Friday, July 31, 2009

Common Sense

Once in awhile you see a story in the news similar to this one:
Child gets sick.
Parents pray.
Child gets sicker.
Parents continue to pray.
Child dies.
Parents go to jail for neglect.

God helps those who help themselves.

I would like to know where in the Bible it indicates that seeking medical attention is an affront to God. The doctors could have been God-sends. Science is not the antiChrist. Science is of God. A little faith in God's medical science could have gone a long way.

I don't think that (with prayer) God should be treated as one's own personal genie. If this man truly believed that he didn't need to take any action to help his daughter because he was relying on God to take care of everything, then by that same logic he must now hold God responsible for his daughter's death. Which is both spiritually immature and no way to have a relationship with God. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for understanding. Don't pray for things that you yourself could easily accomplish but do not out of laziness.

"He who does not work shall not eat. Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people--we command them--to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living." -- 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

In other words, "Put your shoulder to the wheel. God isn't pleased with laziness." In that sense, Paul is saying, "God helps those who help themselves."


Man testifies he expected God to heal his child
Father is charged with homicide for praying instead of getting medical help

The Associated Press - Fri., July 31, 2009

WAUSAU, Wisconsin - A father charged with killing his daughter by praying instead of taking her to a doctor read from the Bible while testifying Thursday that he couldn't seek medical help without disobeying God. Dale Neumann told the jury he didn't seek medical help for his child because "I can't do that because Biblically, I cannot find that is the way people are healed." He added: "If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do." Neumann, 47, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in the March 23, 2003, death of his 11-year-old daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors say he should have taken the girl to a hospital because she couldn't walk, talk, eat or speak. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family's rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed. Her father was the last person to testify in his trial. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday morning. Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, preached to the jury about his faith in God's healing powers and cried out like he was talking to the Lord. He said he has been a born-again Christian since 1982. ‘Who am I to predict death’?He testified he thought Madeline had the flu or perhaps a fever but never expected her die. He thought she was in a deep sleep but not unconscious, even though her breathing was labored. At one point in his nearly four hours of testimony, Neumann cried and nearly whispered to the jury. "Who am I to predict death when death is an appointed time for all of us?" he asked. Doctors testified earlier in the trial that Madeline would have had a good chance of surviving if she received medical treatment, including insulin and fluids, before she stopped breathing. Earlier Thursday, a woman who prayed with the Neumanns and helped give Madeline a sponge bath hours before she died testified she thought the girl had the flu. "She looked a little pale. I could see that she was weak," Lynn Wilde told the jury. "She would respond when we would call her name. She would make noises. She moved her head."‘The power of prayer’ Wilde, a loyal member of Neumann's Bible study group, testified for the defense as Neumann's attorney tried to show the father didn't know how ill his daughter was. Wilde said the five adults and three other children at the home prayed and took communion in an effort to heal the girl. She went home and took a nap, expecting the Neumanns to call later and say Madeline was fine and walking again. "I believe in the power of prayer," Wilde testified. The girl died about two hours later. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing. Neumann's wife, Leilani, testified earlier that she noticed her daughter had been weaker and drank a lot of water — some early symptoms of diabetes — about two weeks before she died. Leilani Neumann was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide this spring and faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced Oct. 6. The prosecutions of the mother and father were separated so that each could be called upon to testify in the case against the other.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sex Lives of the Popes

I was given "Sex Lives of the Popes" by a friend and thought I would find more amusement in it than I did, but instead I found it to be depressing. I don't want to add this book to my "Recommended" links because it was a spiritual downer and moreso because the author, Nigel Cawthorne, does not cite his sources in neither footnotes nor a bibliography.

If this book is nothing more than hearsay, then even half of it being true is still fully depressing. But I thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone out there wondered if any books existed on how the allegedly infallible popes throughout history may have been quite fallible after all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guilt: The Cement Shoes of the Catholic Church.

It is both funny and sad how feelings of guilt can be so ingrained (brainwashed) into a person and surface at odd times.

