Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Archbishop Of Fudge Condemns Archbishop Of Hate

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the “unacceptable” language that the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Henry Ndukuba, recently used to describe gay people.

In response to a statement on the pastoral care of gay people issued by the Anglican Church in North America in January, Archbishop Ndukuba wrote last week: “The deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality has infiltrated ACNA. This is likened to a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough (Luke 13:20-21; Gal. 5:9).”

In a statement issued on Friday, Archbishop Welby says: “I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks. I have written privately to His Grace The Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion."

Of course, Ndukuba is full of ignorance, hate and fear but, at least, he is honest and consistent. Unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury who insists that lesbian and gay people are equal to everyone else in the eyes of God and fully welcome in the Anglican church but who then holds to unenlightened and cruel legislation that shows lesbian and gay people that the Anglican church believes no such thing.

Personally, I would rather be hated by a Ndukuba than loved by a Welby.

Fat Pastor Criticises Overweight Wives

Leaders of the General Baptist Council of Associations in the United States have recommended an investigation of a minister who preached that "weight control" by wives is the solution for marital problems.

Stewart-Allen Clark, the pastor of the First General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri, is seen in video clips of a February the twenty-first sermon questioning the appearance of women after they marry their husbands.

"Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go?" he asks, standing on a stage with what appears to be a large open Bible in his left hand. "Why do they do that?"

At one point during his sermon, Clark makes a comparison to the former first lady, showing a picture of her in a long, sleeveless blue dress.

"Now look, I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump," he said. "But you don’t need to look like a butch either."

He added a joke that prompted his laughter and others:

“Scientists have discovered, by the way, a food that diminishes a woman’s sex drive. It’s called wedding cake."

"The General Baptist officials stated in a Monday Facebook post that Clark had been scheduled to be the moderator of the General Association of General Baptists meeting in July, 2022."

"He has resigned from that position," the post reads.

Cyprus Give Its Eurovision Heart To The Devil

From Associated Press:

The Orthodox Church of Cyprus on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of the country’s controversial entry into this year’s Eurovision song contest titled El Diablo, charging that the song makes an international mockery of the country’s moral foundations by advocating “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship".

With the church now having officially weighed in, the controversy has taken on a new dimension after the song and its lyrics (“I gave my heart to el diablo because he tells me I’m his angel”) caused a stir among some in the east Mediterranean island nation, who consider it to be fraught with Satanic connotations.

The chairman of the board of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Andreas Frangos, insists that the song won’t be withdrawn and that it wasn’t the broadcaster’s intention to insult anyone’s religious sentiments. However, he conceded that the broadcaster should’ve done a better job explaining the core message of the tune, which describes an abusive relationship between two lovers.

The annual Eurovision contest is a beloved European institution watched by millions that often involves songs that are controversial, in questionable taste, just plain bad or, as in the case of this year's entry from Cyprus, complete and utter shite.

The Fascism Of The Woke

The acclaimed author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has pulled out of translating Amanda Gorman’s poetry into Dutch after their publisher was criticised for picking a writer for the role who was not also Black.

This is exactly the sort of cultural segregation that good people condemned when it was rife in apartheid-era South Africa and Jim Crow era America.

Political Correctness Is Driving Me Mad

Why can we say "people of colour" but not "coloured people?" Obviously, the word "coloured" has nasty connotations, so why not completely avoid using it to describe human beings? Making a distinction that can get a person cancelled and sacked between two phrases that actually mean exactly the same thing makes a mockery of the English language.

If I catch anyone saying collared greens rather than greens of collar, I will report them to the thought police!

New Leader Of Evangelicals Calls For The Worship Of Idols

The World Evangelical Alliance officially handed over its top leadership position to Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher on Saturday, with the new secretary-general and CEO of the global organisation of evangelical churches detailing what it means to be evangelical.

Speaking from a studio near the city of Bonn in western Germany he described the Bible as the “confession of the Church” that stands above everything and everyone. He pointed out that the very idea of a paper document, rather than a person, having ultimate authority originated in the Old Testament, where the Torah was regarded as higher than even the king.

“We are proud to have a Paper Pope because the Paper Pope assures that none of us, including me, are above the Word of God,” he said. “We all submit to the Word of God; no one is above it.”Of course, he has fallen into the pit of blasphemy that most modern-day evangelicals trip themselves up into. The Word of God is not made of paper. The Word of God is a person. Only the words that were spoken by the Word are the words of God. All other words that are recorded as being from God are the words of human beings who are not the Word. They may be inspired, they may be useful for our salvation but they are not reliable in the same way that the words of Jesus Christ are. They are certainly not inerrant. Only God can be inerrant. To claim that the words of those who are merely human are inerrant is to claim that human beings are as God and that is blasphemy.

Schirrmacher, who, honestly, should know better is hovering close to making his paper pope into a golden bull. He needs to turn his eyes upon Jesus.

