And Sister Rice proved it to us. 

Instead of sending her to jail, they should pin a medal on her for making the rest of us aware of the scandalous lack of security at this facility — a lack of security that endangers every man, woman and child in this nation. I do think it would be a good idea to delay the medal-pinning ceremony until after they sit the Sister down and ask her how she did it. That might be nice to know.

As for sending people to jail, maybe we should look at whoever is in charge of security at this plant. It sounds like they are guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty. Of course, that is the real reason Sister Rice will be snoozing in the big house. These cats are covering their litter with a stupid trial and conviction.

I just hope the security is better at the prison than it is at our nuclear weapons facilities. It’s terrifying to think what might happen if Sister Megan busts out.

From CNA:

.- Sister Megan Rice of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus was convicted May 8 for breaking into and causing damage at a Tennessee nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

The 83-year-old nun was accompanied in the July break-in by Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, all of whom are members of Transform Now Plowshares. The three were convicted after two-and-a-half hours of jury deliberation.

On May 4, Sr. Mary Ann Buckley, head of the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, said the order “would like to express our deep concern” over the trial.

“It should be noted that Sr. Megan was arrested as she and two others engaged in a peaceful protest, offering prayer for the thousands who have lost their lives as a result of nuclear weapons,” Sr. Buckley, representing the Society, said.

On July 28, the three protestors cut through security fences to enter the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, which enriches and stores uranium for nuclear weapons.

They hung banners and crime-scene tape, and hammered small chunks off a wall, spending about two hours in the complex before being approached by a guard. (Read more here.)

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Students Stand Up to Christian Bashing in Public Schools

This video was produced by Reach America, an education organization based in Coeur d”Alene, Idaho.

Gary Brown, founder of the organization, said that one of the factors that inspired him to create this video, which is named The Thaw, happened last year when a public school teacher asked students to write an essay title, “I Believe,” without using the names God or Jesus in their papers.

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Pope Francis and Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros Meet, Pray Together

There is one Jesus. 

Every difference between Christians is a difference that human beings have created. Because there is one Jesus and He is the same Jesus for all of us.

We live in an era with rising violent persecution of Christians in much of the world. That is coupled with a militant secularism that appears to be setting up the framework for legal discrimination and marginalization of Christians in most of the rest of the world.

Christians must stand together against these threats.

It gladdened my heart when I saw the photos of Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros, laughing, talking and praying together.

According to a CNA article, Pope Tawadros had this to say:

“We must prepare our people for this very real and needed unity that we know and live, we must work quickly and seriously,” said Pope Tawadros II in May 10 remarks provided to CNA by his office.

His visit to the Vatican is significant because he leades Egypt’s largest Christian Church with ten million members, as well as historic, since the May 9-13 trip is the first to Rome in 40 years.

“The rising of Islamic parties in countries like Egypt and Syria means Christians are now feeling they are second or third class citizens,” said Father Rafic Greiche, director of the press office for the Catholic Church in Egypt.

“We Egyptian Christians want our brothers of all world churches to help us, to pray for us and to be real brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,” he told CNA on May 10 in Rome. (Read the rest here.)

I agree with this sentiment. Christians must help Christians.

Here, from Vatican Radio is Pope Francis’ statement:

Your Holiness,

Dear Brothers in Christ,

For me it is a great joy and a truly graced moment to be able to receive all of you here, at the tomb of Saint Peter, as we recall that historic meeting forty years ago between our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and the late Pope Shenouda III, in an embrace of peace and fraternity, after centuries of mutual distrust. So it is with deep affection that I welcome Your Holiness and the distinguished members of your delegation, and I thank you for your words. Through you, I extend my cordial greetings in the Lord to the bishops, the clergy, the monks and the whole Coptic Orthodox Church.
Today’s visit strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already exist between the See of Peter and the See of Mark, heir to an inestimable heritage of martyrs, theologians, holy monks and faithful disciples of Christ, who have borne witness to the Gospel from generation to generation, often in situations of great adversity.

Forty years ago the Common Declaration of our predecessors represented a milestone on the ecumenical journey, and from it emerged a Commission for Theological Dialogue between our Churches, which has yielded good results and has prepared the ground for a broader dialogue between the Catholic Church and the entire family of Oriental Orthodox Churches, a dialogue that continues to bear fruit to this day. In that solemn Declaration, our Churches acknowledged that, in line with the apostolic traditions, they profess “one faith in the One Triune God” and “the divinity of the Only-begotten Son of God … perfect God with respect to his divinity, perfect man with respect to his humanity”. They acknowledged that divine life is given to us and nourished through the seven sacraments and they recognized a mutual bond in their common devotion to the Mother of God.

