Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hey Kid......I'm A Computah!

It's been a little while since an insightful post and for that I apologize. Most of my posts contain outright bitching and complaining with little or no intellectual stimulation. I hope to change that today. Before I start however I'd like to warn you that as a result of so many recent events here on campus, in my life, and in my brain. I'd also like to give you the courtesy to know this: This blog will contain my thoughts on a variety of issues including but not limited to, gay marriage, the war in Iraq, University policies and political correctness, and the Constitution. As a result you will learn why my facebook.com profile says I'm "very conservative." It isn't that I'm afraid of or don't like change, it's that I don't like willy-nilly rushing into change or changing because someone sounds slick as shit and SOUNDS like they know what they are talking about. Perhaps it's why I don't ask for help a lot from other people, but I'm not a follower. I don't blindly believe someone over something that has been in place for a while (with the obvious meaning that what is "traditional" actually WORKED). If something needs to be fixed and I'm convinced the new system/method is better than the old, I'll change or accept change....but I don't change just for the hell of it. Now, on with the show.

First off, I voted for George W. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 election and I have no regret. I don't think he's perfect and there are areas of policy I definately disagree with him on, but in both instances he was infinitely better than the other two choices (comeon look at em!: The hypocritical robot who fights for the environment yet has a zinc mine which pollutes local streams in Tennesse and get's a nice payoff for selling his farm and mine to Occidental Petroleum [look up Armand Hammer and be astonished!]. Or you get the Herman Munster John Kerry who claims to be friendly to second amendment rights to hunt yet says he crawls around on the ground to hunt the deer [you sit in a tree stand and wait dumbass!].). Now the question that's on everyone's mind.....am I a Republican? Yes and no. I'm an independent conservative who simply sides with the Republican party most of the time (this explains why I'm a facebook group member of them and why I have dues paid to the College Republicans here on campus). In fact a selectsmart.com opinion test ranked me as primarily a Constitution Party person (my ranks were 1)Constitution 2)Libertarian 3)Republican 4)Green 5)Democrat). So if my ideas seem radical to you, please listen and think about them....after all I can't take a breath here on campus and not hear some left-wing ideologues, and how many of you who know me from work or class hear me say what I think often? Unless I'm with close friends I usually don't bring up politics or if I do I try to respond thoughtfully to something that really just aggrivated me at the time.....after all, I FREAKIN HATE POLITICS!

Yesterday was the National Day of Silence which has two purposes: 1. It commemorates the death of Matthew Shepherd who was killed because of his sexual orientation (I believe there's a separate day in October that is officially for this now), and more recently, 2. It is a symbol day for people who are ALLIES and/or LGBT to be silent, wear black, and be a symbol of the silencing of the LGBT community. Sooooo, Monday in the wonderfully humerous piece of shit paper here at the University of Illinois, the Daily Illini editorial staff (most of them) decided to pen the utterly hypocritical piece, "No Fair." They start with a summary of the decision in Kansas that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. Of course they also have the first paragraph start with an affirmation that "religious based ideology" and politics should not be mixed (I'll address this ridiculous idea later). The main thrust of the editorial is that same sex marriage should not be banned and it should be decided at the federal level rather than the state level (cause after all, centralized government is better for all those "stupid little people" who might wish to have a direct impact in their community.). There is of course the wonderfully ignorant, anti-democratic, and hate-filled line of "America is mostly Christian and family oriented, and if this issue is decided by majority vote, gays will lose the battle for their rights." First of all, let's get off the moron train and stop in Think Before You Say Stupid Shit Land. 1) Gay marriage is opposed by most members of the Orthodox Jewish sect and many Muslims, not just the "Christian Right (and many moderate....eeep, did I make your statement ridiculous?). 2)Believe it or not, there are gay Christians and conservative gays who oppose gay marriage! 3)Marriage has been a religous institution all over the world which social government has RECOGNIZED....not been in charge of. Most people go to priests/pastors/clerics/rabbis for marriage, not a judge. 4)If "the government takes away the right of any individual in the private sphere-where it does not really have a direct influence on the welfare of the state-it oversteps its boundaries," then how can the government grant a right it has no power or place to ban? 5)If marriage is private, why not have the states or local counties deal with the issue rather than continuously making national news out of it by taking it to Federal Court?

