Monthly Archives: September 2006

"Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit" by Gary Wills.

This author is a (liberal) Roman Catholic and many Roman Catholics will disagree with him and detest the book.

Many of the points that he makes (and conclusions he comes to) I disagree with. The main use that I would have for this book would be as a source for outside information (footnotes and citation lists, encyclicals, books and history).

AsI said, the author comes to conclusions that I would not come to, even after reading his book and finding the history accurate. Even in disagreement, I found the history fascinating.
I have a few books in my library that are very good resources - not for theology, but for the history. This may become one of them.

The first section of the book deals with the holocaust. The history is good, but it is history. Even if Rome had been more outspoken about what was happening, who can know how much of a difference it would have made? There is an interesting story of Ste. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, canonized in 1998. Born Edith Stein, this Roman Catholic saint was a Jew who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a nun. She was killed (along with her sister Rosa and many other ethic Jews) at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. Whether or not she died because the Nazis were killing Jews, or whether she died because she was preaching the Gospel is debatable. But she is now a Roman Catholic saint.

As a result of Wills' book, I've read about Stein and - wow. I'd urge you all to google and read, this was an incredible woman.

The second section is called "DOCTRINAL DISHONESTIES" - here is the list of chapter titles:

  • The Tragedy of Paul VI: Prelude
  • The Tragedy of Paul VI: Encyclical
  • Excluded Women
  • The Pope's Eunuchs
  • Priestly caste
  • Shrinking the Body of Christ
  • Hydraulics of Grace
  • Conspiracy of Silence
  • A Gay Priesthood
  • Marian Politics
  • The Gift of Life

Topics include contraception, the history of unmarried clergy, the various sexual scandals. On "excluded women", I believe that male clergy and leadership is right and Biblical, I do think that the way Wills describes Rome's way of getting there is convoluted and based on the magesterium, not the Bible.
The last third of the book looks at honesty and truth. A lot of time is spent on Augustine; I like the history.


  1. If you trust in the infallibility of Rome, you will not like this book.
  2. If you are interested in the history of theology, you may like this book
  3. If you want the side of the Roman Catholic coin, from a man who does believe that Rome holds the truth but has erred in some places, this will be an informative book.

The next time I go through it, it will be with a highlighter and sticky tabs.


Romans 10:4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

A long time ago I led a woman's Bible study through the book of Romans. (If anybody knows the company that puts these studies out, please let me know; I'd like to do more but I can't remember the name. It's not a book; it's a series of three hole punched studies that march right through books of the Bible. The complany logo looks like a rising sun behind - if I remember right - a cross)

But right now, I'm going to go off in another direction.

Thirty-three years ago my mom sang a solo in our church's Christmas Cantata. I remember this very clearly because Mom was singing the part of "Mary" and at the time was "heavy with child" - my sister Becky was born in January.

The song was "Have Thine Own Way"

1. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

2. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

3. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

4. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

It wasn't until later that I connected the words of this song with anything other than "Mary submitting to God" or "Christians 'rededicating'"

...continue reading

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It is the position of Reformed theology, as well as some Arminian denominations, that one who has been given a true, saving faith by God cannot be lost.

Here are a few essays:
Can a Christian Lose His or Her Salvation? by Greg Johnson
Assurance of Salvation: Can I Really Be Sure? John G. Reisinger
The Blessing of Full Assurance May 13th, 1888 by C. H. SPURGEON

On one of my "favorite Christian women" bloggers, Carrie "Of Christian Women", started a series based on one of John MacArthur's sermon series. She was challenged with a series of "difficult" passsages.

I'm going through them here because it made for a rather long post.

...continue reading

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I'll make it very clear at the top that I do NOT believe that all Muslims are terrorists...I don't believe that all terrorists are Muslims. I believe that there are Muslims who condemn the terrorists...I also believe that I should be open about when I think the pope says something very accurate...

If Islam is a "religion of peace" then Islamic clerics should be very loud about condemning radical Islamic terrorists. We don't see many Muslims speaking out. Anywhere.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI did not intend to offend Muslims with remarks about holy war, the Vatican said Thursday...

Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, a cleric who sets the religious agenda for Turkey, said he was deeply offended by remarks about Islamic holy war

Hani Pahas in the London-based Arabic-language daily newspaper Al-Hayat, who wrote “the pope’s comments may lead to war;  

“The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable,” Benedict said...

Koran 5:33
The Punishment for those who oppose Allah and his messenger is : Execution or Crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land

“Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul,” the pope said, issuing an open invitation to dialogue among cultures."

Hussein Shabakshy wrote in an article published by the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat “There is no difference between Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking from their caves in Tora Bora and the stage of an important Christian saint. Both parties contribute to the world verbal weapons for mass destruction.”

Koran 17:16-17
When we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite order to them who have the good things in life and yet transgress; so that Allah's word is proved true against them: then we destroy them utterly. How many generations have we destroyed after Noah? And enough is thy Lord to note and see the Sins of his servants

"Renounce the way of violence which causes so much suffering to civilian populations, and instead to embrace the way of peace," he [the Pope] said in a statement issued through Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in response to terrorist attacks at the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt.

The pope also was criticized by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born scholar based in Qatar and regarded as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi has come under fire for praising Palestinian suicide bombers and for calling on Muslims to fight against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Qaradawi was quoted as telling al-Jazeera television that the pope should "apologize to the Muslim nation for insulting its religion, its prophet and its beliefs."

An Italian nun was shot dead at a hospital by Somali gunmen Sunday, hours after a leading Muslim cleric condemned Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks on Islam and violence.

"What is at the pope's heart is a clear and radical refusal of the religious motivation of violence," said spokesman Federico Lombardi.

Palestinians attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza — erupted through much of the Muslim world over a speech Benedict delivered to Regensburg university professors during a pilgrimage earlier in the week to his native Germany.

