Maria Yeager

Home » Posts tagged 'Christianity' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: Christianity

What is True Christianity? Part III

Today, I want to address what my counselor refers to as “dichotomous thinking” or “black-and-white thinking”. This means that a person’s beliefs are absolute – there are no “gray areas”. Today, I talked to my counselor about Trump and how everything seems to be all-or-nothing with him. For example, he says that he’s drawn the biggest crowds ever at a certain event. Then he turns around and attacks someone saying that person is the worst ever. Nothing is ever in the middle. Nothing is ever mediocre in his mind. This is called “dichotomous thinking”.

I’ve seen this kind of thinking before…probably everyone has at one point.

I would like to look at a few examples of this kind of thinking in Christianity and how it does not fall in line with what Jesus taught us.  Many years ago, I took part in a discussion about how people get to heaven. This group insisted that the only way to heaven was to accept Jesus as their Savior. I asked the question, “What if a person lives somewhere that is desolate and never heard of Jesus? Say he is a really good person…lived a Christ-like life…but never accepted Jesus because he never heard of him?” Someone immediately responded: “He’s going to hell. Period. He didn’t accept Jesus.” That answer just tore at my soul. If God is love, then how could He turn His back on someone who never heard of Jesus?

During the last year of my marriage, my now ex-husband insisted that he was going to heaven. Period. No ifs, ands or butts. I don’t know where he came up with this…I suspect it was either his family or his mistress (he was having an affair at the time that I wasn’t aware of). When I suggested that Jesus was the judge and not us, he told me that I was wrong. Completely wrong. Later, after I found out about the affair and confronted him, I told him that he was breaking a commandment….a clear commandment that Jesus specifically addresses in the New Testament. His response was “that sounds too judgemental to me”.

Now there are several issues here. In the first case, “dichotomous thinking” is very clear.  Besides the fact that we are not the judge (see What is True Christianity, Part I, where I address that issue in detail), biblically, the person’s insistence that the man in question was going to hell can be rebutted. A few verses in John address both situations above. Let’s look at the first situation. Meditate on the following verse:

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause'”.” John 15:22-24

Think  about that for a minute. “If I had not come…they would not have sin.” Jesus makes it clear in that passage that if a person didn’t know about Him, they would not be held to the same standard as Christians who do know about Him.

Now, let’s look at the second situation where my ex did know about Jesus.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.'” John 15:22-24

As you can see, once you know about Jesus, you are held to a higher standard. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, not wallow in it. These two situations also show how dichotomous thinking can get people in trouble. There ARE gray areas in life.

Once we TRULY accept Jesus, our hearts and souls will change and we will not continue to live in sin. This is not to say that we won’t make mistakes…we will as we are human. But God’s mercy is not to be abused. God’s mercy does not mean that we can continue to live waist deep in sin. If you have proclaimed Jesus as your Savior but still are immersed in constant sin, you truly haven’t accepted Him. Examine your heart and soul and see if you have TRULY allowed Jesus into your heart.

What is True Christianity? Part II

Today, I would like to talk about all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, the pictures on the news are just awful and heartbreaking. I’m sure most of you have seen the picture of the nursing home residents as they sat in water up to their waists. There was some suspicion that the picture was fake, but Snopes.com has confirmed this picture and story to be true. Thankfully, these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey have been rescued and are now clean, dry and safe in a new location.

I was completely dismayed when I read a news article this morning that Joel Osteen, the leader of  Lakewood Church in Houston, did NOT open the doors of his facility to refugees. This mega church can hold over 16,000 people. I was furious, but I wanted to get the entire true story before writing this blog. I once again checked Snopes.com.

The truth of this story is reported as a “Mixture” of true and false per Snopes. It is true that he did not open his church doors immediately citing flooding in the building. However, many different people went to the church to take pictures, and there was no flooding seen in and around the church. In addition, the police and other emergency personnel had not received any calls for help in that general area. Was there flooding in the building? We will never know for sure, but according to pictures, videos and reports from emergency personnel, there is no reason to think there was any problem at Lakewood Church.

Because Mr. Osteen didn’t open the doors to his church, he was hammered on social media. Hundreds of people went on the attack asking why a Christian preacher like himself wouldn’t open doors to the needy. Snopes attempted to contact the church, but as of the writing of this blog, there has been no response. Then things changed. This morning, days after the hurricane first hit and AFTER people spoke up about this issue, Joel Osteen sent out a message via his website that they would be opening the doors to Harvey refugees.

What took him so long? In my opinion, he only opened his doors because he was pressured by the public into doing so. That’s what it looks like to me. Am I impressed that Mr. Osteen opened the doors to his mega church this morning? Nope. I am thankful, but I am not impressed. Too little, too late.

We as Christians are supposed to help those in need. The Bible addresses this over and over again:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38

“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Romans 12:13

“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

There are so many other verses just like these in the Bible – these are just a few. The lesson here is that Joel Osteen, in the spirit of true Christianity, should have opened the doors of Lakewood Church immediately…not waiting days and after mounting public pressure.

I point this out because, as I said in the first blog of this series, I see a section of so-called Christianity that is being misled. Is Mr. Osteen a terrible Christian? I can’t say that. Like I said yesterday, we are not the judge. We don’t know Mr. Osteen’s heart – only God knows that. But I can point out instances where pastors don’t live up to true Christian values that are taught to us by God. Watch for behavioral patterns in these pastors. If they say something or act in a way that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, question it. Satan is very sly and will use tactics that many people will miss. This is why it is so important to pick up the Bible and read it yourself. Get immersed in God’s Word. Know the truth. Then and only then will you be able to see the real truth in others. Remember, too, that false prophets are out there. Meditate on this verse:

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ – do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24

What is True Christianity?

It’s funny how God gets His message across to those who believe in Him.

Yesterday, I wrote a long blog on a subject that has really been bothering me, but I didn’t publish it. It was way too long, and I went off on tangents, so the whole thing was messy. I decided to think about the subject a little bit more. I decided to write a week’s worth of short blogs.

The subject has to do with Christianity. You see, over the course of my life, I have run into so many people who focus mostly on John 3:16. They believe that all they have to do is to say “Jesus is My Savior” and they are guaranteed entrance into heaven. These people believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they act – they can sin all they want to, but it doesn’t matter. They say the words, “Jesus is My Savior” and they believe that is all that needs to be done.

I’ve thought for a long time how people like this came to believe this way. I thought that maybe the idea that they don’t have to follow the Ten Commandments was appealing because it means it would be easier to get into heaven. Well, yeah, if you can still get to heaven even if you continue to live in sin, wouldn’t you want to believe that – I mean that makes things a lot easier doesn’t it? Sad thing is, it just plain isn’t true, and Jesus himself said so. I will explain this in greater detail below.