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not a homophobe. I'm not afraid of gay people, nor do I wish to ostracize them in society. People in the United States have the right to the lifestyle they choose as long as other people aren't hurt as a result of their activities (sacrifices to Satan and such). I also think that they should be able to join in civil unions in the eyes of the state and that such a union has the same financial benefits as marriage does. At this point you might say, "why not call it marriage?" since you're probably thinking this is a semantics argument. You're wrong though, this isn't a semantics argument. Marriage as stated earlier is a religious institution recognized by the state. As a result of the First Amendment's establishment clause the government has no right to hijack a religious institution and change it in the name of "civil rights" when it has nothing to do with rights at all on the civil level (aside from the financial benefits which I think should be allowed for both civil unions and marriage). Before the writers in the DI bash Christian ideology they should recognize that the formation of the government was initially based on Christian ideals (even though many of the famous founding fathers were deists).

So just for clarification: The personal lifestyle is the choice of an individual, and the government has no place in changing the definition of a religious institution, they merely have the ability to recognize or not recognize gay marriage (thus the ban on gay marriage would not recognize the institution as being civilly viable). It is the church which must come to a consensus on this issue and if there was ever a need for ecumenism it is now and with this issue. The United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and now it seems the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are either full blown allowing gay marriage (ordination of gay bishops) or are becoming more open to the idea of homosexuality as not a sin! The head of the catholic church (Jesus Christ) said, "But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" Mark 10:6-9 NRSV. What really prompted me to bring this can of worms into the foray? Well, I work for residential life as a residential advisor in the dorms, and we recieved an email for the Day of Silence and in the email the guy said that the daughter of "noted homophobe" Alan Keyes would be speaking here. They tell us not to tell our political opinions or religious opinions for fear of "imposing our thoughts on them," then they turn around and spout left-wing politically correct nonsense! Hypocrisy like that pisses the f*ck out of me! I understand universities are primarily liberal and always have been, but there's a difference between being an intellectual liberal who knows and has thought out what they believe and think and the parrots who are just asses about it (this semi applies to conservative parrots as well, though they aren't really in universities)!

I'm also getting sick of the anti-chief crowd whose ideas are rampant in resident life! We had to go to a talk as RAs where the writer of "Lies My Teacher Told Me" gave a talk about the "intellecutal" choice to unite the school and not have the chief anymore......does this guy specialize in putting his foot in his mouth? How is doing what a small minority of students want going to unite the school? It'll just make the majority pissed at the minority (I guess that's a form of union :-D)! Polls also show that most American Indians don't even mind or they support Indian mascots.....so why the fuss? Well, it could be psychological. Many people in the RA position or residential life want to "change the world." But I ask, change it for and to what purpose? Equality? Surely not, because their vision usually has reverse racism in it or another group getting continually voted against or systematically deconstructed civilly (*coughs* traditional Christianity, freedom of speech, whew, excuse me). After all, they can say what they want to say....they have the right, but I get mad when as an RA I can't give a more conservative analysis of situations. The university wishes to support diversity in all it does....but why? For a better understanding of the world? That would be acceptable, but it seems that it would rather view everyone as equal. I don't have problems with this inherently, but they go about doing it in the complete wrong way. Comeon! The writer we heard effectively said if you disagreed with him you're stupid (not just wrong, but not "intellectual") and that people like myself who have a small portion of their heritage (1/32 Narragansett Indian) aren't minority "enough." So he effectively defficated all over Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory with a statment like that and he lost much of my attention after that (aside from the fact that he was a sociologist who played historian and said that Gettysberg wasn't an important battle in the Civil War....he probably bought the cock-n-bull story that the south's troops were there to get shoes from the shoe factory that did not, does not, nor probably ever will exist there). What really floors me are the people who listen to this crap in droves WITHOUT questioning it or even thinking it through at all. They become mesmerized by his supposed knowledge and will later parrot it off. As another example, last semeter in mammalogy our TA was driving us all home in one of the vans, I sat in the passenger seat, and three liberal students were listening to him talk about religion. One of the guys was a fellow RA who grew up Christian but the other two and the TA were atheists/agnostics who's knowledge of religion and Christianity blatanly sucked. The guy said he read the Bible and then began talking about what Christ's message really meant (about the salvation of the soul through moral and more natural living, effectively saying you don't need posessions)......he might wanna go back and read it again.

