The Whirlwind Picks Up Speed

Frodo Squirrel

 

By Charlie Johnston

(Last week was a bit of a whirlwind. I spent most of the week wrestling with a flu bug. Sunday, it occurred to me that I have heard more pro-life homilies this year than I had for the entire 29 years combined since I was received into the Church. It made me think that, despite the rising level of chaos, the tide is shifting – and in some ways, dramatically. Perhaps that is part of the reason the left has become so unhinged: some of them can feel it, too. David Daleiden and Lila Rose penned an editorial for National Review last week describing how Planned Parenthood can be administratively deprived of all federal funds. I like that we are talking about that. Pope Francis issued a new encyclical this week, Fratelli Tutti. After a cursory scanning, I think it is invalid on its face. You can’t contradict established Church doctrine, ignore the goal of salvation and the reality of Christ, and go all politics and have it taken seriously. It is truly awful and in places, both incoherent and errant. I will write more in detail about it later in the week. I will also put up a piece on how the tide is turning. Meantime, as these dangerous times churn up, Kurt Schlichter’s column in today’s Townhall is a must-see.  I put up the image of the squirrel taking the ring of power to be destroyed in Mt. Doom because it just seems so appropriate to our time. Thanks to our own MP for creating the image. Over the last week, I got several requests for a copy of my old meditation on the Book of Job. I reprint it here today.-CJ)

Since God’s interaction with each person is so intimately personal, how do we encounter Him properly and help others to do so? However interesting it might be for a finger to explain its function to a foot, it won’t be terribly helpful in teaching the foot to walk. One of the best answers to this question is to be found in the most misunderstood and misinterpreted book of the Bible; the Old Testament Book of Job.

There is good reason why many skim over – or skip entirely – the Book of Job. It turns the nostrums of traditional piety upside down. As it opens we are introduced to Job, a just and pious man who is blessed in all his affairs. He is prosperous, healthy and has a big, joyful family. In fact, Job is so notable for his good-natured righteousness that God boasts of him before the heavenly host. Hearing this, the satan appears before the throne and tells God that the only reason Job is so faithful is because God has given him such abundant blessings. Satan proposes a wager: if God will let him afflict Job, the man will curse God to His face. Though the Anti-Gambling Coalition would surely disapprove, God takes the bet anyway.

Disaster after disaster befalls Job. His crops are ruined, his livestock perish, his children are killed, his health is afflicted and his life becomes an almost unbearable misery. It is idiomatic to speak of the patience of Job; even Jesus comments on it. But if patience is understood to mean meek acceptance of whatever comes, that most assuredly does not describe our Job. There are 42 chapters in the book. By Chapter Three Job is in full dudgeon. He complains of God, complains to God, insists he has done nothing to deserve this, and demands that God appear before him to explain.

In the course of his bitter complaints Job is visited by three traditionally pious friends (a fourth pops up briefly near the end) who come to defend God, urge Job to repent of his complaints and to confess to the sins that have caused these disasters to befall him. But Job is adamant. He insists that if God would agree to stand with him before an independent tribunal where both presented their case without intimidation, his own righteousness would be confirmed.

The two most commonly quoted verses of Job are at 13:15 and 19:25. The former is quoted as, “Slay me though he might, I will wait for him; I will defend my conduct before him,” (NAM) and, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him,” (KJV). The latter reads, “…I know that my Vindicator lives…” (NAM) or, “…I know that my redeemer liveth…” (KJV). Though both are beautiful expressions of faith, what is notable about them is the contrast they present to Job’s usual litany of complaints and demands. For those who would make Job into a meekly pious, long-suffering man, they are about the only useful quotes in the whole book.

Rarely is any of Chapter III quoted. In his opening complaint, Job goes into a lengthy curse of the day he was born. He comes perilously close to cursing creation, itself, in the process – which would be blasphemy. Even so, the two quotes cited earlier are consistent with Job’s main argument, even if not in the way that many would like them to be. Job does not argue that God is unjust, though he skirts close to that argument frequently; his argument is that his own treatment is unjust. Job demands, often quite stridently, that God appear to him and explain; yet he remains faithful that if he could obtain this he would ultimately receive justice from the Almighty.