At work the other day I took the elevator down to the lobby to get the mail. After retrieving it, I went back to the elevator: pushing the button, I waited. The lobby music that played sounded like church music and for a brief moment, I felt like bursting into tears. Why? I told myself it was beautiful music! Seems that the psychological remnants of the Church sometimes die hard.

People are hard-wired to feel guilt when they know they have done something wrong. When a PC encounters an error a dialog box usually pops up to alert the user that something is wrong. Our Great Programmer gave us the ability to naturally notify ourselves when we have done something wrong through moderated feelings of guilt. We feel guilt in order to correct something that we have done wrong. God wants us to correct the errors in order to think clearly and to feel good about our lives and so we can live in peace with others…and ourselves.

The Catholic Church is notorious for drilling the feelings of guilt into a person: you feel guilt when you look at someone with lust, if you eat meat during Lent, if you don’t tithe, if you don’t tithe enough, if you don’t go to church, if you don’t go to confession, if you use birth control, if you choose to stand in the back of the church rather than sit, if you don’t get married in the Church, if you don’t do this, if you do that, etc.

In my 29 years as a Catholic I tried to follow the rules as best I could. But the Church’s “secret sauce” is that your best will never be good enough and they will always let you know that – like a horse with a carrot on a stick. Churn feelings of guilt over something that cannot be rectified. This is the way they want to keep it because if a Catholic corrects the error and this eradicates their guilt, then they feel at peace with God and might just (gasp) think for themselves. Guilt is the Church’s most valuable tool of control. As with anything, the poison is in the dose. I believe this overwhelming environment of guilt wrongly abberates God’s original design for the condition of our mental and spiritual circuitry. If a person's mind is saturated with guilt, how can they have a clear, genuine and healthy relationship with God?

I remember feeling inadequate many times because of this guilt overload. I remember crying in confession on more than one occasion, because of grave sins, because of corporal sins, because I couldn’t shake the sin and because they constantly tell you that you are full of sin – including their favorite imaginary sin of all: Original Sin. Yes, you are supposed to feel guilty for existing at all. They tell you that you are born a sinner. St. Augustine (who felt guilty all the time) conjured up the idea of Original Sin so that anyone out there who didn’t have enough guilt could get their fill. Guilty people want others to feel the same, I guess. The Church latched onto this idea as it is not fully biblical and as scripture goes, it is contextually misconstrued. This lie has created a lifetime worth psychological damage, self-hate and unhappiness to so many people and I am grateful that God led me out of that swamp after being entrenched for so long.

Didn’t Christ die to take away the sins of the world? I cannot reconcile these two views. Seems to me that the Church thinks He failed.

After my lobby moment, I reminded myself that God helped me graduate to the next tier of getting to know Him and I returned to a peaceful state of mind before the elevator reached my office floor. Guilt in ginormous, damaging Church doses may work to keep the spiritually immature in line (if but for awhile), but I believe I’m no longer spiritually immature and feel pity (and hope) for those who are still mired. May God open their eyes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Islam Is What?

When I was young, I never understood John Lennon's lyrics in his song "Imagine":

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too"

But now I can say that I do understand them. Very well.

I had some problems embedding this CNN video, so please feel free to watch.

This Florida "church" has posted a hateful sign that reads: Islam is from the Devil. Misguidedly, in an effort to pull congregants in? What?!

Not only does this go against the core message of Jesus to Love They Neighbor and to cultivate peace and understanding, but it represents an ignorance and intolerance that I can't even comprehend. In the interview, the "pastor" says "It is our way or no way." This is exactly the spiritually immature view (topped with a lack of biblical / education), that starts wars, creates distrust and widens existing social divisions.

Since I personally believe in the Universal Salvation of all (a Gospel of inclusion, not exclusion) I believe there are many paths that lead to grace. The purpose of organized religion, in short, is to keep people in line and to behave, not to encourage bad behavior by sneering at another belief structure. And I don't consider this form of "Christianity" to be in line with nature of Christ.

Unbeknownst to themselves, these bigoted "Christian" people are waging a spiritual jihad against the grace of God, for God loves Muslims, too. They don't want to hear that Jesus Christ died on their behalf as well. They lick their chops at the thought of "the bad people" supposedly burning in hell for eternity. They had a "bad people" slot to fill in their story, so they happily insert: Muslims, Gays, Pro-Choicers. Yeah, not the way of Christ at all.