Really, some things about liberalism anger me (I'm referring to modern liberalism, not necessarily all forms of it)! People who think that the death penalty is bad and shouldn't be a part of what they call Bush's culture of life (with an obvious sarcastic and angry tone), yet defend abortion as the woman's right to choose (screw the embryo/fetus, it doesn't have rights) over the embryo's right to life, even going to the extent to say sometimes that abortion is needed in a "civil society." So let me get this straight, killing douchebags who kill others (you know, the sicko who kidnaps five year olds and rapes them before he kills them) is bad, but killing an innocent unborn in manners that are extremely gruesome is CIVIL?! WTF*CKINF! You should sign me up for the uncivlized crowd cause I say if the criminal committed first degree murder fry his ass, and let the innocents have a chance. Or people who think that people carrying a gun is wierd and morally wrong because it could lead to shootouts, but they neglect the numbers that show the opposite is the case when it is practiced. Why? Well, gee, how many criminals are going to pull a gun and mug someone who might be able to fill them full of holes when they turn around to run off? Or my other favorite one is that we can get rid of crime by getting rid of all the guns.....yeah, Hitler was pretty successful with that one, and I can't understand two things, 1)Why are you going to trust the task of taking and keeping the only guns for defense to the administration you hate (Bush) when even I don't have many problems with them and I don't!? 2)You think that somehow getting rid of the guns is going to stop illegal importion on the black market and that crime will stop? Criminals don't give a shit about laws......THEY'RE ALREADY HOLDING YOU UP OR ROBBING YOUR HOME, I DON'T THINK SMUGGLING IS TOP ON THEIR CONCERN LIST! Think how easy it is to get drugs for Christ's sake, guns can be made as well!

Why am I suddenly ranting against liberalism? Well, one of our RAs here (I love the guy to death but comeon!) had a link to an Emo game in his profile. I had one spare second one day soI figured, I could play a quick game. It turned out to be an anti-Bush game which wouldn't be so bad had it not been filled with complete bullshit errors! The game itself was genius and parts were downright funny as hell. Many characters from 80s movies and cartoons showed up (one of the main bad guys was Voltron). I also thought that the part that was funny was Howard Dean's super power of the "Dean Scream." Just from a cursory examination of some points of the game I came up with the following faults: 1) Michael Moore looks like the Atkin's diet worked for hardcore for him. 2) There's a mock-U.S. flag in the White House that is supposed to be Bush's new "empire" (references to Star Wars are rampant) and the first two stars on the flag were Playboy and CBS. Now, I have a subscription to Playboy. Most of the photography is tastefully done and the human body is supposed to be a beautiful creation of God. I also grew up in a home where the human body was viewed as art (my Dad's big into art). I also think some of the articles are interesting (though sometimes downright ridiculous, like the one for May this year that talks about how the Bush administration is funding occultic special forces) as many are political. HOWEVER: most of the writers for the magazine are liberal to left-wing (Noam Chomskey anyone?!) so it's hard for me to understand how Playboy is supporting Bush! And CBS! Sumner Redstone (owner) and Tom Freston (executive) gave ~$2000 each to Kerry and openly supported and endorsed him! So as to Playboy and CBS as being major "stars" in Bush's evil empire....BULLSHIT! 3) The rich are seen as Bush supporters.....riiiiiight. Is that why George Soros, Ted Turner, many actors, lawyers, and doctors (Howard Dean-Doctor, John Edwards-Lawyer, Bill Clinton-Lawyer) support liberal causes???? The game mentions Bill Gates alot as well but that's a little more difficult to pin down since he never really seems to talk about his political views. 4)Supposedly Bush's tax cuts help only the rich in the game.....and it mentions "Bush's friends at Enron." Hmmm, that's shady, cause later on in the game it says that by having a mailbox in Bermuda you can avoid paying taxes....and shows some of the SAME ENRON PEOPLE! What type of taxes can you avoid? They can't possibly be the same ones as it's a little difficult to get a tax cut on taxes you don't pay. Also, considering how Clinton also had friends in Enron when a majority of the shadiness was occurring and he didn't do anything about it while their busting was under Bush's watch doesn't seem to say much about this common liberal gem. 5) The game mentions that the minimum wage has not increased in years from $5.15/hour.....and that's true, but it makes the completely ignorant statement that the Bush Administration hasn't done anything about it......which is complete bullshit. Going to www.vote-smart.org (excellent resource for knowing the voting record of candidates, and yes, John Kerry was absent a LOT from voting sessions) and doing some research into the issue I found this out: Both parties proposed bills to raise the minimum wage ON THE SAME DAY and both parties rejected the other parties.....why I don't know, but I think I like the Republican's bill better. The Republican's bill (Bill S256 SAMDT 128 proposed on 3/17/05 under the Business and Consumers Issues) would have raised the minimum wage to $6.25 after 18 months and would also include a $500,000 exemption for small businesses in Fair Labor Standards Act (this would allow small businesses....not Wal-Mart, to hire more workers), allow businesses to make worker's tips part of their salary (I actually didn't like that part of the bill at all), and it would do some wierd stuff with biweekly work shifts of 80 hours and allow for 10 hours to be shifted between them in flex time. The Democrats rejected this bill. The Democrat's bill (Bill S256 SAMDT 44 on the same day and under the same issue) would simply raise the minimum wage to $7.25 over the course of two years. So in other word's: BOTH PARTIES REJECT THE OTHER PARTIE'S BILLS.....both parties have worked to increase minimum wage but the other party has fought them, so it isn't just a "Bush Administration" issue....dumbasses.