Another concern that crossed my mind – are these people just listening to their preacher every Sunday? Do they ever just open up the Bible and read it themselves? Hmmm…well, that is a possibility.

Yesterday, part of what I wrote had to do with the suggestion for everyone to open up their Bible and read it. Especially read the entire New Testament. It puts John 3:16 into context.

Interestingly, my mom told me this morning that today (August 28) is the feast day of St. Augustine. This saint was born in 354 AD and had a rather wild childhood, and he even left Christianity for a while. One day, as he wept under a fig tree, he prayed and asked God for help. Suddenly, St. Augustine heard a child’s voice say “Tolle Lege” over and over again. “Tolle Lege” translated means “take up and read”. He picked up a scroll and read Romans 13:13-14 which changed his soul, and he was converted. In St. Augustine’s own words:

“By a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart – all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”

Interesting that today is St. Augustine’s feast day – the same day that I have written this blog about reading the Bible! God works in mysterious ways.

I am concerned about today’s Christianity. I believe a section of it has taken a wrong turn. I have heard preachers, some very well-known, that make statements that I know are not biblically based. So, I am going to write short blogs over the course of a week and address some of these statements and ideas made not only by evangelical preachers but also their followers.

Several months ago, someone who I knew said to me, “I guess you think you know more than Franklin Graham?” She was upset because I had challenged her on some of her beliefs. My answer to her was “yes”. Why? Because I listen to God, not man, and I told her this. About a year ago, after hearing some of these disturbing remarks by the religious right, I decided to sit down and read the New Testament from beginning to end. Although John 3:16 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, it must be taken in context with what is said in the rest of the New Testament.

The truth is this: No one is automatically guaranteed access into heaven. I know that is probably going to shock a lot of people, but just stay with me for a minute and meditate on this verse actually stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew:  “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, LORD, LORD, WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 7:21. It doesn’t get clearer than that! But He goes on, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me you evildoers.‘”Matthew 7:22-23.  Go back and read those verses again….and again.  This puts John 3:16 into perspective, doesn’t it? Yes, we can say that we believe in Jesus, but in the end, Jesus is the judge, not us. If we know for sure who is going to heaven as some evangelicals would have you believe, there would be no need for God. ONLY GOD knows what is in the hearts of men. Human beings CANNOT say whether someone is going to heaven or hell, and that includes preachers. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, and I think he made it very clear in these verses that you can’t fool Him. He knows our heart. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell, Andrew Wommack, and others DON’T know what is truly in our hearts and therefore cannot judge. No human being can judge another. Remember, Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged”.

This drives home the point that by focusing on just one or two verses in the Bible, you can easily be misled. My advice to everyone is “Tolle Lege” (Take Up and Read). Don’t rely only on your preacher during Sunday service to teach you about God. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the only way to true peace and to the absolute Truth.

 

Christian Extremism

The idea for this blog came last weekend after I read an article that was shared on Facebook. I was disturbed by what I read, but I wanted to confirm the information first, so in the last few days, I have been researching. Then yesterday, the horrible shooting of Republicans in Virginia occurred. As I watched the events play out on television, my heart hurt. What in the world has happened to this country?

Personally, I strongly condemn what this guy did yesterday. Violence should never be condoned in any circumstance no matter how much you disagree with another individual or group. My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrendous attack on innocent civilians.

There is so much hate right now in the United States. In my lifetime, I have never seen so much hate, and it saddens me greatly.  For me, I have seen the hate from both sides – Democrats and Republicans. We are ALL guilty of it.

This morning, I was extremely disturbed to see that some of the far-right were quick to point out all of the anti-Trump rhetoric as the cause of this guy actions. I had posted a funny meme about Trump on my page about a week ago (and BTW, it did not promote violence of any kind), and last night, I received some harsh words about it by a far-right individual. She blamed this shooting on anti-Trump rhetoric from the left. I reminded her of the time Trump encouraged his followers to beat up people at one of his rallies in my attempt to show her that hate is coming from both sides.

I am glad that I delayed writing this blog because this will show that hate is prevalent on both sides, not just one. Both the far-right and the far-left concern me greatly. One example of the far-left crossing the line is the Kathy Griffin incident. I was completely disgusted by what she did and do not condone it in any way. I state this fact so that readers will understand that I am against all forms of extremism. Since Trump took office, I realized that I am definitely a moderate, and I really feel like the majority of Americans fall into this group. But today, I want to specifically address the issues with the far-right.

The article that I referred to above referenced some quotes by Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell and Dave Daubenmire. I have to admit that I had never heard of Dave Daubenmire, so I looked him up and found his website. A former coach turned pastor, he is the founder of Pass the Salt Ministries. I decided to look through his blogs and videos and was dumbfounded by what I read. Below I give actual quotes from him followed by my responses:

“The virus known as multiculturalism is eating away in an attempt to exterminate the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon protestants).”

Here, it appears as if Mr. Daubenmire is promoting division, racism and hate. Clearly he doesn’t want different cultures to intermingle. Jesus does not teach us to do this. In fact, Jesus himself said: “Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

“We may pick apart Trump, but look at who hates him still. The left, Democrats, satanists.”

Again, he is promoting hate against a particular group of people. He cannot speak for the entire group. He is judging a large group of people based on the actions of a few. Jesus said: “Do not judge lest ye be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matthew 7:1-2

“As Christian men, we are called to take the Kingdom of God by force…so when we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?”

There are a couple of problems here. First, I know of nowhere in the Bible where it says that we, as Christians, need to take the Kingdom of God by force. In fact, by saying this, he is coming dangerously close to radical Christian extremism. The far right opposes radical Islamic extremism because suicide bombers will kill anyone who is not Muslim. But here, Daubenmire is promoting violence in order to convert people to Christianity. This is a dangerous line to cross and is not in line with what is in the Bible. Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 Note that he didn’t say to “love your Christian neighbor” or “love your Republican neighbor”. He said to love your neighbor. This means everyone…ALL people. The second problem is that he basically said that prayer doesn’t work! “…if we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?” He clearly doesn’t believe in the power of prayer. As it is written in the book of James: “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive Christianity.”

Again, Daubenmire is suggesting forceful conversion. This again is coming dangerously close to the line of Christian extremism.

“Trump has dealt a huge blow to the religion of environmentalism…He is taking care of American taxpayers, not environmental globalists. Not the religion of nature. He is taking care of people because PEOPLE are God’s greatest creation, not “Mother Earth”.

