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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 3 – Theological reasons

Soufrière Catholic Church

Soufrière Catholic Church (Photo credit: waywuwei)

Theological reasons

Sociologists and philosophers, alike, say that Catholicism creates and legitimizes “truth claims.” The idea of a truth claim provides a good way to talk about beliefs without necessarily advocating or dismissing them.

Most non-Catholics will say that Catholic truth claims are not eternal but, rather, culturally and politically motivated—that is, relative truths. And some non-Catholics believe that all Catholic teachings are Satanic. These people often describe the Church as “The Whore of Babylon” or use some other shocking and alarmist, not to mention sexist, epithet.

Infallibility

The idea of Papal infallibility is probably one of the biggest reasons why people dislike Catholicism. But informed Catholics realize that only two Catholic truth claims are deemed infallible. Most others are less authoritative, and merely disseminated as general guidelines for good moral behavior. Many critics of Catholicism are unaware that not all Catholic teachings are said to be eternal, unchangeable truths.

Catholic theologians say the Church’s teachings have various levels of certainty. And Papal infallibility only applies to these two dogmas:

1 – The Blessed Virgin Mary’s sinless birth (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)

2 – Her bodily assumption into heaven (Dogma of The Assumption)

All other Catholic teachings are not infallible.¹ So it’s incorrect believe that all Catholic teachings are infallible when they’re not. True, some Catholics say that infallibility includes all of the Church’s teachings. But I believe these people are misguided. And thankfully, they represent a vocal minority that the majority of sober theologians, Catholic or not, would readily dismiss.

Emblem of the Papacy

Emblem of the Papacy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Papal Authority

For some non-Catholics, even two (allegedly) infallible declarations are good enough reason to dislike Catholicism. From their perspective, Popes are mere pretenders to the throne of truth. So these critics don’t believe in any kind of Papal infallibility, whatsoever. And the fact that only two dogmas are deemed infallible makes no difference. These people simply want none of it.

Christianity as a Stereotype

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism is based on a misunderstanding and, arguably, unclear thinking.

Many use “Christianity” as a blanket term for all types of Churches, organizations and individuals calling themselves Christian. If I say “I’m a Catholic,” sometimes it’s like waving a red flag in front of people who dislike Evangelicals, Fundamentalists and Televangelists, and who don’t know the difference among different types of Christians. It’s just one big amorphous dislike for all things Christian.

However, differences among Christian denominations (and even among individual believers within each denomination) are significant. In Ireland, for instance, Protestant and Catholic youth gangs engage in violent clashes. And as CNN’s Anderson Cooper has pointed out, some Christians align themselves with the Green movement while others are out to make greenbacks.

Falling Short of the Ideal

People also dislike Catholicism because clergy and churchgoers inevitably fall short of the Christian ideal. Some Catholics criticize and even denounce one another. Mean-minded gossip and talking behind another’s back is not unheard of in Catholicism, even though Jesus teaches us to love one another. As in most spheres of humanity, pettiness and hypocrisy are alive and unwell in Catholicism. Not surprisingly, this can be a huge turn off for non-Catholics.

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Chu...

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Church demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the day of Pope Benedict’s address to the UN General Assembly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Private and Public

With a little probing sometimes it becomes clear that a given Catholic’s private beliefs differ from his or her apparent beliefs as publicly expressed at the Mass. After all, human beings are social animals who normally don’t want to rock the boat. But arguably just as important, most Catholics believe in the necessity of liturgical structure. Structure affords unity and continuity amidst inevitable points of disagreement. So Catholics concealing their own private beliefs are not necessarily being hypocritical at the Mass. They might be respecting the need for structure while perhaps secretly believing in (and doing) their own thing—e.g. engaging in homosexual, premarital or extramarital sex, or practicing birth control.

On the need for structure, learned Catholics point out that the very first Christian disciples disagreed on certain issues (Acts 15: 1-21; Galatians 2: 11-14; 1 Corinthians 3: 1-23). So there’s a need, they believe, to clearly outline a set of teachings to carry the Catholic ship of salvation through all storms of disagreement which likely will arise in centuries to come.

English: Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God'...

Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God’s Church. Painting in shrine Kevelaer from Friedrich Stummel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judging a Book by its Cover

Another reason people dislike Catholicism has to do with their perception of being spiritually “alive.” Some non-Catholics say the Catholic Mass looks and feels dead or depressing. To them, Catholic parishioners behave like robots or maybe zombies; they’re victims of a Roman cult, just going through the motions, not really thinking nor believing in what they profess during the Mass.

With few outward signs of ecstatic joy or other grandiose emotional displays, critics wrongly assume that Catholics are spiritually dry and unhappy. These critics have no appreciation for the Catholic possibility of experiencing a high and delicate form of interior sweetness, healing and joy.

By way of contrast, Catholics, especially the more contemplative, may see non-Catholic displays of easily recognizable joy as commendable and perhaps even of Christ. But if possible, these manifestations of the spirit should be subjected to a process of discernment. Generally speaking, discernment aims to determine if spiritual experiences are from God or some other source. More specifically, discernment also tries to distinguish among different spiritual qualities, textures or environments, if you will, to find out if they differ from the sacramental graces conveyed through the Catholic sacraments.

Catholics are instructed to respect most other religions. The late Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said she “loved” all religions but was “in love” with her own religion. Along these lines, the existence of worldwide Catholic missions speaks volumes. Why would Catholic missions exist if Catholics did not have some reason to believe that their religion was best? And even though they may look dead on the outside, many Catholics base that belief on how their religion makes them feel–on the inside.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus as another teacher

Another theological reason some non-Catholics dislike Catholicism is that Christ is viewed as just another teacher. For these people, Christ is no different from the Buddha or the Hindu god Krishna. They overlook (or don’t know about) the Buddhist denial of a willful God, along with Krishna’s advocacy of physical killing in the Bhagavad Gita.

The view that Jesus is just another teacher often comes from contemporary gnostics, or those interested in gnosticism. These folks cherry pick from various traditions, believing they perceive some higher code or deeper order among them. For them it’s a mistake to insist on Jesus’ uniqueness. And the structured Catholic liturgy just gets in the way of supposedly genuine, gnostic spiritual experience.

In response, the Vatican claims to recognize any truths or partial truths in non-Christian teachings but firmly disagrees with the belief that Buddha or Krishna, for example, are equal to Christ. It’s as simple as that. And it’s doubtful that any politically correct, sugar-coated interfaith dialogue will lessen this firm point of disagreement. From a Catholic standpoint, it’s possible that some non-Catholic critics have yet to reach a point in their spiritual formation to fully appreciate the heavenly body of Christ as conveyed through the sacraments.

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by ...

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by the Virgin Mary (1714), the Karlskirche, Vienna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary and the Saints

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism relates to Saint Mary and the remaining Catholic saints. Misinformed Christians often dispute the supposed Catholic ‘paganism’ of praying for the saints’ intercession.

As outlined at Earthpages.ca:

Some Protestants and Fundamentalists believe that Catholics have got it wrong because, so they assert, Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and Man. But, quite ironically, many of these very same people freely ask their friends and associates to “pray for them,” which clearly is a request for intercession.

Catholics often reply to this Protestant and Fundamentalist charge by asking, “If we can ask souls on Earth to pray for us, why not souls in heaven?”²

Catholicism clearly outlines its stand on intercession. Asking the saints to pray for us does not elevate them to the status of gods and goddesses, as so many non-Catholic detractors would have it. This is just theologically wrong and an entirely groundless reason for disliking Catholicism.

¹ Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Rockford, Illinois: 1974 [1960], Tan Books, pp. 8-10 » See online discussion at socrates58.blogspot.com

² http://earthpages.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/virgin-mary-the-blessed

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, 2014

Introduction « 2 » 3 » 4 (coming soon)


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Failure Changes Us, But Sometimes We Fail to Change

Image via Blogger

By PK Christian Writer

I am a slow learner. All the basic things in life that a boy my age is supposed to know, I learned them quiet late.

Basic bathroom rules, tying shoes laces, drinking milk in a glass instead of a baby bottle, and so on.

I was not the physically proficient as well, as far as sports were concerned.

Why am I talking about all this today? Because I feel the need to put some things in perspective. The mind can process only so much information, and hence it is better to write it down.