So yeah, that's effectively my political rant......breathe easy, we're almost there and I won't bring up Iraq in this post (though I was always for the war even excluding WMDs because I understood that the only way to get Sodamn Insane out of power and help his people was military action) or the ineffectiveness of the current U.N. delegates (their job originally was to stop genocide wherever it occurred after World War II and in 1998 they sat on their hands and didn't do anything to help stop the "ethnic cleansing" in Rwanda and as a result ~800,000 people were killed.....I have no respect for the group, I'm sorry).

Now for something completely different: Two of my friends and I have been having email and IM discussions concerning close communion, the practice of giving the Lord's Supper out only to those in the church (building) who agree with the concepts of communion that the denomination has. Now, a quick introduction: Michael Tagge is an Lutheran (Mo. synod) like I am, and McG was the same but is currently a catechumen in the Orthodox Church. All of us believe in the true presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Communion. We do not believe that it is simply symbolism or simply done out of repsect for Christ's command. We believe it forgives sins and regenerates faith and as such is a gift of God. Here follows an email from each of us (copied with their permission). This is simply as an exercise for you and us to better understand each other and so I ask that if you read all of this and read these letters you provide some comment if you wish.

Tagge:



Guys, this is a letter I sent to my pastor at home today. I would like to know

what your thoughts on this are after you read it. Thanks

Tagge

I have 2 questions for you. One is a continuation of the discussion we had a

few days ago about the practice of close communion. I can see how it would be

difficult to explain the practice in the little instant messenger window. I'm

not sure if I was able to espouse my entire view on the matter when talking to

you so I will attempt to do so now. My view of communion (please correct if I

am blatently wrong) is that it is supposed to be a means of grace as well as a

joining in the one body of Christ (Matt 26-forgiveness of sins, John 6:25-59-

Christ giving his body and blood to be eaten for eternal life) that all

Christians should join together, in doing, in remembrance of Christ.