One verse in Revelation clearly discounts Daubenmire’s statement here: “The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18  Everything here on earth is God’s creation. It all belongs to God and we have absolutely no right to destroy it.

“Those who care the most are harsh…when you love someone, you do the hard thing for them. That means telling them the truth, so they can correct their ways.”

If you read this statement alone, it doesn’t seem too bad. But taken in context with Daubenmire’s extreme views, it becomes problematic. When I read this, it immediately reminded me of an eerily similar statement that someone in the church of Scientology said to a member on Leah Remini’s show, Scientology and the Aftermath. I just recently told someone that the thinking of some of the people on the far-right seems almost cult-like. Then I read above statement which, sadly, solidified my concerns. Another example of a cult-like statement by Daubenmire is below:

“Wake up, get your kids out of public schools, and realize this battle is between God and Satan…”

One of the ways cults operate is through isolation. It is really important to remember this and be able to identify it when confronted with this kind of rhetoric.

“The tolerant crowd believes you should tolerate all beliefs, except if it’s a belief they don’t agree with. They only want tolerated what they believe.”

Um, yeah. All you have to do is go back and re-read all of Daubenmire’s statements above. Hypocrisy? Yes!

“Jesus is the least tolerant person to have ever lived.”

Nonsense. Let’s not forget about the woman who was about to be stoned for committing adultery: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7  Remember, Jesus interacted with the sinners. As he said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 I would say that is pretty tolerant.

Now I am probably going to really step on some toes as I am going to address some of Franklin Graham’s comments.

Graham said that there’s “no question” God is supporting Trump.

Listen…God doesn’t support sin. Jesus never said it was OK to insult people on a daily basis by calling them names. Jesus never said that it was OK for Trump to lie. Jesus never said it was OK for Trump to say all those vulgar things about women. Jesus doesn’t condone sin! I’ve heard the argument that King David, although he sinned, was a “man after God’s own heart”. Yes, that is true, but some on the far-right seem to forget that David REPENTED. The concept of repentance is missing. God even used Paul for good after all the bad things that he did…but again, he REPENTED. Donald Trump continues to lie. He continues to call people names. Remember what Jesus said: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:19-20

“No president in my lifetime…can I remember…speaking about God as Donald Trump does.”

First, the only time I have ever heard Trump talk about God is when he is at some kind of Christian event. Second, speaking about God means nothing. Again, “you will know them by their fruits”. Also Jesus said the following: “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28

“I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next 4-6 years…And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts are now controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”

First of all, this kind of statement promotes hate. Some people will read this and think it is OK to go out and hurt gays and lesbians, just like what we saw in Orlando. That is NEVER OK, just like what happened yesterday in Virginia is NEVER OK. Second, when I read this statement by Franklin Graham, I thought about Ellen Degeneres. I watch her show because I find her incredibly funny. I thought about the tremendous amount of good that she does on her show. She gives people who are struggling so much help and makes them smile…each and every day. I do not understand how the far-right thinks that someone like this is evil. I don’t believe it is that simple. It’s not black and white. Remember, Jesus said: “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Jesus called us to love one another. We are not the judge. No one knows who is doomed to hell, not even Franklin Graham. He is just a man…he is not God. Neither is Dave Daubenmire. Jesus said that the two most important commandments are to love God with all your heart and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself…not just Christians, but everyone…even the sinners. It is not up for us to judge. Our understanding is limited…we do not see things as God sees them.

I hope that this blog will demonstrate that some on the far-right are spewing hate and are just as guilty as those on the far-left. This idea that the shooting was entirely based on anti-Trump rhetoric is simply not true. We have to remember that this guy does not represent all Democrats, and just as much hate is coming from the far-right Christians that are spreading “facts” about Christianity that are not biblically based and which borders on Christian extremism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavenly Mourning Doves Bring Peace

“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34

What a wonderful passage from the gospel of John! Today, the dove is widely regarded as a symbol of peace and reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When I see a dove, either in a picture or in nature, it always brings me comfort.

Red cardinals also bring me comfort. I have written a blog about these birds as they are widely believed to represent a loved one who visits us from heaven. Victoria McGovern says it perfectly in her quote:

“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”

If you want to read about my experiences with red cardinals, just read my post, The Red Cardinal – Love From Heaven.

A couple of weeks ago, I posed a question on my Facebook page regarding Christianity and the hypocrisy that I have been noticing regarding Donald Trump. Here is the actual post:

OK, after thinking about this, I want to put this out there. I am asking for help from my Christian friends. For several months, I haven’t been attending church (except when I am with my mom – we attend Catholic church together). There is a reason for this that I haven’t shared with anyone until today. I have chosen to spend time with God on Sundays by myself. Here’s why – this whole thing with Trump has caused me to have bad feelings toward going to church. You see, I have seen hypocrisy like I’ve never seen before in my lifetime. I’ve seen Christians who post something religious every day but then support Trump unconditionally. I cannot understand how a Christian can support him after all the lies, the remarks about women, the lack of compassion, making fun of the disabled reporter, his constant attacks on anyone who disagrees with him, the name-calling, etc. I don’t get it. It is causing major depression, frustration, and incredible disappointment in those who are Christian yet still support Trump. I have had many long talks with God about this and how I am feeling, many times bringing me to tears. I don’t want to be part of any church right now. I just want to spend time alone with God. I feel alone. I know there are good people in the church who don’t support what Trump has done, and I keep telling myself that. But I have this strong urge to stay away right now. I have just seen so much hypocrisy. Who can help me out on this?

I did receive replies, some of them more helpful than others. I decided to continue with my alone time with God on Sundays, but a family member also gave me the idea to attend church during the week when there were fewer people there. She had done this, and she found it to be a source of Christian “nourishment”. I liked this idea, so I decided attend Catholic Mass during the week. She was right. I am also finding this to be a source of Christian “nourishment”.

During my first visit to Catholic Mass during the week, I prayed hard. I begged God for direction. I told Him once again of my concern over Christian hypocrisy and how it seems like some in the faith are being led in the wrong direction. I prayed for Donald Trump and his administration even though I don’t like what they are doing. I told God that I wanted to write with His direction, not my own. I begged Him to save our country and told Him that there were good people “down here”. I asked for His divine mercy on us, and by the end of the prayer, tears were filling me eyes. I looked up at the crucifix at the front of the church as a tear streamed down my face.

I struggled to go to Mass because one of the problems that I see currently, mostly in the Catholic church, is the pro-life issue. In politics, many Catholics are focusing solely on this one issue without thinking about anything else. I have heard people say that they MUST vote Republican because they are pro-life. There is even a priest out in California who has stated that it was a mortal sin to vote for anyone but Trump. However, these same people support cuts to disability that is in Trump’s current budget proposal. So here is something to think about: A child is born disabled, and according to these pro-lifers, this is a good thing. The child wasn’t terminated. OK, fine…but what now? He/she will need medical care for the rest of his/her life, but he/she can’t get that help because disability benefits are cut. That makes absolutely no sense. Pro-life should mean pro-life for everyone, not just the unborn.

