Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership

What is “Church Leadership?” What does it even mean?

Why do so many (at least in Evangelical circles of various denominations) consider lifelong dedicated celibacy so lowly? Why is it something almost no one considers, while marriage is lauded everywhere? Why is it something no one sees and no one is encouraged to consider?

Maybe the two questions are related? Maybe “Church Leadership” and celibacy, though not identical, should often be seen together?

What if “Church Leadership” is more than preaching sermons and getting to know “church members” and “counseling” people? What if “Church Leadership” should mean being an example to both the brethren and those who do not yet believe? What if, anyone who isn’t so, is by definition not a “Church Leader?” Continue reading “Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership”

Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him

“I shall see Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake after Thy likeness.”

“Little children, it is not yet manifest what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

“Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God.”

“We who behold with unveiled faces the glory of the Lord as in a mirror are being transformed into that same image as from glory to glory.”

“Now we know in part; then we shall know in full. Now we see as in a mirror dimly; then we shall see face to face.”

“He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ so that He should be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Heaven is the fulfillment of our nature. It is to see Him whom we were created to see, and by seeing to be like Him. It is the Beatific Vision: the direct, immediate (not mediated) presence of God in and to the soul.

In Heaven, we shall be like Christ. Continue reading “Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him”

Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War

We are made to love the Lord God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as our own selves. That means all of our neighbors – all fellow human beings are our neighbors, the children of Adam and Eve and our brothers and sisters, created in the image and likeness of God Himself, each one’s name known specially to God before the creation of the world.

Indeed, we are to love our neighbors as Jesus Christ Himself has loved us. He laid down His life for us.

We do not get to pick and choose who is our neighbor, whom we must love as we love ourselves, love as Jesus loved us. Continue reading “Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War”

What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain

“You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain.”

“Father, hallowed be Your Name.”

God is Holy. His Greatness – His Truth – His Love – His Goodness, all these call us to approach Him and to speak His Name with reverence and with joy, not flippantly, not carelessly, but meaning what we say as nearly as we can, knowing that He of Whom we speak is so real and true we cannot grasp Him, so high and loving and beautiful we stand in awe of His supreme goodness. Continue reading “What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain”

Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?

How many of you who deny or reject God would want, if it were possible, to know, love, and serve a Being who not only loves but was the very incarnation of Love, a Person who not only was good but was goodness itself?

If you’ve read other writings of mine, most of the time when I use the word ‘God’ I do not mean an exceptionally powerful creature with an ego problem or anything like that. Perhaps, it will make things clearer if, in this post, I don’t use the word ‘God’ or any words associated with that word at all to describe the thing of which I am thinking and which I am putting forward for your consideration, but I’m not sure how to do that. There’s only so many words in the world, or at least in any given language. Continue reading “Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?”

Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus

I’ve never been able to understand the way in which many people in America think about persecution and martyrdom. I might literally shiver with fear, but the way of thinking about persecution I knew was that of the Apostles when they “went forth from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of the Name” or that with which the Christian writings from the era of the Roman persecutions seeps: the crown, the victor’s palm, the fulfillment of martyrdom. They counted torture for the sake of Christ a joy. There is a line, descriptive of the whole tone which meets one in their writings and in the accounts of their deaths, in the autobiography of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, about martyrs who watched their brothers die, “consoling themselves with the thought that perhaps they were being kept for greater torments.” Not that I understood all of this all, or even most, of the time. But it was the way Christians thought. I was an abnormal Christian when and because I didn’t think and feel this way, never when or because I did. Continue reading “Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus”

Why is There So Little Persecution in the United States of America?

First of all, I don’t believe there is ‘so little persecution in the United States of America’.

The first reason known to me, and the one still primary in my thoughts, is this one: Jesus told us the world would persecute us. America is part of the world – not meaning the wholesome and very good creation of God, consisting of stars and suns and trees and flowers and human persons and so much more, but the construct and society and systems and worldviews, of which nations, at least as we know them, are a part, the domain of the Enemy, the Darkness which is not the pure darkness out of which God created or which is of the good night He made, but the Darkness of fallen and corrupted light. America, being part of the ‘world’ in this sense, the world that crucified our King, cannot be friends with Christians, or refrain from persecuting us who are called to be the light of the world because the Light of the World shines in our hearts and must shine through us.

For this reason, when first I heard that Christians were not persecuted in America, or persecuted only rarely, I found the statement extremely strange. Continue reading “Why is There So Little Persecution in the United States of America?”

How the Santa Claus Story is Anti-Christmas

With the celebration of the Incarnation of the Son of God, of His birth into the world in the stable at Bethlehem, outcast of the world, heralded by rejoicing angels, visited by shepherds, Christ the Lord, come to save His people from their sins, on December the 25th – or indeed, on any other day of the year – I have no issue. I think it is rather beautiful and good, than otherwise. Neither have I any issue with Saint Nicholas, though about him, if you are interested, you can learn from another source – I have no concern with him in this article. It is with the popular story of Santa Claus with which I take issue, a story I shall now present, in its barest form, so all may know of what I speak. Continue reading “How the Santa Claus Story is Anti-Christmas”

Children of God: We Must Obey the Father in Heaven Rather Than Human Parents

I write this especially for both parents and children. The important thing in life is to know God and to serve Him, in whatever way He calls you, which may well not be the way you imagined you would like, or the way that those around you want you to go. Every one of us is made for God, to know Him, to love Him, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him, forever. Children are not made for parents, nor parents for children, but all are made for Christ, and all are children of the one Father who is in Heaven.

If you are a parent, understand that your child, from the moment of conception, is a separate human person, made individually by God and for God. Continue reading “Children of God: We Must Obey the Father in Heaven Rather Than Human Parents”

The Truth is a Person: Objectivity and Relativity in Morality and More

Reality is objective because subjective and subjective because objective, and both because Personal. (I hold, indeed, that to be is not different from to be known, and that fullness of being may not distinguishable from both being known and knowing, being loved and loving. Indeed, God Himself, in the Holy Trinity, both knows Himself and is known by Himself, loves Himself and is loved by Himself, for He is Three Eternal, Consubstantial (that is, of one substance) Persons. When He creates, He knows and loves the creation, and so the creation exists, by having a share in His own existence.) Continue reading “The Truth is a Person: Objectivity and Relativity in Morality and More”