Sunday, June 25, 2017

Walking Through Holy Fire by Teresa Beem

Why does God allow suffering? The cry burst forth from every heart who has known or seen great tragedy. Suffering is all around us, behind the most courageous smiles, the jokesters, as well as the quiet, the judgmental, the irritable. Even pondering the question of suffering can cause pain for it questions the very goodness of God. Why God, why all the death and appalling hatred and destruction, the agonies of the innocent cross human time?

As Christians we often hear the answer to this question as: "sin."

Sin desires hopeless, despairing suffering. The force some call Satan, desires the utter destruction of God's creation. This mad ceaseless, tireless, merciless force will never sleep until there is not one breath of life, one grain of sand, one distant star left in the universe and all is obliterated.

Jesus warns us against following this force of sin, for it is the very cause of the suffering we see. But Christ gave us an answer to how Christians can combat this force while we await His ultimate eradication of it.

Jesus did not tell us to fight suffering with fun, nor to defiantly stand and face down suffering. Jesus said, we fight sin by taking up our cross daily and following Him.

Christianity, rightly understood and lived through the power of Christ, does not seek to avoid the suffering, at least through means that will not draw us into holiness. But Christians seek to redeem this curse of suffering through transforming it. We wrest the power from the devil to hurt us and twist it upwards, giving it to Christ. We take what is meant to harm and use it to make us holy.

When we willingly take up our cross and follow Jesus, we understand where this is going. It is going to our own crucifixion, where we will transform the hate of the kingdom of Satan and turn our sorrows into joy. Through willingly bearing our cross, given us by Christ, Satan's power to harm us and rend us useless with pain and confusion, is forever broken. Christ gives us the power, not to ceaselessly avoid injustices and submerge ourselves in distractions as to not face life, but as King David 23 Psalms, to courageously walk through the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil, because "Thou are with me."

Christ warned us that his followers' persecution and tragedy will not be lessened but indeed, they will become a target by the dark principalities for greater attacks. Our defense is not to fear these moments, but conquer the power of Satan by holding our arms out in fearless acceptance as Christ did on the cross. We will break the power of the dark forces by our faith that God will not just sustain us during these but with absolute trust in God, He will give us joy!

Imagine the miracle that we can face sufferings with joy. There is nothing the Devil fears more from us than that we will have the courage to walk through fire for Christ. The power of sin that controls us with fear and tragedy would be eliminated. And that fire, meant to destroy us, will turn into a consuming fire of holiness that gives us a freedom that we can never experience when we are enslaved to sin.

God's kingdom turns this world of sin upside down! Think of a life of peace and joy, without fear, not because we perfected the art of ignoring and numbing ourselves with alcohol, drugs, entertainment, or hedonism but because Christ gives us a transcendent life that glimpses eternity!

That is what Christianity is: a glimpse into the divine life of God. And it is worth walking through His Holy fire.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May and the Bombing at Manchester Arena

After the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert inside the Manchester Arena, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, stood before the world and reported that a bomb was detonated at the "conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children.... deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives."

Please take a moment to think about the Prime Minister's words. This was supposed to be a family night—with innocent children. At a family concert staring Ariana Grande.

Sky News was interviewing several of the parents who heard or witnessed the bomb. 

The arena was "full of beautiful, young girls and boys and families. It was just tragic to think that such a great family evening has now ended in such horror."

One visibly shaken man explained that both his daughters, 12 and 10 years old were there.

Another couple who attended with their daughter said, "I feel sorry for the young children. How can you target seven, six-year-old children at a kids concert?" The father remarked that this "should have been the best day of her life."  

The best day? Not the day she is married. Not the day she has children or gets to see grandma. A pop concert.. a pop concert should have been the best day of her life?

That same father ended with, "no nine-year-old should see anything like that."

What? What should no child see? Death and carnage? Well, what people are not saying is what other thing children should not see.

Ariana Grande. Yep. That is a picture of her.

This was a concert primarily for young girls, the Prime Minister Theresa May stressed, and she spoke of girls who had received these prized concert tickets as a Christmas gift and had been eagerly anticipating this evening for months. Young innocent girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 18.

Here is one of her recent music videos:

Ariana Grande concert for little girls included explicitly vulgar lyrics to her song, Side by Side:
This new style with the fresh type of flow Wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle Come true yo, get you this type of blow All these bitches, flows is my mini-me Body smoking, so they call me young Nicki Chimney Rappers in they feelings 'cause they feelin' me Uh, I-I give zero f*#ks and I got zero chill in me Kissing me, copped the blue box that says Tiffany Curry with the shot, just tell them to call me Stephanie Gun pop and I make my gum pop I'm the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop 
and Touch It:
Cause every time I see you, I don't wanna behave I'm tired of being patient, so let's pick up the pace Take me all the way Aint' nobody gonna touch it, touch it, touch it     
Now let's return to the Prime Minister's words about the terrorist, "deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives."

And parents gave their little girls Christmas gifts of tickets to this vile concert.

Later I heard an interview dealing with why the terrorist hate us so much. "Do they hate our freedom?" was the question. It was interesting to hear a British commentator being honest enough to admit that some of the terrorists' problem with the West is their hatred of our freedom for women to dress like whores and act worse than prostitutes. Many radicalized Muslims despise our western values that Ariana Grande epitomizes--a radically immoral, "liberated" young woman.

I can't help but feel, as a Catholic, I am in a confusing and ghoulish nightmare where there are no longer any good guys. 

As in the days of Noah... 
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that their every inclination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5