Back to the Mass…when the prayers were said for others, I was really encouraged as they prayed for “all life, from the unborn to the elderly”. I smiled and thanked God for this small but very important change in this particular Catholic church. I hope that this change will take place in all Catholic churches.

After church, I went home and continued on with my daily chores. A few hours later, as I walked in my kitchen, movement outside caught my eye. I looked through my patio door only to see two beautiful mourning doves, one of which was digging in my flower-pot that hung off the side of my patio railing. As I walked closer, I watched as one of the doves stepped on the back of the other one who was digging between my begonia and verbena. I realized at that point that they were making a nest. I couldn’t believe it!! I thought back on my visit to church and my prayer. Was this a sign from God?

18622535_796805803803040_2252091980192964203_n

I felt so comforted. What are the chances that two mourning doves would nest just outside my patio door right after I begged God for help and mercy at Mass?

In the Bible, there are passages where doves are mentioned when people are in despair:

“My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelm me. And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee far away, I would lodge in the wilderness.” Psalms 55:4-7

“I cry for help until morning, like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end. Like a swallow or a crane I clamor, I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security!” Isaiah 38:13-14

“We all growl like bears; like doves we moan mournfully. We wait for justice, but there is none; for salvation,, but it is far from us.” Isaiah 59:11

I again thought back on my tearful prayer that day. I knew God was telling me that he had heard my prayer. As I watched the doves work, I once again remembered how the Spirit came upon Jesus like a dove when he was baptized:

“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were  opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:16-17

“And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on Him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'” Mark 1:10-11

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'” Luke 3:21-22

I continued to watch the doves work as I felt a sense of peace come over me. At one point, they saw both me and my cat, and I was afraid that they would abandon the nest since we were probably about 4 feet away from them.

18527464_793588964124724_5553233073615187462_o

But they didn’t. They stopped and looked for a minute, but then kept working. Several times, I saw one of them with a bunch of debris hanging out of its mouth. I was mesmerized as I watched them prepare the nest for their young.

I did some research on the behavior of mourning doves. The male will get twigs and debris for the nest, and when he brings it to the female, he will stand on her back and give it to her as she makes the nest. I saw this exact behavior. It was so much fun to watch. Next, I learned how to tell the difference between the male and female as it is quite subtle. The male is larger, and he has a little bit of blue on his head with some pink on his throat. Each time I checked on the dove that was sitting on the nest, she was all brown so I assumed it was the female. Then one day, I realized that the male was sitting on the nest. He had a very light blue on his head and very light pink on his throat, just as described in my research.

I also noticed that these birds have a beautiful teal color that surround their eyes. I can’t seem to get a good picture that actually shows how gorgeous this color is around their eyes, but it can be seen on other pictures of these birds on the internet. When I saw the male close up, I realized that I could now tell the difference between the two birds just by their eyes. The female has the teal color that surrounds the entire eye, whereas the male has the teal under his eye while his upper eyelid covers the rest of the teal color.

Later that night, I slowly went over to the patio door to close the shades, hoping once again that I wouldn’t scare them off. Amazingly, they stayed.

The next morning, I slowly opened the shades, and both doves were there – mama on the nest and papa with debris in his mouth.

18582115_793593924124228_5606557380159118076_n

A few seconds later, two other birds flew up and landed on the patio rail right next to the two doves. I immediately recognized them as cardinals – one of them (the male) had a bright red chest. I could not believe it! Two mourning doves and two red cardinals standing just feet from me, doves signifying peace and the cardinals signifying a visitor from heaven!

The next day, as I worked in the house, I noticed that the dove was not on the nest. I walked to the door and looked out to see one big white egg. I was so excited! The mama bird came back to the nest within about ten minutes and sat on her egg for the rest of the day.

18557092_794252800725007_3621583482379141968_n

Still so happy about the one big white egg, I went to my mailbox to pick up my mail. I was so happy to receive a card from my aunt as she knew I was struggling with Christian hypocrisy. Inside the card, there was a bookmark with a quote by Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”  Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

This added to my sense of peace. The statement, “I believe the desire to please You does in fact please You” gave me great comfort. I realized that for me, I was doing the right thing by going to church during the week when it was quieter and spending alone time with God on Sunday. I knew that since I desire to please Him and only Him, that is enough. I believe that God sent those doves to me as a sign of peace and as His way of telling me that He will lead me down the right road.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

A couple of days later, I noticed once again that the dove had left the nest, so I went to look at it. This time there were two eggs! It is just so amazing to watch. I learned through research that mourning doves typically lay two eggs.

18581614_795279703955650_2966533658448251679_n

Each day, I walk up to the patio door and talk to the doves, telling them that they are safe here. When I talk to them (not sure they can hear me…haha!), they just look at me, but they don’t seem to get upset at all that I am so close to the nest. I’m pretty sure they know now that I won’t hurt them. I don’t go out on my patio because I think I may scare them off. I don’t want them to abandon the nest.

I have since looked up many passages in the Bible that mention doves. As I read the following passage, I remembered when, in my prayer at church, I asked God to direct my writing:

“See I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves…When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:16-20

I knew that God would help me in my writing. I want to write what is true according to His word. I know he heard my request.

The dove as a sign of the Holy Spirit is so incredibly comforting. These birds are so peaceful, and they bring a great sense of serenity. God tells us in the Bible to live by the Spirit, not by the flesh:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control….If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

As I read more passages about doves in the Bible, I realize that they are also a great sign of hope:

“For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted, the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, the joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks, until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.” Isaiah 32:14-15

“For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:11-14

This brings to mind another great quote from St. Teresa of Avila:

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God only is changeless. Patience obtains all things. One who has God wants nothing. God alone suffices.”

18622535_796805803803040_2252091980192964203_n

Even though it is tough to do, God tells us not to worry. There are terrible things going on in this world, and it is so hard to not get mad or irritated. It is also incredibly difficult, at least for me, to see all this Christian hypocrisy. I believe that these doves are a way of telling all of us that only God is necessary for peace and that things will eventually change for the better. In the Catholic church that I attend, it appears that things are already changing. The things that happen in this world are passing, but God never changes. Hold on to Him and stay in His Word. As he sent those doves to me, he will also send peace to those who truly believe in Him and who ask Him for it. So I will leave you with this:

“Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

 

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jesus Has a Sense of Humor

“Angel” – that is the name of my beautiful kitty cat. But I should have named her “Ornery”.