His friends, on the other hand, insist that God’s justice is always immediate. So if Job suffers, he must have sinned grievously.

Astonishingly, God does exactly what Job demands. At the beginning of Chapter 38 God comes roaring out of the whirlwind to answer Job. For the next four chapters God takes Job through all of creation; the heavens, the earth, the seas, the sky, the animals, the darkness and the light. At each step, God asks Job what he knows of such things, what he can command. The Almighty is not gentle about his questioning of Job. Dripping with sarcasm, He taunts and mocks the man, showing him how small he is and how little he knows.

After four chapters of God roaring at and apparently browbeating him, Job submits. “I put my hand over my mouth…I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know,” (Job 40:4, 42:3 NAM). It is at this point that many commentators who are candid about Job’s impassioned dissent lose their way. Though God appears, He does not seem to answer Job’s questions, only to roar at and intimidate him. Observers who admire Job’s courage and passion in challenging God lament that, in the end, he buckles before God’s power rather than persisting in his demand for answers. Though trying to approach the book honestly these commentators are as limited as Job’s ‘pious’ friends.

God certainly roars at Job, but He does much more than that. He spends fully four chapters showing Job every aspect of creation. Think about that. God did not just come out of the whirlwind to Job; He took Job back into the whirlwind with Him.

I love contemplating what it was Job saw that caused him to put his hand over his mouth and dispute with God no more. Imagine that God showed Job our world, sparkling blue and green like some impossibly rare and precious gem, glittering with life and light. Then God shows Job the entire universe. Think of Job’s wonder at the billions of stars, comets, quarks and planets all pulsing and whirring, a symphony of light and rhythm. Then the stunning realization that our world amounts to less than a grain of sand in the ocean of this staggering abundance. Most stunning of all, God shows Job that this vast universe is merely the support system for our little speck. Every passing comet, every collapsing black hole, every bursting supernova, every moon, every planet in the most distant galaxy is designed to maintain the dynamic tension which keeps our world ticking. Utterly amazing that in the grand physical scheme of things we are less than a speck – and yet are the very reason for that grand scheme. We are God’s beloved.

Zooming back to Earth, Job is shown how all the animals and plants, the land and sea, winds and waters, fire and ice in striving with each other maintain the vitality of life. He sees more than this, though.

Standing with God outside of time, that remorseless captor from whom no man has robbed even a minute, every moment of Job’s life is present to him; his birth, his death, his sufferings and his restoration. Watch with Job as he considers this divine terrarium contained in time and space.

Though He constrains Himself against compelling our will, God manages the divine economy so that every event, every chance encounter calls us to Him. Here is a child of great purity born to parents given to licentiousness. There a child of great courage is given to parents who are rootless. An arrogant rake named Augustine is born to Monica, a woman of astonishing purity, persistence and fortitude. Bathed in the grace of decades of her prayers, Augustine ends by becoming one of God’s most fruitful servants. How often are parents sanctified through their children and children through their parents! There are saints with great sins on their consciences. In them, it merely opens up new channels of grace as their remorse gives them a larger spirit and a tender empathy for other sinners. There are great sinners who only have a small virtue, but grab hold of that lifeline and follow it back to God. Many people are inspired to find their path to salvation through an encounter with one who suffers with dignity. Ah, but many others are seduced by the transient glitter of vanity and power, fooled by the false luster of what is only paper and paste compared to what God intends for us.

Job sees great natural catastrophes – and a flood of divine grace pouring forth just before the catastrophe hits. For a time even enemies recollect their common humanity and pull together in solidarity with each other. Many are saved through this. But there are those who loot and exploit their fellows, unaware that they tear a piece of their humanity away from their soul in the process. God weeps over it. There are untimely deaths which seem tragic. But most are souls in their final state of grace. It is God’s mercy which plucks them before they can fall into perdition. In God’s economy every event is a potential new channel of grace opening up.

