Category Archives: Catholicism

Captain Fantastic; The Review I Want to Read

As seems to be the norm, I’m late to the game… but better to show up late than not at all. Right?  This post is a review piece on the 2016 movie Captain Fantastic staring Viggo Mortensen.  Quite frankly, the reason I’m writing this review here and now in 2019 is that I keep reading reviews of this movie and haven’t ever found the one I’m looking for… I guess that means that like everyone else, I’m looking for something that aligns with my subjective take on the thing.  Having not found one in 3 years that I agree with (in total), and after much sighing in frustration, I decided to write my own.

Well, it’s not really that I just want to write my own, it’s that almost every Christian review I’ve read about this movie is embarrassing to me as a Christian, and I’m going to focus a lot on the religious (or anti-religious) bits of the movie.  So, let’s get a few things out of the way; this movie features cussing, anti-religious sentiment, and last but(t) not least, full-frontal male nudity.  Yes, indeed, if you want Viggo in all his glory, this is the movie for you.  I happen to love this movie, but that is in spite of, not because of, Viggo’s glory.  Please, if nudity offends you, I totally understand, don’t watch the movie.  If someone using the Lord’s name as a (or in the midst of a) curse word, is a deal breaker, avoid it.  I really do understand completely.  (One point I never see mentioned when people are going off about said nudity is that there is zero, 0, female nudity in this movie, and the nudity is not sexual in any way… I think that is on purpose and makes me like the movie more, because I truly think the writer/director Matt Ross did it to make a point.)

Anywho, enough about the nudity.  This review and discussion contains spoilers, and yes, the movie is 3 years old, but on the ‘net there is always that one person who screams bloody murder at the fact there wasn’t a spoiler warning even though it’s old news.  What we have with Captain Fantastic is a story about parenting (specifically fatherhood), and the attempt to be present in your offspring’s lives to a greater degree than anyone else is; to raise your kids as you see fit.  Matt Ross then adds the layer of; what if those parents have an ideology that does not line up with the majority population?  Most reviews miss this basic point.  Many believe this movie exists to bash a certain political or religious perspective, and they contend the vehicle for this is how we are supposed to feel about Ben (played by Viggo) who is the patriarch of his family.  I don’t know what movie they were watching but the father is not portrayed as a hero… all I can come up with is people were 1) not paying attention while watching and 2) were so offended by what they perceived to be the point early on, that they missed the point entirely.

The family; Ben Cash the Dad, Leslie the Mom, oldest brother Bodevan, twin girls Kielyr & Vespyr, Rellian the rebellious brother, Zaja the death obsessed sister, and the “baby” of the family, little brother Nai.  Mom and Dad are out of the norm and hard to quantify specifically, but what I instantly noticed that never really gets mentioned is that Ben wears a Mjolnir pendant.  Now, we are told flat out that Leslie, his wife, is an Buddhist in regards to philosophy not religion, but we are never told what Ben is, other than he isn’t Christian.  Their main beef seems to be against organized religion, which may be a reaction against Leslie’s upbringing that sharp-eyed viewers will find to be Catholic.  Many wear Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) as a sign of protection, or as a nod to heritage, there are even Neo-Nazi’s who have latched on to it as a symbol.  Some wear it to simply show they aren’t Christian, but Ben’s use of it is interesting because who exactly is he wearing it for?  They see almost nobody, but even in the deep woods, or when showering in a waterfall, he keeps it on and no one (in the movie or in the reviews) really seems to notice. (Interesting side note; Viggo, as himself, has been photographed wearing one as well.)  Further, if I may jump to the end of the movie, in the final scene we clearly see he is not wearing it anymore, which is a really important clue that he has indeed changed his ways.

The whole family lives out in the Pacific northwest on a kind of homestead; tiny house with teepee, garden, treehouse, etc… They hunt and grow and can their own food.  The kids are homeschooled, which includes hand-to-hand fighting, meditation, wilderness survival training, lots of phys ed, field trips, music education, and a handpicked reading itinerary complete with tests and debates.  They all dress (or undress) however they feel like.  Mom is conspicuously absent and we soon learn why; she’s been admitted to a hospital because of her bipolar disorder which has finally forced her families to try to get her intensive help.  She slits her own wrists one night and we get the feeling she’s threatened to do this many times before, but this time succeeds and kills herself.  This sets the stage for the rest of the movie.