She is chock full of personality, and sometimes I call her “Miss Personality”. It is hard for me to hold her and love on her because she always wants to get down and play. When I talk to her, she rolls onto her back over and over again, and she loves to talk back. In fact, she is the most talkative cat that I have ever owned. One of the funniest things that she does is when she smells something, she will open her mouth and just look at me. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!

When I throw a toy in the air, she jumps up so high to get it – sometimes three to four feet! I am always shocked when she jumps that high. While I write in my living room, she goes down to the first level of my townhouse and looks out the window at the birds and those who walk their dogs. She absolutely loves to do this, but every 15 minutes or so, she comes back up to “check” on me. She lets me pet her head and she rubs up against me, and then she returns to the lower level to look out the window. It is so incredibly cute!

To understand this story, I have to share my morning routine. Angel sleeps on the bed with me. When I wake up, I turn on the TV and listen to the news for about ten minutes or so, and Angel knows this, so she patiently waits for me. But if it takes any more than ten minutes, she will start to meow. Then she will jump on the nightstand and start pushing things off onto the floor. I know at that point that I need to get up and get moving.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. When I woke up, I immediately picked up the phone and called my mom. This was different from the normal routine, so I guess it bothered Angel. While talking to my mom, she went over to the blinds and started patting them as hard as she could with her paws which made quite a bit of noise. I snapped my fingers to get her to be quiet at which point she stopped and looked at me. I continued to talk to my mom, and she went back to batting at the blinds. I gave up, got out of bed and went downstairs with her while I talked to my mom. We both laughed at Angel’s behavior – cats certainly know how to get us to do what they want!

This morning, when I woke up, Angel started to bat the blinds again with her paws. She didn’t even wait the usual ten minutes or so. I think she may have learned from yesterday that if she messes with the blinds, I will get up immediately. And that is exactly what I did! She certainly has me figured out!

Well, there is a picture of Jesus on the wall that I see every day when I go downstairs. This picture of Jesus is the same one from the book “Heaven is for Real”, and it is my favorite picture of Him. This morning, I was caught off guard as I glanced at this picture. For a split second, it looked as if Jesus was smiling….kind of as if he was about to laugh. I quickly looked back at the picture, and He looked just like He had always looked, but I knew what I saw in that split second. I smiled and then chuckled.

“Yeah, you are the one that gave her to me!” I said quietly as I walked down the steps, laughing. I then picked up Angel and loved on her, knowing that she was a gift from Jesus. I always knew that, but this morning I was reminded of how lucky I am to have this wonderful cat in my life.

Fox News Lawsuit By Journalist Who Wrote Endometriosis Article, The Healthcare Bill, and “Whited Sepulchres”

I have tried my best to stay out of politics recently. In January, a long thread on my Facebook feed ended up in several heated arguments, and after that I decided to refrain from political commentary on my page. I just watched as Trump and his administration seemed to make mistake after mistake, and it seemed like every morning, I woke up to some kind of ridiculousness that left me shaking my head. At the same time, I watched as one by one, Fox News correspondents and management left the network due to sexual harassment claims. It was amazing to me to see a news channel that I watched religiously slowly fall apart. I was extremely disappointed.

Well, today I read something that crossed that big red line in the sand for me. A Fox News reporter is now suing the network because after she wrote a report on endometriosis, she was the victim of discrimination. Ms. Diana Falzone was slowly pushed out of her position at Fox News after she disclosed her uterine disorder in her report. You can read the entire article here:

Washington Post – Fox News Lawsuit

I am the founder of Adenomyosis Fighters, an online group that helps women who suffer from adenomyosis. This disorder is closely related to endometriosis, and the two disorders have similar symptoms. Both have to do with abnormal menstruation – very heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, excruciating abdominal pain, sometimes as severe as the last stage of labor requiring narcotic pain medication, severe bloating that can resemble a three to four-month pregnancy, bowel issues, bladder issues, and even infertility. I have spent the last five years fighting for women who suffer from adenomyosis, so for Fox News to discriminate against Ms. Falzone for this article caused me to become extremely angry. I am livid about this and hope Ms. Falzone takes them for everything they have!!! These men who discriminated against her don’t have a clue. They have never, ever had a period and have never had a baby. They have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it is like to suffer month after month – anemic from blood loss and with such horrible pain that a woman has to crawl to the bathroom for fear of passing out! Shame on you, Fox News. I will no longer watch your shows because of this reprehensible behavior.

Fox News is known to support the Republicans, many of which are evangelical Christians. For crying out loud – if you are going to support evangelical Christianity, at least TRY to live by Christian teachings!! Compassion is one of the main teachings of Christianity, so why do these executives at Fox News discriminate and treat Ms. Falzone so badly when she opens up about her struggles with endometriosis?? Is that what Jesus would do? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Why do evangelical Christians support this network when the execs have been involved in sexual harassment? Who the hell knows!! Sorry to say this, but based on what I’ve seen, I think lack of education plays a role. Or maybe it’s just ignorance.

Yesterday, the controversial health care bill was passed in the House of Representatives. This bill will basically gut Medicaid and will give states the option of a waiver regarding pre-existing conditions. This will hurt millions of Americans. So many people are now worried if they will have sufficient coverage since they have a pre-existing condition. Then, last night, the Republicans in the House decide to bring in a bunch of Budweiser beer to celebrate. Millions of people are now worried about their healthcare and these buffoons are having a huge party up there at the Capitol? Is this Christian?? Didn’t Jesus say “Love your neighbor as yourself”? How does this insensitive behavior say that you are “loving your neighbor as yourself”? Cutting medical benefits to the poorest of the poor – how is this “loving your neighbor as yourself”? And yes, the Democrats should not have sung after the vote. I don’t excuse their behavior either.

I am a Christian and see right through what Fox News, Trump, and Congress have done. Why can’t these so-called Christians who are die-hard Trump supporters see through it?? I have my thoughts on this. I think they are the Pharisees, the whited sepulchres, that Jesus talks about all throughout the gospels.

The official definition of a whited sepulchre according to Merriam Webster dictionary is a person inwardly corrupt or wicked but outwardly or professedly virtuous or holy.

Trump has a long history of non-Christian behavior. He has made disgusting remarks about women. He had affairs. He has lied over and over again. He pushed this healthcare bill which will hurt the poorest of the poor. He made fun of a disabled reporter (Yes, he actually did….I saw the video and no one is going to tell me differently, so don’t even try).