Throughout

Paul's work, he preaches against divisions in the church and against giving up

meeting together and says that since all have been baptised into Christ, we

are

all members of his body so that just as Christ is not divided, his church is

also not to be divided (1 Cor 11:17-34- Divisions during the Lord's Supper

denounced, 1 Cor 10:16-17-The one body and one loaf, 1 Cor 3-On divisions in

the church, Eph 4-Unity in the body of Christ, Phillipans 2 -Call to be like

minded in the mind of Christ, Colossians 3 - Holy living with one another in

the same body, 1 Tim 2:8 worshipping together without anger or dispute, 1 John

3-5 - call to love one another and marks of a christian, John 17:20-26 -

Christ's desire for all believers to be one). The church's role is supposed to

be reconciliatory (2 Cor 5:11-21) and loving towards each other. Communion, as

a sacrament is instituted by God and He himself is capable of seeing faith,

and

is therefore the only one who may render judgement. In the epistles, baptism

allows a christian to be buried with Christ in his death and so by doing is

also baptised into Christ's life and victory over death and the devil. So as

it

appears to me, the church on earth should not interfere with something that is

not contingent on us but on God for efficacy and is especially, in my

thinking,

condemned. Christians should not be trying to exclude other Christians, even

though they may not agree on everything at the doctrine level, from the

inclusion in the body of Christ present in communion. We should be working

towards reconciliation and unity in the present knowing that reconciliation

will be finally accomplished when the kingdom of God is fully realized. The

Bible gives clear reasons for excommunicating people, such as clinging to open

sins, but this does not apply here. Paul did not give an exact picture of

everything the church has to be to be considered a church but gives a good

general outline. I do not think that the Jews and the Gentiles of the early

church saw eye to eye on everything then while they still ate together. Are we

any different now? There should not be a pharisitical definition of a

Christian

since only God can know. So therefore, I beleive that all Christians,

regardless of petty differences in doctrine, can be unified in like mind and

purpose in the mind and body of Christ and working towards the realization of

the kingdom of God in the here and now. Perfect unity cannot be the basis for

communing together for even the apostles were not united in everyhting and

they

still communed together. There are differences in denominations and doctrine

but as long as those doctrines are not damning i.e. rejection of Christ as the

son of God, or any of the other heresies previously denounced by the church

councils, Christians are united in a common beleif namely the dogmas sent

forward in the creeds which testify to the faith. WE cannot limit God and his

work of salvation which we beleive is contained within the sacraments which is

why I am not opposed to infant baptism. Communion is the only place, outside

of

baptism, where we all come all as equally unworthy to receive the gift of God

whihc he has given freely. God will dispense his gifts in whatever manner he

chooses since he is the bestower. Therefore, we do not have that option to

choose who will recieve the gift when he has already told us who it is for.

My second question is: How would you respond to someone who fervently believes

that there are no christians in the catholic church and that they all need to

be converted to christianity?

God Bless

Michael Tagge


Myself:
Hey all,

I've finally gotten some spare time to read Tagge's letter and
research, pray, and ask others who were raised Lutheran and
who currently attend worship services at non-denominational
churches their thoughts. I would first like to clarify
something about the nature of what I believe close communion
is to be about. Close Communion represents the coming
together in Christ to partake in the sacrament of Christ's
body and blood in and with the bread and wine. Now, I
understand Tagge's arguments, but please hear me out as to why
I still support close communion.

I am using the American Standard Version in my references
because it is a more word for word literal translation of the
texts. 1 Cor. 11:17-34 speaks of divisions being condemned,
but not necessarily divisions in the Lord's Supper, rather it
seems condemnation about the unity of those taking the Supper
to be at once. It would be if Trinity were to serve Communion
to the people who got there first in the service and not to
people who came later in the day for the late service....which
the church does not do.
1 Cor. 10:16-17 seems a tad more contentious. When taken into
context with the rest of the chapter it seems to me that Paul
is referring to something else (eating and drinking to God's
glory in all things)...and remember, Paul is writing this to
one church, not many as in today's society where many people
have different views.
1 Cor. 3 is the reason why Christ is the foundation of the
church, not the Pope....for it is not upon "wise" men that we
build ourselves but Christ.
Eph. 4 speaks of the unity of the church, and I agree....why
else would I go to CRU and pray and praise with other
Christians....we (LCMS) broke altar fellowship with the WELS
because they said that differences between denominations who
are Christians meant that I could not pray or have fellowship
with a Catholic or Calvinist for example....which is blatantly
wrong. But realize that the sacraments are not mentioned
herein, simply fellowship and unity in the Spirit.
Phil. 2 is the same as Ephesians 4. Col. 3 is the same. 1
Tim. 2:8 is also the same...I show no anger when I praise at a
non-denominational church. 1 John 3-5 is also the same. All
the rest of the verses are the same and I of course do not
dispute them, I do however dispute your interpretations of
them. Realize for example that breaking bread in the
scriptures is not necessarily the Lord's Supper. It is only
the Lord's Supper when the blessing making it His body and
blood is said and with the purpose in mind which it is used for.

Also realize two distinct definitions...fellowship and ALTAR
fellowship. Fellowship is praising God and praying, or
studying the Bible. Altar fellowship includes the sharing of
the Lord's Supper and please understand something. The church
is able to forbid someone from taking Communion. I know that
you Tagge, see that it is God's gift, and it is, however God
also gives Christians the power of the Office of the
Keys....and the dispensment of the forgiveness of sins in the
bread and wine fall under such an office. The idea of coming
together in unity in Christ is central to the understanding of
Communion, but if an individual does not believe something
major about the VERY NATURE of Christ's presence in communion,
that is a huge break in the body...and so if that individual
were to take communion they would be breaking the very unity
of the church more so than if they were to not take it. They
would also be taking it without the other members knowing
about it, thus they would be taking it under false pretenses
of unity. The nature of communion isn't just a minor thing
but a major understanding of the sacrament. If a person takes
it "undercover" or they do not believe that it forgives sins,
they do not examine themselves rightly concerning it and so
they are taking it unto judgement of themselves.

