November 14, 2019

Heaven belongs in our catechisms, prayers, and creeds—but not in English Scripture translations. Heaven help us, but the “heaven” we Christians talk about, pray to, and hope for, is simply not to be found in Scripture. Scandalous though it may be to say that, it is true, and it must be clarified for a great many confused people. That doesn’t make our belief in “heaven” wrong or bad. It just means that doctrine develops. As we saw previously in a… Read more

November 8, 2019

Forgeries like Second Thessalonians are inspired even though Paul didn’t write them. Forgeries being read at Mass!!?? On Sundays we have been going over the document called “Second Thessalonians” in the Liturgy of the Word. Last Sunday it was 2 Thessalonians 1:11—2:2. This Sunday we will read 2 Thessalonians 2:16—3:5. The following Sunday it will be 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12. When the lector comes to the ambo to give the Second Reading, she or he will no doubt say, “A reading… Read more

November 7, 2019

Apocalyptic and Eschatology are incorrect and misleading anachronisms that should never be applied to Mark 13, the Book of Revelation, and Jesus. Apocalyptic, to many, means something like the old Norse Ragnarök, the end of all things. In November, in places where Vikings frequented, things get very dark and frigid. With dread, ancient peoples living there knew winter and scarcity were fast approaching. Death followed. Older people and the very young would suffer. This time encompassing Samhain and Yuletide would occasion… Read more

November 5, 2019

Hell—whether the popular Christian idea or official Church doctrine—took almost two thousand years to develop. Hell, a state of permanent separation from God, is an essential to Catholic thought and Christian thought. Becoming “no” to God’s gift is a real possibility. In this sense, “hell” is the word we Christians use in our “clubhouse nomenclature” to point to the possibility of an eternalized relationship with God. There is a terrifying possibility that we can become “NO!” and “Screw off!” to… Read more

November 1, 2019

“Blessed are…” go the Beatitudes of Jesus, but maybe wrongly in our English translations! Blessed with critical tools unknown by throughout Church history, our age is gifted with unique opportunities for diving deep into the Gospels! Solemnity for All Saints our Gospel reading is the longer form of the Beatitudes, from the Gospel called “Matthew.” We shared in an earlier blog post about the Woes and Beatitudes and how they function in the Mediterranean core cultural values of honor and… Read more

October 30, 2019

Satan, and our understanding of him, shows that doctrine develops and theology evolves. Satan just isn’t what he used to be! The devil (diabolos in Greek) wasn’t always what he is today. At one point, the devil and Satan were two different persons. Moreover, that talking snake of Genesis was still another person. But by the time we reach the New Testament, all these three other-than-human persons had become one and the road was set for a Christian take on… Read more

October 28, 2019

Witches accused and condemned to burn are probably the worst most shameful crime ever committed by the Church. Witches of the Sea, haunted lighthouses, and stormy weather! I had the deep Halloween and American pleasure of seeing THE LIGHTHOUSE over the weekend. I’m a big Willem Dafoe fan. Been so ever even at 14, when I begged my mother to drive forty miles one Sunday after CCD to watch THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. My whole class had been forbidden… Read more

October 24, 2019

Earth ought to be translated as “Earth Oven” in today’s Gospel. Earth. What does it mean? Certainly, it is important to know the meaning of a word. Communication depends on it. But even more importantly we must grasp the cultural connotation of a word. Translation problems abound in English versions of the Bible, in a great part due to anachronism and ethnocentrism. Today’s Gospel selection, Luke 12:49-53, gives an example of this unfortunate tendency at work. Culturally informed scholars such… Read more

October 23, 2019

Halloween, Harry Potter, and Amazon Statues are Pagan and evil says Catholic fundamentalists, conveying a diametrically opposed paradigm to the sacramental vision of the Church. Halloween time twelve years ago, someone Catholic informed me that All Hallow’s Eve is Satanic. She said it was an Anglo-Saxon fantasy of wickedness, a dance macabre, a black mass for witches and demons, a return to Paganism, and a holiday for disguises. She said Halloween is indecent and morbid, that Catholics who celebrate it… Read more

October 20, 2019

Persistence has nothing to do with the parable inappropriately titled, “The Persistent Widow,” a story better thought of as, “The Shameless Judge Gets Shamed.” Persistence aptly describes culturally uninformed Western Bible translators and their continued ethnocentric blunders in rendering the Mediterranean Scriptures into English. They persist in ethnocentrically distorting what our Biblical ancestors in the faith were trying to communicate. Earlier, we saw how “persistence” was ill-used to describe the host in the Lukan parable who asks his friend for… Read more

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