This Day In Christian History

The Twenty-Third of February

155: Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, is martyred. Reportedly a disciple of the Apostle John, at age eighty-six he was taken to be burned at the stake.

"You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out," he said.

The flames, legend says, would not touch him, and when he was run through with a sword, his blood put the fire out.

*****

303: Diocletian begins his "Great Persecution," issuing edicts that call for church buildings to be destroyed, sacred writings burned, Christians to lose civil rights and clergy to be imprisoned and forced to sacrifice to the Roman gods. The following year he went even further, ordering all people to sacrifice on pain of death.

*****

1455: Johannes Gutenberg publishes the "Bible," the first book ever printed on a press with movable type.

*****

1685: George Frederick Handel, composer of the oratorio "Messiah," is born. He died in 1759, having spent the last six years of his life in total blindness.

Ignoring The Science

There are many things about COVID-19 that are not certain but two facts definitely are. The number of cases and deaths shot up when children went back to school last September and, at this moment, the highest number of transmissions are between schoolchildren.

So, yes, It makes perfect sense to start relaxing the lockdown restrictions by firstly sending all the children back to school at the same time. #wearealldoomed

Jab Or No Job

The Vatican is taking Pope Francis’ pro-vaccine stance very seriously: Any Vatican employee who refuses to get a coronavirus shot without a valid medical reason risks being fired.

An eighth of February decree signed by the governor of the Vatican city-state says that employees who opt-out of vaccination without a proven medical reason could be subject to a sanction up to and including “the interruption of the relationship of employment".

The directive cited the need to protect Vatican employees in the workplace, as well as guidelines issued by Francis’ advisory COVID-19 commission, which said individuals have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated “given that refusing a vaccine can constitute a risk for others.”

This Day In Christian History

The Seventeenth of February

661: Finan, bishop of Lindisfarne, who throughout his life sought to preserve Celtic customs against Roman influence, dies. Three years later, at the Synod of Whitby, Celtic Christians agreed to abide by Roman traditions.

*****

1858: Waldensians, ancient Protestants from the Italian Alps who survived through persecution for eight hundred years, are finally guaranteed civil and religious rights. They began with the teaching of a wealthy merchant named Peter Waldo in the late 1100s; thus they are considered "the oldest evangelical Church"

A Profession of Faith by Waldes of Lyons:

Let it be known to all the faithful that I, Waldes, and all my brethren, with the Holy Gospels placed before us, believe in heart, perceive through faith, confess in speech and in unequivocal words affirm that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three persons, one God, the whole Trinity of Godhead coessential, consubstantial, coeternal and co-omnipotent; and that each person of the Trinity is fully God, all three persons one God, as is contained in the creeds, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.

We believe in heart and confess in words that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one God to whom we testify is creator, maker, governor and, in due time and place, disposer of all things visible and invisible, all things of the heavens, in the air and in the waters, and upon the earth.

We believe that the author of the New and Old Testaments, that is, of the Law of Moses and of the prophets and of the apostles, is one and the same God who, existing in the Trinity as we have said, created all things; John the Baptist, holy and righteous, was sent by him and was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb.

We believe in heart and confess in words that the incarnation of divinity came to pass, not in the Father or in the Holy Spirit, but only in the Son, so that he who in divinity was the Son of God the Father, true God from the Father, was true man from his mother, having true flesh from the womb of his mother and a rational human soul, of both natures at one and the same time; that is, he was both God and man, one person, one Son, one Christ, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ruler and author of all, born of the Virgin Mary by true birth of the flesh.

We believe in heart and confess in words that he ate, drank, slept and rested when weary from travel; he suffered with true passion of his flesh, died in a true death of his body, rose again with true resurrection of his flesh and true restoration of his soul; in that flesh he afterward ate and drank, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father and in it shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

We believe in one Church, Catholic, holy, apostolic and immaculate, outside of which no one can be saved. We do not in any way reject the sacraments which are celebrated in it with the aid of the inestimable and invisible power of the Holy Spirit, even though they be ministered by a sinful priest, as long as the Church accepts him; nor do we disparage the ecclesiastical offices or the blessings celebrated by such a one, but with devout mind we embrace them as if performed by the most righteous.

We approve, therefore, of the baptism of infants for we confess and believe that they are saved if they shall die after baptism before they commit sin. We believe, indeed, that in baptism all sins are remitted as well that original inherited sin as those which are committed voluntarily.

We hold that confirmation performed by a bishop, that is, by the imposition of hand, is holy and worthy of reverent acceptance.

We firmly believe and absolutely accept that the Eucharist, that is, the bread and wine after consecration, is the body and blood of Jesus Christ and in this nothing more is accomplished by a good priest, nothing less by an evil one.

We acknowledge that God grants forgiveness to sinners truly penitent in heart, who confess in words and do works of satisfaction in accordance with the Scriptures, and most willingly will we consort with them.

We venerate the anointing of the sick with consecrated oil.

