This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
Scott Hahn describes a conversation he had with a Muslim scholar. The point for me in this conversation is the great beauty of what Jesus did for us.
Jesus is God made Human. He gave up His deity to become one of us in order to redeem us. By doing this, He became the Way by which we can enter into genuine communion with Our Father Who Art in Heaven.
No other faith has an empty tomb. No other faith has a Brother God Who has suffered as we suffer, been tempted as we are tempted and who understands with the knowing of personal experience what it is to be human.
There is no other Way except Jesus. We are the children of God, and He tells us to call Him our Father. Think about that, and rejoice.
The Immaculate Conception is the door opening on our salvation.
It is God the Father, preparing the way for the birth of God the Son by first preparing a holy mother for Him.
The idea that God chose to enter the world as a helpless baby, born to a young girl and her carpenter husband in a backwater province of a conquered nation goes against everything we know and believe about what makes a person important.
We live in a world where might makes right and the biggest and meanest get to make all the rules. This disregard for the little people of the world was even more pronounced in that long-ago day when Our Lady was conceived. This tiny spark of humanity, who was destined to become the bearer of the hope of all humankind, was, if possible, even less important to the worldly world than her baby son would be at His beginning.
She was, after all, a girl in a world that to this day regards little girls as less than worthless. She was that half of humanity which was often exposed at birth and left to rot. Even today in large swaths of what we call civilization, baby girls are aborted because they are girls, and if they are born, killed shortly afterwards. Girls in these cultures often get less food, little education and almost no support in their development as people. They are subjected to brutalities ranging from female genital mutilation, to child marriages, rape and battering.
And yet, God chose, with every possibility possible at His disposal, to come into our world through the motherhood of a young woman. God entrusted Himself to a mother from His conception to His eventual death on the cross. It was a woman who gave Him life and who nurtured, shaped and reared Him into young manhood. This does not take anything away from Joseph’s contribution. Fathers are just as important as mothers. But today we are considering the one person who was with Jesus from conception to grave, and who then was there at Pentecost when the Church was born.
Mary is the mother of us all, the essential human contribution to the undoing of the curse of the Fall. She was prophesied at the Fall and she will be there at the real end when Jesus comes again.
And it began with her conception, when God re-created the lost innocence of Eden in a new Eve who would give birth to the salvific Child to undo our transgressions. This great re-wind started then, in her Immaculate Conception. It was the long-awaited door opening. This feast day is our chance to go back and re-learn what has been given to us by a young girl who, conceived without sin as the original Eve had been, did not falter in her mission as that earlier Eve did, but remained sinless until her own death.
God gave us Mary, and Mary, through her obedience and faith, gave us His son.
She is not, as some traditions try to treat her, a mindless incubator we bring out for Christmas pageants and then forget the rest of the year. Our Lady is woven into the story of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Everything that is wholly human about Our Lord comes from and through her. She gave us her Son, first at His birth and then later at Calvary; and He in turn, gave us His mother.
The Immaculate Conception is a door opening on the end of hopelessness and death. It is a cell-sized point of light shining in the darkness of our own devices. Mary, Our Mother, began the way we all did, as a single cell made in the image and likeness of God.
Christ’s humanity is her humanity. Her dignity is our dignity. She is our mother for the ages.
Patheos has been running a debate among high-profile thinkers about Christian engagement in politics.
I do not hold a candle to the intellectual/social/pundit gravitas to the writers who have addressed this. Also, nobody has asked my opinion. But as usual, that doesn’t stop me from giving it.
Let me begin by saying that political Christianity as it has been practiced in America for the past four decades is heresy. It is based on the totally incorrect but implicit teaching from a lot of wing-nut preachers, religious leaders and religio-politicians that righteousness before God is to be found in how you vote and who you hate.
That is heretical. It is also anti-Christ. It teaches self-righteousness, encourages slander and leads people away from the cross, not to it. It is the astral twin of the same kind of co-option of the Christian moral voice that took place in Nazi Germany.
Political parties have “claimed” the Christian moral voice as their means to getting votes to gain power for themselves that they then use to allocate the budget and government favor to those who pay the parties’ bills. They have not delivered on any of their promises to the Christians who blindly voted in their column, and they will not. That was never their intention.
This heresy of a political christianity (little c) has done a great deal of harm to the moral voice of real Christianity at a pivotal time in the moral decline of our nation. It has also, as time has passed and people have begun to gag on its hypocrisies and obvious lies, declined in its vote-getting ability. This has happened at the same time that members of the public who are totally sick of political christianity and diametrically opposed to it have reached a critical mass in key electoral states and can now be big players in the outcome of presidential elections.
In other words, political christianity has become something of a liability to the people who have used it to gain power for these last decades, largely by virtue of the fact that it has diminished and tarnished real Christianity in the public eye to the point that real Christianity itself is becoming besieged in the larger culture.
To put it bluntly, the smart money is beginning to be on the anti-Jesus crowd and for this reason, the smart money is backpedalling on their aggressive “moral” stands, which were nothing more than political poses in the first place.
Since Christianity has spent so much of its moral capital in lending itself to the election of people who are nothing more than puppets of an amoral corporate conglomerate, it is floundering a bit.
What to do?
Should Christians (real Christians) withdraw from the pubic sphere, head for the hills and comfort one another around the hidden campfires of our faith? Should we drop all pretense of taking our beliefs into the court of public opinion. Should we stop taking a stand for the things we believe because those beliefs no longer resonate with large groups of very vocal people?
Should we get smart in the worldly sense and go along to get along, even if that means giving up on what has been basic Christian teaching for 2,000 years?
Should we, in short, tuck tail and run now that the pay-off has become a pay-back?