Job does not see God punishing anyone; He is far too busy trying to save them. A little temporal or physical suffering is often applied to help heal a soul. But souls can only be damaged by their owners’ free choice. Certainly, the satan busies himself trying to undo God’s grace, encouraging souls to maim themselves by chasing after sex, money and power at the expense of those around them. With every step away from God it becomes harder for a soul to hear and respond to His call. God not only calls each of us to salvation; He calls us a thousand times a day in little whispers. The Lord of Hosts suffers intensely over each of His children who so maim their souls that they begin to lose the capacity to respond to Him. Everything leads to eternity. In eternity, outside of God, there is only agony and isolation.

Job sees that, in temporal time and space, the greatest conquests and the greatest accomplishments are less than a puff of smoke on a windy day. The only thing that matters – the only thing – is the witness we live with those we encounter and, especially, with those given into our care. Everything in this bubble is always passing away. Those who anchor themselves in temporal things will perish with those temporal things. All that counts is to help others to choose life, the life that is when all this passes away.

Job sees great souls whose purity and love unite them with God. Even greater souls manifest their love of God through their love of and tender care for their neighbors. But the greatest souls are those who embrace what little sorrows and sufferings come their way in penance for themselves and as an offering for those who do no penance. Everyone wants the consolation of God, but these are the souls who console God. Their willing participation in His sorrows opens up profound channels of grace through which many otherwise unreachable souls are recalled to God, to life.

This is some of what I see when I enter into the whirlwind with Job. He does not put his hand over his mouth in servile fear, but in awe and with gratitude. Though he can’t understand all he sees, he discovers a bit of the magnitude of God’s love for us. And he takes new joy in knowing that his sufferings, too, make him a participant in God’s redeeming grace for us.

As Job’s tale comes to a close God does what may be the most astonishing thing of all. In what should (but somehow does not) send a chill of terror up the spine of every religious scold in history, God turns furiously on Job’s ‘pious’ friends. “You have not spoken rightly of me as has my servant Job,” He tells them. The Almighty is so angry He refuses to hear their prayers for forgiveness. Instead, He directs them to go to Job and ask him to pray for them, for He will hear and accept Job’s prayer on their behalf. These are the very people who have spent the entire book defending God while Job has been busy raging at and challenging Him. What are we to make of this?

Perhaps the friends were not defending God at all. Perhaps all they were defending was their preconceived notion of God or what they thought He should be. Even worse, if what they said had been true, it would have meant that God truly is unjust. They said God only afflicts those who have sinned grievously. But Job spoke truly in defending his righteousness. For all his histrionics, Job never accused God of being unjust. In fact, Job seemed quite confident that if God would only appear to him justice would follow. God did come to him and gave him even more than what he expected. Job had, indeed, been the one who spoke rightly of God. God always responds to the honest heart. Job was certainly noisy in complaining of his pain and discontent. His questions were less requests than demands. But he was candid and entirely sincere. And God came.

Whatever your beliefs, you would certainly like to know if God is. Go ahead. Acknowledge where the shoe of faith pinches – or even if it does not fit at all. Then ask whatever you can with sincerity. You shall receive

 

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253 thoughts on “The Whirlwind Picks Up Speed

  1. Friends,

    Please confirm, did the treatment for COVID that the president received contain aborted fetus/derived from aborted fetuses?

    If so, what does this mean for us?!

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    1. What it means is that there are a whole lot of medicines – and almost all vaccines – that use fetal stem cells as a cultural medium. They are not needed in any medications – and some countries do not allow their use. But the leftist agitators here in the medical and pharmaceutical communities push them primarily to justify abortion. They are never necessary.

      For what it is worth, in this case it was old fetal stem cell lines that were used…but again, it was not necessary.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Charlie, you can check my quoted article immediately below, but it seems that the ESC claim may be a rumor, not fact. I absolutely agree that most vaccines are dirty and have ESCs involved at some point of production. The first point I want to make is that this Regeneron MAB treatment is not a vaccine.

