Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taking Offense: An Enemy of Truth

Taking Offense: An Enemy of Truth

Taking offense certifies the modern man as one who cares. If we take offense on behalf of another we can number ourselves among the sensitive and loving. If we take offense personally we can brandish a stop sign declaring to all that the offense must cease. In either case the offending words must stop and the conversation must end. For the modern lover never offends. Instead he unfailingly affirms. He affirms us with an “okay” that builds our self-esteem, engenders good feelings, and requires nothing of us beyond self-affirmation.
But can people who love one another do so by simply remaining inoffensive? Is the purpose of love to enhance good feelings and discourage bad feelings? WWJD? What would Jesus do? Frequently, we find a modern interpretation of Jesus that would indeed prioritize feelings, one that asserts “I gotta be me” and “you gotta be you” because, after all, God made us that way and He wouldn’t want to offend us. The fact that the “I” that one has to be frequently walks over the “you” that somebody else must be seems largely irrelevant to the modern man. Jesus would certainly love. But what does that mean?
Because we are imperfect humans with our hidden biases, discerning what Jesus would do is more difficult that it seems. However, we can begin with the most basic assumption of love: we do not hurt others. But is being offended equal to being hurt? Certainly, some people offend with the intent to hurt and this is certainly contrary to love. The subjective act of one’s being offended, however, does not necessarily impugn the love of the one offending. Nobody offends the average teenager more than his parents, the ones who love him the most. A parent who does not offend his or her child’s sensibilities either has the perfect child or has decided that good feelings are more important than challenging the child. Children growing into adults get things wrong before they get them right, whether it be math or morals. The problem is not that the child needs correcting. Correction is the simple give and take of learning that every child requires. The problem is a childlike pride or inflated self-esteem which makes the process offensive to the child. A mother and father do not intend to offend but to engender the greater good of the child. It is a parent’s job to expose the falsehood in both poor arithmetic and the purloined lollipop. A child who sees love in correction will grow up understanding the contradiction between taking offense and seeking truth. A child unable to move beyond personal affront will always find the truth elusive.
Returning to “What would Jesus do?” the gospels clearly tell us that to love and not offend are certainly not synonymous. Whether you believe in Jesus’s divinity or you think Him simply a wonderful man, He set a standard by which love is judged across religions and across cultures. The modern world loves to claim the Jesus of the Beatitudes as the very essence of caring and love, forgetting that the same Jesus died lonely and forsaken on the cross, not to the crowd’s acclaim but to its disdain. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his Life of Christ makes clear that there is no disconnect between the two. Living the Beatitudes leads to the cross. In his introduction to the chapter on the Beatitudes, he wrote, “But let any man put these Beatitudes into practice in his own life, and he too will draw down upon himself the wrath of the world.” Innocent people who do not offend are not crucified. But an innocent man who speaks the truth with his life and with his words regardless of personal cost will offend those challenged by that truth. Not only do we see in Jesus that one who loves may offend, but that offense is in the very nature of love. In the very act of loving, Jesus called out the deceptions of those they seduced. Those offended demanded not a conversation but a crucifixion.
If it is the truth we seek we must pursue a conversation and not a crucifixion. A society that elevates disagreement to offense will not remain free. By its very nature the false promise demands approval. It cannot stand eye to eye with the truth but must dissemble and discredit it by other means. By its very nature it shuts the conversation down and demands the truth be crucified. Because a falsehood exposed quickly dies, the best deceptions cloak themselves in the guise of love. They are truth distorted, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They appeal to our goodness, telling us what we want to hear and blinding us to things we prefer unseen. Their cunning deceptions offer us a new truth, painting real truth as antiquated and outdated, something for another time, another place, and another people. However, all false promises destroy love. Love and truth go hand in hand. In Jesus love and truth are inseparable. To see one is to see the other. Destroy one and you destroy the other.
Destroying truth requires guile. Great deceptions appear as goodness to those seduced. Assuming the pain of one offended throws a defensive wall around one’s beliefs, immediately calling the love of the offender into question and placing the one aggrieved on high ground. But is it really high ground to demean the intentions of the other and condemn them as hateful? Frequently, the very person who has so judged and condemned another as less loving than himself is the first—when his behavior has been called into question—to declare, “do not judge.” To take offense and to condemn the offender shuts down the conversation and declares the other unworthy. The party that fears it is losing the argument is more likely to shut down the conversation. Reasoned debate often leads to uncomfortable truths.
No one is more likely to shut down a conversation than a man with a chip on his shoulder. Men in every age ably find chips to put on their own shoulders. Our age produces chips in industrial quantities and offers them gratuitously to all comers. A man no longer needs to find and cultivate his own chip. Today’s “reformers” will seek him out and give him one fully grown. But every chip placed invites offense. Every chip placed gives its recipient a reason to feel cheated and offended. Every chip placed shuts down, a little bit more, the conversation that leads to truth. This is the antithesis of love. Each chip centers a man on himself. The man placing the chip on the shoulder of another can marvel at his own goodness while actually giving nothing of his own. The man receiving the chip sees only the invoice due, not the gift to be given.
