Monday, March 28, 2011

Is Netflix Anti-Christian? What is the Catholic Netflix?

Stop for a moment of silence, ask God what He want you to do next. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.

Due to Netflix's Anti-Christian DVDs I switched to Pius Media (piusmedia.com).
Is Netflix Anti-Christian? What is the Catholic Netflix?
Is Netflix Anti-American or Pro-Canada?

It has come to my delighted attention that there exists a fine establishment by the name of Pius Media (piusmedia.com) which offers Catholic and other good DVDs by mail. Apparently there is also Faith and Family Flix (faithandfamilyflix.com) which is a touch more expensive.

'Self-absorbed' Americans may ignore Canada price disparity

Reed Hastings: For now we're focused on Canada. If we succeed in Canada, we will certainly look at other markets. But each market is unique, and what attracted us to Canada is great broadband, and a great love of movies and TV shows.

THR: American services when they enter the Canadian market typically charge the locals more than they charge stateside. Why the discount for Canadians?

Hastings: We want to provide an incredible value for Canadians, and it's the lowest price we have anywhere in the world for unlimited screenings. And anyone can try it for free for a month. It's pretty addictive.

THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask for the same discount Canadians get at $7.99?

Hastings: How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"At the Name of Jesus the [Alien Abduction] Dissipated into the Air"

Might aliens be involved with ghosts or demons? Stan Romanek and David J. Hufford wondered about that idea?

Messages: The World's Most Documented Extraterrestrial Contact Story - Google Books Result Stan Romanek, J. Allan Danelek - 2009 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 259 pages:

"So now was I some sort of 'ghost magnet'? If so, how could that happen? ... In any case, the ghost specialists spent some time trying to capture video."

http://www.alienresistance.org/ce4testimony17.htm

The Terror That Comes in the Night

There is a book by David J. Hufford called The Terror that Comes in the Night. The sub-title of the book describes the contents: "An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions." Dr. Hufford is a sociologist and university professor. According to his research about one sixth of the population experiences the phenomenon described in his book yet almost no one talks about it. The experience Hufford describes is similar to what has become known in our culture as the "alien abduction" phenomenon, yet differing in some aspects. According to a Roper Poll done in 1992 at least two percent of the adult population in the United States has experienced what they call "being abducted." It is difficult to get an exact number since it is believed that many people completely repress the experience and many others just don't talk about it.

The Roper Poll used a sample of 5,947 respondents corresponding to the equivalent number among the 185,000,000 ostensibly represented by Roper's demographically balanced sample. The margin of error is + or - 1.4 per cent. The poll excluded everyone under 18 years of age and all residents of Hawaii and Alaska, as well as all residing in dormitories, hospitals, etc. When respondents were asked if they had ever awakened paralyzed with a sense of a strange "presence" in the room 18 per cent said "yes." This percentage with a + or - 1.4 margin of error represents 33,300,000 people.

In 1973 my husband Coleman and I and our two baby boys lived in Virginia. Coleman was working for Christianity Today as the advertising manager and I was a stay-at-home mom doing some freelance artwork. One night I awoke with a start. My eyes flew open like a close-up in a horror movie when the dead person comes back to life. I was totally awake with the sense that something was very wrong. That sense moved very quickly to terror. I was paralyzed, unable to move anything except my eyes. To my left, over my husband's sleeping body, I could see three figures gliding into the room. Their feet, which I couldn't see because a monk-like robe covered them, never touched the ground. They were coming out of a walk-in closet bedroom and my first thought was, "How did they get in there?" It was communicated to me in some fashion - I don't know how - that they had come through the large second story window in the nursery, glided down the hall, gone through the wall into the master bath, and from the bathroom had glided into the closet. I knew they were very, very angry with me for some reason, but I didn't know why. They communicated to me, without speaking, that they were going to levitate my stiff body, slam me through the window above our bed and drop me on my head killing me. They wanted me to know that my husband would be blamed for my death.

I had no doubt that they were capable of doing this and my terror escalated. I tried to scream at Coleman to wake up but I couldn't. My vocal cords were paralyzed. Then I began to pray. I tried to call out, "JESUS." Again nothing would come out of my mouth other than grunts. Once more I tried to say "JESUS." More grunts. Finally a garbled "Jesus" came out. At the name of Jesus the beings dissipated into the air into little triangles just like a visual effect.

I immediately woke Coleman and told him what had happened. After comforting me, the inevitable question came. He said, "Are you sure it wasn't just a bad dream?" Irritated, I replied, "Yes, I'm sure. Because if it was a bad dream I'm still dreaming. I awoke before it began and I have not awakened since. Besides I just KNOW it was real." At the time, neither one of us knew what to do with this experience, so I just filed it away and didn't talk about it again for over 20 years.