Life is not going smooth. As time passes, I am realizing that it isn’t supposed to go smooth. And yet we are expected to stay calm and keep moving forward.

I still remember the day when I woke up during the school holidays and sat at the breakfast table. As I was eating, my parents broke the news that they collected my result from school, and that I had failed the 9th grade.

I didn’t know to how respond. Neither did my parents. This mutual numbness (for a lack of a better term) continues to this day whenever we are faced with bad news.

It was sad to have flunked, but even worse was the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to understand the situation. Was I supposed to apologize, grieve, or hurt myself? I couldn’t  bring myself to open up emotionally, and hurting yourself physically requires courage, which I obviously lack.

But then the best thing happened to me. I was born again.

To cut the long story short, I was experiencing a change in life as started my personal journey in the Christian faith.

I found something that gave direction to my life and I was able to push myself through school, while also managing to get couple of other personal issues resolved .All the while, I engaged in worship, research, debate, and fellowship.

Things went on like this for another 5 years, and then I woke up one day to realize that we are going through a financial crisis. Once again, I did not how to react. The numbness returned.

Anger and frustration started boiling inside, and eventually it all burst out. My emotions got the better of me, and this changed my relationship with the people closest to me.

Today, I have put on more weight than I had when I started my life in Christ, even though the Bible calls gluttony a sin. I also experience occasional bouts of anger and depression. I am also exhausted, both mentally and physically, which is why you may notice some typos despite the fact I did proof-read the article.

It as if failure once changed me for the better, but now I have failed to change myself.

But there are other things that happened in this same period:

  • I developed a personal collection of books on topics like evolution, astro-physics, comparative religion, history, poetry, psychology, and of course, Christian theology. Currently I am reading Jacobo Timerman’s The Longest War and The Greek Myths by Robert Graves.
  • Still an undergraduate, I am earning more than $400 per month in a country marred by unemployment, and where the minimum wage is around $120.

What is the moral of the story? At 22, I am too young to make a learned comment on what pattern a person’s life takes. But what I do know is that as my faith changes me for the better, I have not grown immune to failing. New challenges will influence me, but God will continue to make his presence known.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I also started this blog around the same period, and today is it’s 2nd anniversary. In the coming weeks, I will not only post new articles, but also translate some selected posts into Urdu.Click here to subscribe.

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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Am I Called Or Am I Crazy?

English: Motorola L71 (China Mobile customised...

Motorola L71 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By George Fishburne, Jr.

I remember when I purchased my very first mobile phone in the early 1980’s. It was a beige colored phone and it resembled a block of wood. It must have weighed at least a couple of pounds and its big ear and mouthpieces could be spotted from several blocks away.

Whenever you touched one of the keypads, they illuminated with lime green fluorescence for all to see. I was forced to carry it in my hand, because it could not fit in any of my pockets. Occasionally, I would check my phone to see if it still worked because there were periods when no calls came through. In those moments, I would use my home phone to call my mobile phone and then when my mobile phone rang, I would answer it.

There is an epidemic in the Body of Christ’s pre-ministerial ranks of those who say that God called them, when in fact they called themselves. My pastor often reminded us as young ministers ‘if you just pick up the gospel ministry call on your own, people, problems, and pressures will make you put it back down.’ Throughout scripture, we find evidence that before God calls men and women to a work, they are first called away from a work.

When Matthew (known as Levi) was invited into Jesus’ fold, he was taken away from his lucrative and disreputable enterprise as a tax collector. Luke was often referred to as ‘the beloved physician’ to denote both his reputation and soon to be former occupation. Peter and Andrew were summoned from their prosperous fishing business in order to join the band of Christ. Essentially, you will know its God because God always seems to seek out those who are already busy doing something! God then creatively channels their energy, gifts, and commitment to a stream rolling towards God’s perfect will for their lives.

Those who call themselves run the very real risk of being left to fend for them-selves in times of crisis and calamity.

I can recall after wrestling for months with what I believed was God’s will for my life and sharing that jewel of information with my pastor, Bishop Victor T. Curry, he had nothing to say about it.

After he finally and publicly acknowledged my call, I asked him one day, why he had made me wait so long. He responded, ‘Because God always calls us first to preparation.’ During that waiting period, God was merely equipping me with the tools of patience and integrity, tools that must join forces with the call in order to fortify that very call.

