November 17, 2019

Getting Ready for Reformation Sunday

Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity). Van Gogh

Getting Ready for Reformation Sunday

Note from CM: Sorry for the delay, but I had a very busy day. I just cleaned a lot of spam out of the comment thread.

• • •

The Gospel reading for this week is Luke 18:9-14, Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’

Here are some of the good comments I’ve been reading as I prepare to preach on this text.

First, from Matt Skinner at Working Preacher:

One lesson of the Parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 comes from its insinuation that religious folks like ourselves may have a tendency to get it all wrong. Even if we could hear the private prayers of our congregation, we will misunderstand the bigger picture. To be more precise: we may misunderstand how God hears those prayers and how God regards the individuals who are praying them.

The Pharisee in the parable isn’t wrong to be grateful that he isn’t a tax collector. He knew that that professional choice was available to him, if he wanted to take it. But he didn’t. Soaking the Galilean population as a Roman stooge might have given him an easier path toward a more comfortable life. But his faith, his privilege, or his values took him in a different direction. Thank God.

There’s no arrogance in his belief that he chose or inherited a better way. Where he falls short in the parable is in his unspoken assumption that the tax collector resides beyond the limits of divine mercy. Whether he actually hears the tax collector’s prayer or not, he wrongly assesses the tax collector and his dignity. What’s even more tragic: he misunderstands God.

If I heard your prayers, I’d misread your motives. Worse, I’d want to play God by deciding which prayers are worth considering. Like the Pharisee in the parable, I’d assume that your prayer for mercy (like the tax collector’s) wasn’t sincere enough to get God’s attention. Or, like many misled readers of the parable, I’d assume that your prayer of thanksgiving (like the Pharisee’s) wasn’t a real prayer but a self-gratifying expression of you own high regard for yourself.

Working Preachers, be careful about what you assume. Don’t make narrow the wideness in God’s mercy. We don’t know what God hears when God listens to the prayers of the world.

We do know this, however: that no one resides beyond the reach of God’s compassion and God’s desire to reconcile. We also know that the prayer God, be merciful to me, a sinner! is a perfectly good place for anyone to begin.

Here are some thoughts from Eric Smith at Lectio:

Pharisees are a favorite target of gospel-writers and modern Christians; we have made their name into a synonym for “hypocrite.” But it’s worth pointing out that this whole parable depends on the audience understanding that a Pharisee would have been utterly righteous. The whole setup is built on that; it’s like a joke about a nun and a criminal. The joke only works because everyone assumes that the nun is very holy. This parable assumes that Pharisees were unimpeachable, and it then plays on that stereotype (this particular Pharisee was kind of chauvinistic) for effect. The take-away is not that “all Pharisees are hypocrites,” but rather that “Pharisees were so righteous that when one wasn’t, it was noteworthy.”

Suzanne Guthrie, at At the Edge of the Enclosure, found help in grasping this passage through this quote from Thomas Merton:

Asceticism is utterly useless if it turns us into freaks. The cornerstone of all asceticism is humility, and Christian humility is first of all a matter of supernatural common sense. It teaches us to take ourselves as we are, instead of pretending (as pride would have us imagine) that we are something better than we are. If we really know ourselves we quietly take our proper place in the order designed by God. And so supernatural humility adds much to our human dignity by integrating us in the society of other men and placing us in our right relation to them and to God. Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real.

It is supreme humility to see that ordinary life, embraced with perfect faith, can be more saintly and more supernatural than a spectacular ascetical career. Such humility dares to be ordinary, and that is something beyond the reach of spiritual pride. Pride always longs to be unusual. Humility not so. Humility finds all its peace in hope, knowing that Christ must come again to elevate and transfigure ordinary things and fill them with His glory.

• Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island

Don Clendenin, at Journey with Jesus, cites some ancient wisdom compatible with the lessons of this parable:

I’ve always loved the tender wisdom of St. Maximos the Confessor (seventh century): “The person who has come to know the weakness of human nature has gained experience of divine power. Such a person never belittles anyone… He knows that God is like a good and loving physician who heals with individual treatment each of those who are trying to make progress.”