We are glad to be able to confirm today what our illustrious predecessors solemnly declared, we are glad to recognize that we are united by one Baptism, of which our common prayer is a special expression, and we long for the day when, in fulfilment of the Lord’s desire, we will be able to communicate from the one chalice.

Of course we are well aware that the path ahead may still prove to be long, but we do not want to forget the considerable distance already travelled, which has taken tangible form in radiant moments of communion, among which I am pleased to recall the meeting in February 2000 in Cairo between Pope Shenouda III and Blessed John Paul II, who went as a pilgrim, during the Great Jubilee, to the places of origin of our faith. I am convinced that – under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – our persevering prayer, our dialogue and the will to build communion day by day in mutual love will allow us to take important further steps towards full unity.

Your Holiness, I am aware of the many marks of attention and fraternal charity that you have shown, since the early days of your ministry, to the Catholic Coptic Church, to its Pastor, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak and to his predecessor, Cardinal Antonios Naguib. The institution of a “National Council of Christian Churches”, which you strongly desired, represents an important sign of the will of all believers in Christ to develop relations in daily life that are increasingly fraternal and to put themselves at the service of the whole of Egyptian society, of which they form an integral part. Let me assure you that your efforts to build communion among believers in Christ, and your lively interest in the future of your country and the role of the Christian communities within Egyptian society find a deep echo in the heart of the Successor of Peter and of the entire Catholic community.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). This is a law of the Christian life, and in this sense we can say that there is also an ecumenism of suffering: just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the Church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity. And this also applies, in a certain sense, to the broader context of society and relations between Christians and non-Christians: from shared suffering can blossom forth forgiveness and reconciliation, with God’s help.

Your Holiness, in assuring you of my prayers that the whole flock entrusted to your pastoral care may be ever faithful to the Lord’s call, I invoke the protection of both Saint Peter and Saint Mark: may they who during their lifetime worked together in practical ways for the spread of the Gospel, intercede for us and accompany the journey of our Churches.

Text from page 
http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/05/10/pope_francis_welcomes_egypts_coptic_orthodox_pope_tawadros/en1-690886 
of the Vatican Radio website 

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Jesus Goes to Prepare a Place for Us

 

In my Father’s house there are many mansions. I go now to prepare a place a place for you. I will come again to take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also. 

Why do you stand staring up into heaven. This Jesus you saw being taken up from you will come back …

 

Here’s hoping you have a happy and blessed Feast of the Ascension!

 

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Pope to Women Religious: What would the Church be Without You?

Our Church needs vocations. 

It needs men and women who will commit their lives to Jesus in the absolute and total way that taking vows implies. We need priests to bring us the sacraments. We also need sisters to go out in the world and bring the love of Christ to suffering people.

However, before anything else, these vowed ones of God must be true to Christ and to His Church. I want a priest who will show me the way to heaven. I know that there is only One Way and that Way is Jesus Christ. I want a priest who will teach me and lead me in the narrow way of salvation that Jesus shows us. That means I want a priest who is faithful to the Church.

I also see the crying need for sisters to bring Jesus to sin-sick people, the world over. These are just my personal thoughts — definitely not Church teaching — but I honestly think that the loving hand of one person, lifting up another in the name of Our Lord, is a very real and personal sacrament of grace. It is not the sacraments that flow through the apostolic succession and into us when we go to confession or partake of the Eucharist. It is, rather, a personal gift of love and care that is empowered by and grows from those sacraments; a grace that is transmitted by and through the sacraments and becomes itself a kind of sacramental gift.

When the devil comes at us, he most often walks in on two feet. When the Lord Jesus shelters and care for us, he most often reaches out to us through human hands.

Sisters offer gifts that are unique to them as women. Their fidelity down through the centuries is a testament to the way that Christ works in this world through women. Sisters have built hospitals, schools and other forces of civilization all over the world. They have taught and nurtured and cared for countless people who would have been closed off the witness to Christ of a man.

“What would the Church be without you?” Pope Francis asked 800 superiors of women’s orders from around the world today.