Now, here are some points that many don’t seem to catch.  When Ben finds out she’s dead, he looks through their important papers and opens her will.  We see (and hear) that Ben himself is shocked at her requests (we are kept in the dark about the particulars at first), just as earlier in the movie we see he is shocked at little Zaja’s death obsession that revolves around taxidermy, altars made of animal skulls, and Pol Pot.  Again, dad is not fully in control here and we are allowed to see that, nor is he immune to the norms and mores of the wider culture.

Leslie was being treated close to her mom and dad, who are rich, powerful, and used to getting their way.  Because of the Cash family’s “wild” ways they do not want Ben interfering with Leslie’s funeral and burial and warns Ben to stay away, which of course he doesn’t.  Now, here is where I wish more Christians would express their outrage along with Ben.  Leslie’s mom and dad, who are Catholics, completely and totally ignore their daughter’s wishes and will.  Leslie was a Buddhist who wanted to be cremated, not embalmed and buried.  She wanted music and dancing; a celebration of her life.   And, yes, she wanted her ashes flushed down a toilet. Hey, I don’t agree that’s how human remains should be handled, but that is what she wanted and had listed in her will.  Other reviewers focus on Ben (and fam’s) “bad” behavior in the church during her funeral… bad behavior? Reading her will, dressing out of the norm, and trying to stop the proceedings is not the bad behavior.  The bad behavior is on the part of the mom and dad who did not respect their daughter’s last wishes, who had her embalmed, placed in a Catholic Church, all laid out in a massive coffin, and then buried under a Christian tombstone.  None of that is acceptable from a Christian perspective and is meaningless to put a non-Christian through it.

Other worthy mentions; reviewers target a conversation that takes place in a bank.  The kids are shocked when they see everyone is so overweight.  They haven’t been exposed to that before, and they wonder if everyone is sick.  Nai thinks everyone looks like hippos and says so.  His sisters remind him that isn’t proper, “We don’t make fun of people.”  Vespyr helpfully chirps, “except Christians!”  What most Christian reviewers miss is the look of exasperation on Ben’s face right after his daughter says this.  He knows he’s caught in the very same hypocrisy that he claims infects Christianity.  Does he correct this? No, but the look says it all and we are supposed to catch it as the viewers.

In another scene, Ben is rightfully pulled over for a non-functioning left taillight.  The police officer boards “Steve” (their modified school bus) and begins poking around because the kids are not in school and the situation appears unusual.  Bodevan gets the idea to run the officer off by proselytizing like a stereotypical evangelical Christian homeschooled family, and they all begin serenading the officer with “One Day When Heaven was Filled with His Praises” and the officer beats a hasty retreat, sending them on their way.  Somehow this offends Christians too… but this Christian has heard the jokes my brothers and sisters tell each other; “When you get a call from either a salesperson, or a fake phishing call, just start telling them about Jesus and they’ll hang up really quick! Hahaha.”  We know how proselytizing can come off, and some have weaponized it, and now we’re going to act ticked off because it’s used in a similar fashion, but by a non-believer? Nah, it’s funny, lighten up.

Let me flip it for a second and also clarify a point that confuses some reviewers.  Ben and fam don’t celebrate Christmas, even the secularized version.  This is one of the areas of the film that I’m really surprised they didn’t tweak.  Instead of any holiday like Christmas, the Cash family celebrates Noam Chomsky day… and they celebrate it early on their adventure, just like Christmas in July.  Rellian, the family rebel, thinks it’s stupid, and asks why they can’t just celebrate Christmas like everyone else.  Ben then weaponizes his own philosophy against his son; he essentially humiliates Rellian by demanding an answer to the following question. “You would prefer to celebrate a magical fictitious elf, instead of a living humanitarian who’s done so much to promote human rights and understanding?”  I’ve seen Christian reviewers get really bent out of shape here… because they think he’s referencing Christ.  No. He’s referencing Santa Claus of course.  (Personally I think this is a misstep in writing Ben’s character, but it may have been deliberate to sidestep actually bashing Christian beliefs.  Why would Ben have focused on attacking something we all know isn’t true vs. attacking the idea of Jesus Himself?  It doesn’t fit the character, IMO.)  But that’s beside the point, the point is, this is not an attack on Christ.

