Posts Tagged 'Religion'



What If Heaven Was Like Congress?

OMG!!!

Ok… the only thing I could think about was the inquest after this.  No.  Not the Coroner’s, but that of the Angel Oversight Committee.  I mean, if Heaven was run like our congress, surely someone is calling for an immediate appearance before all to be dressed down and properly address who’s to blame.

I can just see Jesus, sitting in his throne, barely stifling a giggle because he knows the humor of irony when he sees it; was kinda his invention anyway.    Beside him, Mary giving him a slightly disproving look because no mom likes to see her son giggle in serious situations. Jesus replies with a playful wink. Eventually she too gives way to a smirk.  In fact all the angels present, Gabriel, Raphael, Ariel, Uriel, and a dozen other unnamed “’el’s” seated in accusatory fashion behind a high table are beginning to purse their lips uncomfortably.  All but Michael, who being more of a military mind, has a complete poker face. 

Michael paces the no man’s (angel’s) land between the Table for the Persecution and the “Hot Seat”.  Full modern military dress adorns him.  Sitting in the Chair of Despair alone (for there are precious few lawyers whose eternal reward didn’t include wishes for a fire retardant suit and those are currently in Purgatory waiting for “Last Call”) is Noobiel, a recently promoted Guardian Angel. 

Mary looks up to Jesus who nods.  Mary then motions Michael to begin with a gentle wave. 

Michael: “If I may begin.  Noobiel, prior to your promotion 47 years ago you were working where?”

Noobiel: “Um… You promoted me.  You know where I’m from.”

M: “Please state it for the record.”

N: “Ok.  I… I was in charge of flies.”

Gabriel: “Flies?”

N: “Um, yes… flies.  My department was responsible for making sure that flies, you know, breed.”

G: “… like flies?”

N: “Well, yes,”

G: “Seems that job was going swimmingly”

N: “Technically no.  That would be mosquitoes.  That’s another department.”  *nervous laughter*

G:  “What?” *non-pulsed*

N: “Oh, sorry.  A little invertebrate humor.” *adjusts halo*

M: “Yes.  Emphasis on ‘little’.  So, Noobiel, can you explain exactly what happened in the Gunther Link case?  Please tell us all that you can remember starting with the Elevator.”

N: “The lift?”

M: *Sighs* “Yes… the lift.”

N: “Well… Gunther was stuck there and started to pray.  He was very devout.  He’s the kind of human that’s really easy for a new guardian to deal with. He really motivated himself and I rarely had to step in to keep him form spiritual harm.  Hated Pornography.  Was good to children.  Loved his mom.  A real prince.  I just really had to whisper in his ear to do things like remember to set an alarm for an important event or get the sappy card for a birthday instead of the card that plays the tinny garbled music that no one likes.

“He just started to pray and pray.  He was calling on all sorts of Saints, Her Highness, and His Majesty.  So I just called up a few of the other Guardians I knew in the area and they eventually found the right people to come check on the elevator.  It worked a treat and he was out in no time.”

M: “You cleared the miracle?”

N: *slightly squirming in his seat* “Well, no.  It’s standard practice to give small nudges to events when it’s not really life threatening.  The lift wasn’t going to fall and they would have found him eventually.  So it really was just to boost his already enormous faith.  And I didn’t want him to have to wait and give… you know who… a chance to work on him.”

Raphael: “It may be SOP but it’s hardly regulation to NOT at least check with a superior.”

N: “I know but, when you are down there in the streets, sometimes you have to… make do.”

R: “First of all… I was helping little old Cave-ladies cross the river while you were still tuning up for choir practice, so don’t lecture me on how it is down there.  But what exactly do you mean by, ‘Make do?’”

N: *shifting nervously and fidgeting with his halo* “I meant no disrespect.  I merely meant to point out that you know what it’s like.  Sometimes you have to jump and let Him *nodding to Jesus* provide the parachute.”

R: “And exactly what was the crisis that required you to jump in a situation that by your own admission would have resolved itself?”

N: *Visibly sweating* “Um…”

M: “May I remind you that you are under oath… always”

N: *Straightens up and pushes forward* “He had a game scheduled.”

M: “Excuse me?  Football?”

N: “No.  Something a bit less athletic.”

G: “Chess?”

N: “Um…  No…  H.A.L.O.  It’s a role playing game on the computer.”

R: “Halo?  Sounds interesting.  Do they play angels?”