I can answer that question, at least partially. It would not be the universal Church that speaks for all humanity. Without women, the Church is a body, cut down the middle, half of itself cast aside. It cannot function, cannot live, like that. 

Pope Francis told the religious superiors that they need to ensure that the women in their orders “are educated in the doctrine of the Church, in love for the Church and in an ecclesial spirit.

“It is an absurd dichotomy to think one can live with Jesus, but without the Church, to follow Jesus outside the Church, to love Jesus and not the Church,” he said.

Here, from CNA, are quotes from the Holy Father’s speech:

In his talk to the women, Pope Francis said their vow of chastity expands their ability to give themselves to God and to others “with the tenderness, mercy and closeness of Christ.” 

However, “please, let it be a fruitful chastity, a chastity that generates sons and daughters in the church. The consecrated woman is a mother, must be a mother and not a spinster,” he said. While the sisters were laughing at his use of a very colloquial Italian word for “spinster” or “old maid,” he added: “Forgive me for speaking this way, but the motherhood of consecrated life, its fertility, is important.”

Pope Francis said that just as Mary could not be understood without recognizing her role as being Jesus’ mother, the church cannot be understood without recognizing its role as being the mother of all believers. “And you are an icon of Mary and the church,” he said.

 

“We must never forget that true power, at any level, is service, which reached its highest point on the Cross. Think of how much damage to the people of God has been caused by men and women of the church who are careerists, climbers, who use the people, the church, their brothers and sisters — those they should be serving — as trampolines for their personal interests and ambitions,” he said. “This does great harm to the church.”

 

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Pope Will Canonize 800 Martyrs of the Ottoman Wars

Pope Francis will canonize 800 martyrs this Sunday. The 800 martyrs were killed at the hands of Ottoman soldiers in Otranto, in Southern Italy in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam.

Pope Benedict XVI recognized them as martyrs “killed out of hatred for the faith” in 2007. According to an article in the Telegraph, the Archbishop of Otranto was cut to pieces with a scimitar before the 800 were murdered.

The Hagia Sophia; largest Christian church in the world before the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. It was converted to a mosque, and is now a museum. There is discussion about turning it back into a mosque. 

The Turks were sent to capture Rome and thus complete what they had begun in with the sack of Constantinope. When his fleet landed in Oranto, the citizens held out, despite a siege and Rome did not fall.

What we owe these martyrs. Rome did not fall. 

Various media reports seem to want to make a political statement out of what is a religious ceremony. I do think that it’s important for Christians to insist on a more balanced and accurate reporting of such events as the Crusades. But it is equally important that we remember those who died rather than turn their backs on Jesus.

From CatholicHerald.co.uk:

Pope Francis is preparing to canonise an estimated 800 Italian laymen killed by Ottoman soldiers in the 15th century. The canonisation service will be on May 12 in St Peter’s Square and it will be the first carried out by the Pontiff since he was elected in early March.

The killing of the martyrs by Ottoman troops, who launched a weeks-long siege of Otranto, a small port town at the most eastern tip of southern Italy, took place in 1480.

When Otranto residents refused to surrender to the Ottoman army, the soldiers were ordered to massacre all males over the age of 15. Many were ordered to convert to Islam or die, but Blessed Antonio Primaldo, a tailor, spoke on the prisoners’ behalf. “We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, and for Jesus Christ we are ready to die,” he said, according to Blessed John Paul II, who visited Otranto in 1980 for the 500th anniversary of the martyrs’ deaths.

Primaldo inspired all the other townspeople to take courage, the late Pope said, and to say: “We will all die for Jesus Christ; we willingly die so as to not renounce his holy faith.” There were not “deluded” or “outdated,” Blessed John Paul continued, but “authentic, strong, decisive, consistent men” who loved their city, their families and their faith. (Read the rest here.)

 

 

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UMC Congregation Votes to Withhold Marriage Rite Until Gay Marriage is Law

 

I once was a United Methodist. 

After my conversion experience, I had no idea what to do next. No one “led” me to Jesus except Jesus Himself. So, I waited around for a month, waiting for this Being who was keeping company with me to guide me.

When it came into my mind to go to St Luke’s Methodist Church, I got up the next Sunday and went. That was the beginning of nine fruitful years in which I began to walk the path that has led me to where I am now. I don’t remember ever, not once in all those nine years, when the question of gay marriage even came up. That was long ago and this is now. Back then, the debates were all about communist insurgency in Central America and abortion.