        I also believe Trump, who has railed against vaccines for many years and has appointed RFK Jr to study the issue, would not use and bless a treatment that Christians could not use. I believe he is very aware of the problem, and he would probably catch hell from Melania, too.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Thanks Steve. I have actually been working with some people on the inside on this since yesterday. The medicine DID use an old stem cell line from back in the 70s for testing. David Daleiden tweeted on the matter today. The use of ESC’s in certain medicines and almost all vaccines is so ubiquitous that any who take serious medications have used some that have this in it without even knowing. The sad thing is that it is NOT necessary. Fetal stem cells are never needed to make medicines – but leftists like to push them to justify abortion – and make it difficult for people to get critical medicines that do not use fetal stem cells. Defund Planned Parenthood and stop forcing honest taxpayers to fund killing babies, then indict Planned Parenthood and stop forcing the sick to take a dose of aborted stem cells with their medicine.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. OK, we’ll go with that information for the testing. But that use was for *testing*, not production. The MABs do not appear to be produced using fetal cells of any kind. That should mean that anyone can use the MABs, no matter what their moral or religious beliefs.

            I have avoided vaccines for decades, originally because I knew they were dirty and often damaging and now because they are *produced* with ESCs – not OK. This MAB line is not a vaccine. It’s a therapeutic treatment for an active case of Covid-19. It mops up the virus in the body and helps the body mount a stronger immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 over time after the virus has invaded the body. So comparing this treatment to a vaccine risks creating serious confusion.

            Unless you have information that ESCs or other fetal cells are used to *produce* these MABs, your comments might lead people to believe they cannot use these MABs when in fact they can. Taking a batch of MABs made in a clean process and putting them in an ESC tissue broth to test them may not be a needed way to test their effectiveness, but it does not compromise the production process. The testing takes place entirely outside the production process and those MABs are not later used but thrown out with the tissue broth. People using the MABs are not (as far as I know) ingesting anything related to human cells of any kind, let alone ESCs. I have read about MABs for years and have never seen any indication they are produced using human cells, but I could have missed that somewhere along the way.

            So do your sources also have information that ESCs or any other human cells are used in the production process itself? It does not appear to me that Regeneron uses the standard vaccine production process to make these MABs. That’s a key question to resolve, and so far, what I gather from you and the article I cited says we either don’t know and therefore can’t make an informed decision yet, or the MABs are produced cleanly and can be used.

            So what do your sources say about the production process that might contradict the article’s statement that the MAB production process does not use human cells of any kind?

            Liked by 1 person

    2. LittleOne, that is an excellent question. I went looking online, and the best, most reasonable article seems to be this one:

      https://heavy.com/news/regeneron-monoclonal-antibodies-not-from-human-fetal-embryo-stem-cells/

      As far as I can tell from this, the treatment itself was *not* produced using such cells. However, after the monoclonal antibodies (MABs) of the treatment were created, they were *tested* in a, what, possibly a broth of tissue that was made from immortalized embryonic kidney cells that have been around since the 1970s and were from an aborted child at that time. Apparently, this tissue on a technical basis is a good testing ground for diseases that use “spike” proteins to get into cells (I don’t know why, but the why doesn’t matter here).

      This means that the MABs were *not* made in a process involving any aborted tissue and were only later (post-production) tested in epithelial cells, not embryonic stem cells, to determine potency.

      I can’t vouch for this being true, but it seems likely that this MAB treatment is entirely safe for anyone including staunch Christians to use without concern.

      However, my caveat is that this is based on a quick search online, and the finding of an article that seems accurate based on technical methods and language. I am perfectly prepared to let someone more knowledgeable correct me as to status of anything related to human tissue improperly used in this case. However, I don’t want rumors and false claims to spread, either.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Steve, Thanks for finding this article. I have wanted to respond to one of our local priests who posted a condemnation of Trump due to his use of the Regeneron antibody cocktail, so this helps. Since his source was a NYT article, I immediately questioned its veracity. (Pray for this priest, his posts are full of hate for President Trump, and he also supports the ideology of Fr. James Martin).