Those who are called into ministry should cherish and make the most of those periods of preparation, allowing them to become thoroughly equipped by the Master. They are then doubly prepared to enter the ministry and mission field God has destined just for them.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/am-i-called-or-am-i-crazy-7060925.html

About the Author

Elder George Fishburne, Jr. (www.georgefishburne.com) is the Senior Consultant of A Higher Calling Consultants and the Managing Editor of The Write Stuff, a writing and communications company which offers an array of text composition and editing services. His talents include ghost writing, resume & cover letter creation, website text content developement and an array of other literary services.

He is also the former Chief Operating Officer of the Elizabeth Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia and is the author of ‘A Higher Calling: Serving God, His Leaders and His People with Excellence’ and the accompanying guide and workbook.


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12 Steps of Faith: a Franciscan path

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

STEP ONE is about recognizing the illusion of our separateness

We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God – that our lives are become unmanageable when separated from the Divine Source of Creation.

We believed God so loved us that he gave his son, Jesus the Christ to the world who suffered, died and rose from death for us. Through this we received the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life as gifts.

‘All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.’ -Francis of Assisi

STEP TWO is about the birth of faith in us

We have come to believe that a power greater than ourselves will restore us wholeness and in turn freedom from dis-ease.

We receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit to know God better and have a fruitful life and ministry. We received the fruit, the gifts, and the power of the Spirit along with Christ’s authority over the powers of darkness.

‘While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP THREE involves a decision to let God be in charge of our lives

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Divine Source, God as each of us understand Him.

We make a covenant to live and serve in the Body of Christ through the teachings provided to us by The Son of Man. We celebrated God’s covenant of love for us through Communion and affirmed our covenant of love for Him through Baptism and the teaching of The Son of Man.

‘Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.’-Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP FOUR involves self-examination

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We experienced God’s healing power and grace inwardly, outwardly and in our relationships with others.

‘Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved, as to love.

 

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.’

― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP FIVE is the discipline of confession

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

When we believe in the illusion of our separateness from God we create dis-ease in our self and for others in our life.

‘I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP SIX is an inner transformation sometimes called repentance

We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Repentance, also called penitence, is a change of mind and of heart with regard to sin so as to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from God or a person who is wronged or sinned against. Repentance is the God-granted attitude of having sorrow for personal sin and the turning away from it towards a new life.

‘It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ‘― Francis of Assisi

STEP SEVEN involves the transformation or purification of our character

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

‘Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,and the wisdom to know the difference.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP EIGHT involves examining our relationships and preparing ourselves to make amends

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

‘No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.’ ― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP NINE is the discipline of making amends

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

‘We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP TEN is about maintaining progress in our reconnection to the Divine Source

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

‘Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP ELEVEN involves the spiritual disciplines of a practice of prayer and meditation

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Prayer is when you speak to God. Meditation is when God speaks to you.

‘We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.’ ― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP TWELVE is about ministry

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

‘Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.’ ― Francis of Assisi

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/12-steps-of-faith-a-franciscan-path-7056117.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.

http://www.BrotherChristopher.org


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Reiki: Black Magic or God’s Grace

Logo del RC

Logo del RC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

Throughout  Christianity, we have been told innumerable accounts of Jesus the Christ’s ability to heal using the laying-on-of-hands while on this earth as the Son of Man. In scripture, particularly John 14:12: ‘… he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…’ , Jesus communicated to his disciples that those who followed His teachings would surpass his abilities.

Hands-on healing, also known as Energy, Lightwork, or Spiritual Healing, has been performed by almost all cultures throughout history and around the global. Greek mythology talks of Chiron, the wise Centaur, who taught Asclepius, the God of Medicine, the practice of hands-on healing. Both Pagan and Christian cultures have embraced this form of healing throughout history.  Our ancient legacy of hands-on healing is today comes in a number of diverse forms, from; Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, (TT) ,  A Healing Touch (AHT), and a number of others.