My main source of dissatisfaction with that church wasn’t political. It was that the Church left me hungry. I think this hunger is the key to the story I’m about to relate. A few weeks ago, the Green Street United Methodist Church, which is in North Carolina, released a statement through Equality NC saying that their Leadership Council had asked church ministers to “join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples.”

I am no longer a United Methodist, and whether or if they decide to provide the sacrament of marriage to their members is their call. But I have to say that I think this is just plain stupid. Baptizing, marrying, burying is what Christian churches of every denomination do.

However, as I said, it’s not my call. If the people in that church want to skip their weddings and co-habit in order to make a political point, so be it. I wouldn’t exactly call this following Christian teaching, but, hey, it’s not my church.

And that is the point. It’s not my church. I was an active member of a large United Methodist church for nine years. I taught Sunday school, delivered meals on wheels to the elderly and sat in my amen-saying corner every Sunday. I got a lot from the experience. It was a great church for taking someone like I was when I joined and turning her slowly and gently toward a closer walk with the Lord.

I walked into that church the first time still spiritually wet behind the ears from being born again. I had just experienced the Presence of God close up and personal and there was not a shred of doubt anywhere in me that the Who I had encountered was real. I was awash in the indescribable joy of that encounter, the love that Presence poured into me and the new guidance that was coming at me from this Being who I didn’t have a name for.

I learned later that the Being was the Holy Spirit. I also learned that a lot of things I was doing and thought were A-OK, were, in fact, sins. But at that time, all I knew for sure was what I’d learned from encountering the Living God first hand.

That was actually quite a lot; enough to build a life on. But the points of religious practice, Christian teaching and Scripture with which to frame this life were totally missing in me.

I began the process of learning the Gospels and what being a Christian means at St Luke’s. I can honestly say that they never led me down any dark path the way this happenin’ church in North Carolina is doing with its people.

However, the foundation for that bad leadership was there at St Luke’s, even if it wasn’t active. I got a great deal from my time at the church, but it always left me hungry. I wanted more Jesus than they gave me. There was a warmed-over quality to things there. It wasn’t bad teaching. It was tepid teaching; as if Easter really was about egg hunts and new dresses.

I know that this church equipped good people to face the exigencies of life. I saw them do it. I saw their faith sustain them through trying times.

But it left me hungry.

I think this stand-offish approach to Christianity is often open to the abuse of letting the hard teachings of the Gospels go slip-sliding away. I am not pointing out the United Methodists when I say this. I think every church and every denomination faces the question Jesus asked the disciples when His followers walked away from Him: Will you leave me too?

Jesus asks us for our whole selves. We can’t preach to Him about the latest social fads and expect Him to excuse us from our vocation to live the Gospels in full, without drawing safety margins around the parts that make us unpopular or force us to sacrifice. 

When a church — any church — teaches its people that the wide way is the path to heaven, they are lying to them. When they use their prophetic and moral voice to claim that sin is not sin but is instead a positive good, they are pied pipers leading others to destruction.

I know something about this. I once thought and taught that legal abortion was a positive good. I know from personal experience that you can not undo the harm that you do later on. 

I would feel sorry for the leadership of this church if they weren’t doing so much harm to their congregants. They are teaching and preaching a false Gospel. It’s as simple as that.

As I said, it’s not my call to decide whether or not some little church in North Carolina should refuse the sacrament of marriage to its congregants in order to make a political statement. It’s their call, and it appears they’ve made it.

However, there is nothing to stop me from saying that what they are doing is, at best, plain stupid.

From Gawker.

A United Methodist Church in North Carolina is taking a dramatic stand on the issue of marriage equality by announcing the immediate cessationof all its marriage-related services until the right to marry is granted to all couples, including ones of the same sex.

 “North Carolina prohibits same sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings,” the Green Street United Methodist Church said in a statement released through Equality NC.

“The Leadership Council has asked that their ministers join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples.”

The Council’s request that its senior pastor, Kelly Carpenter, “refrain from conducting wedding ceremonies” for straight couples is unlikely to be met with resistance, as the pastor told WXII News he believes all congregants should be allowed to “share a sense of the love that they have found.”

In lieu of marriages, the church plans to hold “relationship blessings” until such time as the right to marry is recognized by both the denomination and the state. (Read the rest here.)

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