Then over twenty years later Coleman was writing a pilot script for a television series that was supposed to be about all sorts of strange phenomena. He gave me a book on alien abduction and asked me to read it and see if there might be any story ideas in it that he could use. As I read the book it struck me how similar these people's experiences were to mine. Then I came across a drawing of one person's alien abductor. It was eerie. He had drawn the same beings that had come into my room.

At the same time, I was reading a book about several different missionaries who had gone to a variety of Third World countries to tell people about Jesus. The book was titled, Demon Experiences in Many Lands and it was published by Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1960. In the preface we find this statement by the publishers: "It has been many years since any serious study of demon experiences has been published, and possibly never before a compilation from competent observers in many parts of the world. The reason for this omission is not clear, but the result has been a feeling on the part of many Christians that these strange (to us moderns) phenomena were only valid in Bible times." Several of the missionaries had this attitude themselves when their strange experiences began. Most were totally unprepared for the assaults that they and their new converts confronted. Several of these experiences were very similar to the ones described in Hufford's book and countless alien abduction books. A conclusion from Hufford's book is that people unfamiliar with any notion of what he calls an "Old Hag Tradition" describe their symptoms precisely in accordance with those aware of such a tradition. Hufford never called these experiences "demonic." But all of the missionaries came to that conclusion. They believed that they were dealing with demons and they looked to the Bible to learn how to overcome them.

As I began to form my own opinion about my night terror experience, I went to the Internet to see if any one beside myself had had a similar experience. Was I the only person who had used the name of "Jesus" to end a night terror or alien abduction experience? I found an article from Florida Today magazine that appeared on August 17, 1997, written by Rita Elkins concerning alien abduction and it's similarity to demonic oppression. She quotes Joe Jordan, a director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) a clearinghouse for UFO related research. When he is not checking out UFO claims for MUFON he works in product development and engineering for Sea Ray Boats. He and his partner Wes Clark, also a member of MUFON, who is a quality control engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, have, through their work at MUFON, come across several people who have been able to stop their abduction experience by calling on the name of Jesus. He shared a taped interview with Elkins for her article in Florida Today:

Jordan punches buttons on a tape recorder. A nameless, 30-something man with an intelligent-sounding voice, slightly Southern, tells his story. Calmly at first.

"There were strange lights in a nearby woods at bedtime, barking dogs. He is up and down a few times; yelling at the dogs while his wife sleeps soundly. Then lying down again...I couldn't move...grey fog. I couldn't see anything, but it was like someone was here." He felt himself lifted off the bed. "I was terrified, so helpless... screaming inside, but I couldn't get it out."

The voice is less calm now, but still certain, not hesitant.

"I thought I was having a satanic experience, that the devil had gotten hold of me and had shoved a pole up my rectum and was holding me up in the air...so helpless. I couldn't do anything."

A non-religious person, he'd been to church with his wife a few times.

"I said, 'Jesus, Jesus, help me,' or 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!' And when I did, there was a feeling or a sound or something. That either my words that I had thought or words that I had tried to say or whatever, hurt whatever was holding me up in the air on this pole. And I felt it was withdrawn, and I fell. I hit the bed, because it was like I was thrown back in the bed. I really can't tell what it was. But when I did, my wife woke up and asked why I was jumping on the bed"

Elkins goes on to say, "Relentless anonymity is given in abduction research. Nobody in their right mind wants family, friends and co-workers to know they've had their personal space violated against their will by strange-looking creatures whose existence isn't even proven."

Jordan told Elkins that three other researchers had had similar cases. They had not revealed this because they felt it would hurt their credibility, especially among the folks that invite them to speak at UFO Conventions. I certainly can understand this. A number of years ago Coleman and I went to a UFO Convention in San Francisco. Most of the people there were defiantly New Agers and didn't seem to be open to traditional religion at all. In spite of the fact that abduction experiences are described as horrible, brutal and denigrating many believe they are done by good aliens and are somehow beneficial to human kind. So my question is, "Do you really think our alien 'space brothers' are assaulting us or could there be a demonic connection to these experiences?

You may be wondering why I have decided to share my night terror story with the world on the Internet. I am sure that there are many who will just think I am a total wacko. Some of you who know me may think I am farther gone than you realized. But if there are people experiencing these assaults who want them to stop I can offer way out.