But then, he shows up to events with a Bible. Melania says the Lord’s Prayer at a rally. He talks about his “Christian values”. Do these acts automatically make him a Christian? NO! Some Christians praise him for doing this – I think it is a form of sacrilege. To me, I see a whited sepulchre because his actions are opposite of his words.

Jesus warns of whited sepulchers in Matthew 23:27 (King James Bible):

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Remember – NO ONE fools God. You can’t raise your hands to heaven and praise Him and then turn around and cut healthcare to the poor, talk trash about women, discriminate against minorities, etc. and still expect to be in good standing with Jesus. He sees through it all. Our God is a God of justice, and He will see to it that all the scales are balanced. Don’t be deceived by these “whited sepulchres”…those that are really good at talking about God but then live a life that is diametrically opposed to what Jesus said in the Bible.

 

 

The Red Cardinal – Love From Heaven

Since the beginning of the year, it seems like I have been bombarded with quotes and pictures about red cardinals.

The first quote I saw was in January on my Facebook page. This quote, by Victoria McGovern, gave me great comfort:

“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”

This quote was accompanied by a picture of a beautiful male red cardinal in the snow. I immediately thought of my dad since he passed away in 2014, but I doubted that I would see any red cardinal since it was the middle of winter. At my home, I usually see finches or sparrows, but only in the spring/summer. It was a nice, fleeting thought, but I didn’t think much more about it.

About a week later, a friend of mine who is also an excellent writer and photographer posted a picture that he had taken that day. It was snowing, and two red cardinals, one male and one female, sat in the branches of a tree outside his window. I was stunned! I knew that this was a sign that angels were near. Again, I thought about my dad, and I told my mom what had happened which gave her great comfort.

A few weeks later, another post came across my Facebook page. Again, it was a picture of a male red cardinal. The quote read as follows:

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Once again, I thought about my dad and how no one can take away the memories I have of him. I remembered how he sat me on his lap and let me act like I was driving the car. I remembered how me held on to the back of my bicycle as I learned to ride while promising to not let go of the bike (even though he eventually did). I remembered how he taught me to calculate complex math problems for my school homework. I remembered how he wrestled with me and my brother and sister on the living room floor and had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. I thought about how none of these memories could ever be taken from me. I smiled.

A few days later, as I worked in my office, I looked up at my bookcase as I took a small break. My eyes immediately were drawn to a book that I had read last year – “The Gift of the Red Bird” by Paula D’Arcy. I thought about the red cardinal once again, and joy filled my heart.

Just about three weeks ago, I saw yet another post on my Facebook page. Again, it was a male red cardinal in the snow, and the quote was as follows:

“When a red cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.”

Well, I don’t have a “yard” since I live in a townhouse. But, my mom has a nice big yard, and she loves to watch the birds in her backyard. She has a bird feeder that she keeps filled all the time, and the birds come often…that is if the squirrels don’t get to the feeder first. I called her and told her what I had just seen on Facebook and told her to keep an eye out for red cardinals in her yard.

A couple of days later, I again was surprised when I saw that another one of my good friends posted a picture that she had taken of a red cardinal in some tree branches. I didn’t have a yard, but that red cardinal somehow still managed to show up. Again, I smiled and thought of my dad.

That same day, I called my mom, and her first words were “You aren’t going to believe this!” As she sat on her deck that morning, she thought to herself, “I wonder if I will see a red cardinal today.” Not long after that, a female cardinal showed up in some bushes followed by a beautiful male red cardinal. She just couldn’t believe it, but she was so comforted. I was just shocked!

About two weeks ago, I went to visit my mom, and I stayed overnight. While we ate breakfast, we talked and looked outside through the bay window in her kitchen. Suddenly, a male and female red cardinal appeared near her bird feeder. It was probably the same pair that she saw just days earlier. The first thing that I noticed is that the male was such a bright red color and was absolutely gorgeous – probably the brightest red cardinal I had ever seen. We were both quite sure they were visitors from heaven – angels that had come to tell us that we were loved.

My mom’s birthday was March 1. On that morning, as she prepared her breakfast, she looked out the window only to see that gorgeous male red cardinal. But this time, he was sitting in the crape myrtle tree next to the house. This was my dad’s favorite tree. The cardinal looked directly at her and didn’t fly away. He just sat in the branches of my dad’s favorite tree and stared at her. It was a moment that she will never forget and is one of the best birthday gifts she has ever received. This was most certainly my dad sending his love from heaven.

Always be on the lookout for these “angels” from heaven. Love is being sent our way all the time, sometimes through the most simple and innocent of ways – we just have to slow down and look for it!

 

Thank You to Leah Remini for Exposing Scientology

A few days ago, I managed to find the time to watch Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E. Leah Remini, well-known for her role as Carrie on The King of Queens, hosts this amazing and enlightening show. I have never been in Scientology, but I had heard about it as many celebrities belong to this “church”. I was shocked and dismayed at the abuses that are going on in Scientology, and I would like to thank Leah from the bottom of my heart for exposing these abuses. It will not only help to shine a light on this group, but it may, as in my case, help people to understand how mental abuse occurs.

Let me explain further. Leah explains on the show that the “church” believes if anything bad happens in your life, it is your own fault. When she made this statement, it caught my attention. I turned off my computer and phone and began to pay attention. Why? Because there was someone who had been in my life who made this exact same comment to me many times. This person was a member of a narcissistic group of individuals, and those relationships ended years ago.

I was glued to the television from this point until the end (three hours of reruns of previously aired shows). Leah went on to explain that if a person says anything critical about the “church”, they are considered a suppressive person, or SP, and are considered an enemy of Scientology. At this point, the concept of “Fair Game” comes into play in which a scientologist may lie, destroy, sue, or trick the suppressive person in order to discredit them. Even though the “church” says that they canceled Fair Game years ago, Leah has shown on this show that it still exists.

My heart sunk. Not only is this just sickening for a so-called church to allow this kind of behavior, but I realized that is what I went through in dealing with narcissists in my past. I tried to address certain issues involving narcissistic people in my past, but each time I suggested they needed to take responsibility for some of their bad actions, I was blamed for causing all the problems. I was not allowed to say anything that could be viewed as critical of this group of people. When the relationships ended, I was lied to repeatedly. A friend actually told me that one of them said I was “crazy”. Sounds similar to what Leah had described. Even though I have been through counseling and knew that I was the victim, it really helped to hear it on this show. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I actually started to think that this narcissistic group might actually make good scientologists!

After watching the shows, I looked up some more information on Scientology in preparation for writing this blog. I learned that scientologists hate the psychiatry profession. This brings back memories of how Tom Cruise insulted Brooke Shields for having post-partum depression. Again, this made me think about my own past. With all of my health problems, I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t have these health issues if I just exercised. Again, I was made to feel that my health issues were my own fault which is entirely not true. Although some health issues (such as obesity) might be helped with exercise, mine were not (endometriosis and a broken back). I was also told that “counseling doesn’t work”. Eerily similar to Scientology.