Finally, we return to Working Preacher, and the words of David Lose:

All too often, it would seem, our moral geography is no less rigid than that of this Pharisee. Where, then, can we turn? But perhaps this is the point of the parable all along. If we take an honest look at the various venues of our everyday life, whether familial, religious, or civic, we realize that we have no where to turn, for even when we judge this Pharisee aright and chide him for his self-righteousness we have fallen prey to the same temptation: “Lord, I thank you that I am not like this Pharisee….” So perhaps Jesus tells this parable precisely so that we recognize that, like this tax collector, our only hope is the God who seeks out the lost, who rejoices at the repentance of the sinner, who justifies the ungodly, who causes light to shine from darkness, and who raises the dead to life.

If this is true, if we recognize that any status we claim comes from God alone, then perhaps we can look at our neighbor — even and especially those who disagree with us — with more generous eyes and recognize a fellow forgiven sinner for whom Christ died. Contempt has no place in our public life, in our religious life, in our personal life. And the only antidote for contempt is a compassion and solidarity born of our shared sense of need.

Comments

  1. “The most outrageous of all parables is the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee says, “I thank God I am not as other men…” He tells God that he is a good man. And he is. There’s no question about it. The Pharisee is the kind of person that every church would be happy to welcome as a member. He tithes. He’s not a womanizer and he honors his contracts. He does everything he’s supposed to do. He is an honest-to-goodness-no-sham-no-fake-good-man. And not only that, he’s coming to thank God for being that way, not thanking himself.

    Then comes this other bozo. A tax collector who is bleeding his own countrymen dry on a franchise from the Roman government. He’s been skimming the cream of the people’s milk money for years. Outside is his Cadillac, with a case of Chivas Regal in the back and two whores in the front. He looks at his shoe tips and says, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” And Jesus announces that this man goes down to his house justified rather than the Pharisee. Why?

    The other man is a good man. It is not because the Publican is humble. That is a cheap interpretation. The Pharisee has religion and Jesus is trying to point to the futility of religion. He is trying to point out that no one is bound to God because they have a series of chips that can be traded to God or a deck of cards that can be dealt to God because God says, “Look, don’t play with me because you haven’t got a full deck. There’s a free drink on the house for both of you.” That is the real point. They both have no cards to play with God, but the Pharisee doesn’t know it and the Publican does.”

    — Robert Farrar Capon

    • There is, however, a kind of reverse contempt that the rascals, like the Publican you describe, can have for the law-abiding Pharisees of this world. Imagine a mobster dropping lots of coin in the church coffers, intending to buy off God’s favor because of all the nasty stuff he knows he’s done in his life, and simultaneously laughing at the all the law-abiding sheep who he thinks obey the law only because they are afraid and weak. He’s proud of his strength, and he thinks himself courageous for facing the world with an attitude of brutal realism.

    • –> “‘There’s a free drink on the house for both of you.’ That is the real point.”

      That is one of the points Jesus makes during his parable of the prodigal son, too!

    • Your points would resonate a little better without the snide-ness. And there are valid points in there.

      • –> “Do you think ‘snide-ness’ is a natural state of my being?”

        I don’t know you at all, so I can’t say. I’d like to think not.

        –> “Do you think that making points is my goal and objective in this lifetime?”

        Again, I don’t know you at all, so I can’t say. I’m guessing probably not.

        –> “Is that your objective and goal in life?”

        Nope.

        I am not the enemy. Peace.

  2. So, I wonder what the original hearers of the story, and we now for that matter, would think if the Publican showed up the next Sabbath at the Temple and again prayed the same way? Then again the next Sabbath…

  3. Contempt has no place in our public life, in our religious life, in our personal life. And the only antidote for contempt is a compassion and solidarity born of our shared sense of need.

    I believe that’s true, yet I’ve struggled with feelings of contempt all my life, and they’ve become especially pronounced at the current time, as I feel such contempt for the president of our country, and those in government who’ve enabled and supported his vile roguery and bullying. I also think it’s true that “the only antidote for contempt is a compassion and solidarity born of our shared sense of need,” but I really question whether he and some of his enablers share any feeling of a sense of need with me. So I’m stuck.