And finally the point of the movie itself; the dad was wrong.  Not only was the dad wrong, he figures that out, and tells the kids (and us) just how wrong he has been (this is after what I see to be the climax of the movie when his daughter Vespyr falls from her grandparents’ rooftop and about dies).  Now, if the point of the movie was to glorify Marxism, and anti-Christian sentiment, why would the dad admit his experiment was “a beautiful mistake?”  Why would he then change course, move his kids back to a farm and enroll them in public school, and remove his Mjolnir pendant for the first time in the whole movie? It’s clear as day that he is still a loving, devoted father, he’s just realized there is more than one way to show that and to guide and protect his kids.  We can also see that the family does not throw out their former lives or learning, but things are repurposed and balanced out.  The point is; if you make your kids into philosopher kings and they have no society to interact with, then what’s the point?  If you get your kids seriously injured or killed in raising them up, then what’s the point?  Ben has finally learned you have to walk the path between order and chaos in a balanced manner.

All of that to say; I loved the movie.  It’s one that should make you think, but if you go into it with a chip on your shoulder about what you initially perceive as “anti” this and that, then you’ll miss the lessons Ben learns along the way.  Movies like this should especially challenge us Christians and make us reflect on if there is any truth to the stereotypes against us, and if they are something we want to change or not.  It should also make everyone, Christian and non, realize the importance of educating ourselves and raising the bar when it comes to interpersonal discussions, and parenting.  Finally, it also calls our society into question; what we spend time, effort, and money on, and if those things are actually meaningful (or inline with the Christian ideal anymore).

I plan to post at least one more article on particular aspects of the movie that I found so interesting, I hope, dear reader, that perhaps they will be interesting to you as well…

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Watching Notre Dame burn…

Watching Notre Dame burn, I wept.  I’m not Catholic, nor French, but none of that mattered as I watched The Lady of Paris light up the night in horrible flame.  It surprised me how strong the reaction was inside my heart, and then my head.  I’ve never been to Paris, I’ve never seen that venerable cathedral, and honestly, I think that made me hurt worse.  I feared I would never see it stand again in my lifetime, that I would never get to see the rose windows for myself with my own eyes.  Yes, my first responses were based in selfishness.

My second response was to see a terrible metaphor played out on my television.  It’s okay, dear reader, if you don’t agree, but I find it self-evident that Europe, and the West has lost it’s soul.  It’s lost it’s mooring in Truth, and by that I mean absolute truth that has one source; God.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the one true God Who is triune in nature.  Bastions of the Christian faith that have held out for thousands of years have slipped from their moorings.  They don’t recognize the One Who bought them… and here burns His Cathedral right in the heart of France.

Yes, yes, I do know and truly believe in the end all will be put right, but that’s not where we are right now.  Right now the world is groaning, you could hear it while Notre Dame burned.  Not only was she burning, but burning and toppling at the beginning of Holy Week.  Call it what you will; a metaphor, a sign, a wake-up call… it hurt.  I’m left mumbling like Richard Dreyfuss’s Roy Neary, “This means something.”  It’s not the building burning that made me weep, but the neglect of the Faith amongst the faithful that has lead to the state of disrepair the whole Church catholic is in, no one noticing until it’s being destroyed right in front of us.

Then the morning comes and shows us a new image; fire out, cross still shining.  Yes, the roof is gone and the cathedral is now exposed to the elements, but the heart of the church is still there, and the glorious windows depicting the gospel along with man’s love of God, man’s creative gift from God as we are made in His image.  The devastation is vast, and it will take time and money and expertise to mend it all, but it will be mended Lord willing!  Will the Church, all of us believers of every stripe wake up?  Will we start living and reviving our faith by allowing God to live in us and move us?  God, I hope so.  I beg so.