Few years ago, my son was taking a college class at a secular university. The teacher of this class, which was a language class and had nothing to do with what we are writing about today, began asking the same questions that were asked in the Roper Poll. After a few questions one girl raised her hand and began to tell the class about her abduction experience. When she had finished my son said to her, "There is a way to stop these experiences if you want to." The teacher interrupted," No, there is no way to stop them!" "Yes!" my son replied, "They can be stopped." "No they can not." At that point the teacher went back to the curriculum. I want people to know that my son's teacher is wrong. There is a way to stop these experiences. Please don't think that I am saying that the name "Jesus" is magic. It is not magic, but it does have Amazing Power. The Creator of the Universe knows his children. The Good Shepard knows his sheep. Surely if he was willing to die for our sins, He is able to protect us from the Evil Ones. If you want His protection, put your faith in Him.

If you have experienced a night terror I would like to hear from you. Please write and tell me your story.

© Carel Luck January 2006
Used by permission.

http://www.myturntorant.com/carelrants/index.html





http://www.alienresistance.org/ce4testimony17.htm

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salt Blessed

BLESSED SALT

Rev. John H. Hampsch C.M.F.

There is a renewed interest today in the ancient sacramental of blessed salt, especially by charismatics, in healing and deliverance situations, etc. To understand its proper use and its efficacy, it would be helpful to review the Scriptural symbolism and its history, since Vatican II urges us to participate “intelligently and actively” in the use of sacramentals, just as in the use of Sacraments.

Salt in the ancient world was a precious commodity (even monopolized by the royalty in Egypt and Persia). Roman soldiers were partially paid with packets of salt (”sal” in Latin); this was the origin of our word “salary” and of phrases like “worth his salt,” etc. Being costly, it was an appropriate offering to God as a “covenant of salt” (Lev. 2: 13; II Chron. 13:5; Num. 18:19) used in sacrifices by the Isrealites (Ezek. 43:24) and for the accompanying sacrificial meal (Gen. 31:54).

Belief in its preservative and healing properties led to its use to dry and harden the skin of newborns (Ezek. 16:4) and to prevent umbilical cord infection. Used for 3500 years to preserve meats from deterioration, it became a symbol of preservation and spiritual incorruptibility that was to characterize anyone offering sacrificial worship. Shared at the sacrificial meal, salt became a symbol of friendship and hospitality, a custom-symbol still used today in Arab culture.

Jesus referred to this salt-symbolized friendship covenant in Mark 9:50: “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another”–that is, “preserve that quality (flavor) that makes you a blessing to one another.” (Note the double symbol of preservation and flavoring.)

This double primary symbolization is also found in Paul’s advice in Col. 4:6:”Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” That is, let it be wholesome and savory, preserved from the corrupting conversation of worldlings (3:8 and Eph 4:29). (His use of the word salt may also have referred to another of its symbols: spiritual wisdom, since the Latin word for savor or taste, “sapientia”, is the same as for wisdom.)

Some or all of these symbols may have been implied in Jesus’ words to his chosen ones, describing them as the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). He especially indicated that they were to oppose the world’s corruption, reminding them that, as salt must preserve its own anti-corruptive quality, they too must preserve their anti-corruptive influence in a sin-corrupted world. (See Luke 14:34).

The blessing promised by God on food and water, as well as the prevention of miscarriages and agricultural catastrophes (Exod. 23:25-26) was extended by God through Elisha in Jericho (II Kings 2:20-21), when he was inspired to put salt into the contaminated water. Adding salt to already brackish water to decontaminate it, made the miracle all the more impressive, since one would expect the opposite effect. This first miracle of Elisha is the primary Scriptural basis for the sacramental use of blessed salt today, as the Roman Ritual indicates.

As a Catholic sacramental, salt blessed by the liturgical prayer of a priest may be used by itself, unmixed, as in exorcisms, and formerly in the exorcistic prayer at baptism, or it may be mixed with water to make holy water, as the Ritual prescribes (reminiscent of Elisha’s miracle). In whichever form, it is intended to be an instrument of grace to preserve one from the corruption of evil occurring as sin, sickness, demonic influence, etc.

As in the case of all sacramentals, its power comes not from the sign itself, but by means of the Church’s official (liturgical, not private) prayer of blessing–a power the Church derives from Christ himself (see Matt. 16:19 and 18:18). As the Vatican II document on the Liturgy states (art. 61), both

Sacraments and sacramentals sanctify us, not of themselves, but by power flowing from the redemptive act of Jesus, elicited by the Church’s intercession to be directed through those external signs and elements. Hence sacramentals like blessed salt, holy water, medals, etc. are not to be used superstitiously as having selfcontained power, but as “focus-points” funneling one’s faith toward Jesus, just as a flag is used as a “focus-point” of patriotism, or as handkerchiefs were used to focus faith for healing and deliverance by Paul (Acts 19:12).