    • No, you’re not stuck, Robert…

      First, you are aware of the problem.

      Second, you can always do something from your side: Pray the prayer of the Publican, as honestly as you can.

      What do we do all day? We fall down and get up; we fall down and get up. The most important is the getting up.

      Dana

      • Thank you for your response, Dana. I didn’t bring up the name to be controversial or track away from the post, but because the post touches directly on what is a real spiritual issue for me in connection with the person named. Thank you for understanding that.

  4. Robert, If your sense of a shared need is only based on how they need you then perhaps the way to be unstuck is to have that compassion for them and not be concerned if it’s returned. I know in my life that if I waited for everyone I disliked with contempt to share any sense of need with me I would be waiting a lifetime. Do you think that God looks on Trump with contempt or with love and compassion ? The answer may surprise you.

    • “Do you think that God looks on Trump with contempt or with love and compassion?”

      Doubtless the latter. I also think He looks with compassion on all who suffer due to his policies. Therefore, for the greatest good for the greatest number, I opposse those policies and wish him out of office at the earliest legal and proper opportunity. And against all hope, I hope he eventually realizes how much damage he has done to others throughout his life.

      • –> “And against all hope, I hope he eventually realizes how much damage he has done to others throughout his life.”

        Oh, there are plenty of stories of folks who we’d say “It’s hopeless” suddenly seeing the Light. Paul is a Biblical example. The testimonies at the back of Christianity Today are ALL like that. Every issue has a person’s testimony of how they found God (or maybe the other way around), and almost all of them fall in the category of “no way that person will ever become a Christian.”

        So keep praying for the man. Ya never know what God might do.

      • “If you vote, you’ve sided with one over another….
        I am not so sure Samuel was so keen on the idea.
        Makes sense now, hu?”

        …no, not really.

  5. I think we’re letting the Pharisees off too easy here. Yeah, they were *perceived* as righteous, both by their culture and themselves, but in the wider context of the Gospels that “righteousness” was systematically and ruthlessly deconstructed by Jesus. And their response was to hate Him and arrange His judicial murder. I will admit that the Reformation’s theology has its flaws, but I also think the standard interpretation of this parable (Pharisee as hypocrite) is the one that fits the context best.

    • And remember, the same tradition that gave the prayer “I am thankful that I am not a tax collector” also gave us “I thank God I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman.” Put a positive spin on THAT one, if you can…

    • –> “I think we’re letting the Pharisees off too easy here.”

      I am usually of that same line of thinking, but I think this piece is a good reminder that not all of them were bad, and maybe even some of them DID actually hear what Jesus was saying and changed their ways (Nicodemus would be one example of a Pharisee who eventually “saw the light”). I’m guessing that there were others.

      • –> “Rhetorical questions for the oh so knowledgeable and wise…..”

        I have never claimed to be knowledgeable or wise. I always appreciate other viewpoints. Thanks for providing those.

  6. The Pharisee took advantage of the religious/social system to enrich himself and give him power in the world, the tax collector took advantage of the political /social system to enrich himself and have money though wealth that was ill gotten as was the Pharisee. Both put their needs above the people. Bottom line as we are on this side of the cross we know they both needed Jesus to find salvation and be pure in heart The Pharisee thought religion/legality could save him and the tax collector thought if he “told” God he was a sinner he was ok, but both relied upon themselves.. I at times give prayerful thanks I was born in America and have religious freedom as well as economic freedom. I did not earn or deserve either, Like the two in the parable Jesus is the answer but I have it easier to accept Christ as I have access to tools, education and institutions that help me learn, many do not but their faith is as real and strong. It is not about us whatever our status but Jesus. I am closer to the Pharisee than the tax collector in reality but fight against it .
    How and why Trump gets injected into this discussion eludes me but I guess Trump is always the go to subject to vent against.

    • Christiane says

      ah, another one who wants to shut people up

      nothing to see here, look away, let Trump be Trump,

      YOU brought his name here.

      to what purpose? To tell us you don’t want his name to come up?

      ??????