Love begins with each man freely removing the chip from his own shoulder. The rich man removes the chip that tells him, “I owe nothing to nobody.” The poor man removes the chip that proclaims to the rich man, “You owe me.” Only with both chips freely removed can the rich man and poor man enter into a conversation, a conversation that leads them to a relationship based on the gift each has to offer. Only when all men, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, or any given x and opposing y, have freely removed the chips from their own shoulders can we truly begin to see good people seeking good in a world of false propositions. Only then can a real conversation begin.
Conversations seeking truth require free speech. But truth is not only threatened when speech is restricted. Even silence offends those enslaved by deception. The ascendant lie, the one whose power reaches into a culture’s very core, cannot be ameliorated by silence. Pervasive deceptions require approval, not simple acquiescence. The distortions of Henry VIII required the life of his friend Thomas More, whose conscientious silence Henry refused to accept, demanding instead More’s public approval. In the twentieth century the falsehood that men could be forcefully molded into more perfect men assumed form in communism and fascism. These hubristic barbarisms raised the art of oppression to new levels of inhumanity as nations turned in on themselves, slaughtered large parts of their own populations, and forcefully “re-educated” those remaining. Those still standing were required to live the lie, to goose-step in unison to it, and to turn on neighbors who did not bow to it. There is no sanctuary in what is false, not even in silence.
Good deceptions sedate us before they enslave us. However, it is the very nature of truth to offend, to elicit the cry, “Crucify him!” But, unlike deception, truth cannot take offense without belying itself. Truth sees both the deception and the tragedy of love deceived. That tragedy permits no offense, only sorrow. Truth will die and triumph on a cross before it takes offense. Even though He was the one without sin, the one truly qualified to take offense and to throw stones, Jesus accepted the cross with all its loneliness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Contrarily, the unrepentant criminal repudiated the cross and cried, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39)
Truth is not a blunt weapon wielded to bludgeon the deceived. Truth offers more love to those who love incompletely. It rescues good people caught in great deceits. We offer truth, one fellow traveler to another, not to strike one down but to raise the fallen up and to help them on their way. Once embraced, truth is a gift that must be offered. To grasp it as ours alone transforms it into something false. Following Pentecost, the Apostles went forth bearing gifts, not swords. The gift was a truth so compelling they could not contain it. They must pass it on. Doing so brought the wrath of the world on their heads, with each martyred in turn.
The gift of the Apostles is the same gift we must seek and then pass on. To see a fellow traveler mired in a mud of deception he cannot see and not offer him the light he needs extinguishes the very light one carries. To offer a light expecting gratitude is to misunderstand the blindness of the mired traveler. Only when the falsehood is killed will he see and understand. If it is truly truth that is offered, the untruth will rage before it dies. One who carries the truth will not see an enemy to be conquered but a man enslaved. He will meet the fury of a lie exposed with the patience of Jesus carrying the cross.
Every age has a false promise with a conversation to shut down. The twentieth century holocausts burned through humanity on the false promise that some men could remake other men. The deceptive promise of the twenty-first century proposes that each man can remake himself into whatever he wants. This is the pernicious promise of the Sexual Revolution with its deceptive allure of “love” and “freedom.” Nothing offends like a critique of modern sexuality. Suggesting error in any of its various facets, whether it be contraception, abortion, gay marriage or the now ever multiplying number of genders, elicits cries of hate, bigotry or homophobia.
The Sexual Revolution tells us that we can destroy our own progeny in the womb and call it good, that a man or woman can “find” his or herself at the expense of others, and that the life-denying act of sodomy is equal to the life creating sexual act. Against Humanae Vitae it has raged and railed, declaring it offensive to the newly understood sexuality, effectively removing it from discussion even in Catholic churches. But a deception’s defense through taking offense is simply a beginning. The Sexual Revolution now seeks the participation of all through mandated insurance policies that have clothed the wolf of moral choices with a sheep’s clothing of medical need. Its advocates declare all objections as religion writ large, as superstition properly banished behind church doors, unworthy of a hearing in the public square. The Revolution insists itself triumphant. It demands the conversation end.
Truth requires conversation. There is no freedom without the free pursuit of truth. And without freedom, there is no love. Love requires choices freely made. Love requires truth because truth leads us to love. When we deny truth we deny love. As love cannot compel, neither does truth. Truth proposes and never demands. It sees the love we strive for and points us to even greater love. Its pursuit requires a conversation where offense is neither intended nor taken. Ultimately, truth tells us who we are and where we are going. Strangely, in a time when every man declares the right to define himself, we are on the verge of closing that conversation down. In a world seeking truth, that is truly offensive.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Failing to 'see' the Supernatural in Life is Insanity