The other things in the world going on faded out, and for several hours everyone’s eyes were glued to the news and the coverage of the fire.  Now, you see the pictures of the cross, and the parts of the cathedral that have survived.  Some will move on and the images will fade and they won’t act on what they felt when watching it burn, some laughed and cheer while it burned, but some wept. It hit me hard enough that I came back here to this blog of mine that has set idle for three and a half years… and what did I find?  My last post was all about France, about the attack by Muslims on civilians, and hence on civilization, and I said what I will say again; my sentimentality can be a good thing, so can yours, as it can be for everyone that felt it… but it’s not enough.  We have to start acting like Christians, and that means learning the mind of Christ, begging for the mind of Christ, and following the Spirit, doing as He says.

As for me, it meant coming here and writing this, it meant searching out a legit way to give to the restoration of Notre Dame.  It also means to keep living my faith, to broaden my actions, and pray for depth of understanding in order to live out the faith.  I don’t know if anyone still reads my blog… if you are here right now, and you’ve read this far, and you agree with anything I have said… just know you aren’t alone.  Just know there truly is hope, and we can live like there is.  Just know there is Truth and Love, and we can actually live our lives in accord with that, and it is all meaningful.  Christ did indeed die on the cross, but let’s not forget He rose three days later!  I hope I’ll have more to say about all this very soon.

As for me, it feels like another sign that my last post was about France, I’ll have to seriously pray about and consider the import for me, because I do believe, “This means something.”  Don’t forget, it turn’s out Roy Neary was right even when the world around him thought he was nuts…

Grace and Peace to my brothers and sisters, especially all of you over in France.  Revive us again, Lord.

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Helping get the Gosnell mass-murder story out…

The mainstream media refuses to cover this story because it shows abortion for what it is; infanticide, or baby murder.  The story at the following link is indeed graphic.  Swallow it, folks, this is what abortion has wrought.

Philadelphia abortion clinic horror.

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Politics, Hierarchy, Egotism, and Christianity…

There’s a lot going on within Christianity today.  God seems to be working overtime shaking things up, denying anyone a status-quo , making sure believers know what they believe and why.  It has much to do with our relationship with each other as believers.  I honestly believe that one of the things becoming clearer and clearer to me is that internal politics, hierarchy, and egotism have no part to play in Christianity amongst believers.

As always, definitions first, and thank-you to Dictionary.com.  Politics: 1) the science or art of political government. The politics I’m talking about here are formal politics; the control and manipulation in a hierarchical setting of the individual members of an organization.  Hierarchy: 1) any system of persons or things ranked one above another. Notice in this definition that the emphasis is on a ranking “one above another.” Egotism: 1) excessive and objectionable reference to oneself in conversation or writing; conceit; boastfulness. 2) selfishness; self-centeredness; egoism.

I hope, dear reader, that you are starting to get a sense of my point.  The idea of hierarchy is addressed several times in scripture.  The apostles themselves were not originally above jockeying for position, fighting amongst themselves to see who was the preeminent disciple. Jesus made His point even more clear by stooping physically to wash the feet of his friends and disciples.  There is no “above” position in the body of Christ, besides Christ being the head of the church, and also the foundation.  We are to serve one another even while we, as individuals, are called to certain positions.  We are indeed called to different things; preachers, teachers, evangelists, deacons, elders, etc… but these things are organic to the body, not hierarchical in nature…I should say, “these things SHOULD be organically understood, not hierarchical.”