Thus used non-superstitiously, modest amounts of salt may be sprinkled in one’s bedroom, or across thresholds to prevent burglary, in cars for safety, etc. A few grains in drinking water or used in cooking or as food seasoning often bring astonishing spiritual and physical benefits, as I have personally witnessed many times. As with the use of Sacraments, much depends on the faith and devotion of the person using salt or any sacramental. This faith must be Jesus-centered, as was the faith of the blind man in John 9; he had faith in Jesus, not in the mud and spittle used by Jesus to heal him.

In light of this, we can see why Vatican II states that “there is hardly any proper use of material things which cannot thus be directed toward the sanctification of persons and the praise of God.” (art. 61 of Liturgy document). Hence new sacramentals may also be added when rituals are revised (art. 79). Blessed salt is certainly not a new sacramental, but the Holy Spirit seems to be leading many to a new interest in its remarkable power as an instrument of grace and healing.

Any amount of salt may be presented to a priest for his blessing, using the following official prayer from the Roman Ritual:

“Almighty God, we ask you to bless this salt, as once you blessed the salt scattered over the water by the prophet Elisha. Wherever this salt (and water) is sprinkled, drive away the power of evil, and protect us always by the presence of your Holy Spirit. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

————————————-

For Information and a catalog of Father Hampsch’s books, booklets, CD’s, DVD’s, and videos, contact:

Claretian Teaching Ministry

20610 Manhattan Place

Suite 120

Torrance, CA 90501

(310) 782-6408 – (Tues and Thurs)

or visit our websites: www.claretiantapeministry.org

: www.catholicbooks.net

or email us at ctmorders@aol.com

God Bless.



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Your Cross

The everlasting God has in his wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross he now presents to you as a gift from his inmost heart. This cross he now sends you he has gazed at with his all-knowing eyes, understood with his divine mind, tested with his divine justice, warmed with his loving arms, and weighed with his own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large, not one ounce too heavy for you, He has blessed it with his holy name, anointed it with his grace, perfumed it with his consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven – a special greeting from God to you – an alms of the all-merciful love of God. St. Francis de Sales

Monday, March 07, 2011

No "Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ” Until 1800’s

A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ?

Within various forms of Evangelical Christianity in the Western world the catchphrase “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” is heard over and over again. In sermons, in books and among various conversations overheard between ‘born-again’ Christians it is heard again and again about this ‘personal relationship with Jesus Christ’ and at what point in their life that that momentous event began. “What a Friend I have in Jesus” is a popular hymn sung in Churches across the country Sunday after Sunday.

Now I’m not going to say that I don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, because I do. Jesus Christ is as real to me as my wife and children are. I believe that He is with me always and I talk with Him regularly in prayer. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:15 that He would no longer call them servants, but that He considered them friends. I pretty much think that applies to me as well. I sometimes think of Christ as my Heavenly Big Brother who is looking out for me and is interceding with the Father on my behalf night and day.

However, I think that sometimes we as Christians may take the personal relationship with Jesus a little too far. We sometimes tend to forget that, although each of us is of infinite importance to God, we are after all only bit players in the cosmic drama that is God’s plan for the entire universe. We sometimes allow ourselves to become too important in our own eyes and may tend to forget that there are millions of other Christians within the 6 billion people in the world and that God has plans for all of us; interrelating plans that involve His Kingdom and His overall plan for mankind. As N.T. Wright puts it in his book on Justification;

“…sometimes worldviews have to be shaken. They have become idolatrous and self-serving…The earth goes around the sun. Jesus is the hero of the play, and we are the bit-part players, the Fifth Servant and Seventh Footman who come on for a moment, say one word, and disappear again, proud to have shared His stage and, for a moment, been a tiny part of His action.”

I think that Wright and others are correct in the assessment that many of us within Western Christianity have too high a view of ourselves within the body of Christ. We sometimes tend to neglect service within the Church or may not even attend Church at all, content that we are saved by Christ’s shed blood and focus on our own ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus rather than being a useful part of His Kingdom. We sometimes neglect finding ways and means to perform our Christian duties within that Kingdom, however small those parts may be.