Is Bill Gates Insane?

Over the last few days Catholic radar screens have picked up an interview Bill Gates had with Rolling Stone magazine. Here are the questions and answers that have some Catholics talking:
RS: You’re a technologist, but a lot of your work now with the foundation has a moral dimension. Has your thinking about the value of religion changed over the years?
BG: The moral systems of religion, I think, are super-important. We’ve raised our kids in a religious way; they’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I’ve been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that’s kind of a religious belief. I mean, it’s at least a moral belief.
RS: Do you believe in God?
BG: I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm—not all—that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don’t know.
. . . . .
So what do we have here?
The Gates’s children go the Catholic parish that Melinda Gates attends. Bill sometimes attends too, but apparently not out of conviction. He subscribes to the myth (that’s what it is) that ancient man took up religion because he was afraid of things he saw around him in nature and that science largely has supplanted religion because science can explain just about everything (though Gates admits that science can’t explain “the mystery and beauty of the world”).
I think there is less substance here than some Catholic bloggers are finding. If you think about it, the wealthiest man in the world doesn’t have any more insight into that world than does the random man on the street—perhaps even less, if, like so many people wrapped up in technology, his mind is occupied with gadgets rather than with The Meaning of Things.
We do know that, while Melinda Gates is a Catholic, she hardly can be termed a solid Catholic. The foundation that she and Bill run is a major underwriter of abortion and abortion propaganda. So long as Bill and Melinda Gates send their money in that direction, we can be sure that their hearts and minds are not yet close to the heart and mind of the Church, even if they pass through a church door every Sunday.
The problem, at least with Bill Gates—perhaps also with Melinda, but she wasn’t interviewed so it’s harder to tell—is that he isn’t quite sane. Before you mistake what I’m saying, let me say that I’m making use of something Frank Sheed said in what I think was his best book, Theology and Sanity.
His very first sentence reads, “My concern in this book is not with the will but with the intellect, not with sanctity but with sanity.” A few pages later he says, “To overlook God’s presence is not simply to be irreligious; it is a kind of insanity, like overlooking anything else that is actually there. . . . God is not only a fact of religion: he is a fact. Not to see him is to be wrong about everything, which includes being wrong about one’s self.”
Sheed goes on to note that modern man, who thinks himself supremely sane, is ignorant of or actually rejects half of reality: the supernatural half. In this sense modern man can be said to be insane, and Bill Gates is a supremely modern man.
While he may tag along with his family to church, Gates seems to have no real appreciation of the supernatural. For him, the natural seems super enough. In this he is like many people, so this is not to lay special blame on him.
In the way Sheed was using the term, and in the way that I’m using the term, we can say that many people we run across are insane: They see and accept the natural or the visible; they don’t see and so reject the supernatural or the invisible. Because they reject half of reality, they end up having to live myths of their own making.
This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Catholic Answers.
Catholic Answers is an apostolate dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world. They help good Catholics become better Catholics, bring former Catholics “home,” and lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the faith. Visit them online at www.Catholic.com.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fr. Jozo, Legendary priest breaks lengthy silence