As the attractiveness of Hands-on Healing develops and grows in today’s society, many Christians are exposed to these healing styles.  And many Christians are told that incorporating these modalities into their treatment plans or practicing these modalities is wrong… against God.  This false fear of systems like Reiki is perpetuated by church goers who are ignorant in both healing and the teachings of Jesus.  Healing is God’s calling, and the spiritual gift of healing that Reiki and its cousin modalities offer is fulfillment of this calling.

Increasingly more and more Christians view Energy (Medicine) Healing as a practice that provides an opportunity to follow more closely the teachings and examples of Jesus, Son of Man, healing the sick. Yet there are others that voice a concern that Reiki and the other energy healing modalities have an Eastern origin and in turn are automatically dismissed as ‘evil, the work of Satan, or non-Christian’.  Often those who bad-mouth energy medicine have never researched it or understood it and in turn speak of it in a fear-based mentality.

True Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ.  We have examples of our saints adopting different practices to strengthen their faith develop the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, of which reinforced their relationship with God and Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 New International Version

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal.

1 Corinthians 12:28-31 New International Version

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret?

31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Paul goes onto describe the people within the church as having roles of apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in tongues.

One of the spiritual gifts spoken of is healing. Dedicated Christians who understand scripture have investigated the practices of Hand-on Healing to include the practice of Reiki and its cousin modalities.

John 14:12-14 New International Version

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Within John 14:12-14 is both instruction and task.

As Christians study the teachings of the Master and search for ways to follow more fully Jesus’ teachings in order to draw closer to God, we must keep in the forefront of our mind those the examples Jesus set for us.

Matthew 14:14New International Version

14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mark 3:10New International Version

10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.

Luke 4:38-39 New International Version

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

Mark 1:40-42 New International Version

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Matthew 20:29-34 New International Version

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

32 Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.

33 ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 8:22-25 New International Version

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’

24 He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 7:32-35 New International Version

32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Luke 7:12-15 New International Version

12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Luke 8:49-55 New International Version

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

English: The healing hands of Penny the Wonder...

The healing hands of Penny the Wonder Nurse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the list of scriptural teachings goes on….

If one studies scripture, prays, sits in contemplation the truth on Hand-on Healing will be revealed.  The Scriptural evidence clearly reveals that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be participating in. Christians, who have a solid foundation in their faith, know that God always look after and directs them to do His will. Those Christians who practice modalities such as Reiki do so within the direction and armor of God, assured in the confidence that they have been guided to follow Jesus’ model to be a healer.

So, more particularly what is Reiki? Reiki is a Hands-on Healing modality that balances and rejuvenated the bio-electric magnetic energy (science proven) of the human body balancing the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual essence of a being. Reiki is a Japanese term meaning ‘Universal Life Energy’ referring to that bio-electric magnetic unseen energy that permeates and gives life to everything. A Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui was given the method of healing, a gift after 21 days of fasting and contemplation on a mountain outside of Kyoto. He used this gift to heal those in need; he was able to teach others this system of healing.  Just because Usui was Japanese… just because he was Buddhist does not invalidate the modality, nor does it mean the ‘Love of God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ was not or is not present in healing.

Romans 2 13-16 (NIV) tells us this:

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Even a Buddhist practice can follow the Will of the Christian God. Reiki delivers a magnificent system for Christians to make use of God’s grace. When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you (in essence this is what Reiki practitioners are doing- though they use different Buddhist or New Age terms). This can be done through prayer before Reiki sessions, attunements or classes etc. By doing this your connection with God’s love (what some identify as that bio-electric magnetic energy we earlier discussed) can become very powerful and act as a source of support, healing and grace that is always be available to you. Reiki practitioners feel that they do not heal, but the energy or God’s Love does the healing; they are simply tools in the process.

Reiki is not Black Magic. Black Magic has a purpose to cause harm and suffering to another. There is no ill intent in healing. Reiki can only be used to heal and to help people and is always guided by God. In fact the practitioner must enter the session with no attachment in the outcome and allow the Grace of God to heal. Healing is not curing, but bringing a balance of body, mind, emotion, and spiritual bodies into harmony to accept the problem(s) at hand. Here is something to keep in mind when someone says Reiki is Satan’s work… our knowledge about Satan comes from the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible do we find where Satan healed someone. Satan tempts people to sin but Satan does not heal people. Furthermore, in Luke 6:44, Jesus speaks, ‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.’ Which translates to, ‘if something is helpful and benefits individuals with positive results, such as with Reiki, then it must be trustworthy and come from God.’ Reiki the system and Reiki the energy comes from God, which is understood to be the one or Universal God, AKA The Source.