M: “No.  It’s a multiplayer war game featuring modern unit combat.”

*The room falls silent*

M: “WHAT!  I’m the Patron of Soldiers!  … I was… intrigued.  *drawing himself to full height* “Can we PLEASE return to the subject at hand?”

*Everyone in the room pointedly ignored the snickers from the Throne*

*Michael glares are Noobiel*

N: “Er… yes.  Well… He had a game scheduled for later that night.  It’s one of his few hobbies and it makes him happy.  I knew if I let things go normally he’d miss it and I like to watch him.”

M: “So you called in a miracle for a computer game.  Let’s just be clear about that.  A… computer… game.”

N:  *nods*

*The room falls silent*

M: “Go on.”

N: “So they get the doors open and he thanks them all and heads to church…”

G: “Yes.  That is also another issue.  Exactly whose idea was it for him to go to church?”

N: *Barely audible* “mine.”

*Groans from the table*

N: “But he didn’t complain.  He was all over it.  Like I said, I never had to prompt him much spiritually.  He was happy to go and give thanks.”

R: “And throwing himself at the altar…”

N: *Shrinks in his seat* “I’m not sure.”

M: “Excuse me?”

N: “We were in the church.  I was taking a small break to… you know…” *Motions his head toward Jesus* “And I figured, ‘what could happen? He’s in a church!’  I don’t know what he was thinking.  One minute I’m singing Hosannas and the next… Squish.  Is any one asking the Guardian of the church?  That’s technically on his watch.”

M: “They are on the docket.  You just worry about your own actions.”

N: *nods*

G: “And he died instantly.  No time for intervention.”

N: “Yes… And it’s not a total loss since he did cross over to our side.”

M: “Yes! And don’t you forget that that is the ONLY reason you aren’t painting lichen on rocks as we speak.”

N: “Yes, sir.”  *retires into his chair sheepishly*

M: “Do you have anything further to add?”

N: “No.  I think I’ve said enough.”

*Michael turns to the Throne*

M: Would you care to add any concluding words.”

Jesus: *Considers his words*  “Ultimately… We are just going to have to chalk this one up to all’s well that ends well.  Mr. Link is firmly ensconced in his reward, enjoying the prayers of his family and the faithful.  Due to the internet, we have people in all manner of places sending their well wishes and prayers. 

“I’m sure Michael has already put extra details on his family to help prevent this… unfortunate incident from destroying their faith.”

*Michael nods smartly*

J: “I don’t generally set aside the laws of physics without some form of intervention from a Guardian or human.  And since his Guardian was attending to Me, something I can’t fault him too much for under the circumstances, there really was no one to intervene.  Had Mr. Link not been a dead cert for Heaven, I may have been inclined for another miracle in his life that day, but why make a man of such devotion wait when events were playing out for his immediate promotion.

“As to the “Miracle of the Lift”, *scowls*, “In the future, please, for the love of Me, check before you do things like that.  You never know what other events were planned.  Yes, the ele.. I mean lift getting stuck may have just been a fluke, but it may also have been part of a bigger plan and you should have found that out first. 

“I think, perhaps, you may need some more time apprenticing.  Michael, find a suitable teacher for Noobiel, please.”

N: “Actually, if I may ask Your Majesty…” *If Angels could mess themselves, he would be doing it right now as he realizes he just interrupted God.*

J: *chuckling* “Go on.”

N: “Um… bless you.  I would really like to go back to the flies, if I could.  They don’t have Xboxes and iPones.  They don’t drive like crazy people or cut others off just for the heck of it.  Flies are much less complicated and much more to my liking.”

J:  “Michael, I will leave that in your hands.  My preference is for Noob,” *no one notices Noobiel wince*, “to remain on the front lines if at all possible.  But it’s your team and your call. 

“Well… I think that raps up things.  If you don’t mind I have an appointment with a tortilla press.”

*Mary groans.  All the angels, except for Noob and Michael, laugh*

J: “Mom… you never let me have any fun.”  *Kisses her on the forehead and is gone*

M: “Yes.  I will take your next assignment under advisement, but seeing as He wants you back dealing with the humans, I think your flies are just a not going to happen.”

N: “Maybe I could Guardian an entomologist?”

M: “No more with the files.”

N: “Technically, the deal with more that just flies.”

M: *Glares*

N: “Yes.  Sorry.  Of course you knew that.  May I be excused?”