Legendary priest breaks lengthy silence

By Jakob Marschner on Jul 24, 2014
Fr. Jozo Zovko is back at writing commentaries on the Virgin Mary’s monthly message. Medjugorje’s charismatic parish priest by the time the apparitions began has been away from public spotlight for more than five years, asked to stay silent until the Vatican Commission had finished.
fr jozo zovko medjugorje autumn 2011
Among the few recent photos to emerge of Fr. Jozo Zovko, this one stems from the Autumn of 2011
Publically silent since early 2009, Fr. Jozo Zovko has now resumed his meditations or commentaries on the Virgin Mary’s monthly message given on every 25th day of the month to Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti.
Now 73 years old Fr. Jozo, the parish priest in Medjugorje when the apparitions began and quickly imprisoned by the communist regime for refusing to denounce the Virgin Mary’s appearances, has only met with very few pilgrims since February 2009. His most recent message commentary dated back even longer when he wrote the first of now three in April this year.
fr jozo zovko medjugorje seer visionary mirjana dragicevic 1983
Fr. Jozo with visionary Mirjana Dragicevic around 1983 when the priest had just been released from 18 months of prison for refusing to denounce the apparitions in Medjugorje
Fr. Jozo’s comeback as a writer coincided almost precisely with the Vatican Commission on Medjugorje finishing its work, as this took place in January this year. His Franciscan superiors had asked him not to speak about Medjugorje in public until the Commission had finished, an order Fr. Jozo obeyed without viewing it as a punishment.
Fr. Jozo was among the key figures the Commission called and questioned. According to Medjugorje Today’s informations, the Commission members were particularly impressed by Fr. Jozo, a well-known charismatic whose talks and writings have affected very many people throughout the years.
fr jozo zovko medjugorje
Recent photo of Fr. Jozo Zovko
In his most recent message commentary, Fr. Jozo calls his readers to true Christian apostleship, noting that only Christians have the tools and answers needed to solve contemporary problems:
“Our time of trials and troubles – like floods, earthquakes and wars – has shown who is a Christian, and who is a man-humanist. This is the time of those who have the heart and the time for prayer, the time for good deeds. Such Christians have the eyes to see the wounds and pains, the sufferings and needs of their neighbors. And today only love – Christian, Jesus’ love – saves and that is why we must stop interpreting and making new theories why and from where problems and troubles come”. Fr. Jozo Zovko states.
“So many live unwisely, and many have lost the joy of life and are fighting against the forces of evil and darkness losing the last hope. Everything is contrary to their wishes and dreams and they simply are losing the will to live. In that night of ignorance and trial man needs God. He is the light. He is a new day. He is our safety.”
1981 fr jozo zovko medjugorje visionaries
Taken in July 1981, shortly before he was arrested, this is one of the earliest known photos of Fr. Jozo with the Medjugorje visionaries. Left to right: Marija Pavlovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic, Jakov Colo, and Ivanka Ivankovic. Only Ivan Dragicevic is missing in this photo from the first summer of the apparitions
“Our generation seeks and needs its apostles. They are not the people who pride themselves on their diplomas and knowledge but the people who have changed their lives – converts. Today only true converts, or rather saints, have the opportunity to help neighbors. Today’s Samaritans watch how Levites and priests passing by the neighbors knowing they have nothing to give them because they have no time, because their time that should be devoted to the neighbor is lost” Fr. Jozo further notes.
“Such lost time makes man nervous and unhappy. Our wrong education makes the love for the neighbor difficult for us, and our conflicts make wounds on the body of the Church family. We are waiting for the good Samaritan, the Samaritan who wholeheartedly meets and helps the needy. He always has something to give and offer, and never walks without the indispensable oil and wine. He knows where the medical clinic is and to whom the patient should be taken to have his health restored.”
apostolic blessing pope john paul ii fr jozo zovko medjugorje priest
Fr. Jozo met Pope John Paul II in 1992. Ten years later, he was positively surprised upon receiving an apostolic blessing from the Pope in his mail. The text reads: “I grant from the heart a particular blessing to Father Jozo Zovko, o.f.m. and I invoke a new outpouring of graces and heavenly favors, and the continuous protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary”.
Since December 2011, Fr. Jozo Zovko has served in a Franciscan monastery in Zagreb, Croatia. Since he left Siroki Brijeg near Medjugorje in early 2009, the last place where he was available to pilgrims on a larger scale, he has also been in charge of rebuilding a Franciscan monastery on the Croatian island of Badija.
Published on the website of his organization “International God-Parenthood for the Herceg-Bosnian child”, dedicated to helping orphans of the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Fr. Jozo’s message commentaries from April and May this year are also available in English.
Spirit Daily is circulating this article