What I cannot understand is how you defend the freedom of a
Christian to take communion wherever they please with whoever
they please, but ignore the cost to unity of having a person
who is unrepentent and willfully ignorant of the nature of the
sacrament take it with believers who wish for fellowship and
unity! Yes, God does judge the person, but the pastor as
God's shepherd of the church should be the one to make sure
that unity occurs. You seem to have the mindset of Carlstadt
who thought that no man is to be above another, and that
includes pastors. If the pastor cannot rightly do his job in
safeguarding the unity of his church, how can he rightly
dispense one of God's greatest gifts? This is why I said it
is the pastors responsibility to know about what the church
goers believe. And this is why the bulletins say that if you
disagree with the stance of Consubstantiation you need to see
the Pastor. It is up to him to decide if such a
misunderstanding will truly lead to unity or not, and if you
trust in the Spirit's guiding power, then you should think
that a thought out position of the pastor to be more
beneficial towards unity than that of a person who just comes
in and takes communion even against the wishes of the church body.

Also, a quick word of caution about using the creeds as a rule
for determining who is a Christian: The fillioque split the
Eastern and Western Churches and as a result the Orthodox
Church's Nicene Creed leaves out "who proceeds from the Father
and FROM THE SON (caps left out)." Right here is a point
where the creeds disagree, so by your rule not only could they
not commune with you, they are damned. By my understanding
and belief, they are saved saints and I may partake in
fellowship with them (excluding communion)....who's idea is
more ecumenical I ask? If differences in doctrine do not
define clear boundaries for not communing together, why would
the creed? For the creeds are the work of man, but Scripture
is the work of God. Also, by not allowing a non-Lutheran to
take communion in our churches, we do not deny their communion
in the saints, for they are as much Christians and partakers
in the Holy Spirit as we are, we simply feel that the unity of
the group is the job of the pastor and the unity of the Church
is through God the Spirit....we do not deny any scripture
while practicing close communion.

And in answer to your second question...I would respond as I
usually have to. I ask if they think Catholics believe that
Christ was the son of God who died for their sins. If they
say no, they are idiots who don't know Catholic doctrine. If
they say yes, they are correct. There are non-Christians
within the Catholic church, just as there are Christians
within it. Faith in Christ's saving sacrifice is all that is
necessary to become a Christian.

In Christ,
Chris


McG:


Well, a few thoughts. I think Heren has done an admirable job of handling the
scripture passages referred to, and I doubt I can offer much in that regard,
so I will focus my attention on the living tradition of the Church and its
historical and contemporary praxis. I offer these comments drawn from my
fullest understanding of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, though by no
means do I claim to have an exhaustive grasp of it all or to have perfectly
represented it here. Please feel free to question and challenge my
statements. Here we go:

Now, the eucharist is the special means by which Christ makes himself present
to us and offers us the life of His coming Kingdom already in the here and
now, allowing us to participate in the heavenly perfection towards which all
history is progressing. The Church does not deny anything to the one who
fails to perceive the presence of Christ-- those who do not perceive the
presence of the Kingdom of God in the eucharist, and the bodily and mystical
coming of Christ to us in a real and physical sense here and now, cannot
possibly benefit from the sacrament. To enter into the presence of God always
requires the fullest sacrifice and offering of the self to God, in our
attention, our attitude, our repentance-- we must, to put it in the words of
the Orthodox liturgy, "commit ourselves and one another and all our lives to
Christ our Lord." Anyone who comes into the presence of God without having
offered his faith that God is even there is going to have that lack (and all
others) exposed by the overwhelming holiness and perfection of the God beyond
the infinite. Which is the same thing as saying that those who come before
the Lord unworthily will be judged-- and I believe that denying that the Lord
is even there is a fairly flagrant unworthiness. The celebration of the
eucharist is nothing less than the participation now in the wedding feast of
Christ to His Church, when the two shall become one, when God is "all in all"
and Christ dwells in us and we in him. Christ cannot come to dwell in someone
who rejects his presence, nor can one who rejects the very body of Christ be
incorporated into that body. The eucharist is the Church as the bride being
united to the bridegroom Christ by receiving all of his life, by his coming to
dwell in us with his transforming and uniting body and blood. If someone
denies that we are receiving the very life of Christ, his lifeblood and his
transfigured body, that is the same thing as a bride showing up for her
wedding but not acknowledging the groom as the man she wants to marry. This
is clearly a rejection, and no wedding can take place. Similarly, the Church
can only be united into and become the one body as in marriage if the Church
is united in its affirmation and welcome of the bridegroom Christ as being
truly and fully present in a real sense.