We do not deny that carnal marriage may be contracted, as the Apostle says; we utterly forbid that those united in lawful fashion may separate; also, we do not condemn a second marriage.

We humbly praise and faithfully venerate the ecclesiastical orders, the is, the episcopate and the priesthood and the others of higher and lower degree, and all that is in good order appointed to be read and sung in the Church.

We believe that the devil was made evil not by nature but by his will.

We put no reproach at all upon the eating of meat.

We believe in heart and confess in words the resurrection of the flesh which we bear and no other.

We firmly believe and affirm that judgment is still to come and that each person will receive either reward or punishment for those things committed in the flesh.

We do not doubt that alms, and the Mass and other good works can be of benefit to the faithful who have died.

And since, according to James the Apostle, “faith without works is dead,” we have renounced the world; whatever we had we have given to the poor, as the Lord advised, and we have resolved to be poor in such fashion that we shall take no thought for the morrow, nor shall we accept gold or silver, or anything of that sort from anyone beyond food and clothing sufficient for the day. Our resolve is to follow the precepts of the Gospel as commands.

We wholeheartedly confess and believe that persons remaining in the world, owning their own goods, giving alms and doing other good works out of their own and observing the commandments of the Lord, may be saved.

Wherefore, we earnestly assure Your Grace that if any shall chance to come to your vicinity, declaring that they come from us but having not this faith, you may know with certainty that they come not from us.

*****

1889: Former White Stockings baseball player, Billy Sunday preaches his first evangelistic sermon in Chicago. By the time he died in 1935, he had preached to an estimated one hundred million people, and about one million "walked the sawdust trail" to become Christians at his invitation.

He once said:

Listen, I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've got a foot, I'll fight it as long as I've got a fist, I'll butt it as long as I've got a head and I'll bite it as long as I've got a tooth. And when I'm old, fistless, footless and toothless, I'll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.”

*****

1898: Francis Willard, a crusader for prohibition and women's suffrage, dies. She served as dean of Northwestern Women's College before becoming president of the Womens' Christian Temperance Union.

She wrote:

I believe women should be authorized as ministers in the church of God because man has no greater natural or spiritual rights than a woman to serve at the altars of the Church, as a minister of the Gospel. If a woman possesses gifts, graces and usefulness, she occupies the same vantage-ground before the world and is under the same obligations to God. If women can organise missionary societies. temperance societies and every kind of charitable organisation, why not permit them to be ordained to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments of the Church? If women should withdraw from the churches and all missionary and merciful work, we would begin to think that the foundation had dropped out of our civilization.

On This Day In Christian History

The Sixteenth Of February

1497: German scholar and reformer Philipp Melanchthon is born in Bretten, Baden. He and Luther were at times allies (he defended Luther against Johann van Eck and Emperor Charles V) and at other times enemies (Luther thrashed him for his views on the Sacrament, but apologized on his deathbed). Melanchthon's argument for justification by faith alone, known as the Augsburg Confession, is now the basic statement of Lutheran doctrine.

Forasmuch, therefore, as the doctrine concerning faith, which ought to be the chief one in the Church, has lain so long unknown, as all must needs grant that there was the deepest silence in their sermons concerning the righteousness of faith, while only the doctrine of works was treated in the churches, our teachers have instructed the churches concerning faith as follows:

First, that our works cannot reconcile God or merit forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification, but that we obtain this only by faith when we believe that we are received into favour for Christ's sake, who alone has been set forth the mediator and propitiation (1 Tim. 2, 6) in order that the Father may be reconciled through him. Whoever, therefore, trusts that by works he merits grace, despises the merit and grace of Christ and seeks a way to God without Christ, by human strength, although Christ has said of himself, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14, 6)

This doctrine concerning faith is everywhere treated by Paul (Eph. 2, 8). By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, etc.

And lest any one should craftily say that a new interpretation of Paul has been devised by us, this entire matter is supported by the testimonies of the Fathers. For Augustine, in many volumes, defends grace and the righteousness of faith, over against the merits of works. And Ambrose, in his "De Vocatione Gentium" and elsewhere, teaches to like effect. For in his "De Vocatione Gentium" he says as follows:

"Redemption by the blood of Christ would become of little value, neither would the preeminence of man's works be superseded by the mercy of God, if justification, which is wrought through grace, were due to the merits going before, so as to be, not the free gift of a donor, but the reward due to the labourer."

But, although this doctrine is despised by the inexperienced, nevertheless God-fearing and anxious consciences find by experience that it brings the greatest consolation, because consciences cannot be set at rest through any works, but only by faith when they take the sure ground that for Christ's sake they have a reconciled God. As Paul teaches (Rom. 5, 1), "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." This whole doctrine is to be referred to that conflict of the terrified conscience, neither can it be understood apart from that conflict. Therefore inexperienced and profane men judge ill concerning this matter, who dream that Christian righteousness is nothing but civil and philosophical righteousness.