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Approaching Alcohol and the Addict

Approaching Alcohol and the Addict

Summer heat and sun conjure images of laidback, outdoor fun enveloped in a carefree, capricious atmosphere, and it is not uncommon to envision or expect alcohol to be a central (or at the very least, peripheral) aspect of our annual summer fun.
While alcohol in and of itself is not evil, of course, it is prudent for us to examine our use of it.  I say this, because alcohol (and now marijuana in some states) is considered a legal substance in our American culture; therefore, most of us believe this means it is also a safe substance.  The truth is both alcohol and marijuana are classified as drugs, so they must be approached with caution and propriety.
Moderation may be a goal for some of us as we enjoy our gin and tonics or an ice-cold beer at a cookout, but for others of us, moderation is an abstract and futile goal, especially those of us who have a predisposition to alcoholism or addictions in general.  We can know this by being familiar with the disease itself: its neurological and biological origins and manifestations, the psychological aspect of compulsion, and also by acknowledging the pattern of substance abuse in our families of origin.  Finally, we need to be very self-aware and honest with ourselves if we have a tendency toward any sort of addiction, be it an illicit or legal substance or a compulsive behavior.
I have often heard my non-Catholic friends remark that their only experience with Catholicism is the hypocrisy that one can imbibe excessively on a Friday evening with the intention of confessing the sin of drunkenness on Saturday so that s/he can still receive Communion on Sunday morning with the majority of the congregation.  My heart is instantly immersed in a deep sorrow that this is the perception we offer to our modern culture. 
While it’s true that, as Catholics, most of us have justified our own – or someone else’s – excessive indulgence in food or drink at least occasionally, it’s only perpetuating the fallacy that we can engage in sinful behavior as long as we ease our guilty consciences with the misuse of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Confession must be approached with a sincere and authentic spirit of contrition and with the intent to change.  That is what the rest of the world does not witness when we do not exemplify one who is actively engaged in ongoing, personal transformation.
Approaching substance abuse with an open and humble heart extends beyond our personal understanding to how we respond to other people who suffer from various addictions.  As I was browsing my Facebook feed recently, I noticed a video posted by a friend; curious, I began to watch it, and I quickly realized it was an exploitation of a young woman who clearly suffered from substance abuse.  Most of the comments displayed were made in jest or a mockery of her obvious addiction.
That’s the temptation most of us face, isn’t it?  We may witness the embarrassment of someone whose speech is slurred from drunkenness or, even worse, a person who has developed substance-induced psychosis due to prolonged abuse of drugs and alcohol.  We find that laughter and jokes are the cover, the fa├žade, we carry in an attempt to conceal our discomfort or perhaps even to justify our own sins.  We tell ourselves that we are nothing like these people who are sloppy in speech and social graces, unkempt in appearance and humiliated as a direct consequence of a lifestyle choice; we put ourselves at least one tier above them, rationalizing that we, at least, have a good grip on our lives and would never lose control like that.
All of my life I have been surrounded by drugs and alcohol.  That is not to say I grew up in a sketchy neighborhood that was unsafe and riddled with overt addiction.  On the contrary, my childhood was filled with warmth, love, and security.  I grew up in a middle class family with both parents who loved my brother and me and each other.
Even so, somehow I have known, loved, and lost several people in my life to drugs and alcohol.  From family members to close friends, I have witnessed the demise and decay of good people’s bodies, hearts and souls because of substance abuse.  As a child, this (rightfully) frightened me and served as a powerful witness that I carried with me throughout high school and college.  I vowed silently and secretly to never, ever touch drugs and to be extremely cautious with alcohol.
But it wasn’t until more recently that I recognized the pain behind the addict and alcoholic.  The fear and trepidation of my childhood was replaced with empathy and a deep, deep sorrow.  I believe it is because I finally realized that substance abuse is a disease, and it can afflict virtually any of us.  It does not discriminate among socioeconomic status, age, race, or gender.  The stereotypes of addicts and alcoholics I subconsciously adopted for so many years – the dirty, homeless, toothless, jobless slobs talking to themselves on the street corners – vanished slowly and steadily over time.  I realized that good people with good hearts can develop this disease; I realized that could fit the demographic of a potential alcoholic, especially since it is pandemic in my family of origin.
God unveiled my intense aversion to the addicts and alcoholics with whom I came in contact so that, in an unprecedented humility, I saw for the first time theperson, the soul behind the disease.  I was able to separate the sickness from the dignity of the person, something I was incapable of achieving without Divine Grace.  What’s more is that I noticed that I had reacted to the addicts and alcoholics with misplaced fear.
I have come to believe that we fear what we do not understand.  The only way we will change our perception about those who suffer from addictions of various types is to respond to them with love instead of fear.  “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18).  This, I believe, is the key to self-mastery and to humility: the grace we receive by opening our hearts to truth in charity, in our awareness of self and others, and in embracing the reality that we can enjoy life with or without alcohol! http://catholicexchange.com/approaching-alcohol-addict