      • Christiane, How childish and defensive your comments. Robert F. described “the President” Stbnct and Eyeyore both included the forbidden name of Trump in their comments. My comments was this article, the parable was not about Trump; unless you absolutely want it to be. Absolutely believe in free speech but is asking to stay on topic taboo here. I do care if anyone’s name comes up but we all know the parable is about Liz Warren, who acts generous with other peoples money. Liz Warren is a combo of the tax collector and the Pharisee, is that relevant, can we mention her name. Is the intent of why the article was posted. Really?

        • Christiane says

          well, ‘Dan’, my point was that some come here who have no problem telling others what NOT to discuss, but I am not one of them. Liz Warren is fair game. As is Putin and Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and the oligarch Firtash who has ties to the Russian mafia and to Putin and everyone’s good buddy Rudy Giuliani, whose shadow diplomacy is now vividly on display.

          This is a good post. When you start reading about the parables, almost immediately in comments, people will offer ‘alternate’ explanations for the parables that correspond with their own world-views (I hate that term), and I am always amused at just how perverted some of these explanations are from people who cannot abide that kindness and humility are a part of the Better Way, but I always think, at least these people are here now, and that counts, and in time, over years with new experiences of life, some of these folks will come to see the parables in a new light and I think grace has much to do with this, although sometimes grace comes to us painfully and we do not recognize the blessing at first, but that’s okay.

          Liz Warren gets under your skin? Tell us about it, please. Good old ‘Pocahontas’? She is ON to the moving of wealth upwards and the extreme far right fears her voice, you bet.

          I support Biden. I think it will be a good fight. Lots of good people who are honorable out there that wouldn’t betray our national security to the Russians OR abandon our allies. I hope we get a chance to redeem our country from Trump’s betrayal. What do you think?

          • I tend to agree with Dan here, that there was no need to bring Trump into this, and certainly no reason to ridicule a person who’s simply stating there was no need to bring Trump into this.

            • Let’s go meta. There’s no need to ridicule the person who’s ridiculing the person who’s simply stating there was no need to bring Trump into this. Or is that a Strange Loop? We’re all living in a Strange Loop…

              Good post.

              • Well, I guess I’d like to think there was less of a ridiculing tone in my post, but perhaps not. We are living in a Strange Loop.

          • Christiane, I think that whatever I think of Trump, Bidden, Warren etc. is not the focus of the reflective article about the parable. I am not the moderator for sure, I am not even a regular but I do think it is a fair observation or suggestion to stick to the topic at hand. We are know Trump is a lightening rod of opinion and he gets enough attention. It seems the moderator gives plenty of opportunity to have open forum where Trump, Bidden or whoever can be discussed. The parable and the article gives us enough to discuss and many of the above comments prove the truth and beauty of the parable.

            • Christiane says

              What I hear from you is that somehow what is going on in our world is to be ‘separated’ from a discussion of the ‘parables’

              and that is how we honor the post?

              I’m Catholic, and I think everything about the teachings of Christ do impact all of us today and how we live out the faith and who we support and protect and why.

              Isolationism, exclusivism, ‘keeping quiet’ in the face of the rise of a monster and the harming of innocents and the betrayal of friends and the support of a ‘useful food’ of dictators who do not mean well for our nation?
              Is this ‘silence’ something that you see as honoring our moderator? Or the Church?
              Or Our Lord? Or the ‘Great Story’?

              If those parables don’t apply to who we are and how we act in this day and age, then I don’t know what.

              EVERYTHING about the teachings of Christ are able to impact and transform our lives now.

              IF you examine how people treat the parables, it’s the ones who handle them in ways that restrict their meaning to what these people’s agendas can sustain, otherwise, those parables are ‘dunamis’ . . . dynamite, powerful enough to wake people up to the hypocrisy that pride and self-serving and mean-spiritedness has found sanctuary in.

              The role of the parables, in a world where the Holy Spirit is active, cannot be circumscribed to eliminate their effect on our current world and how we Christian people are to live out our faith now, no. Is it time to read them again, in the light of our present circumstances? You bet it’s time.

              some thoughts

      • Christiane, if you read the posts Robert brought him up. Eyore you sound just like the Pharisee

        • Stbndct, In reply to your reply to my comment above: In all honesty, I don’t believe I’ve ever given compassion or anything else to anyone without expecting something in return. I don’t think I’m capable of that. There have been times when I thought I had done it, but after a while it became apparent that to me that I actually hadn’t. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to learn how to give without expecting something in return.