Scripture, even Christ himself, is quite clear on the nature of the eucharist,
and the simple fact is that the tradition of the Church is quite unanimous
about the real presence of Christ in the eucharist for at least the first
millennium. There has never been a group of "christians" who has seriously
denied this presence until the more radical reformers in the 15th and 16th
century. Anyone who thoroughly studies church history and especially the
liturgy of the Church must reach this conclusion.

The most telling scriptures are in John 6:53-58 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
Our Lord is very clear about the real lifegiving effects that partaking of his
flesh and blood have: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the
Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my
flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the
last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats
my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living
Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me
will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your
forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live
forever." Even the disciples found this teaching difficult to accept at
first, and the scriptures relate that many of Jesus' followers abandoned him
at this point. The situation is really no different today. This is a hard
teaching, but an essential one-- there is no other means to acquire the
eternal life that Christ offers us-- and I'm not making this up, this is the
plain statement of Jesus Christ himself. And as Paul says, "Whoever eats the
bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of
sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine
himself before he eats of the bread and drinks the cup. For anyone who eats
and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment
on himself."

The central question, here, therefore, seems to me to be not a question of the
nature of the eucharist, but rather a question of the nature and validity of
Christ's Church and its efficacy to operate as the unique and only place that
Christ makes real or effects the salvation that his work has accomplished.
Heren is right to point to the office of the keys as one of the elements of
the Church's vocation on earth. It would also be instructive to refer to the
wisdom of the Church's tradition. This tradition has remained constant in
insisting that only those people who have been baptized into the faith and
properly instructed in the faith (through the sacrament of confirmation), who
recognize the Triune God and have been properly initiated in the mysteries
(the sacraments, Greek mysterion) are blessed to partake in the divine,
life-giving body and blood of the Eucharist. And this is no minor doctrinal
quibble-- this is in fact the central act of the Church, the point of the
whole liturgy, and the means of our receiving the eternal life of God. One
cannot actually belong to the Church as the body of Christ without receiving
his body and bloody, which is in fact the very means of the Church's unity
through the Holy Spirit who makes Christ present in the sacrament and
transforms the members into the one body. There is no unity, no one body
prior to the eucharist (just as there is no union of man and woman prior to
marriage), when the Holy Spirit constitutes us by grace into the full
communion with God and with one another which is the hope and content of our
salvation. The Eucharist is not merely the forgiveness of sins, but rather
the entrance of the church into the life of the Kingdom here and now, making
the future life already available-- that life in which we are mystically
united to God and each other by virtue of God being "all in all," and by which
we become "partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) For this reason, it
is absolutely necessary that those who wish to be joined to Christ acknowledge
the way he comes to join us by infusing us with his own life, his body and
blood. Thus, to this day, the Orthodox liturgy retains an exclamation before
the eucharistic elements are brought to the altar commanding all catechumens
to depart: "All catechumens, depart! Depart, you catechumens! Let no
catechumen remain! But let us who are of the faithful, again and again, in
peace pray to the Lord." This is called the dismissal of the catechumens, and
at this point in the liturgy of the ancient church, all those who had not yet
been fully instructed in the faith and the sacraments would exit the church,
while the faithful would remain for the words of institution and epiclesis
(the prayer to the Holy Spirit to make the bread and wine the body and blood
of Christ) and to approach the altar to receive the eucharist. It is clear
that from the beginning the Church has distinguished between those properly
instructed in the faith to receive the sacrament, and those who are still in
preparation or are otherwise unready or unfit to join the communion of the
faithful in the body and blood of Christ. Closed communion, as practiced in
the catholic Church of Christ, has never been a so-called "division in the
church" but rather an acknowledgment of those who are not yet prepared to
enter the life of the Church. There can be no division in the Church among
those who are not yet the Church-- those not yet prepared to join in the
mystical communion of the body of Christ by the wedding feast that is the
eucharist. Without the eucharist, there simply is no Church, and without the
real presence of Christ in the bread and wine, there is no eucharist. This is
why the practice of open communion has never been permitted by the Church,
because it is no communion whatsoever. And this is why the Church takes the
proper measures to ensure that those who wish to receive the sacrament are
properly instructed before they are permitted to do so.