Jeannie Ewing has a Master of Science in Education and practiced high school counseling for one year before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom to Felicity, a preschooler, and Sarah, a toddler who was born with a rare chromosomal anomaly called Apert Syndrome.  Jeannie is a regular contributor at CatholicMom.com, a former freelancer for her diocesan newspaper, Today's Catholic, and currently maintains a personal blog, lovealonecreates.com, where she writes about parenting children with special needs, faith in everyday life, and personal reflections.  Jeannie and her husband, Ben, live in northern Indiana.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

GUILTY: For Just Being Christian

GUILTY: For Just Being Christian

The Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, Kimberly Driscoll, is actively attempting to destroy Gordon College.
Dissatisfied with the Christian college, practicing its own beliefs, last week Driscoll began to take out her hostility against them. The angry tone of the actions taken against the school reveal a few things that are important for the rest of the nearly 6,400 Christian colleges in America to understand.
First and foremost--none of them are safe. Not a single one.
The activists--having lost the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court--are looking for a place to focus their vengeance. Christian schools now seem to be their target of choice.
Some backstory: Gordon's President Michael Lindsay signed a letter to President Obama asking for a waiver to be granted to Christian schools from his impending executive order. The President has pledged to compel Christian organizations that believe in biblical sexual practice--to be forced to violate that belief and hire people who violate those practices.
Almost universally across the spectrum Christian colleges and universities have "Behavioral Standards" codes that they ask employees and students to observe for the length of time they wish to be employed by or a student at said school.
The Christian school is desiring to advance and deepen the faith of the person attending. The school believes it is important to be consistent in moral worldview as well as moral practice so as to set a good example for the students. This is why when a professor at a state run university conducts themselves in immoral practices, no one knows nor cares. But if an instructor, faculty member, or President of a Christian college conducts an immoral choice--they are more often than not fired upon discovery.
From the Christian school's perspective, it is not wise to ask teachers to instruct something they themselves are not observing.
Almost universally across the spectrum Christian colleges also believe the Bible is the final authority on sexual practice. And the understanding of Biblically approved sexual practice is that it is reserved for man woman marriage, before God, for life. This is why students get kicked out of Christian colleges because they are discovered to be casually sexually involved with each other (and more than 99% of the time on the Christian college campus it is involvement in heterosexual behavior.)
To be clear Gordon College had not set up two different sets of rules--disallowing sex for students who wished to be involved in heterosexual behavior, and a different set of rules for those who wish to be involved in homosexual behavior. Nope--equal treatment under the Gordon College behavior standards was practiced. No sexual behavior by any student while a student outside of marriage period.
The only possible slight that might be able to be conceived was if the college had attempted to tell students who would claim they were married homosexuals. But those students likely would never have interest in studying at a school where core to the tenants of its belief system was rigorously observed biblical sexual standards.
Those who desire homosexual behavior do not simultaneously also desire biblical standards. The two are completely incompatible.
So the Mayor of Salem doesn't care for any of the standards of Gordon College. She doesn't like that they hold their students accountable to the student's own desires (they each agree to the behavioral code before attending.) And now she is attempting to destroy the school.
Which reveals something important to understand.
It is not enough to merely disagree with leftists. They will work with every bit of force they can muster to compel you into agreement with them.
In Driscoll's case she immediately tore up a contract with the school.
Gordon College had been caring for the town's Old Town Hall. They maintained it, had given tours to the community and visitors to the area. They had used it for Gordon events. And they had allowed outside groups to schedule events there as well--all part of the agreement with the town.
Never once has there been an accusation that the Christian college maintaining the Old Town Hall had ever prevented any single group from using the facility. Likewise there is no record of the college denying the use of the facility by people who disagree with their own behavioral standards.
But now the city will deny the school the opportunity to fulfill its contract, because the mayor disagrees with them.
In addition she is among those pushing hard to have Gordon College's accreditation stripped from their programs. Accreditation is one of the key attractions for people to attend colleges and universities, and in doing this the mayor is attempting to choke the very life out of an institution that has been part of it's community and the religious life of this nation for 125 years.
If successful in repealing Gordon's accreditation look for this strategy to be copied by endless numbers of activists against the 6400 Christian colleges across America. It's all part of an ugly and angry campaign to punish Christian colleges for being--in essence--Christian in what they believe, and what they practice.
The intolerance of the left and the ignorance of the faithless will only succeed if the faith-filled show complete indifference.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Healthy Vegan Lifestyle