Heretofore consciences were plagued with the doctrine of works, they did not hear the consolation from the Gospel. Some persons were driven by conscience into the desert, into monasteries hoping there to merit grace by a monastic life. Some also devised other works whereby to merit grace and make satisfaction for sins. Hence there was very great need to treat of, and renew, this doctrine of faith in Christ, to the end that anxious consciences should not be without consolation but that they might know that grace and forgiveness of sins and justification are apprehended by faith in Christ.

Men are also admonished that here the term "faith" does not signify merely the knowledge of the history, such as is in the ungodly and in the devil, but signifies a faith which believes, not merely the history, but also the effect of the history, namely, this article: the forgiveness of sins, to wit, that we have grace, righteousness, and forgiveness of sins through Christ.

Now he that knows that he has a Father gracious to him through Christ, truly knows God; he knows also that God cares for him, and calls upon God; in a word, he is not without God, as the heathen. For devils and the ungodly are not able to believe this Article: the forgiveness of sins. Hence, they hate God as an enemy, call not upon Him, and expect no good from him. Augustine also admonishes his readers concerning the word "faith," and teaches that the term "faith" is accepted in the Scriptures, not for knowledge such as is in the ungodly but for confidence which consoles and encourages the terrified mind.

Furthermore, it is taught on our part that it is necessary to do good works, not that we should trust to merit grace by them, but because it is the will of God. It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins is apprehended, and that, for nothing. And because through faith the Holy Ghost is received, hearts are renewed and endowed with new affections, so as to be able to bring forth good works.

For Ambrose says, "Faith is the mother of a good will and right doing."

For man's powers without the Holy Ghost are full of ungodly affections, and are too weak to do works which are good in God's sight. Besides, they are in the power of the devil who impels men to divers sins, to ungodly opinions, to open crimes. This we may see in the philosophers, who, although they endeavoured to live an honest life could not succeed, but were defiled with many open crimes. Such is the feebleness of man when he is without faith and without the Holy Ghost, and governs himself only by human strength.

Hence it may be readily seen that this doctrine is not to be charged with prohibiting good works, but rather the more to be commended, because it shows how we are enabled to do good works. For without faith human nature can in no wise do the works of the First or of the Second Commandment. Without faith it does not call upon God, nor expect anything from God, nor bear the cross, but seeks and trusts in man's help. And thus, when there is no faith and trust in God all manner of lusts and human devices rule in the heart.

Wherefore Christ said, "Without me you can do nothing" (John 16,6).

*****

1801: The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church receives its charter. Five years earlier, black members of New York City's John's Street Methodist Episcopal Zion Church left the church over racist limitations imposed on them. They had not been allowed to preach or vote until Bishop Francis Asbury allowed them to hold their own meetings apart from the John's Street church.

Viewing The Past Through Colourblind Tinted Spectacles

This is a serious question that popped into my head whilst I was watching a clip from "Bridgerton" yesterday.

Will children get the wrong idea about what life was like for people of African descent in Europe and America in the past after watching colourblind casted dramas on TV or at the cinema? By imposing our wishful thinking for the future on the reality of the past, will we dilute past suffering and injustice and risk the possibility of lessening the desire for the transformation of the present?

On This Day In Christian History

The Twelfth of February

1663: Congregational minister Cotton Mather is born in Boston. The most celebrated New England writer of his day, he was a scientist (whose work included early studies of inoculation), one of the founders of Yale University and pastor of Boston's Second Church (just as his father, Increase Mather, had been). He also wrote "Wonders of the Invisible World," a description of the Salem witch trials.

From "What Must I Do To Be Saved" by Cotton Mather:

You must know what shall be done for you if you find salvation. 

And here; you are to know that no good thing shall be withheld from the saved of the Lord. Wonder wonder. Be swallowed up with wonderment, at this grace, O self-destroyed ones! 

There is proposed unto you a deliverance from all the undesirable circumstances, into which you have run, by your departure from God. 

It is proposed unto you, that you shall no longer be the children of death, but be made the children of God. That you shall be forgiven and accepted with a reconciled God and be followed with perpetual testimonies of his fatherly love: That no iniquity shall have dominion over you, but you shall become the amiable temples, wherein he will dwell, with the sweet influences of his good Spirit forever irradiating of you. 

It is proposed unto you; that your spirits, at your death, shall put on the garments of light and enter into the peace and rest of a heavenly paradise: that your bodies ere long by a resurrection shall be restored unto your spirits: but be the lively, the lovely, the most agreeable and everlasting mansions for them: that you shall have a joyful portion in the city of God and have his marvellous kindness forever doing unutterable things for you, in that strong city: There you shall at length be filled with all the fulness of God and have God become all in all unto you for ever and ever. 

All this is contained in the salvation whereof you have a tender. Salvation, it is a comprehensive word as incomprehensible good! Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, no heart can conceive, what is laid up in the salvation of God. 

*****

1834: German theologian and philosopher, Friedrich Schleiermacher dies. He made religion a matter of the will, defining it as feeling an absolute dependence on God in works including "On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers" (1799).