Followers of the "religion of peace" burning the pope in effigy.


I'd love to be able to put a second blog on the website (and will, eventually)...

For the time being, I've got diet and fitness stuff parked here.

I went shopping and found a pre-packaged salad...everything is in the sealed bowl (fork, dressing, etc.)

Together with an apple, they'll make a great lunch.

I went to the WW meeting and with the plan, it's very legal to go to my favorite coffee shop (in the same strip mall)and get 3 (or 4) shots of espresso with skim milk and splenda - and after the meeting go to taco bell for one taco.

Atkins is just not doing it for me - the structured flexibility with accountability will (I hope) do the trick for me.

I'll throw in some recipes now and then (assuming I'm going to cook) and keep up to date with exersize and other stuff.


I'm joining weight watchers tomorrow...there are two big reasons that weight watchers works.  The first is that they make it easy to keep track.

The second reason is accountability.

I believe that (as people), we don't like to have accountability - that's pride.  When we get to the point where we recognize that we need accountability, that's when we make progress.

It can be the same way in some areas of our walk with God.

I have some problem areas - it's when I recognize them and have accountability that I make progress.

There is a danger, though.

Doing right does not equal being right.  It's progress; a step.  But doing right, instead of making the heart change, only leads to morality, not righteousness. Following the right rules does not bring us closer to God.  Coming closer to God brings us closer to following the right rules.

At the beginning of the year I posted a whole year's worth of Bible reading (and I'm not reading the September readings).  I went into the year saying that I'm going to read the whole Bible - but it might take me more than a year.  I was going to read where God led (and I've been a few growth-prompting places) and in between these times I was going to read the structured readings.  And I have done that.  I have found that even the accountability that having it posted on my blog brings (as well as the piece of paper in my Bible) helps.

(Going back to the weight loss - when I write down what I eat, even that makes me think about what I'm doing.  Having a structured plan (and weigh in with accountability) keeps me writing.)

There is a "situation" at work...

I know that one of the areas that I can get sucked into (if I'm not careful) is gossip.  And it came up today.  I'm only at this school for another week and I don't want to get tripped up.  (relating to food...who hasn't gotten tripped up?)

I am determined to be open with accountability in order to keep my nose out of the gossip mill.

I think that everybody has an area (or areas) where they can use accountability...a lot of us don't like it.  But coming to the point of recognizing that we need it is the first step.


My pastor used the "Truman Show" as an illustration for his sermon Sunday morning. It was a good sermon, but I didn't really get the connection between the text and the illustration...

But there are other connections that I've been pondering.

In the movie, Truman Burbank is born and raised in an environment that isn't real - he lives on the set of a television show and doesn't know it.  Everything and everybody that surrounds him is there to convince him that his life is real.

It can be that way in our walk with God.  Nearly everybody who grows up in a church grows up believing that their church is the right church.  When you read literature and Bible studies, there is always a "slant" - preconceptions that color our views.

It isn't until Truman is an adult that he starts noticing that there are things that just don't fit.

This may also be true for our walk with God.  For some of us, it's the challenge by a friend to study - to be a Berean; compare what we believe against Scripture.  For others, it's seriously digging into the Bible for first time.  For still others, it's the process of coming to the understanding that there are other (valid) Christian beliefs out there.  For most of us, it's a combination.

When Truman "understands" that there is something wrong with his world, he goes exploring.  The "powers that be" don't like it much.  They try to stop him.

If you have been in a Christian "belief system" for your entire life, and if you are surrounded by friends and family that are part of that same belief system, expect them to not like it much.

Truman came to his "moment of truth" - he overcame a major fear in order to cross a lake to find out what was "out there".

It may mean leaving the church you grew up in, it may mean "sharpening iron" with friends and family.  It may be difficult, or maybe not.

There came a time when Truman was standing at the edge of the dome that was his home for his entire life.  He knew there was "truth" out there, but he didn't know what it would look like.

Again, this may be part of our walk with God - we don't know where this walk will take us, only that God is leading.

His hand was on the doorknob...would he step out "in faith", looking for truth?  Or would he return to the safety and comfort of all he had every known, knowing that some things were out of place?

You know that there are "holes" in the theology that you grew up with.  You stand half in and half out, undecided.

Do you stay in safety and comfort?

Or do you step out in faith, looking for truth?



I got sidetracked on a song meme...I was googling for lyrics and ran across this:

For the record:  This is NOT my theme song.

Twenty Naked Pentacostals in a Pontiac
Author: Chris Stuart, 1994
Album: Lonesome Town
Artist: Cornerstone
1995 Folk Era Productions

I was thumbin' my way down to Baton Rouge,
Standin' on the side of the road,
When a car pulled over and a voice cried out,
"We'll take you where you want to go."
I jumped inside, but to my surprise,
They were naked as a poor man's toes.
It was a tight situation when the whole congregation
Said the devil was in my clothes.

   Twenty naked Pentacostals in a Pontiac,
Brothers and sisters shoutin' in the back,
Elders in the front, choir in the trunk,
Twenty naked Pentacostals in a Pontiac.

The sermon that morning was on Adam and Eve
And the ways of the dreadful snake,
Everybody was clappin' when the preacher pointed at me,
My body began to shake.
I threw off my shirt, and my shoes and my socks,
My jeans and my BVDs.
We were all in the nude, shoutin' "halleloo!"
And singing "Sombody Touched Me."


We had the cruise control set to fifty-five,
When a Smokey got on our tail,
He pulled up beside, his eyes got wide,
And the siren began to wail.
We ran off the road toward the tree of life,
Lord, the future was looking bleak,
We hung on and prayed, everybody was saved,
'Cause we all knew how to turn the other cheek.