Leah made one remark during the show that really hit me hard. She made it clear that if someone is a victim of Scientology or any other cult, know that YOU ARE A VICTIM. Bad things aren’t happening to you because it’s your fault. YOU ARE A VICTIM! This is soooo true! Thank you, Leah! This is going to help so many people, and you are reaching people who are not just a part of Scientology, but all those who have suffered from some form of mental abuse.

As I was doing research for this blog, I learned some of the basic beliefs in this “church”. I was raised as a Christian, and I am still a Christian. I will always be a Christian. I was stunned that there are some in Scientology that also claim to be a Christian. Let me be clear – Scientology flies in the face of Christianity. The two are diametrically opposed. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.

According to Hank Hanegraaff in The Bible Answer Book for Students, The Church of Scientology claims to be compatible with Christianity. He states that this is not true, and I completely agree. The concept of Fair Game is just one example. To teach that lying, destroying, tricking, etc. anyone who is critical of Scientology is opposite of Christianity. We are not allowed to lie, period, as is stated in one of the Ten Commandments. We are taught to “love your neighbor as yourself”, no matter who your neighbor is….scientologist or otherwise. Scientology pushes disconnection from anyone they consider a “suppressive person.” Basically, this teaches intolerance. Christianity teaches compassion.

As far as the belief that whatever happens to you is your own fault: Let’s think about this. Someone is born with a birth defect – is this their own fault? How is that possible? What about someone who loses their husband in a terrible car accident and finds herself unemployed with three children to support? What about a child that loses both parents in a plane crash? Is that child to blame?

Here are a few BIBLICAL verses that dispute that belief:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…But He [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…That is why, for Christs’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:1-3

So, according to the Holy Bible, difficulties in this life are not necessarily the result of sin. Opposite than the teaching in Scientology.

I strongly believe that the evil in this world comes about through cunning deceit. Many times, these people/organizations attempt to fool people by appearing as though they are “good” people/organizations when behind the scenes they are planning their attack. Remember this biblical verse:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in SHEEP’S CLOTHING, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15.

For scientologists and anyone else who may be subject of mental abuse, remember this biblical verse:

For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of PEACE, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33

For those who have been deceived by these individuals, don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and move forward on the right path away from this evil behavior. Remember this biblical verse:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24

I hope and pray that all those who have suffered through disconnection or other abuses of Scientology and anyone else who have endured mental abuse find comfort and peace. And again, thank you to Leah for bringing this issue to light!

**Bible verses taken from the King James Version.

Hate, Hypocrisy, and True Christianity

Well,  I really don’t want to be involved in politics in any way. However, since the ugly behavior after this historic election has dipped into my religious beliefs (will explain in this blog), and I do like to blog on Christianity, I decided after thoughtful prayer that I must address the hate seen in America today. It affects Christianity because a lot of people who call themselves “Christian” are not acting in a Christian manner. This behavior may instill negative views about Christians, so I feel a need to clarify a few things, even going so far as to call out some of my fellow “Christians”. It’s a bit lengthy but worth the read in my opinion 🙂

Hypocrisy. Jesus warns us over and over again about hypocrisy throughout the gospels:

“You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to give it water?” Luke 13:15

“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.” Matthew 6:2

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:5

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25

These are just a few.

So how does this relate to the election? Well, both sides are so quick to throw insults at the other side,but each candidate has their own long list of issues. I recently saw a meme of a woman crying, and it said “I argued with conservatives, they used facts”. Well, I will now present many facts showing that neither side should be throwing insults at anyone.

Let me start by saying that I did not support either Clinton or Trump during this election. I saw serious problems with both candidates. What bothers me most and the reason I decided to write this blog is that the amount of the hypocrisy and hate that is out there. And it is coming from both sides!

Let’s start with a little background on Hillary. Here is a list of issues that have concerned voters:

  • Clinton Foundation issues – the pay-to-play scheme between Hillary and the Clinton Foundation has led to serious issues and concerns. There is a strong possibility of an indictment. Although Mrs. Clinton signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that she would not accept money from foreign governments during her years as Secretary of State, the Foundation did accept several million from seven different foreign governments. According to CNN, some e-mails between top Clinton aides were suspicious and added that these e-mails “raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure…” In October, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to determine if there was any evidence of financial crimes.¹
  • Whitewater scandal – tax evasion and fraud were found. Vince Foster, the primary legal council for the case, committed suicide which cast a very dark cloud over the Clintons and their involvement.
  • E-mail scandal – Hillary’s use of a private e-mail server during her years as Secretary of State has led to a very prolonged investigation. Although she has been cleared as of now, questions still remain.
  • Leaked e-mails show that there may have been some behind-the-scenes attempts to get Bernie Sanders out of the picture during the election process.
  • Hillary told the story of how she was under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia; however, the video of her exiting the plane clearly shows this not to be true.
  • The Benghazi scandal – this was a very clear a and definite failure on the part of the State Department. She lied about the cause saying it was a result of an anti-Islam video. She was also able to skirt around taking responsibility for the loss of four lives during the attack.
  • Bill Clinton’s sexual history – Juanita Broaddick accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s. She denied the rape for many years but recently accused him again. Paula Jones filed a lawsuit against him in 1994 in which she claims he exposed himself to her. During the deposition, Clinton denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky which we all know now was a lie. The lawsuit ended with an out-of-court settlement. Kathleen Wiley claimed that Clinton had groped her, but her testimony was thrown out because it was determined that she had lied repeatedly.²

Now, here are the issues surrounding Trump:

  • Trump Foundation issues – The Foundation gave $25,000 to the Florida Attorney General’s office (Pam Bondi) while she was reviewing fraud allegations against Trump University. Her office didn’t bring any charges against the Trump Foundation, and there is some concern that this may have been bribery. The Foundation used some of its money to settle legal disputes with Trump’s for-profit businesses, and some of the money may have also been used for political purposes during his presidential campaign. In October, they were ordered to cease fundraising for the Foundation because they were violating state law by soliciting donations without prior authorization.³
  • Trump has used bankruptcy laws to get out of paying debt, leaving his workers to foot the bill. He also refuses to release his tax returns.
  • Trump University – now defunct, the state of New York has filed a $40 million lawsuit stating that false claims were made and that the University defrauded people. Trump was found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license.
  • Trump has been married three times and has had multiple affairs.
  • Trump’s sexual issues – First of all, Trump himself admitted on a 2005 Howard Stern show that he entered the dressing rooms of beauty pageant contestants while they were undressing. Second – the October 2016 release of the audio clip from Access Hollywood caused a huge uproar when he made multiple inappropriate comments, particularly “grab them by the p***y”. Third, multiple women have accused him of sexual harrassment. Jill Harth filed a lawsuit in 1997 saying that Trump attempted to put his hands between her legs in 1992. She also states that he pushed her against the wall and tried to kiss her. The case was settled out of court. Jessica Leeds claimed that while on a flight (1980s), Trump attempted to put his hand up her skirt and grabbed her breast. In the 1990s, Kristen Anderson claimed he groped her at a Manhattan night club. And there are quite a few more.(4)