From the sermon "Christ's Resurrection an Image of Our New Life "
by Friedrich Schleiermacher

Oh, that we had our eyes more and more steadily fixed on the risen saviour! Oh, that we could ever be learning more and more from him to breathe out blessing, as he did when he imparted his Spirit to the disciples! Oh, that we were more and more learning like him to encourage the foolish and slow of heart to joyful faith in the divine promises, to active obedience to the divine will of their lord and master, to the glad enjoyment and use of all the heavenly treasures that he has thrown open to us! Oh, that we were ever speaking more effectively to all connected with us, of the kingdom of God and of our inheritance in it, so that they might see why it was necessary for Christ to suffer, but also into what glory he has gone! These are our desires, and they are not vain desires.

*****

1865: Presbyterian minister and militant abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet becomes the first African-American to address the U.S. House of Representatives.

From the "Memorial Discourse" delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives by Henry Highland Garnet:

Let us view this demon, which the people have worshipped as a God. Come forth, thou grim monster, that thou may be critically examined! There he stands. Behold him, one and all. Its work is to chattleize man; to hold property in human beings. 

Great God! I would as soon attempt to enslave Gabriel or Michael as to enslave a man made in the image of God, and for whom Christ died. Slavery is snatching man from the high place to which he was lifted by the hand of God, and dragging him down to the level of the brute creation, where he is made to be the companion of the horse and the fellow of the ox. 

It tears the crown of glory from his head, and as far as possible obliterates the image of God that is in him. Slavery preys upon man, and man only. A brute cannot be made a slave. Why? Because a brute has not reason, faith, nor an undying spirit, nor conscience. It does not look forward to the future with joy or fear, nor reflect upon the past with, satisfaction or regret. But who in this vast assembly, who in all this broad land, will say that the poorest and most unhappy brother in chains and servitude has not every one of these high endowments? 

Who denies it? Is there one? If so, let him speak. 

There is not one; no, not one. 

*****

1915: Blind hymnwriter Fanny Crosby dies at age ninety-five after writing more than eight thousand texts.

Pass, me not O gentle Saviour,
hear my humble cry.
While on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

Let me at thy throne of mercy,
find a sweet relief.
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
help my unbelief.

Trusting only in thy merit,
would I seek thy face.
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
save me by thy grace.

Alternative Saint Of The Day

Julian the Hospitaller (also known as Julian the Poor)


On the night Julian was born, his father, a man of noble blood, saw pagan witches secretly lay a curse on the boy that would make him kill both his parents. His father wanted to get rid of the child, but his mother did not let him do so. As the boy grew into a handsome young man, his mother would often burst into tears because of the sin her son was destined to commit. When he finally found out the reason for her tears, he swore he "would never commit such a sin" and "with great belief in Christ went off full of courage" as far away from his parents as he could.

Some claimed that it was a stag he met in the forest while hunting who told him of the curse.

After fifty days of walking, he finally reached Galicia, where he married a "good woman", said to be a wealthy widow.

Twenty years later, his parents decided to go look for their son. When they arrived, they visited the altar of Saint James and as soon as they came out of the church they met a woman sitting on a chair outside. They asked her if she would host them for the night as they were tired. She let them in and told them that her husband, Julian, was out hunting. The mother and father were overjoyed to have found their son, as was Julian's wife. She took care of them well and had them rest in her and Julian's bed.

But the devil  went off seeking Julian and told him: "I have sour news for you. While you are here, hunting, your wife is in bed embracing another man. There they are right now, still sleeping."

Julian felt deep sadness and his face drew into a frown. He rode back home, went to his bed and found a man and a woman sleeping in it. He drew his sword and killed them both. He was about to take off and never again set foot in that land, but as he was leaving he saw his wife sitting among the other women.

She told him: "There are your mother and father resting in your room."

And so Julian knew and fell into a rage. "The shrewd enemy lied to me when he said my wife was betraying me," and while kissing their wounds he cried "Better had I never been born, for I am cursed in soul and body."

His wife comforted him and said, "Have faith in Christ Almighty, a stream of life and mercy."

They had no children but they were rich. After seeking redemption in Rome, Julian built a hospice beside a river, cared for the poor and sick and rowed travellers across the river for free

But the devil conspired again to ruin Julian. Disguised as a weak pilgrim, he was let by Julian into his home. At midnight the devil woke up and made a mess of Julian's house.

The following morning Julian saw the damage and swore never to let in anyone else in his home.

Jesus went to him, again as a pilgrim, seeking rest. He asked humbly, in the name of God, for shelter.

But Julian answered with contempt, "I shall not let you in. Go away, for the other night I had my home so vandalised that I shall never let you in."

And Christ told him, "Hold my walking-stick, please."

Julian, embarrassed, went to take the stick, and it stuck to his hands.

And Julian recognised him at once and said "He tricked me, the enemy who does not want me to be your faithful servant. But I shall embrace you, I do not care about him, and for your love I shall give shelter to whoever needs."

He knelt and Jesus forgave him.

He is a patron saint of  boatmen, carnival workers, childless people, circus workers, clowns, ferrymen, fiddle players, hotel-keepers, innkeepers, jugglers, knights, penitent murderers, pilgrims, shepherds, travellers and wandering musicians. You can also pray to him to obtain lodgings whilst travelling.

American Evangelicals Will Believe Anything

A new survey reports more than a quarter of white evangelical Protestants in the US believe a QAnon conspiracy theory that purports former President Donald Trump is secretly battling a cabal of paedophile Democrats, and roughly half express support for the debunked claim that Antifa was responsible for the recent insurrection at the US Capitol.

Dead, Sex-Mad Evangelist Shamed By New Report

Ravi Zacharias, who died in May after a high-profile career leading a global Christian ministry, engaged in sexual misconduct with massage therapists and carried on many amorous extramarital relationships via text message and email, according to a scathing, in-depth report from a law firm hired by the ministry.

Five of the therapists said Zacharias touched them inappropriately, and one said she was raped, according to the report. It said investigators searching Zacharias' mobile devices found more than two hundred photographs of younger women, including nude images of a salon employee in Malaysia.

In blunt terms, the report by Atlanta-based Miller & Martin said Zacharias had lied in claiming in 2017 that “I have never engaged in any inappropriate behaviour of any kind.”

Zacharias, who died of cancer at the age of seventy-four, was a widely popular author and speaker, with many celebrities and prominent Christian leaders among his admirers. Then-Vice President Mike Pence spoke at his memorial service in May, lauding him as a great evangelist “armed with intellect, girded with truth and love.”

Man Who Couldn’t Organise A Piss-Up In Brewery To Run NHS

Referring to his proposed reorganisation of the National Health Service in England, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, stated, “Medical matters are matters for ministers. NHS England will have a clinical and day-to-day operational independence, but the secretary of state will be empowered to set the direction for the NHS and intervene where necessary.”

This is from the minister who is largely responsible for the death of well over a hundred thousand people because of the crap way he handled the coronavirus pandemic in England. If he gets to be in complete control of our health service we are all fucked. We might as well order our coffins now.

Alternative Saint Of The Day

Gobnait (also known as Gobnat or Mo Gobnat or Abigail or Deborah)

Gobnait was born in County Clare, Ireland, in the fifth or sixth century and is said to have been the sister of Saint Abban. She fled a family feud, taking refuge in Inisheer in the Aran Islands. Here an angel appeared and told her that this was "not the place of her resurrection" and that she should look for a place where she would find nine white deer grazing. She found the deer at the place now known as Saint Gobnet's Wood. Saint Abban is said to have worked with her on the foundation of the convent and to have placed Saint Gobnait over it as abbess.

Celtic lore held bees in high esteem, believing the soul left the body as a bee or a butterfly. Gobnait is said to have added beekeeping to her life's work, developing a lifelong affinity with them.

She started a religious order and dedicated her days to helping the sick. It has been speculated that she used honey as a healing aid. She is credited with saving the people at Ballyvourney from the plague.

One story tells of how she drove off a brigand by sending a swarm of bees after him and making him restore the cattle he had stolen.

Saint Gobnait's well, which is now dried up, is situated to the north of Ballyagran in a high field to the left of the road to Castletown. It is said that a white stag can sometimes be seen at the well.

She is a patron saint of ironworkers, beekeepers and bees.

This Day In Christian History

The Eleventh of February

1790: The Society of Friends (Quakers) presents a petition to Congress calling for the abolition of slavery.

"That from a regard for the happiness of mankind an association was formed several years since in this state by a number of her citizens of various religious denominations for promoting the abolition of slavery & for the relief of those unlawfully held in bondage. A just and accurate conception of the true principles of liberty, as it spread through the land, produced accessions to their numbers, many friends to their cause and a legislative cooperation with their views, which, by the blessing of divine providence, have been successfully directed to the relieving from bondage a large number of their fellow-creatures of the African race. They have also the satisfaction to observe, that in consequence of that spirit of philanthropy and genuine liberty which is generally diffusing its beneficial Influence, similar institutions are gradually forming at home and abroad.

"That mankind are all formed by the same almighty being, alike objects of his care and equally designed for the enjoyment of happiness the Christian religion teaches us to believe and the political creed of America fully coincides with the position. Your memorialists, particularly engaged in attending to the distresses arising from slavery, believe it their indispensable duty to present this subject to your notice. They have observed with great satisfaction, that many important and salutary powers are vested in you for promoting the welfare and securing the blessings of liberty to the people of the United States. And as they conceive, that these blessings ought rightfully be administered, without distinction of colour, to all descriptions of people, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing expectation, that nothing, which can be done for the relief of the unhappy objects of their care, wilt be either omitted or delayed.