          • Robert, thank you for your honest reply. You and I don’t agree on much but I love you as a brother in Christ and hope all your dreams and hopes come true.

          • Norma Cenva says

            Respectfully, I find it hard to understand the Christian concept of always being on the lookout for an ulterior motive when doing good to fellow humans.
            In Judaism, doing the right thing is its own reward.
            I think that Isaiah 58:7 speaks to this.

        • How so? Simply by stating disagreement?

          • Christiane says

            well my goodness, you got off easy, Eeyore

            you should hear what Trump called his Republican critics yesterday in a tweet

            it’s unprintable, but it’s pretty bad

            trumputinism can’t handle being examined or criticized, no and lobbing a return reply usually involves name-calling or labeling with some degree of hyperbole

  7. No place in our public, religious, or personal life except here. Stuck is right.

  8. Christiane says

    One asked for praise for his self-acknowledged worthiness; the other asked for mercy.

    God looked on only one of them with blessing.

    we either get it or we don’t

    it’s like the parable of the Good Samaritan which has been worked in other ways by people who couldn’t handle it

    Jesus Christ holds up a mirror for us,
    and those parables confront us all with something that pulls us up short, as though we had wandered into another world and for some, this is too much of a leap forward just yet . . . .

  9. Iain Lovejoy says

    A few things.
    One thing I just noticed is that the Pharisee is stated to be “standing by himself”; I don’t think this is superfluous. Apparently also the Pharisee isn’t said to be contemptuous just of “others” – the Greek means “everyone else”. The Pharisee isn’t saying “I thank God I am not like *some* other people.”, he is thinking God he is not like *everybody* else. He has deliberately cut himself off from *all* his neighbours as being beneath him: his description of people as theives, rogues etc is his description of his own ordinary neighbours, whom he is denouncing as sinners compared to him. It is that which is his sin which he is not forgiven.
    A thing I was told was that this is not necessarily the kind of rich tax collector making a fortune by purchasing tax concessions off the Romans. Most tax collectors would have just been the hired muscle actually going out door to door and collecting the cash. They wouldn’t have been paid particularly well or been at all rich, and you would have to be pretty desperate to take the job.
    The tax collector is being paralleled with the Pharisee, because the tax collector too is standing apart, indeed even further away, it appears because he is too ashamed to join everyone else.
    Also, the word “justified” principally means to be proved, demonstrated or shown righteous, rather than being forgiven or “counted sinless” or similar. The tax collector has shown himself to be righteous by acknowledging his sin and lamenting it. The Pharisee has demonstrated his sinfulness and pride through contempt for his neighbour.

  10. Burro (Mule) says

    There is a pre-Lenten prayer from the service of the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican that has always very bracing for me to hear, because it hits so close to home;

    O Christ our God, forgive me a sinner, for I have not been zealous for Thy commandments as was the Pahrisee, neither do I repent like the Publican, but rather as does the Pharisee I hold my brother in contempt and as does the Publican I live deliciously at his expense.

    Re: the current occupant of the White House: I had a very vivid dream last night watching the returns of the 2020 election. There was a third party challenger from the establishment wing of the GOP, probably Kasich since Ohio, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma were green for 53 electoral votes. Trump took only SC and MS for a total of 15 electoral votes, and Liz Warren took the rest for a whopping 470.

    It was curious that it would be so detailed, the dream. Democratic strategists, are you listening?

  11. The Merton quote is very good.

    “Asceticism is utterly useless if it turns us into freaks….”

    • I would say the same is true of religionism, or politics, or model trains…

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Oh hell.

      No parish is complete without a couple of freaks, a handful of unrepentant sinners who come at Easter and Christmas and whenever there’s an open bar, someone with OCD, a fundamentalist so rigid and unyielding you’d , think his spinal vertebrae were all fused, a half-crazy cat lady, that family that seems to careen from one crisis to another, a proud veteran with a chest full of medals, a couple of syncretists who wear crystals and burn candles to sketchy saints, a loud and vocal feminist, those two kids who keep crying during Liturgy, and that woman who’s always cleaning up after everyone else goes home and you wonder if you should say something to Father.