OK, so now that we have the background, let’s look at some of the mean, hateful things that are being posted around the internet. First we’ll do the anti-Hillary stuff:

  • I’ve seen quite a few people refer to Hillary as narcissistic.
    •  REALLY?? Trump is the definition of narcissism. Clear hypocrisy.
  • Someone was happy that a person was shot at the Azusa polling station in California, saying “At least they are killing CA liberals”.
    • This one speaks for itself, but I will say it anyway – look in the mirror. Look at your own candidate!
  • I can’t even count the number of times Hillary has been called “crooked”.
    • I can agree as we all know she is corrupt, but look above at what Trump has done.
    • “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
    • “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged…” Matthew 7:1. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be judged by those measures. If you decide to judge either candidate, be my guest. I would be careful, though, especially when both candidates have such a long history of issues….
  • There’s a meme which says “Hi, I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. Why don’t you take a seat?” There is a picture with Hillary walking in the room.
    • We could EASILY put Trump’s picture in place of Hillary’s picture. Clear hypocrisy.
  • Another meme – Picture of Hillary and it says “This loser will never be president. Get over it losers.”
    • Let’s remember this Bible verse: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
  • Picture of Hillary with the caption, “Satan, why have you forsaken me?”
    • Again, look at the list of issues above regarding Donald Trump.
    • Again,“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
  • Another meme – “Pro-God, Pro-Country, Pro-Life, Proud to be Pro-Trump, 2016”.
    • Pro-God? Jesus preaches kindness and compassion. Where is Trump’s compassion when he makes fun of a disabled person? Where is his kindness when he calls people “weak” or “a disaster” when they don’t agree with him (which, BTW, is also extremely narcissistic)?

Now for the anti-Trump comments:

  • I saw a sweatshirt with the following statement: “Trump sucks. If you like Trump, you suck too.”
    • REALLY?? Look at Hillary’s list of issues above.
  • Many make fun of his hair and the orange-colored makeup on his face.
    • All I can say is let’s remain focused on the issues. This is nit-picking and not necessary.
  • There is a Wizard of Oz meme saying that Trump “doesn’t have a brain”.
    • Again, not necessary. We need to stick to the issues.
  • I saw a news report where a Chicago man was beaten and his car was stolen, all because he voted for Trump.
    • Awful!!! We as Americans have the right to vote as we wish without the threat of violence.
  • There are some people who are carrying around “Kill Trump” signs during the protests.
    • Any threat of violence is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.
  • I know of someone who was called “racist” for voting for Trump.
    • Putting everyone in one big category is just wrong. Yes, there are racists out there, but just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t mean he/she is automatically a racist. Some that voted for him did so because of the Supreme Court as they want more conservative judges to occupy those positions. They are not hateful, racist bigots.
  • I read that the CEO of GrubHub told his employees that if they supported Trump, they need to resign.
    • This again is unacceptable and just plain wrong. We live in a democracy, and we all have the right to vote as we wish.

Now, to finish out this blog, I want to address how religion ties into all of this.

Neither Clinton nor Trump supporters really have any right to throw insults at the other candidate. Each candidate has baggage, and to finger-point is completely and totally hypocritical on both sides.

I know that some people were told to vote for Trump in order to get conservative judges in the Supreme Court. I do understand this reasoning as I struggled with it as well. It was a very real concern, and that is one reason why I am happy that Trump is now president. But that’s the only reason.

Franklin Graham recently made this statement: “I believe God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic, progressive agenda from taking control.” This statement does not make sense nor does it support Christianity. Donald Trump is an adulterer, a self-proclaimed greedy man, and someone who has left the small businessman out in the cold by filing bankruptcy even though he has billions. Take a look again at the list above. Does this man really sound like the type of person Jesus calls us to be?? Of course not. Franklin, I would re-think that comment. Wayne Grudem called Trump a “flawed candidate”, but thankfully he stated that he regretted that comment and he changed his opinion, asking for Trump to drop out of the race prior to the election. Sin is sin, and immorality is immorality. You cannot call someone a sinner and then turn around and call someone else “flawed”. Again, that is hypocrisy.

Politifact states that Trump’s statements are verifiably false 76% of the time (DallasNews.com), so we can safely say that Trump lies. Whatever happened to “Thou shalt not lie?” For all those who praised God for the election of Donald Trump, did you conveniently forget all the sins this man has committed? Yes, I do believe in forgiveness, but this man hasn’t repented as far as I can tell. He needs to truly apologize, especially to women (not saying it’s just locker room talk) and to the disabled. According to what is written in the Bible (and that’s all I can go on), I would venture to say that God isn’t happy with either of the candidates. I would bet He isn’t happy with America. Why?? Because none of us can get out of our own way to actually see the truth, and the truth is that we are all hypocrites.

Jesus taught us to be kind. He gave us the Ten Commandments which He expects us to follow. He expects us to love one another. To love our neighbors as ourselves. Christianity is centered around kindness, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, love, and faith. So-called “Christians” who can do nothing more than send out a constant stream of hateful posts, messages, videos, etc. are not practicing true Christianity. I don’t want those who are not Christian to look at us and think “what hypocrites!” Many do, and it’s the result of this kind of behavior. I want these non-Christians to know that true Christianity does not condone this kind of behavior. Jesus NEVER taught us that violence, distasteful comments, hateful memes, gloating over an election win, lying, adultery, etc. was alright. It is NEVER alright. We are to love each other just as God loves us and we are to follow His commands. I am ashamed at the behavior of some of the American citizens right now, especially those who say they are Christian but don’t act it. I think it’s time for people to stand back, look at all the facts, think about what they have done and then re-evaluate their behavior. We need to act like true Christians, not hateful hypocrites.

 

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright ©1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

¹https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation%E2%80%93State_Department_controversy

²https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_sexual_misconduct_allegations

³https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_J._Trump_Foundation

(4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_sexual_misconduct_allegations

 

 

 

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: