A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

THE DAMNATION OF DENOMINATIONS

Where did all go so wrong.  My second favorite line from LOTR.  And nowhere is it better applied than in Christianity.

I can't even begin to list all the denominations.  Most people think it was the Catholic Church and then Luther nailed some questions on the door and then everything else came.  Not so, oh so not so.

If you lived in the 1st century AD, and were a Christian, most likely you met with fellow believers in someone's home.  As the century developed, you had churches sort of centralized and there were Bishops in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch and a fifth one I can never remember and am too lazy to look up right now.  Now if there was a 'lead' bishop, it was in Jerusalem, not Rome.  Peter was never Bishop of Rome.  Never a Pope, which didn't show up until the late 2nd or early 3rd Century.

Eventually though, the Bishop of Rome started breaking rules, no longer going along with the group, and caused lots of problems and finally the Bishop decided he was a Pope and The Catholic Church was born.  What follows next is why I can never be Catholic.

This blog is not a great place to give a detailed history of what happens next, but in general we get the splits starting here.  Greek Orthodox splits, the church in Ethiopia splits, and you start having serious manipulation of texts, first by the Hebrew Rabbi's rewriting the Old Testament and then people like Origen starting the great blending of greek philosophy into the Christian texts, followed by Augustine and Aquinas with many other contributions in between.  Jerome did a great job translating the OT to Latin, except he used the MT, the corrupted Jewish texts instead of the AT, which the Septuagint was translated from, but then some of the Greek Orthodox priests started changing the Septuagint to match the MT just to confound the whole thing.

As the church in Rome gained power, they thirsted for more.  And using that great Biblical principle Jesus taught, they began to seek out those groups that did not agree with them and pretty much wiped them out.  Some of the most famous Catholic saints are mass murders.  Pope Innocent III put more Christians to death than all the Roman Emperors combined.  Amen.

Somewhere, it went wrong.  Somewhere the Catholic church became a monster seeking power.  But not to pick on them, let's jump some centuries and Luther nails his questions of the door and the Protestant Church is born, which has never gained the power of the Vatican, but has certainly screwed things up probably just as much.  The Church of England which came about in England's battles with Rome, the Calvin comes along, and so on and so on and so on.

By the way, remember the "remember remember the 5th of November" and the Guy Fawkes thing?  Fawkes was catholic and was doing the deed for the Church in Rome.  And the whole Thomas Moore or the Bloody Mary thing and it's just damn ugly and how God has put up with us and this mess so long may be a greater miracle than the whole creation thing.

And it's continued for centuries. There are more denominations of Christianity in the world today than soccer players, and there are always way too many soccer players.  Even within each denomination, it's all torn up and apart.  You can walk into one Assemblies of God church and see snakes and in another it's a golf sermon.  Baptists, methodists, lutherans, pressies, AG's, yada yada yada.  Free evangelicals, free methodists, faith free, etc.  One baptist preacher preaches one thing, another another thing, and is it no wonder people just stay home and watch football?

So many stupid PhD papers have created an absolute mess of the Bible.  'Sons of God' in Genesis; read the old stuff and it's clearly angels but then the Catholic Church changed it to Seth and now AG's thinks it's noble men and commoner women, and so it goes.

Pick up your Bible, turn to Deut 32:8.  Does it say 'angels of God' or a variation of Children of Israel?
The rabbi's changed it to the latter in the MT, most english translations used the MT to translate, but the Sept uses angels of God an the Dead Sea Scrolls show'd it to be Angels of God.  BIG DIFFERENCE.

Here is the issue; most pastors and churches don't speak of supernatural things.  Oh, sure, virgin birth and resurrection, but that's where they stop.  Which is why when I sit in any protestant church I rarely 'feel' God's presence.

Why doesn't God just reboot the whole thing?

I have issues with the Catholic Church, and the Greeks, on a couple of issues.  One is the Virgin Mary thing, which if you accept that she was always a Virgin it kind of messes up many of the written things in the NT, where Jesus has brothers and sisters.  Since Jesus was not JOSEPH'S son, but was MARY'S son, then how can they be brothers and sisters from Joseph and another wife?  And the Eucharist I also have an issue with.  In one verse, I can see it, sort of, but in another it clearly says represents.  Plus now every time I take communion and get cracker stuck in my teeth, I think "Is Jesus stuck in my teeth?" which makes me laugh.  Hmm, maybe that's why I don't feel God's presence.

I don't mean to be flippant, I seriously ponder these things.  I fight the urge to cover the walls of my apartment in poster board so I can think things thru, stringing yarn across the room, because I know once I start it will be just a matter of time before I am locked up at the funny farm.

Now, before ending, let me also stress something.  Every denomination has good Christian people in it, priests, pastors, and lay people.  And I read writings from Catholic, Greek, and others.  I have 3 Bishop Sheen books, many Kreeft, several from Greek Orthodox writers, and others.  It's just so confusing.  I want to just chuck it all and lock myself away with the Bible, but which one?  I confess I use the Greek Orthodox right now for the OT and am probably signing up for Michael Heiser's online Greek I class after the first of the year.

I wish God would send some clarification on these things.

I know there is a God.  I know his Son died for my sins.  But I fear God, I worry, will Jesus step forward for me? We are all going to be so wrong on so much.

This is my father's world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker's praise

This is my father's world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

This is my father's world
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet

This is my father's world
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring
God reigns, let the earth be glad