      • A great paragraph. You’ve snapped me out of this funk I’ve been in all day, reminding me of all the church characters I have known.

        Thanks

      • Mule, the folk you describe aren’t “freaks”, rather the normal riff-raff that every one of us tries to deny being. ;o)

        • You seem to think you have everybody at iMonk figured out. If you do, I readily confess that I lack your acuity, since I can’t figure out what most of what you’ve said in your comments means.

          • You don’t sound stupid at all; I just don’t understand much of what you’re saying. As far as the insult club goes, you seem to have gotten there ahead of me.

            • I’m sorry, I still don’t get much of what you’re saying. But in response to the question, “Do you hate destruction?”, I can reply: No, I do not it. There is a deep yearning in me for nothingness and self-erasure, which are forms of destruction, a yearning from as early in my life as I can remember. Sometimes I hate God for having created me, and think that he must hate me and have created me for mockery.

            • I’m concerned for your well-being, One. But I have no idea how I could help you.

      • Christiane says

        + 1

  12. Christiane says

    I love eccentric people. They are who they are for better or for worse and its the originality I see as valuable, as it indicates either a kind of fearlessness and individuality or they are a little bonkers and that’s interesting, too.

    I once gave a comment about how all this can backfire:

    the example of the local ‘Red Hat Society’ where all the ladies gather at a restaurant wearing purple dresses and red hats to celebrate their individuality.

    In the UK, their eccentrics are highly valued. The last eccentric we had in my mother’s family was old Aunt Sally who lived in a tiny little house next to her daughter’s mansion which smelled funny and had at least twenty to thirty parakeets, of whom most of them were alive. Darling old lady. I always wondered why her daughter Gladys hadn’t taken her in to the big house and given her a suite, but I figure she had offered and Aunt Sallie had refused.
    She’s long dead now, and the birds too, but no one in our family was more content or more gracious.

    • I do support the legalization of drugs and the end of the war on them, but friend you shouldn’t smoke every day. It’s very bad for you.

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Are One and Two trolls?
    Or is Seneca coming in under new handles like he did with Wartburg Watch?

  14. Christiane, Are you still comfortable submitting to your “moderator”
    How about you, Robert F?

    Who needs to hear what from who?

    If you were told that you had a child that was sick
    And you were told that the child’s chances were next to nothing —
    BUT if there was a chance — even the smallest of chances — for your child to live
    Would you not do everything you could, given the fact the price to error on the side of life was paid?

    So, calling me a troll is a lie.
    That said, it didn’t take much for you to show your lack of sincerity.

    • On the off chance that you are new around here, you should know that it is very VERY rare for ChapMike to remove post’s. He only does so for legit reasons, and never simply because he doesn’t like what we say. We didn’t complain to him, and it’s not “submission” to him (curious, though, that you apply that language to this situation…) It’s just that Internet Monk is a rare bird on the Internet these days – a place where people attempt to have honest AND respectful discussions. Anyone who participates in those terms is welcome. The last thing we need is people trying to foul the nest.

    • Christiane says

      ‘One’ I don’t understand your comment to me.

      I do have a sick child.
      He is very ill and was in hospital two months ago for a cat scan.
      He has Down Syndrome and various medical problems that warrant careful supervision.
      He is a resident at Eastern Christian Childrens’ Retreat in Wyckoff NJ, and you do not want to know how much it costs for even one year there, although my son is old enough to receive gov’t help.
      ECCR is the best facility in the Northeast for the kind of care my son requires.

      I had a very sick ‘fur baby’ last week. He was put into veterinary hospital for ten days where they tried to get him to the point where his kidneys might work again. One morning we were told by the head vet that she thought he was suffering, and that was the turning point, and he was mercifully put to sleep. He was helped, He yawned once and put his head down and went to sleep and his passing was peaceful and painless. I am heart-broken.

      I know of trying to help sick loved ones that are helpless. I have lived in the real world for a long, long time.