M: “Please. Before I call for my smiting sword.”

N: *vanishes*

M: *turns to table*“What are you all snickering about?  Don’t you have nations to protect and what not?” *The Angels vanish*

Michael: “It’s just so frustrating.”

Mary: “I know dear.  You know… I hear there’s an exorcism that’s about to be preformed in Uruguay.  Maybe you should pop in and take out some aggression?”

Michael: *Wistful look in his eye* “If I may have your leave My Lady?”

Mary: “Of course.”

 

Maybe it didn’t happen that way.  Who knows?  One thing is for certain.  I’m just not right.

I wish you well Mr. Link.  May your afterlife be less… um… pressing than your life.  Pray for us if you get a moment.  Thanks.

Teddy Kennedy Dies. I Wish I Could Summon The Snark.

It’s now time for all the fawning stories and revisionist history that the Kennedy clan seems to be able to afford in this life.  I’m sure there will be a grand love-in about how wonderful he was.  The Cathedral will be packed and few in the media or pulpit will say one word about Mary Jo and the millions of dead babies he’s left in his wake.

I never like to say things like, “I hope they rot in hell.”  I say it out of anger and frustration at times, but I feel bad about it.  Really, I do.  I always hope for “Death Bed” conversions of people or pray that someone was so whack-a-doodle that they may not be culpable for their actions on this side of the All a Worm Can Eat Buffett.  If, in Teddy’s case, by some miracle he began to breath his last, looked up, saw the mistakes of his life, and called on a merciful Lord to forgive him in perfect contrition, he’ll be sweeping up the floors and turning off the lights in purgatory long after the rest of humanity is dancing in the green grass and mystical happiness of Heaven. 

Why do I believe that?  As a Catholic, I cut no slack to people who profess the same faith as I do yet refuse to assent to its teachings.  I have friends who are Wiccans and have more respect for their philosophy, even thought I disagree with everything it stands for, than I do for a Catholic who openly thumbs his nose at Dogma and Doctrine like Teddy did.  A wealthy leader who’s turns his back on his Church’s teachings for his own political goals seems to come under the scrutiny of, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.”* And to me that adds up to a betrayal of God and his people that cries to heavens for justice. 

Today, Teddy stood before his God, whether he believed in him or not, and there was no press secretary, no lawyer, no neck brace of sympathy, no DNC, no State Run Media there to defend his actions.  Just he and God face to face.  How sad that a person given so much power and who professed to be a man of faith will be called to account with nary a shred of defense in his favor.  What will be his reaction when God shows him the gentle faces of the children he helped murder.  What will be his reaction when he’s shown Mary Jo’s face?  What will be the reaction to all the pain and suffering he’s caused and to all the people who he’s helped tempt to sin?  Their sins are not fully his, but his mentoring has led to their acceptance of the millstone. 

Now imagine yourself in Teddy’s shoes.  Close your eyes.  Drink deeply of the pain and suffering that YOU are being accused of; especially Catholics who profess on Sunday what they profane on Monday.  What will YOU feel like when God asks, “Why?” 

I can’t remember who this paraphrase is from, but it goes something like, “Think on the end of your life and you will never sin.”  Perhaps that will be the one good legacy of Teddy’s.  Maybe he will be a wake call for Catholics (indeed all of any faith) who casually check off their religion on forms but don’t care enough to live it in real life.  Maybe they will think about the end and say to themselves, “Oh Hell!  I don’t want to be Kennedyed.”  I know it makes me want to re-examine things. 

Good luck Teddy.  You will need it.  I would normally say God Bless, but I’m not sure you would want me to.  Oh what the heck, it can’t hurt.  God Bless and may He have mercy on your soul.  Although I fear, in this case, He won’t. 

*Luke 12: 48 (NAB)

No, The ATF Hasn’t Taken Me To A FEMA Prison.

Please excuse my lack of Postiness over the last few days.  I’ve been on a retreat with my wife.  We decided to do some work on the marriage.  Nothing was wrong, but like a car that’s just turned over a major millage milestone, we needed the timing belt changed, some oil and lube, and other regularly scheduled maintenance.  The effects?  Well, let’s just say I feel 19 again and more in love than I thought possible.* 

The weekend was sponsored by World Wide Marriage Encounter and more specifically, the Houston Area’s Marriage Encounter groups. If you want to bring a hirer level of love in your marriage, I STRONGLY recommend attending one of these retreats.  Be warned, Romance is in the air by the second day so… um… just be forewarned you don’t have a lot of time between sessions and some times you will want some extra time.  I’m not sayin’… I’m just sayin’.