"From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion, and is still the birthright of all men, and influenced by the strong ties of humanity and the principles of their institution, your memorialists conceive themselves bound to use all justifiable endeavours to loosen the bands of slavery and promote a general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. Under these impressions, they earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of slavery, that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men, who alone, in this land of freedom, are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, amidst the general joy of surrounding freemen, are groaning in servile subjection, that you will devise means for removing this inconsistency from the character of the American people, that you will promote mercy and justice towards this distressed race, and that you will step to the very verge of the powers vested in you for discouraging every species of traffick in the persons of our fellow men."

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1858: Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old peasant from Lourdes, France, experiences her first vision of the Virgin Mary. She would have eighteen similar visions during the period the following five months.

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1929: The Lateran Treaty is signed by Mussolini and the Holy See, recognising Vatican City as a sovereign state. At a mere one hundred and nine acres, it became the smallest nation in the world.

This Day In Christian History

The Tenth of February

1535: A dozen Anabaptists run stark naked through the streets of Amsterdam. Such strange actions, usually by Melchoirite Anabaptists, led to the group's ridicule by Protestants and Catholics alike.

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1751: John Wesley suffers a fall on the ice-covered London Bridge and is carried to the home of Mary Vazeille, a sailor's widow. Within a week, the two were married with disastrous results.

The unhappy couple spent so little time together that, in 1771, Wesley recorded this in his journal: "I came to London and was informed that my wife died on Monday. This evening she was buried, though I was not informed of it."

This Day In Christian History

Ninth of February

249:
According to Dionysius (died c. 264), bishop of Alexandria, on this date, Roman officials "seized that marvellous aged virgin Apollonia, broke out all her teeth with blows on her jaws, and piling up a bonfire before the city, threatened to burn her alive if she refused to recite with them their blasphemous sayings. But she asked for a brief delay and without flinching leapt into the fire and was consumed."

1881: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky dies. A devout Russian Orthodox Christian, the author of "Crime and Punishment" (1866) and "The Brothers Karamazov" (1880) once wrote, "If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth and that, in reality, the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth."

When Doves Die

One of Prince’s iconic white doves, a female bird named Divinity, passed away on Tuesday at the age of twenty-eight. According to a statement issued by the late singer’s estate, she died peacefully after a decline in health due to her advancing years.

Along with her male counterpart, Majesty, who died in 2017, she was credited for providing “ambient singing” on Prince's 2002 song "Arboretum."

Visitors to Paisley Park will be greeted by “a new generation of doves."

This Day In Christian History

Fifth of February

1597: Twenty-six Japanese Christians are crucified for their faith in Nagasaki, Japan.

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1631: English clergyman Roger Williams arrives in America. After questioning Massachusetts' fusion of church and state, he was banished. He bought land from native Americans and founded Rhode Island, where he established America's first Baptist church in America. His writings on religious liberty were greatly influential in securing that freedom later in America.

From "The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed":

We find not in the gospel, that Christ has anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.

Paul, in matters of Christian liberty, commends the unity of their faith in the Holy Spirit, giving orders that we should not judge nor condemn one another, in difference of judgment and practice of such things where men live to God on both sides, even though there was some error on one side (Romans xiv. 1—6). How much less in things indifferent, where there may be no error on either side.


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1736:
Methodism cofounders and brothers, John and Charles Wesley arrive in Savannah, Georgia. They were to be missionaries to the native Americans and John was to be the pastor of the Savannah parish. Their efforts failed.

"I went to America to convert the Indians, but O! who shall convert me?" he asked two years later.

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1837:
Dwight Lyman Moody, a great evangelist and revivalist of his day, is born in Northfield, Massachusetts. He wrote:

I firmly believe that the moment our hearts are emptied of selfishness and ambition and self-seeking and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will come and fill every corner of our hearts; but if we are full of pride and conceit, ambition and self-seeking, pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. I also believe that many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else. Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray that he would empty us. There must be an emptying before there can be a filling; and when the heart is turned upside down, and everything that is contrary to God is turned out, then the Spirit will come.

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1864:
Having already established herself as a poet, forty-four-year-old Fanny Crosby pens her first hymn. She went on to write eight thousand more before her death fifty years later.

She insisted that if she had a choice, she would still choose to remain blind, "for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

If you are in favour of promoting black excellence and black history then you have to accept there is such a thing as white excellence and white history. I do not want to do that. I find the idea of colour-coding achievement abhorrent and divisive. I want to see everyone promoting human excellence and human history. If we act as if we are together there is far more chance of us ending up together than if we continue to emphasise, even celebrate, our separateness.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Turn The Other Cheek? Hell No, Says Jamaican Bishop

The organiser of the annual 10,000 Men and Family’s March in Spanish Town (Jamaica) Bishop Rohan Edwards, says the time has come for pastors to arm themselves to protect their congregation from vicious men.