That is what a good many political christians who have capitalized on the naiveté of the earnest believers they led off into this heresy decades ago are hoping. Shut up and leave us alone, they tell their befuddled flocks. We’ve got deals to do and this morality stuff is no longer helping us do them. It has become a liability we want to shuck.
The answer, at least so far as I’m concerned, is that yes, the political christians who were using real Christianity to gain power for themselves need to take off their lamb’s wool and be the wolves they always were. I also think that the many political preachers who’ve been teaching the heresy of redemption through politics to their flocks need to stand down. In fact, I think a lot of them need to leave the pulpit altogether and go into the wilderness to find their Lord.
Does this mean that I think that Christians should give up on the sanctity of human life and holy matrimony, or that they should stop being engaged with the world?
We are the light of the world and we need to be that light. That is true especially now when we are becoming besieged and battered by a culture that is (rightfully so) turning its back on the heresy of political christianity.
There is a difference between genuine belief and political expedience. This difference manifests itself in a number of ways, one of which is standing firm when things go wrong.
My advice to Christians is that they should not become cowards about their faith because people who were using Christianity for their own purposes have begun to desert the ship. That’s what rats do, you know. Let them do it.
But you stand firm.
Catholics are being challenged by a Pope who is deliberately and directly addressing this heresy of political christianity and calling us to take on the whole Gospel of Christ. Political christians and their phoney-baloney religious leaders have taught a shorn and neutered political gospel that they have mis-interpreted to fit the political fashion of one or the other of the two political parties for a long time now. They have many well-intentioned but deluded followers.
There are several generations of American Christians who have grown up being taught the heresy of political christianity as if it was real Christianity. When Pope Francis goes in your face with this heresy and teaches us the whole Gospel instead of a truncated corporatist version of it, these people are confounded and offended. Some — perhaps many — of them will not follow the Pope, but denounce him for his failure to validate their allegiance to the false gods of political christianity.
That is sad, and it rests entirely on the doorstep of the political christian leaders of the past decades. By that I mean the same exact christian leaders who are now trying to turn the political christian ship away from the very things they once trumpeted as “non-negotiable issues” for “serious” catholics, or, ‘serious” christians.
There is no reason for people to be dismayed or frightened by all this. Christ will prevail. All we have to do is follow Him and not some bogus political christian leader who is manipulating us to maintain his or her access to the political halls of power.
There is no better way to do this than to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church as they are elucidated by His Vicar, Pope Francis.
Should Christians be engaged in politics?
We are the leaven, the light, the salt and the hope of this fallen world. Involvement in politics is not our mission, it is an expression of our fidelity to Jesus Christ in every aspect of our lives, including the political. For those of us who have a calling to active involvement in politics, this expression becomes both more compelling and more fraught than it is for those who are called to live out their faith in other arenas.
But America is somewhat unique in that every citizen is to some extent a politician. Government of, by and for the people is not only a privilege, it is a responsibility. No American can shrug off their responsibility to vote according to what they think is best. If you are a Christian, then what you think is best will be in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. To that extent, every Christian is political.
But genuine Christian involvement in politics at any level must be indifferent to party loyalties and the various demagogues who try to exploit our faith. You cannot follow Christ and these bogus religious leaders with their bogus gospel both at the same time. They lead down entirely different paths.
As I said earlier, I believe that the best way to follow Christ in any endeavor including the political is to be faithful to the teachings of the Gospel as interpreted by the constant, 2,000-year-old teachings of the Catholic Church.
We don’t need to re-invent the wheel or re-write the Gospels. We just need to be faithful to our call, which is always and forever, the Person of Jesus Christ.
A “self-professed Bible scholar,” has announced that he cooked up a new theory that will “rock Christianity to the core.”
This one should at least get a D- for extravagant tall tale telling. It seems that this guy has come up with the notion that the Roman government invented the jesus story in order to control their populace.
I won’t even go into all the ways this thing won’t fly. I’ll leave that to those with the patience and the spreadsheet for it. You can read all about at TheBlaze. Or, you could just round file it alongside jesus’ grave, the passover plot and the whole cacophony of attacks on Christianity out there in the hustings.
These things are a clever way to make a few bucks. If you can’t write well enough to create something that people would want to read on its own merits, cook up a witches’ brew of attacks on Christianity. Attacking Christ and Christians has become so popular that the attackers have exhausted their arguments. They have to settle for battering Christians with personal insults and repeating cliched attacks against the faith that have been rattling around so long that they’ve been worn slick.
From that perspective, any new line of attack is going to be welcomed in certain quarters. It may not make much sense, but it will be treated as if it does simply because it’s a new bucket of mud to sling.
On Oct. 19, self-professed Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill is planning to make public some very flammable allegations. At a day-long symposium called “Covert Messiah” in London, England, he’s set to unveil purported evidence that Roman aristocrats manufactured Jesus Christ – a claim that, if substantiated, would devalue the core of the Christian faith.
The only problem? Most Biblical experts disagree with the scholar’s pronouncements.
A press release announcing the purported new evidence claims that Atwill has discovered “ancient confessions” that purportedly prove that Romans invented Jesus Christ in the first century. He has long argued that the faith system was used as a political tool to control the masses — something he says is still going on today.
“I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm, but this is important for our culture,” he said of the alleged debunk – one that he believes will eventually be universally accepted.
I don’t advise checking them out, but if you do, you will notice that the atheist blogs never talk about anything else, and I mean, they never talk about anything else except Jesus Christ.
Christian bashing is their only interest and their only reason for existing. They are God-obsessed people.
Given that, it’s sorta sad that, as this little ditty points out, they don’t got no songs.