The weekend is broken up into group sessions then private couple time to Dialogue on the questions posed.  Be also forewarned that the weekend is about FEELINGS not PROBLEM solving.  It’s about getting the couple to more deeply understand how each other feels about things.  The focus is to teach ways to clear away emotional walls that spring up around deep feelings and encourage couples to share them.  Bringing down the walls, by its very nature, makes problem solving easier.  But that is a byproduct of the process, not the goal.

Now Normally, I’m not exactly what one would call, “Feelings Oriented”.  When I hear someone say, “I feel…” in place of “I think…” my spine turns to rigid steel rebar, fangs of titanium extend, and poison begins to form in my tongue that gets spewed with all the anger of a true words lawyer. “YOU MEAN ‘YOU THINK!’ …YOU TOUCHY FEELY HIPPIE!”  But the process respects the distinction between “I feel…” and “I think…” and isn’t trying to feminize the thinking process into simple “kind non-judgmental leftist” double talk.  Besides, this is your spouse and feelings are important.  Hell, feelings can be everything.  Besides sex, feelings are the one thing that you can truly share with him or her that you can’t be vulnerable enough to share with anyone else. 

This is a Catholic Organization but it is open to mixed faith couples as well as those who are NOT Catholic.  In fact, they try to reserve a certain number of slots for those who aren’t Catholic at all.  There is no proselytizing, but there is no compromise in its Catholicity either.  If you are ANTI-Catholic**, then this probably isn’t for you.  However, if you just AREN’T Catholic, there is nothing offensive in the weekend. 

Anyway…  Blogging will now return to normal.  That is all.

 

* … and more than just a bit naughty. 😉
**  If you are Anti-Catholic, you probably won’t be reading this blog anyway so…

Sin 101: Infinite Mercy. Or… Does God Like Macaroni Art?

Believe it or not, one of the few things I’m qualified to do is speak on the topic of sin.  Oh yes.  From both sides of the subject, much to my shame and my confessors poor ears. 

Despite the best efforts of my Mother, Priests, and Philosophy and Theology profs, I had my twenties.  I’d like to say I flirted with Moral Relativism, but sadly, I frenched it and had a poisonous love affair.  Thankfully I also didn’t listen to other wisdom like, “Never date anyone crazier than you.”  I say, “Thankfully.” because it was that disaster that made me wake up and realize that Moral Relativism is really only about trying to… ahem… “to know” others in a way that is not appropriate to your state in life. 

So once sufficiently burned by the dark embers of License without maturity, I realized that all those fancy words and LONG books might not just be useful theory, but practical tools for hammering out a life.  With much hope, I turned back to my many, many, years of schooling.

I mention all this not to come across as some worldly reprobate turned saint (for I assure you my exploits were tame by comparison to just about any modern sitcom), but to say, “I have a clue.  I’ve been there.  I’ve looked evil in the face and saw an unsettling resemblance to my life.  Or at least in the direction it was heading”

So with that and my “book learnin’”, I feel quite confident of talking about sin and what to do with it.

Most of us who haven’t sold our souls to other gods or beaten our guilt to a bloody pulp know that feeling when we’ve done something “bad”.  I’m not going to get into specifics, but we’ve all felt that, at least, twinge of regret.  Some of us have that regret heaped on in job lots after we realize that the shiny perfection that will make our lives complete is really just another “Golden Dancer”. 

When that happens, there can be a sweet lie that creeps into our minds.  It takes on one of two tunes.  It has the same notes, just one is played in blues and the other in rock. 

Tune one says, “well… you’ve gone and done it.  Might as well do some more ‘cause you done showed yourself not worth crap.  Hell!  You DESERVE this.  So go on.  Once more, with feeling.” 

Tune two is, “Oh crud.  I’m just so much filth.  I can’t believe I did that.  No god could forgive this.  What’s the point of trying to even let go of this.”

To combat this lie, I give you my Macaroni Art Theory of resolving sin. 

First, let’s take a look at you.  Yes.  Go ahead.  Get a metaphorical mirror and look at yourself.  You’ve got some talents.  Maybe some looks.  Some achievements, perhaps?  Money?  Maybe even fame?  Or maybe you don’t.  Maybe you look in that mirror and see nothing but muck.  No matter.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  All the success, and fame, and achievements, and talents, and good things that happen in a life… flush them down the toilet.  Yes… I mean that.  For the purposes of sin, flush. 