“I made this call before and I am saying again, it’s time for churches to put proper security mechanisms in place to protect the flock, including pastors arming themselves,” he said. “There is a concept in Jamaica where people don’t believe in pastors carrying firearms, but this is a wrong concept. Pastors are human beings and if these men can carry out these acts in broad daylight, you just can’t play with them. I don’t believe that God would punish any pastor if a gunman come into his church and he is met with return fire power. I really don’t think God would hold it against the pastor.”

As an initiative of the annual 10,000 Men and Family’s March, that will be held virtually on the fourteenth of March, Edwards said he would be organising a number of Christian brothers and sisters to go into inner-city communities to speak to young people on the importance of abstaining from violence.

Playing God

If crowdfunding efforts are successful, a new video game will allow them to experience it from his own virtual sandals.

"I Am Jesus Christ" is an interactive first-person video game that encourages players to “become the Messiah”. Players will be able to feed hungry crowds, calm storms, fight Satan and heal the sick; all before being crucified and resurrected. In addition to participating in Jesus’ miracles, players are promised the ability to travel the lands of Jerusalem and Galilee, as well as read the words of Jesus from the Bible.

Its creator, Maksym Vysochansky of Poland, identifies as a Christian, and says the game stems from a desire to “show, from a first-person perspective, what Jesus Christ did.”

This Day In Christian History

FOURTH OF FEBRUARY

856: Rabanus Maurus, a theologian and educator mentored by Alcuin, dies at age eighty. His retirement from school administration at age sixty-six was followed by a career as archbishop of Mainz, Germany. He wrote:

Come, Creator, Spirit, come from your bright heavenly throne,
come take possession of our souls, and make them all your own.
You who are called the Paraclete, best gift of God above,
the living spring, the vital fire sweet christening and true love.

O guide our minds with your best light, with love our hearts inflame;
and with your strength, which never decays, confirm our mortal frame.
Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring;
and through all perils lead us safe beneath your sacred wing.

Through you may we the Father know, through you the eternal Son
and you the Spirit of them both, thrice-blessed Three in One.

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1555:
English reformer and theologian John Rogers becomes the first Protestant martyr under "Bloody" Queen Mary when he is burned at the stake for heresy.

From "Foxe's Book of Martyrs":

When the time came that he should be brought out of Newgate to Smithfield, the place of his execution, Mr Woodroofe, one of the sheriffs, first came to Mr Rogers and asked him if he would revoke his abominable doctrine and the evil opinion of the Sacrament of the altar.

Mr Rogers answered, "That which I have preached I will seal with my blood."

Then Mr Woodroofe said, "Thou art a heretic."

"That shall be known," quoth Mr Rogers, "at the Day of Judgment."

"Well," said Mr Woodroofe, "I will never pray for thee."

"But I will pray for you," said Mr Rogers.

And so he was brought the same day, the fourth of February, by the sheriffs, towards Smithfield, saying the "Psalm Miserere" by the way, all the people wonderfully rejoicing at his constancy; with great praises and thanks to God for the same. And there in the presence of Mr Rochester, comptroller of the queen's household, Sir Richard Southwell, both the sheriffs and a great number of people, he was burnt to ashes, washing his hands in the flame as he was burning.

A little before his burning, his pardon was brought, if he would have recanted; but he utterly refused it.

He was the first martyr of all the blessed company that suffered in Queen Mary's time that gave the first adventure upon the fire.

His wife and children, being eleven in number, ten able to go, and one sucking at her breast, met him by the way, as he went towards Smithfield. This sorrowful sight of his own flesh and blood could nothing move him, but that he constantly and cheerfully took his death with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of the Gospel of Christ.


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1906:
Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is born in Breslau, Germany. Author of "The Cost of Discipleship" (1937) and "Letters from Prison" (1944), he opposed the Nazis as one of Germany's Confessing Church leaders.

From "The Cost of Discipleship":

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Passing Thoughts Of A MadPriest (On Myanmar)

I'm wondering how much the coup in Myanmar has been enabled by the shenanigans going on in the United States. The refusal to accept the result of a properly conducted election and the ploy of using legal action to disqualify Aung San Suu Kyi from standing in a future election seems all too familiar. A case of "If America can do it, then so can we," perhaps.LikeCommentShare

The Price Of Incompetence

The U.K. has now suffered its worst civilian loss of life since World War II by a significant number. Some seventy thousand non-combatants perished during the six years of war, including forty thousand in the 1940-41 Blitz alone. Three-quarters of a century later, it's one hundred thousand taken by the pandemic, an enemy no less relentless and fearsome than Nazi Germany was then and one whose defeat is still some time away.

There are many nations in the world where the death rate is nowhere near this high. Although there will be various contributing factors as to why some nations have been far more successful at combatting the virus than others it is obvious, even at this stage of the pandemic, that the number one influencer of fatality numbers is the competence of a nation's government, in particular, it's leader.

There needs to be a reckoning in England and, as the end of the pandemic is far from imminent, it should be now. Lives depend upon it.LikeCommentShare

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