Listen to Peter: 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Christ is clearly the cornerstone, and we are all stones of the same house, we are all a holy priesthood.  One has to watch, in any church, a hierarchical structure that places one “type” of believer over another, whether it be a protestant church such as Lutheran, UMC, etc… or the Roman church system with the Pope, cardinals, etc… that are over, and “ordained” above the other believers in Christ.  The actual, biblical positions mentioned in scripture are ones of servitude, even the “teaching” positions.  Even “servants” are not “below” other members, but rather we are all on the same level and should lean on one another and rely on each other.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Notice the context of these passages; they are about Spiritual gifts; the emphasis is on the fact that we are all part of the body of Christ, each important.  When there is emphasis on position, the emphasis is on the gift, NOT the person.  Again, notice it talks of coveting the best gifts, not coveting the position.  Why?  Because the better gifts serve the whole body.  Formal hierarchy, such as we see in secular circles that have invaded church consciousness, separates the “leaders” from the rest of the people.  Hence, formal hierarchy breeds politics, and a quest for power within whatever system is set up.

Egotism is also rampant in the church amongst leaders and members both.  There is this odd emphasis on certain “famous” individuals instead of on the message.  Joel Osteen, Rick Warren and the like are the focus of news stories, books, TV shows, etc…  The Pope gets the attention in the Roman church.  There is a centering on the self.  What kind of floors me is the fact that we still have people struggling to make a name for themselves by finding the next gimmick or the next new marketing tool…there is nothing new under the sun.  Pastors out there desire not just to teach the flock the Truth from scripture, but a truth that no one has ever discovered, something they can pat themselves on the back about.  Also, there is a horrible trend of the leadership totally abandoning humility, and also self-awareness.  It can become easy for the leadership to play the “I’m a better Christian” game.

There is just as much egotism amongst the congregants of many churches. Legalism, backstabbing, gossiping, judgmentalism, etc… springs from pride.  Our call is to love God and love one another; in fact Christ is clear that when the world sees these things they will know we are HIS disciples.  If we have not love, we are clanging symbols.  Love doesn’t boast, it isn’t proud or self-serving.  Love serves others, and focuses on God.  If Christ is to be our ultimate role model, isn’t that what we see most in Him?  Love God, Love our neighbors.  Servant-hood.  Brotherhood. Egotism picks at people, it constantly says, “I could do better than so-and-so” with pride and very little action, if any.

This is by NO means a call to a social gospel, or a call for churches not to have pastors or church boards; it is a call to view it all a little bit different.  How much momentum is lost by all the gossip, infighting, playing politics, and competition in our churches?  Isn’t that a sad thing?  Supporting one another, learning together, praying for one another in sincerity (not fake one-upsmanship), focusing on the word and on God, worshiping together, studying together, eating together…  If anyone here thinks I’m putting myself above all this; I’m not, I need to hear this type of thing and to read scripturally accurate articles and sermons about such too.  I do believe we’ve been given a lot to think about by what is happening across Christendom, so let’s think about it, pray about it, pray for one another, search scripture, and discuss it with kindness and humility!

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

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Confess your faults one to another…

Don’t get excited…I’m not planning on doing that in this article, so all you people who’d love get some dirt on me, just settle down. 😉  What I want to do is take this passage from James and flip the focus of it a bit.

At one of the churches I attend, the pastors have been teaching on “the one-anothers,” which I would like to go more into in future article (all the scriptures that exhort us to love one another, prefer one another, support one another, etc… look them up, there are a lot).  The sermon today was about accountability and how it isn’t limited to a list of sins we have committed that we have to sit down and confess to some priest.  That is the fist part I’d like to point out in this passage, we are to talk to one another, back and forth, between fellow believers about our struggles and successes, not to some person who is set apart from us.  Every believer is a priest in Christ, and we are all called to be an ear to our brothers and sisters.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The focus of sermons on this passage tend to zero in on the “confessee,” the one doing the confessing.  Today’s sermon was no different, and it was a good one.  However, I’d like to switch the focus to the “confessor,” the one listening.  I am a licensed counselor and I can tell you the important stuff that we “learn” as we move toward licensure is already available to everyone…in the Bible.  Listen to one another, love one another, weep when your brother or sister weeps, REJOICE when they rejoice, pray for each other (NOT in the way that ‘I’ll pray for you‘ gets better translated into, ‘I think you are a piece of dirt, so I’ll “pray” for you.‘  But, real genuine prayer)…

The attitude of the confessor is just as important, or perhaps even more so, as that of the confessee.  The person listening to another person’s problems should be mindful of the situation, of the respect and trust it takes for one human being to confide in another.  If you should be so honored with someone’s confession, as a brother or sister in Christ, give the other person the respect of at least really listening to what they say. Don’t think that you have to solve their problem, but do really listen to what they have to say.