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      2. SteveBC, this is above my comprehension, but the official Susan B. Anthony list retweeted this Dr.’s tweet explaining,
        https://twitter.com/DrTaraSanderLee ” Researcher, Clinical Scientist, Science Policy Advisor. PhD. Senior Fellow & Director of Life Sciences .For LIFE in this world and the next.”

        This is from one of her tweets, “The abortion-derived cell line, HEK293, was used in experiments to test the antibodies, separate from antibody cocktail for treating COVID-19 patients. These experiments are not ethical, but it’s important to understand no fetal cell lines were used to make antibody cocktail. 6/6” (There’s more info on her twitter account.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Maggie the Sleuth! This was very interesting because one of the repliers on her threads said something useful. I take it to mean that there are *three* stages to making the Regeneron MAB treatment. Phase 1, create a large population of antibodies. Phase 2, select the antibodies that work and multiply them. Phase 3, test the resulting cocktail for effectiveness.

          My original thought was that there was only a two-phase process, make the antibodies and test them. In that case, using the HEK293(?) kidney epithelial cells from the 1970s abortion does not affect the morality of the original production of the antibodies in the mouse.

          The three-phase process complicates things. *If* the HEK293 cell tissue was used to select active MABs that are then again multiplied to produce the final selection of MABs and then that set of MABs is finally tested using the HEK293 cell line tissue, then the production of the final treatment is ethically compromised. The final product even from this three-phase product could be made ethical by simply substituting a non-fetal tissue for the selection phase and the testing phase. In and of itself, the process is not ethically flawed. Swap the HEK293 tissue out and the final treatment solution would be fine.

          Of course, this all begs the question of whether you think it is ethical to mess with mice this way, but the production process is not dependent on human fetal cells and could be fine if the use of HEK293 were discontinued.

          So the issue I’m unclear about is whether the HEK293 tissue is being used just to sample-test the final result of the production process, or whether the HEK293 tissue was used *during* the production process to help select the specific MABs that were later amplified into the final product.

          Does anyone have any information as to whether the HEK293 tissue was used only after production to see if the MABs were effective, or whether they were used during the R&D phase to select the MABs that were later amplified in the production process?

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    1. Thank you for posting this, Sansan. Part of what Michael said reminded me of Fr. John Riccardo’s videos and teaching on the kerygma and how to proclaim the “explosive” news of the Gospel. When Fr. Riccardo talked in Omaha last year, he mentioned that he was writing a book about it. So, by chance, I found that promised book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593253818/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
      Hearing Father’s teaching on the kerygma changed my life in Lent 2019. This is how I found out about the God I never knew. It changed everything about my faith. My saying this makes me just a messenger. I hope that the power of the Gospel draws those who hear it to The Truth. It is what the satan doesn’t want anyone to know.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. PS: Ain’t gonna happen unless there is “Regime Change” @ de Vatican …… or a “Come to Jesus meeting on the road to Damascus”!
      You’re right CREWDOG.
      The video is from BOBG from the previous page.
      Check the 24:00 mark

      Liked by 1 person

  2. CD you’re so right about who is needed now! I think it’s ok to pray as I do, to ask the Holy Spirit to come with his light filling the whole world (illuminate), to bring Mother Mary’s Triumph, and to give us the POPE of the Triumph now! Come Lord Jesus!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A beautiful homily given by an amazing priest in our Diocese:

