Archives for 2016

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2014

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Elsewhere: liberal Christianity

Elsewhere

There is an experiment tried over and over. It is a kind of insanity, always hoping for a different result than last time. That is, “theologically liberal” Christianity. It varies, but generally seeks to be “inclusive”, “tolerant” and “affirmative” of every person and their actions. I suppose this is so that they “feel good” about themselves and the church would grow. It’s a lie (always) and thus sinful (depending on the usual factors) and ultimately doomed. I have previously covered the Episcopalian journey from orthodoxy to liberalism resulting in their spectacular meltdown as well as others.

Our orthodox Christianity is inclusive / tolerant / affirmative too, except always raises God and His revelations to us above all else. We are inclusive of every person in their equal human dignity, no exceptions, but not of non-repentant sinful behavior. We tolerate and celebrate our unique differences but not immoral actions. We affirm every person as created in the image and likeness of God, but not their free-will choices against Him.

A scholarly study was released earlier this year examining 22 mainline Protestant churches in Canada. Of those, 9 were growing and 13 were declining. Why?

Tim Mattingly summarized the results on his Get Religion blog:

Crucial findings in this study showed that, in growing churches, pastors tend to be more conservative than the people in their pews. In declining congregations, pastors are usually more theologically liberal than their people. For example:

  • Clergy in growing churches affirmed, by an overwhelming 93 percent, that Jesus rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, while 56 percent of clergy in declining churches agreed. Among laypeople, this divide was 83 percent vs. 67 percent.
  • In growing churches, 46 percent of clergy strongly affirmed, and nearly 31 percent moderately affirmed, this statement: “Only those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ will receive eternal life.” Zero pastors in declining churches affirmed that statement and 6 percent moderately agreed.
  • In growing congregations, 100 percent of the clergy said it’s crucial to “encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” while only 50 percent of pastors in declining churches agreed.
  • In declining churches, 44 percent of pastors agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 100 percent of clergy in growing congregations.

There were other patterns worthy of future study, said Haskell. Growing churches were much younger, with two-thirds of their members under the age of 60, while two-thirds of those attending declining churches were over 60. Families in growing churches also had more children. Finally, growing mainline churches were finding their new members among outsiders – people who say going to church is new for them – at the same rate, about 12 percent, as growing evangelical Protestant churches.

It is a short piece, but check-out Canadian researchers find that doctrine really does matter, in terms of church growth. The study abstract, 57 references and link to purchase ($40) is at Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #207)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly awaits your perusal. For everyone doubting themselves, Leah Darrow shares the simple truth. Looking away from evil – we have seen it before. An amazing duet, from 2 kids under 10. Don’t be manipulated by the PC agenda-driven crowd, wish people “Merry Christmas!” A 1967 look into the future. A very well done political parody.

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #48, December 2016, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from November. Contributing authors this month include: Fr. Stephen Morris, Shannon, Stephen Korsman, Chris Capolino, Matthew Coffin, Brian Gill, Fr. Ben Hadrich, Christina Nagy, Dave Wanat, Ellen Kolb, Virginia Lieto, Dn. Scott Dodge, Jennifer Short, Claire McGarry, Melanie Jean Juneau, Monica McConkey, Tucker Cordani, Nancy Shuman, Barbara Szyszkiewicz, John Schroeder, AnneMarie, Tony Agnesi, Vijaya Bodach, Susan Stabile, Rick Becker, Larry T, Michael Seagriff, Dn. John Donaghy, Rich Maffeo, Carolyn Astfalk, David Wong, Ellen Gable Hrkach, Vinny Carr, Lisa Laverty, David Torkington, Blythe Kaufman, Tom Perna, De Maria, Carissa Douglas, Fr. Chori Jonathin Seraiah, Leslie Klinger, Larry Peterson, Fr. Errol Fernandes, Barbara Hosbach, Thomas and Deborah Richard, Alexandrina Brant, Fr. Richard DeLillio, Kirby Hoberg, Christian Miraglia, Elizabeth Reardon, Erin Cupp, Lyn Mettler, Bartimaeus Timeo, Allison Howell, Deanna Babineau, Bonnie Way, Jeff Walker, Margaret Felice, Fr. Adrian Danker, Fr. Juan Velez, Dn. Allen Tatara, Robert Collins, Aaron Martin, Alicia, Tom Smith, Sr. Maresa Lilley, Rick Rice and Jen.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at NewEvangelists.org.

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Leah Darrow powerfully presents truth.

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Bad stuff happening? Just Sing a Little Louder:

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6 year-old Celine Tam and 9 year-old Jeffrey Li sing Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up in this viral video, viewed over 34 million times:

(Annoyingly, you may have to click-thru to watch. Also – Steve Harvey interviewed them a year later here .)

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Dennis Prager, a practicing Jew, examines how people of other religions are offended when somebody wishes them “Merry Christmas.” They are not, of course. This is not about offending people of other religions but rather a campaign to stamp religion (particularly Christianity) out of society.

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Looking over 30 years ahead, this film predicts what life for a typical family will be like — in 1999.

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The Most Wonderful Time in 8 Years is a well done political parody. To avoid heads exploding, I respectfully suggest that my staunchly liberal friends skip it.



Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

New Evangelists Monthly – December 2016, Issue #48

This is the December 2016 issue of New Evangelists Monthly. With this announcement, participating Catholic bloggers link their best stories from last month right here at NewEvangelists.org. Revisit anytime to see up-to-the-minute posts in this dynamic format!

Contributor links are accepted beginning at noon (ET). Most contributions are received in a day or two. To see this new issue of New Evangelists Monthly, click below:

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From the archive (set #22)

Archive

This Saturday is time for New Evangelists Monthly to begin a new edition. Today, I would like to bring to your attention 3 original, brief essays that you may have missed. If you don’t have time to read all three, I especially recommend the first one — The truth matters.


The truth matters

This may be hard for many, particularly with politicians, actors, athletes and family members telling people otherwise. The Church understands, but can only teach God’s truth – not change it. We are flawed too, working always for continued conversion and holiness. The truth is here and in genuine charity, it is shared so that all may say “yes” to salvation. Our destiny is heaven and for that, the truth matters.

…read it all:   The truth matters


Catholic from the beginning

The early Church Fathers believed in the real presence in the Eucharist, our form of liturgical worship in the Mass, the Communion of Saints, veneration of Mary the Mother of God, Sacred Tradition, apostolic succession, the offices of deacon / priest / bishop, the primacy of Peter, sacraments, opposition to abortion and homosexuality, marriage for life and much, much more all remain in the Catholic Church today. Whereas in the various Protestant communities, supposedly (and ironically) founded to remove corruption, many of these ancient beliefs are gone.

…read it all:   Catholic from the beginning


A Catholic quiz

Are you Catholic? If so, test your knowledge on my handy Catholic Faith Checkup. Read each statement and simply decide if is true or false. The answer key and how to interpret the results follow.

…read it all:   A Catholic quiz


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