Blessings,

McG


END LETTERS. I hope you've enjoyed this look into my psyche and I hope you aren't to
pissed at me if you are :-).

2 Comments:

Anonymous Michael said...

Ready? Set? Attack!

"Marriage has been a religous institution all over the world which social government has RECOGNIZED....not been in charge of. Most people go to priests/pastors/clerics/rabbis for marriage, not a judge."

But for all the people who get married they INDEED have to clear it through the government. Marriage licenses anoyone? Because if you don't, you don't get the LEGAL benefits of marriage. There's a DEFINITE line between religious and legal marriages. What "most" people choose to do is irrelevant.

"If marriage is private, why not have the states or local counties deal with the issue"

Hatred and bigotry. That's why. Like it or not many many states are homophobic and intolerant. It's up to the Federal government to slap these states right in the face and go, "You know what? Fuck you. Leave them alone."

In the end, gay marriage all boils down to "How does this effect me?" If you're not gay, then you won't be affected by allowing gays to marry. Not a hard concept. The argument over "marginalizing the institution of marriage" or "stealing the term" is pure unadulterated bullshit. I could pull the 50% divorce rate argument, but I don't need it. Regardless of the NAME of the term "civil union", "binding pact", or whatever the frick anti-marriagers would prefer it be called, it doesn't effect you in the slightest. You may think it does, but no, it does not. It is INDEED semantics. Every time you call something "gay" as in dumb or stupid it's the same. No I'm not referring to you in any way as homosexual, it's just a new turn of the phrase. Because, "God" forbid, once you call it marriage, people will be marrying cows and what not. Nope. Slippery Slope argument and totally irrelevant.

"no right to hijack a religious institution and change it in the name of "civil rights" when it has nothing to do with rights at all"

Oh but it does. It sounds like you're just angry that they're using the term marriage. Good Lord, it's a term. It's like you're afraid that a gay couple being "married" is somehow elevating them over some invisible boundary Christianity has placed that "sinners" should not be allowed to overcome.

"the formation of the government was initially based on Christian ideals"

Totally irrelevant. Christian ideals (morals?) and religious practice/ideology are completely different, hence the seperation of church and state.

"It is the church which must come to a consensus on this issue"

The church came to a consensus long ago. Any church that dissents is instantly looked down upon. Sad really, that religion can never evolve, but is simply based on an unchanging book.

P.S. Guns are much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much more complex to make than drugs, you know, assuming you want one that doesn't blow up in your face.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

On the issue of marriage (and I really didn't want to get into this, but thought I would respond since Mike did), it really is just an issue of semantics. I agree with Mike that there is a clearly defined line between where marriage ends at the state level and begins at the religious level. And I have no problem if a specific church does not want to marry a gay couple (although, I am fairly certain my church at home would). EVERYONE should be able to get a marriage license to get the legal and financial benefits. It is silly the hoops that gay couples have to jump through at hospitals.

Now, on the subject of the minimum wage, I would like to point out that I am a social liberal (maybe a little more moderate), while I am economically conservative. That means that I do not support the minimum wage at all (although I do not think they should get rid of the current one...just leave it where it is until it becomes negligable). However, minimum wage is a bipartisan issue, and a very popular one, so both parties are eager to introduce a minimum wage. The reason they shoot down each others minimum wage bills is because they are very different in their implementation. I would definately support the Republicans bill first (I mean, what are the Democrats thinking....$7.25! That is chefin' nuts!), but they are two totally different bills, and so even this bipartite issue is split in how to implement such an issue.

"The United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and now it seems the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are either full blown allowing gay marriage (ordination of gay bishops) or are becoming more open to the idea of homosexuality as not a sin!"

I didn't know quite what to make of this when I read it. Are you suprised that they would have these views? I was brought up UCC, and I would raised to think of the bible as more a collection of stories to guide your spiritual and personal life. Quoting directly out of the bible and telling me to read each word literally is horse crap. Also, I do not understand how this relates to the second half of the paragraph (maybe you could clarify).

So yeah...I think I wanted to say something else, but my bed is looking pretty attractive right now, so I might post again tommorrow.

1:01 AM  

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