      I do not know your situation, or if you are a ‘troll’ or not, but if you come here to interact with people I hope you are kinder and more considerate to them than I have been these last few days. Our ‘moderator’ is Chaplain Mike and he takes care of this blog in honor of a dear person who passed away too soon whose name was Michael Spencer. I am grateful to Chaplain Mike for his work. I think we all are who loved Michael Spencer and miss him.
      What’s with the ‘One’ and the ‘Two’? We might think you are a troll, but if you are not, you couldn’t find a better blog of people who share their journeys with one another, and pray for one another, and encourage one another.

      I wish you well.

  15. Allow me to explain the MASSIVE trap the world has created for itself. I could give a number of examples, but the one that seems relative to in the news today is….. FaceBook. (I do think Imonk had a Facebook invitational only “page”. So, all those imonk “friends” are supported and support capitalism and penny-making click-fortunes of those who sell you on the idea of being “connected”.

    Now this connection is nothing new. There never was a disconnect. Binary code is a man-made thing that basically creates dot to dot “connections” based on the mix of words and numbers and the psychological and emotional response human beings have to what basically is equivalent to a K Mart “blue light special”, and “end isle display at a grocery store, or late night TV info-commercial. Of course the idea that this method of public “cyberspace” was a real dangling carrot for evangelicals who invested in the internet and computers as an extension of ministry.

    I find it extraordinarily curious how human beings (like the politicians today questioning the Facebook king) talk about “the internet” as if it is not a direct reflection of what is human desire and hunger that drives the so called “American Dream”. At what price point is worth too much? At what price point is it unethical to keep making more and more money? At what point does one expose their love of money? Who’s working for who and why? Is imonk working for Facebook?

    Woven into greed is the spirit of a predictor. It seeks to find weakness and strength and attempts to exploit for self gain and profit. It will use and abuse laws meant to protect innocent in order to suggest it’s right as one “presumed innocent”. It uses the weak for personal gain with some false advertisement that buying something more is going to offer some kind of salvation or opportunity. It preys on the heart of idol worship and the desire of a generation to be noticed on the screens their own parents were so mesmerized by….

    Today the implication that the Facebook kid was wrong by allowing political commercials to lie because Facebook is only interested in making more money can be said of everyone touched by consumerism and capitalism — from soft drink companies to Disney. It can be said of government and religious organizations big and small. It can be said of everybody who has a camera and the ability to create an image to communicate whatever they paying costumer wants. Ethics? Truth? What is truth if everyone “speaks their own truth” and has their own “world view”? Who is any of judge what is right or wrong?

    I judge the living and the dead every breath I take
    Everything I buy, everything I sell, everything I throw away, and everything I create….
    because the living and the dead know the One who is from The Beginning.

  16. Christiane says

    ‘One’ I don’t understand your comment to me.

    I do have a sick child.
    He is very ill and was in hospital two months ago for a cat scan.
    He has Down Syndrome and various medical problems that warrant careful supervision.
    He is a resident at Eastern Christian Childrens’ Retreat in Wyckoff NJ, and you do not want to know how much it costs for even one year there, although my son is old enough to receive gov’t help.
    ECCR is the best facility in the Northeast for the kind of care my son requires.

    I had a very sick ‘fur baby’ last week. He was put into veterinary hospital for ten days where they tried to get him to the point where his kidneys might work again. One morning we were told by the head vet that she thought he was suffering, and that was the turning point, and he was mercifully put to sleep. He was helped, He yawned once and put his head down and went to sleep and his passing was peaceful and painless. I am heart-broken.

    I know of trying to help sick loved ones that are helpless. I have lived in the real world for a long, long time.

    I do not know your situation, or if you are a ‘troll’ or not, but if you come here to interact with people I hope you are kinder and more considerate to them than I have been these last few days. Our ‘moderator’ is Chaplain Mike and he takes care of this blog in honor of a dear person who passed away too soon whose name was Michael Spencer. I am grateful to Chaplain Mike for his work. I think we all are who loved Michael Spencer and miss him.
    What’s with the ‘One’ and the ‘Two’? We might think you are a troll, but if you are not, you couldn’t find a better blog of people who share their journeys with one another, and pray for one another, and encourage one another.

    I wish you well.