There is a saying: "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." How true.


I found a better idea online:

In support of a magazine for Muslim-Christian dialogue:

As Muslims and Christians in the University of London, we don’t talk to each other enough. It follows that we don’t know much about each other and don’t spend much time together. The ultimate aim of this magazine would be to provide a channel for discourse which would at least sow the seed for a “network of open, honest and committed personal relationships between Christians and Muslims” in London’s student population.

And here is another multi-faith online forum:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Zebras Can't Change Their Stripes

It is cliched, I know. But it is true: zebras can't change their stripes.

And I believe that people born gay, stay gay. It can't be "scared out of them". It was the nature God gave them. And because it was imparted on them by God, I doubt very highly if God "holds it against them" and so...why the hell should anyone else?

I was tipped off by my friend Colleen on this YouTube video in which a "Christian" church of sorts tries to exorcise the gayness out of a teenage boy.

Um. Yeah. By yelling at him. Take a look at this upalling footage of intolerance and humiliation:

Absolutely ridiculous.

Jesus said that there would be many charlatans to follow him, attempting acts in his name...

Another article I found shows yet another politician who allegedly faltered after being cured of "gay".

In the last film I blogged about (Religulous), Bill Maher interviews a "pastor" who claims to have been cured of "the gay" but anyone with senses can see through the ruse. It is sad that anyone who is gay feels the need to pretend to be straight. Likely because they would find acceptance and life to be much easier if they don't rock the boat by being themselves.

Divorce papers accused alderman in '86
Annapolis official is now charged with groping midshipman

July 1, 2009 –
By Nicole Fuller

An Annapolis alderman and mayoral candidate charged with sexually assaulting a male midshipman was the subject of a 1986 restraining order after his wife accused him of beating her, court documents show. Alderman Samuel E. Shropshire, 61, denied the claims in an interview Tuesday. Jana Shropshire made the accusations in a Montgomery County divorce filing that also contained allegations that the alderman "has a problem with homosexuality" but had been "cured" before they were married. The divorce was never finalized. While the Shropshires remain married, she has lived for years in her native Slovakia, as does their adult daughter. Reached yesterday by telephone, Jana Shropshire declined to discuss the divorce case in detail. "That was 20 years ago. Why do you bring it up?" she said from her home in Poprad, a city in northeastern Slovakia. "I don't want to talk about it. It's all in the past." Shropshire, a first-term Democrat said, "None of it's true. ... Deny that it happened? Of course I do." Gill Cochran, an attorney who is defending Shropshire against the charges involving the midshipman, said yesterday that his client and wife are "no longer" together though they remain legally married. He called the 23-year-old allegations "ancient history" that should have no bearing on Shropshire's current legal troubles."My client is gay. And he's never tried to hide it," Cochran said. "He's no longer with his wife. Sam is a gay man. I don't think there's any law against it." Shropshire declined yesterday to address his lawyer's statement, saying only, "I love my wife very much, and she loves me." Shropshire is accused of groping a Naval Academy midshipman May 14 and has been charged with second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense. He has called the accusation "a lie." The 21-year-old male midshipman, who is not being named by The Baltimore Sun because of the nature of the allegations, had been paired with Shropshire through a sponsorship program that matches Naval Academy students with Annapolis-area families. Shropshire has been removed from the program. In the divorce filing, Jana Shropshire alleged that within a year of their marriage in the former Czechoslovakia in 1977, Samuel Shropshire "started a pattern of physical and then verbal abuse." In the filing, Jana Shropshire alleged that her husband "had had a great many problems since the marriage because of homosexuality," but added that he told her he had been " 'cured' before they were married." She alleged that the abuse spanned years, and that she once required treatment at a Rockville hospital in 1986, after which she received a protective order. Shropshire, who at the time of the filing was working as a minister for an organization called Christian Response International, wrote to the judge that he could not afford a lawyer for his defense. The divorce proceeding was dismissed on May 7, 1987, court records show.