Give a crap.  There’s a novel idea.  Think on that.

Half of helping a person bear their burden is simply to listen to what they are going through, and let them know that they are not alone.  Most people don’t need a sermon preached to them while they are going through tough times, save the platitudes, but a word of empathy and encouragement will not be out of place.  Pray for the person, if they like that kind of thing pray with them, but you can even pray for them when you are alone.  If you are hesitant about the “righteous man” part of that passage, don’t worry; as long as you are in Christ, you are righteous because of the righteousness you’ve been given, not because of your own works.

People in today’s society are used to superficial social interaction.  A sort of hit-and-run approach to listening to someone else.  Our own minds go in a thousand different directions at once.  You want to know the key to being a good confessor?  Listening.  Hearing and absorbing what the other person is really saying.  We are also told not to be judgmental.  If someone is telling you about something they’ve done wrong, it isn’t up to us to judge them; how arrogant.  We believers are all one family, we are all part of the body of Christ, and there is no room for arrogance and feelings of superiority.

My thought for the day can be summed up thus; LISTEN to one another.  (I dunno…I kind of like the “Give a crap” line from before…)

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Latest Lost episode…

I felt compelled to make a post about the latest episode of Lost, Ab Aeterno, mainly because of the religious content; there’s SPOILERS ahead.  In this eppy, we get to see Richard’s backstory, and his run in with a Catholic priest.  It highlighted several things that are worth commenting on, theologically speaking, and this just gives the chance:

1) God can and does forgive people for murder.  In the show, the priest refuses forgiveness on the grounds that Richard doesn’t have time to perform acts of penance.  This is especially emphasized since it was “murder” that Richard had committed; folks, one sin is just as heinous as the next.

2) Forgiveness does not hinge on works, but rather faithing on the finished work of Christ.  The priest made it abundantly clear that his refusal to forgive Richard was again based on the fact that Richard did not have time to commit acts of penance.

3) We are instructed to forgive others as God has forgiven us.  The priest showcased the attitude that Christ despised; an open-hearted individual  truly seeking forgiveness turned away by someone who would fully expect to be forgiven if the roles were reversed…and more importantly, if the priest had been a believer, he was already forgiven, so we should also forgive.

4) We do not have to go through a mere human being to receive forgiveness, in fact we are instructed that Christ is the mediator betwixt God and man; we go through Christ directly to the Father.  Poor Richard (in the fictional show, of course), is left thinking that another mere man can refuse to forgive sin, and hence he remains unforgiven.  Only God can forgive, and Christ died so we could go directly to Him.  Once we faithe on Christ, all our sins are paid for.

5) As previously posted on my site; the Devil is not in Hell at present, and He’s not “in charge” like some king of Hades.  Several references in the show hinted at the fact that the Devil was in charge of Hell.

That’s enough for now…

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Dead saints omniscient?

I was just reading a RC question and answer forum, and a question about prayer to “saints” came up; Does one have to pray out loud for the saints in Heaven to hear them?  Good question, and one which I hope shows the person is really thinking through this praying to anyone other than God situation.  The way the RC presents prayer to the dead, they (the dead saints) would have to be omniscient in order to explain how they could hear unspoken prayer.

The priest that answered the question underscored this with his reply; yes, the dead saints can hear your thoughts, no need to pray aloud.  Hmmmm….. this whole thing just once again backs up the point; we should only be praying to God, He is the omniscient one, He is the one that we abide in and who abides in us.  Christ is our mediator, and the Holy Spirit is our intercessor; we don’t not require the intercession of any of our dead fellow saints (all believers are saints).  There is no scriptural evidence that the dead saints can hear our thoughts.

Folks, direct all your prayers to the Lord, not to any fellow creature.

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