Why?  Well… If you succeed using a talent that God gave you, to who does that success rightfully belong?  You?  Sort of.  But in the end, it belongs to the One that gave you the talent and the opportunity.  That’s not to take away from those who succeed.  You have to put effort.  You have to put in the hard work.  But, honestly, how many award winners do you know that get the statue/medal/trophy say, “I didn’t all by myself.”  No.  they pull out slip of paper and thank just about everyone who had anything to do with the success.

So even if you don’t admit that God rightfully has claim to your success, you, at least, have to say He has a part in it.  So when you say, “Hey, God, look what I won.”  What are you doing?  At the very least, giving Him back the share He put into it.  That’s good, right and proper but, in a sense, at least were forgivness of sin is concerned, so nu?

But your sin.  That’s all you.  He had nothing to do with that.  He didn’t make you <insert least faltering moment here>.  So when you give your sins back to God, you are giving him the one thing he can’t get anywhere else. 

But why would you give The Heavenly Father, The King of Kings, and The Ghost with the Most your sin.  That’s like giving pre scratched lotto tickets to a beggar.  It seems, at the very least, bad form.  Not so fast. 

Think of a father.  Not your father if he was a schmuck.  Picture that ideal father from a Norman Rockwell painting.  Someone who cares.  Someone who loves you.  Picture him with some really fine artwork on the wall.  I’m not talking posters or knock offs, I’m talking the real deal.  Botticelli, Burn-Jones, Leighton…

Now you, say 5ish in age, have just come home from school.  Dad is sitting there, smoking a pipe.  You burst in and hand dear ol’ Da’ a raggy piece of construction paper with dried macaroni glued to it.  It’s in the, approximate, shape of a face.  You hand the “masterpiece” to Dad and tell him, “It’s a picture of you.  It’s not really very good.  And some of the macaroni fell off.  Sorry.” 

Any dad worth his pipe is gonna melt and proclaim it the best thing EVER.  And, truthfully, in his heart, it is.  It makes the great masters weep with envy simply because YOU made it.  It’s not the best.  It’s not even good for food anymore.  But it’s work rivaling the likes of Michelangelo.  

Why?  Simply because you thought enough to care.  Because you gave a rats backside in the midst of being yourself, he’s on cloud 9.  Ok… maybe someone told you to make the artwork.  Maybe it was part of class.  That doesn’t’ change the fact that it’s here, now, and making its way to the fridge.  It’s not the artwork that’s going on the fridge; it’s the memory of you caring enough to give it to him.  

So now picture God.   Picture you walking to the Heavenly study. “Um.  Dad.  I… um… have this mess to give you.  I… um… went outside the lines.  You can see that.  I’ll really try not to do that again, but… um… it’s really all I have to give you.  So… can you take it from me?  Sorry.”  The difference being that God doesn’t take IT to the ice box.  He puts something up there, but it really IS the memory of you handing him the mess, not the mess itself.  He proudly displays the moment you trusted Him enough with something that, truly, no one else could give Him.  The mess, at least between you and God, is now burnt up in the fire of the moment of your trust.  What rises from the ashes is forgiveness.

That is the true power of Sin.  Not in the destruction it can, and does, sow when left to fester.   Its power is in the simple hug from a Father that takes it and says, “It’s good enough for me.  For right now.  Now go run along and play.”  It’s the knowledge He has that someday, that macaroni art could be a Nobel Prize, or a MVP trophy, or even just the sight of watching you get a piece of macaroni art from your child and seeing your heart melt.

So the next time you feel unworthy of God’s mercy, just remember, you are.  We all are.  But that’s ok.  He doesn’t expect you the earn it.  He doesn’t want the Sistine Chapel; just the artwork we can make right now.  And like any good father, He’s happy to clear away some coupons on the fridge to celebrate it.


Dante…

Conservative, educated, understands history, distrusts government, distrusts politicians, dislikes pop-culture, and carries a firearm. In short, I'm what The Framers of The Constitution were counting on and everything your government wants you to fear most.

The only thing I don’t have to complain about is some GI taking up space in my living room. I’ll let you know about the Civil Courts if someone ever owes more than $20 to me. ---If you didn’t get that one; sue your Civics or US History Teacher.


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