Back to Basics

We journeyed back in time this past weekend.  Ok, we didn’t use one of those fancy time machines like Michael J. Fox used in his movie, but we did witness things that are lost concepts for all of us with our modern conveniences. Paul’s sister lives in a rural area of Tennessee where time seems to stand still and no one notices.
The extreme quiet of the area was one of the first things we noticed. It’s amazing how much ambient noise we are exposed to without ever realizing it. Then we saw first hand how she has set herself up as a modern day homesteader. From the stick built green house and hand dug, large root cellar to the reclaimed orchard and garden, we were reminded of the days gone by when people had to be more responsible for producing and preserving the foods they consumed. She showed us the fruits and vegetables that she had preserved for use later in the year when the growing season will be over.
She took us to an Amish community.  There, we met Willie who is the shoemaker for the community and anyone else who would like a pair.  What an incredible skill that is!  With a twinkle in his eye he told us he could “heal us, save our souls and that he would even die for us!”  More powerful words have never been spoken, and we were astonished at his passion!  As he reached over the table and showed us the true “souls, heels and dye” that he was talking about, we began to see that humor in this part of the country was readily available and brought out the best in everyone.
The produce at their market was unlike foods we had tasted since we were very young. The pure sweetness that comes from non-GMO, non-hybridized, organic seeds that are grown in virgin soil that has plenty of nutrients had grown foods with flavors that we hadn’t tasted in over 30 years.  It truly took us back to the days when we ran in our parents’ and grandparents’ gardens, grabbed food directly from the plant and popped them in our mouths. The cantaloupe was sweet, but not so sweet that you felt thirsty after you eat it.  The fresh corn was tender, sweet and crunchy—a combination that is addictive, even without the addition of butter or salt. We can’t wait to try the watermelon and beautiful okra we bought.
We also visited the community iridologist, who took one look into Ann’s eyes and told her she was severely chemically toxic.  Together, we determined that all of the years that my parents had used polyurethane on the hardwood floors, paneling and the shellac on the window frames and doors, had been soaked into my young little body and as I have aged, many of my symptoms can be traced to those toxins.
Paul and I were astonished how this 70 plus year old gentleman could so swiftly identify what we have been achingly searching to understand for decades of our own.  We knew I had a heavy metal issue, but no one identified the chemical toxicity and we never realized it could be so detrimental to the hormones, thyroid and adrenal.
The children ran around bare foot playing amongst themselves just as we did when we were kids. No computes, Xbox or Nintendo game machines or TV’s to keep them occupied.
The men in the community were lean and active.  You would see them riding their horses, working in the gardens or actively working in the many other facets of the community.
Although the bakery looked inviting with the cookies and pies, we never saw any of the community eating those types of foods.  Rather, we saw a man harvesting a wheelbarrow filled with cantaloupes, which we learned, would be canned for their winter food.
As we left, we realized that this community of truly happy people, who live simple lives, had created a world where clean living and supporting others in such unique ways is a form of servant hood that depicts the wisdom and intelligence of those who are well nourished.
The many facets of the Amish community are still unknown to us, but one thing is certain—their dedication to God, their family, their community and to their health is powerfully obvious as they spend much of their day ensuring that the foods they consume are natural, organic and nutritious.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Side Effects of Psychiatric Drugs, Deadly

Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)

Tuesday, June 03, 2014by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Tags: Elliot RodgerXanaxpsychiatric drugs

(NaturalNews) Like nearly all mass murderers and psycho killers, Elliot Rodger is now confirmed to have been taking massive doses of psychiatric drugs. Law enforcement authorities have now confirmed Elliot Rodger, the "sorority girl" killer of Isla Vista, California, was taking massive doses of Xanax, a psychiatric drug belonging to a class of chemicals called benzodiazepines.

