Saturday, December 31, 2011

State-controlled church in the "free" world

Have you ever believed that you would see a state-controlled church in a democratic and free country? Well just like communist China, the state control church is beginning to emerge in North America.

For the past weeks I have listened to and read stories of that confirm this phenomenon. Mid-December I read and heard of the fact that Canadian Catholic-owned schools are being told that in order to get state funding, they must implement 'gay-straight clubs' at school as an anti-bullying measure (Click to see 1 such article on the matter - Desmond 2011). This week I learned that Catholic owned hospitals will lose state owned funding if their health care does not cover contraceptives, abortion or abortion referrals. Catholic owned orphanages are also being told that they will lose funding if they discriminate against parents who seek to adopt children based on sexual orientation. (Click to see 1 such article by Goodstein 2011). However, I find it strange how we got to this in the first place. When is it that the church needed to depend on state funding to take care of the fatherless and the infirm and to disciple the young?

Perhaps these situations are not as extreme as in China, where the state regulates religion (see this link for China's state regulations of religion - State Council of the People's Republic of China 2004).  One YouTube video I watched at a church service on the Chinese state-owned church, declared that the church's Bible, sermons and hymns are edited (although I question the truth of this, as I cannot find official evidence - see article by Galli 2004 ). However I wonder how long before the North American democratic states get to the place of telling churches what passages of scriptures can or cannot be read aloud during services, what topics pastors cannot preach and what songs the congregation cannot sing. Then to the state of barring pastors as marriage officers for not marrying gay couples. Today, we are seeing a reversal of the separation of church from state (See article on 'The faith (and doubts) of our fathers'). I predict that democratic states will soon like the Chinese state, develop regulations for religion, and persecute all non-conformists as law breakers. Then, not I, but the word of God already prophesies this (See Matthew 24:9 for one such prophecy). As is was with the early beginnings of Christianity, so shall it be towards the end.

Desmond, Paige. (2011, Dec 15). Anti-bullying bill causes controversy: Catholics groups say no to gay-straight alliances. Cambridge Times.

Galli, Mark. (2004, November 1). The Chinese church's delicate dance: A conversation with the head of the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Christianity Today

GOODSTEIN, LAURIE. (2011, December 28). Bishops say rules on gay parents limit freedom of religion. originally appeared in The New York Times.

State Council of the People's Republic of China (2004, November 30). Religious Affairs Regulations (№ 426). Passed on July 7, 2004 at the 57th session of the State Council. Took effect on March 1, 2005. Signed by Premier Wen Jiabao in November 30, 2004. English Translation by Peter Erickson.

The faith (and doubts) of our fathers: What did the makers of America believe about God and religion? The subject is stirring the very rancour they wanted to avoid. (2011, Dec 17). The Economist.


I also learned that here in Canada from the pastor of the fellowship I attend that churches have to be trained in the disabilities act so as to accommodate persons with disabilities attending their congregations. I also learned that if churches have any meal programmes where food is consumed by the public, that they must have trained persons with food handlers permits to oversee the operations. I will conduct the research to locate those official requirements though to ensure the truth of the matter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No more Christmas bashing. Why?

I used to consent with fellow Sabbatharians bashing paganism and cultural intrusion into the Christian faith, as a defilement of G-d's requirements for Christian believers. Take Christmas as an example, which I usually approach from the perspective of raising the truth about its origins in paganism and secular culture and pointing to the truly holy days of G-d as prescribed in the Bible.

However, as of tonight, and as a consequence of being on Canadian soil, I now embrace a new perspective. I now see every cultural event as an opportunity to teach about G-d and lead people back to G-d's truths.

Everything under the earth must be used as an occasion to teach spiritual truths. This is a principle that Jesus himself adopted, and used to good effect in his parables. Jesus through parables used the mundane things of everyday life to teach people about his spiritual truths. He spoke of farmers engaged in agriculture, the the sewing of garments, losing coins, making containers for alcoholic beverage, of shrewd business men and managers, investors and politicians. Nothing in everyday life escaped his commentary. Yet he used all these ordinary things that people experienced to point persons to higher spiritual truths about G-d.

Recently, G-d poured into me revelation based on my mind's absorption of Jamaica political election and the Christmas holidays and celebrations here in Canada. He reminded me that his revelation is not restricted to any particular day or season. He will communicate to human beings in whatever they find culturally relevant or meaningful, his truths. He however wants his believers and subjects of his kingdom, to examine every occurrence and event in their life as an opportunity to learn more spiritual truth and see beyond the mundane and ordinary perspective, and embrace the larger kingdom perspective.

Western society has not known how radically Christianity has impacted their culture and consciousness. Values that are held are a mixture between paganism and a Judeo-Christian heritage. Yet even in the culture, G-d speaks and finds a voice to cry out.

G-d bless you for reading this.

If I could vote for the God of the universe

When I listen to the Jews, I hear an ethnic/communal G-d. When I listen to Muslims, I hear of a distant (far away) Allah. But when I stick to the Christian G-d of my fathers, I hear a personal deity involved in every detail of my life.

So if I could vote for the G-d of the universe as we vote for a Prime Minister to govern a country, I would vote for the personal deity who gave his son as a ransom for the life of human beings.

No matter the contradictions in the Bible, the apparent support for slavery and colonialism, the G-d of the universe redeemed his image through Jesus in the "New testament".

I am so glad that G-d will even use the Christmas and Jamaican election season to help me remain focus on his wonderful truths.

G-d's richest blessings to everyone

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sex in Eden? Before the Fall of Man

What happened in Eden before the Fall of man when Adam and Eve had sexual intercourse?

No nakedness, no guilt. Adam and Eve would have had an experience where they both felt closer to each other and both experienced orgasm simultaneously. It would ahve been atleast a very good experience if not perfect, with both being mutually satisfied and still feeling comfortable relating to G-d. Further, the Bible describes their experience as a "know"-ing experience (see Genesis 4:1 KJV). They were made for sex (reproduction, see Genesis 1:28), were meant to have it and enjoy the experience.

No pain; no inhibitions. Both were free to explore and incapable of sexually sinning as they had no deviant knowledge to impact their sexual relations.

Such information is important as today's popular culture makes it seem as if the only way one can enjoy sexual intercourse is through sexual deviance and through forbidden sexual practices and being 'naughty' or 'bad'. Don't drink the Kool Aid of the devil's lies, but know the truth and it shall set you free!