    Once again, we are presented with an option for this Sunday’s Gospel: A Long Form and a Short Form. I have preached about options like this in the past. It is a very unfortunate option, in my opinion. We can read the full- length, complete passage or we can read a curtailed and shortened version of it. But a quick study of the difference between the two will bring one to the reasonable conclusion that the editor gave an option in which a hard saying and truth was avoided and only a positive heartwarming message was allowed. Some will try to make the argument that the brevity of the short option is more pastoral. However, I believe this argument and many like it are disingenuous and are in reality very un-pastoral. If the purpose of being ‘pastoral’ is to bring the sheep to green pastures where they will have safe repose, then failing to tell them about the pitfalls of ravines, wolves and sullied water along the way, and the consequences of not following the shepherd, seems naive at best, and culpably negligent at worst. Woe to the shepherd who does not warn the sheep! It seems to me that many pastors for the past 60 years have thought the people of God too simpleminded or slow to be able to grasp these deeper truths. Or that somehow the truth was too hard to grasp and that ignorance was bliss. I get the sense that the leaders of the Church so want to “fit in” and “be liked” by the faithful that they have feed them candy instead of meat and vegetables. I can’t help but feeling that by cutting out the hard sayings, there has been an attempt to water down the faith precisely in a time when we need the full nutrition of the Gospel truths!
    In the long form of the Gospel we hear not only the good news that God has prepared a wedding feast to which even the lowliest on the earth are invited, but we also hear the reality that failing to answer the invitation invites destruction on us.

    Furthermore, it tells that if we fail to conform ourselves to the way of the Lord by putting on the wedding garment, even if we show up, there is wailing and grinding of teeth awaiting us, not feasting. This last part is what is left out of the short form. Perhaps there are reasonable motives for shortening the parable. But I fail to be convinced of this, especially in our day. Maybe it’s as simple as people having something better to do on Sunday than listen to a minute more of the Gospel. This is something for our examination of conscience, for sure. But more likely, in my opinion, is it that we thought God’s judgement to be too boorish or “mean”? Can we not square our pre-conceived and personal views about a “nice non-judgmental, teddy bear, good feelings dispensary god” with the stark reality of how He actually reveals Himself? And therefore we have to “shorten” the Gospel, lest God come off as too “harsh” for modern ears.

    This is the dynamic at play in one of the most deceptive banner ads that is used in church circles today. “All are welcome,” we declare. We turned it into a pop culture-inspired folk hymn. All are welcome! It seems such an obvious truth. You may wonder what in the world I might find difficult with this ever-so-popular catch phrase that makes people feel so good about themselves. Of course, all are welcome. How could anyone not be welcome in the Church, we ask. If you say that not all are welcome, you are just plain mean! You must be some kind of bigot. Maybe a racist, maybe a transphobic or an anti-feminist. That must be it. To counter this possibility, it is screamed all the louder, “All are welcome”. But there is something very disingenuous about this phrase. It isn’t bad, it is just a little “off” if one is a Christian. It isn’t the full Gospel. It is a paraphrase that misses the mark. It is the short form that leaves off a very important, even essential part of the message. What is telling is that when that phrase is put to the test, it fails. If all are welcome, then white supremacists and their views on the inequality of the races would be welcome. But they are not. They are wrong. If you come into the wedding banquet without repenting of that, wailing and grinding of teeth are sure to follow. If all are welcome, then sexists who posit that the female is inferior to the male, like in many Islamic countries ruled by Sharia Law, that they would be welcome. But that is false and most unwelcome. If you enter the wedding feast without rejecting that error, you will be cast into the outer darkness. If all are welcome, then greedy capitalists who value money over the welfare of their underlings and who oppress the poor would be welcome, and they are most definitely not. This sin cries out to heaven, and the Lord hears the cry of the poor. If all are welcome, then horrible environmental polluters who brazenly desecrate our common home with trash, vile chemicals and sinful laziness in the waste they produce and expel into the world, are to be welcomed too. But they are not. Unless of course, they repent. And that is the point.