Challengers of Reiki often argue against the attunement process and the use of Reiki Symbols. The attunement process is simply turns on your healing energy which has been lying dormant. During this process God connects you more powerfully to His grace which in-turn supports the healing energy coming from your hands. Those who receive a Reiki attunement have noticeably stronger healing energies coming from their hands. As for symbols and rituals, they are throughout Christianity: the Sign of the Cross, and the fish for example. The symbols are used in Reiki to connect with different intents for the healing (physical, emotional, spiritual) which come from The Source, God. But the uses of the symbols are not necessary to use with Reiki for the healing to be effective. And Spirit Guides. Not an original Reiki concept or teaching. They do not need to be used.  Christians often call on the Christ for guidance or saints.  So why stop?

In the end you must decide if Hands-on Healing is ‘Christian’ or not. As for me I will continue to follow the teachings set out by Jesus utilizing my skills as a Reiki Master/Teacher as one of the tools in my kit.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/reiki-articles/reiki-black-magic-or-gods-grace-7038641.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Touché!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

I remember that it was 2006 that I first became a believer in Christ and it was His providence that I would end being involved in evangelism and apologetics. At that time I was just 15 with virtually no background in Biblical interpretation or logic.

Nevertheless, the “zeal” of my faith did not allow me to stay silent. The internet in general and social media in particular was getting popular by the day (do remember that I live in Pakistan), and so I found a whole new venue for “spreading” the Gospel.

I came across a number of non-Christian groups that were challenging the authority of the Christian faith, largely based on the arguments of a famous Islamic speaker in the subcontinent. It is important to note here that everyone around me including my own parents were enthusiastic about my new found interest, yet no one made any effort to mentor me.

I think along with my own stupidity, it is was this factor that made me write things on these websites that I wish I never have written.

For instance, one person wrote that since we do not know the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, therefore it must not be the word of God. In reply, I asked him for some evidence, and he happily obliged by quoting authoritative commentaries.

You know how I responded ? “The commentaries are all false!”

No effort to research and no willingness to divert from my position.

Later that evening I told my parents that commentaries are simply rubbish. My father simply smiled, while my mother got angry. Yet no one of them simply took out the time to correct me.

It was a couple of months later that I finally realized that it is true, that it is not only Hebrews but a lot of books in the Bible have debatable authorship And I also learnt that authorship does no harm to the the Christian view of Inspiration.

Sometime later, I came across this wonderful website that presented scholarly articles in the defense or Christianity while criticizing a major worldview. I started whole-sale copy pasting from this website, thinking in my mind that since others are also plagiarizing their arguments, why shouldn’t I do the same?

Overtime, I had stopped responding to objections (which is the only form of apologetics that the Bible talks about) and started pin pointing the flaws in other people’s religions. I had no regard for the sentiments (since they did not have respect for our faith), I made no effort to check the arguments for accuracy, and I simply had no regard for the sources.

Surprisingly, I was doing pretty good and I developed a reputation as challenging online debater. But this shows the quality of religious discussions that were widespread on the internet.

The point that I want to raise by writing all this is that when people discuss religion or other ideologies, all they need is conviction and that’s it. While conviction is necessary for propagating a worldview, we also need to consider the logical aspect of the whole matter.

Jesus told us to love our God with all our minds as well, but we as Christians don’t follow this, right? And then we consider that since we are promoting our faith (which is obviously true), everything we say or do is legitimate.

A lot of my Christian friends, when I contradict something they say, respond by saying “Oh man, you don’t know!” or “you’ll see”, and this according to them is a fairly legitimate argument. Or consider how two people usually debate about 9/11:

For: Hey man, Islamic terrorists bombed the WTC”

Against: No man, it was an inside job!

For: Yeah? Well how do you know?

Against: Well I saw videos where they showed all the details of the conspiracy.

For: Nonsense, I have seen a video where bin Laden himself stated who did it!