We revolve around Jesus, not the other way around. For most of the Christian Church’s history up until the late 1800’s there was no mention of having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” (as near as I can tell). Christianity was meant to be corporate, not individualist. Christianity was originally more about ‘ask not what your Church can do for you, but what you can do for your Church.’ It seems to me that in our consumerist ‘it’s all about me’ society Ecclesiology (the theology of the Church) has taken a back seat. I don’t think that was what Christ intended. Jesus came to take away the sin of the whole world, not just for me and me alone. And it seems obvious to me from just a cursory examination of the New Testament that He means for each of us to take an active part in the building of His Church.

On a post out of Jollybloggers archives he writes on the subject; ‘In modern evangelicalism there are really only two significant beings in the universe – me and Jesus. All of the other things and people of the world are tools that will either pull me toward Jesus or push me away from Him.” He goes on to write how much of an error that this kind of thinking is and the results of it within the Christian Church.

Although piety and a constant seeking after the deepening my faith in Christ and improving my walk with God are of great importance to me, doing whatever bit part God has for me is also a vast importance. I don’t think that Christianity is nearly as much about ‘my personal relationship with Jesus’ as it is about serving God, trying to be obedient to His will and participating in the Kingdom work of His Church.

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Filed Under: Christian Living, Jesus Christ
Comments
John Valade says:
March 26, 2010 at 3:58 am
I agree. We are just bit players in God's plans and purposes. Christianity isn't about who you are, but about Who you serve. Thanks for this post, Randy.

Reply
randy olds says:
March 26, 2010 at 10:18 am
Hi John,

Thanks for commenting. Curiously enough, in Wrights book on Justification he espouses almost the exact same sentiments that Trevin Wax did in Th post that James linked to a couple of comments up. Toward the end of the book, he says that if the Reformers had focused on exegeting Romans with more of Ephesians in mind that this concept of person relationship being overemphasized at the cost of ecclesiology might not have happened.



Catholics don’t have a personalized relationship with Christ.

http://fromdamascustoemmaus.com/a-personal-relationship-with-jesus-christ/

Personal Jesus
November 16, 2009

My grandma’s funeral was yesterday. My uncle, who is a pastor, ran the service, and my dad gave the eulogy. Although the two of them are different as “chalk and cheese”, they both did a nice job remembering my grandma. But both of them made me feel ragingly and compulsively Catholic. At every prayer I wanted to cross myself. When my dad spoke of my grandma praying for us all “right up to the end”, I wanted to add “why not now?”, especially since we all hope and believe she is a part of the great cloud of witnesses. Why would the witnesses be limited to only viewing? Why not hearing and praying for us? Why would souls who have gone to be with God not be able to speak to Him?

Please don’t think I was just sitting and criticizing the Protestant run funeral. I’ve had my time of mourning, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the spontaneous Catholic feelings that sharing time with my Protestant family has brought on, and me trying to sort them out afterward.

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Protestant prayer and preaching and it brought on some reactions that were kind of hard to pinpoint. The way my uncle was talking about Jesus and praying to God was familiar to me. It was warm and personal, and I like it and have missed it. There’s also something about it that makes me uncomfortable and feels a little off. Last night I was asking Chris what this difference I was noticing might be, and I think maybe we’ve figured it out.

My uncle quoted a song by Misty Edwards called “See the Way”, which says “God is a lover, looking for a lover, and so he fashioned me”. This is such a lovely, personal view of our relationship with God. It’s attractive, but it’s not quite right. Maybe the reason there are so many evangelicals who believe Catholics don’t have a personal relationship with Christ is because Catholics don’t have a personalized relationship with Christ. This song, and the prayers I was listening to yesterday are very individual. They’re about me and Jesus.

In the Catholic Faith, it’s not about me and Jesus, it’s about us and Jesus. It’s always, always about the corporate Body of Christ and God’s loving relationship with them. Our prayers are said together, our confession is made in unison. Like Chris says, the Catholic view of the universal Church has a way of beating down the “ego” and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

While Catholics are prevented from saying “me” instead of “us”, they are also prevented from viewing Jesus in whatever way they want to. Although Jesus is personal, He is not personalized. The Church reveals to us who Christ is in a non-negotiable way. Then we must change, with God’s grace, and conform to His image. As a Protestant, my view of God changed as I grew and got to know Him better. Of course, that’s always true to some extent, even for Catholics. At least for me, the difference is that as a Protestant my image of God changed. As a Catholic, the image remains the same but my understanding changes, because it’s not just me trying to figure out who God is.

It’s hard to explain, but that’s the best I can do. It’s strange experiencing this world I used to belong in, feel a draw to it, but at the same time feel completely separated from it. There’s no going back, even for the things I enjoyed, because I see everything differently now. It’ll be nice when I officially join and belong in the corporate Body of Christ.