    Welcome is the wrong word. Welcome implies agreement, acceptance, embrace not only of one’s person but of one’s ideas. Perhaps that is the problem. People who are well-meaning and good natured have been hood-winked by modernism and have enshrined tolerance as the greatest good. This is the hijacking of Christianity just like the Gnostics of old. The message is close, but subtly and essentially difference. Those who prompted us to start singing “all are welcome” either forgot repentance and conversion were necessary or they purposefully lied in order to destroy. We have to be careful of conspiracy theories, but it is curious that those who are trying to change the settled doctrine of the Church and introduce foreign elements of a worldly and even under-worldly nature are the ones that seem to sing this refrain the loudest. Because they are intent on “welcoming” people, they inadvertently leave a back door open for offensive and vile distortions of the moral and natural order, to say nothing of the complete undoing of the direct biblical dictates. There is a subtle shift from firmly believing in the revealed truths handed down to us from Scripture and Tradition to the perceived motives of a squishy emotivism about feeling good and feeling bad. The reality is that in the end, and even in the beginning, the cross feels bad. Sin oftentimes feels good. If we spend all of our time seeking out what feels good to our senses and indulging in that which placates our emotions we will very quickly slip into something that doesn’t resemble the Catholic Faith at all, and then what are we? Humanists? At best. Back at square one for humanity, yes. If the Catholic Faith is the Light and Salt of humanity, we are quickly snuffing it out and diluting it. I believe the “All are welcome” banner is one of the slides by which we tumble headlong into this pit. “Come as you are” and “non-judgmental” buzzwords are like honey drawing in the fly. But they are just as dangerous to us as the honey is to the fly when it sticks to them and drowns them in a sugary demise. People say in reaction, but, “What would Jesus do?” The answer is in the manner in which He treated the woman caught in adultery. “Does no one condemn you?” “No one sir.” “Then go and sin no more.” Jesus invites her to change, to heal, to step into the light. His mercy is directed towards her repentance and conversion, not staying as she was.
    Now, before you throw up your hands in disgust and rail and rant against how intolerant this preacher is, I would like to propose to you a better way to accomplish the noble purpose of loving the sinner without the disastrous consequence of leading people into an inescapable morass of error. I propose that instead of using the phrase, “All are welcome,” we use rather the very words of the Scripture presented to us today: “All are invited.” This is a truth that we cannot pass up. All are invited. It must be proclaimed on the housetops. All are invited. It must be disseminated in the highways and by-ways. All are invited. To the feminists, the transgendered, the same-sex- attracted, the Marxists and anarchist alike. All are invited. To the white supremacists, sexists, greedy capitalists and horrible polluters alike. All are invited. God desires that all men be saved. He does not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live. “I came that they might have life and life in abundance.” This is the saving will of our God. All are invited. He proves this desire by eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors. All are invited. He reaches out to the down-trodden and rejected of the world. All are invited. He offers them a place at His banquet. “Go out into the highways and the byways and invite whomever you find to the feast!” Come without money, without cost. Eat and drink. “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” All are invited. But this is an invitation and an invitation only. We can either answer the invitation or ignore it at our peril. We can accept the conditions incumbent with it or we can try to impose our own will on it to our demise. This invitation is not a license to simply choose to do whatever we will; that will not be welcomed. To receive an invitation from the Lord should not be occasion for an open presumption that I am where God wants me to be, and therefore I don’t need to change. Change we must. He invites us precisely because we are not where we are supposed to be. Furthermore, we must put on the wedding garment in order to attend the wedding banquet. This is the garment given to us at our baptism. We must change into our Christian clothes, or there will be consequences. Saying you are a Christian is not the same thing as acting like a Christian. This is the subtle error communicated by the phrase “all are welcome.” Rather, “All are invited, but few are chosen.” That is how that phrase ends. Oh, how I want to be in that number, when the Saints go marching in. It is an awesome gift to receive an invitation to that parade. That is the good news. But it is not a forgone conclusion that I will be in that number. That is what is overshadowed by the error of only reading the short version. I only know that is a possibility and reality by reading the rest of the story. Now I know, and that is half the battle. . . That is why I like the long form of the Gospel.

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  4. I went to a Catholic Church Sat. and Sunday and stood with my Repub. signs near the exit between the sidewalk and the road with the public school behind me. The Church asked me to leave and the police security was sent several times to tell me people were complaining; since I was not a member of the parish they could do nothing. I stayed for every Mass and the Repub. members loved my being there. I told the officer it was too bad most of the Dallas priests and the Bishop were Democrats. I finally did take down my Trump/Pence and homemade signs at midday but kept up Repub. no name signs. I had a Dem. and a no-Trumper say they were voting for Trump.

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