As you can see, none of them realizes that they are in fact saying the same thing. The problem is, most of the people who make such arguments are not 15 year old boys who flunked the 9th grade, but educated and aged men and women who have some standing in the society.

So here is my call to all of you. I make the effort to admit my mistakes and tread the path towards honesty in all things, even if they go against what I already believe.

If we claim to follow the Truth, we have to be honest.Sure people bring up absurd theories, like Jesus was the leader of a mushroom cult, but do you also have to say that a certain denomination is the “anti-Christ” because they “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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The Three Poisons of Buddhist Psychology or Christian Teachings Left Ignored

Temptation via Tumblr

By Brother Christopher

There are what is known as the three poisons in Buddhism, ignorance, attachment (greed), and hatred. This concept of the three poisons is important whether you consider yourself Buddhist or not, and by understanding this concept of the Three Poisons both your pastoral practice and the client will benefit to wholeness.

Greed, anger and ignorance are treacherous toxins which can build and destroy our life, are noted as the cause of human suffering. Buddhist psychology reveals that not only are these ‘poisons’ the source of our material greed in wanting more and more possessions, and the root cause of all of our harmful illusions of the ego, but they are also painful pollutants, which bring both physical and mental illness.

From the Christian angle, the core definition of greed or attachment defines the term(s) as the obsession with accumulating material goods; a greedy person values material goods more than they value God.

Luke 12:15 New International Version (NIV)

15 Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’

Greed’s buddies are desire and lust; these appetites and attachments cause us to want to ‘get hold of’ things, and to have more and more of them. Leading to never being satisfied. In essence greed and his entourage separate us from the One True God; Greed is that Golden Calf of the Old Testament.

Hate, simply put from a ‘Jesus perspective’ is when we stop considering another’s welfare. Hate is when we simply don’t care. Hate includes ‘when my thing is more important than your thing’.  Hate kills harmony. Hate kills inspiration. Hate kills others. Hate is suicide.

1 John 2:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

God&Window

God&Window (Photo credit: Tallapragada)

Hatred’s cohorts are anger, animosity and loathing, which trigger us to reject that which displeases us or infringes upon our ego. Again we create and divide the separation to the Divine as we promote hatred.

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

37 Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

Ignorance, which is ‘not knowing,’ our true nature, sets the path for delusion or in our believing something that is false when it is not or in believing lies in order to support our ego and avoid hurt.

Mathew 7:21-23 New International Version (NIV)

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

With ignorance we breed fear, co-existence with others diminishes, our intolerance of people, ideas, and practices grows. Out of ignorance we have bigotry, lack of understanding, lack of compassion. Ignorance is a choice that can be overcome through acceptance and education, and is something that is continual in our human life- ever evolving. Ignorance does not allow us to live in God’s Light.

Christ and the devil via Tumblr

Countless numbers of us are most likely to be dominated by at least one of the poisons. These poisons fill our lives with suffering, unhappiness and our ability for tolerance and co-existence.  They are the reason we make poor decisions that upset our future.  They are the source of our self-serving and dishonest intentions, which lead us to act both unethically and immorally.  They are the roots of not only our own pain and misery, but the cause of the pain and suffering to those who love us. They bring ruin upon society itself.  Fortunately, there is an antidote, a treatment, a cure to these three poisons.  The practice of loving kindness and compassion and the connection to God, serving God,  is the medicine.

If we become aware of the Three Poisons, their causes and their cures, we can bring about a wonderful metamorphosis to those we serve as well as to our self.  Through the practice of loving kindness and compassion poison is transformed into nectar. And from the nectar evolves true happiness and righteousness that God intended each of us to behold.  When we realize our interdependence on each other, our connectedness to each other and to the Divine Source, as well as our unique oneness, we rid ourselves of the poisons that keep making us sick.  With pastoral counseling guidance can be offered, lessons can be given, but each one us must take the hand reaching out to us, embrace the tools being given to us, and then use those tools. This is God’s way.  As pastoral counselors we must look at how these poisons are affecting our clients… and unlike many other counselor types use the teachings of the Master, Jesus the Christ to teach our clients how to rid themselves of the poisons and bring harmony and wellness back into their life.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/the-three-poisons-of-buddhist-psychology-or-christian-teachings-left-ignored-7021341.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  

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