"Elliot had been taking Xanax for awhile, according to his parents ... there were fears he might have been addicted to it, or taking more than was prescribed," a law enforcement source told RadarOnline (1), which first broke the story.

"The Xanax had been prescribed to Elliot by a family doctor," the story continues.

A second story on RadarOnline (2) explores, "disturbing details about the community college student's dependence on Xanax."

That story goes on to report:

Based on interviews with Elliot's parents, Peter and Li Chen, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department "is being told that he was likely addicted to Xanax ... Peter and Li have been doing basic research on addiction to Xanax, and based on what they have read, they believe the tranquilizer made him more withdrawn, lonely, isolated, and anxious," a source told Radar. "It's their understanding that when Xanax is taken in large amounts, or more than the prescribed dosage, these are some of the side effects."

Time after time, mass murderers are found to have been taking psychiatric drugs

Elliot Rodger now joins a long and ever-expanding list of other killers who were either taking psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from them at the time they committed mass murder.

While the mainstream media predictably blames guns for all mass shootings, it rarely looks at the chemical drugging of the person who pulled the trigger on those guns. After all, guns don't operate by themselves. They require a person to make a decision to commit murder.

In case after case, mass murderers on psychotropic drugs describe themselves as feeling withdrawn, isolated, distant and almost living out a "video game" that isn't real. This is what psychiatric drugs to do you: they make you feel detached from reality.

Here's just some of the true history of psychiatric drugs and mass murder:

* Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold's medical records have never been made available to the public.

* Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

* Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

* Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

* Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

* Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

* Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

* Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

* A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

* Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

* A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

* Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

* TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

* Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

* James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

* Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania

* Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

* Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

* Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

* Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

* Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

* Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

* Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

* Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

* Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

* Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara's parents said ".... the damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil...")

* Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth's father could not accept his son's death and killed himself.)

* Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family's detached garage.

* Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

* Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

* Woody, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

* A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

* Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and "other drugs for the conditions."

* Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

* Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

* Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.

* Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

* Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Missing from list... 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds....

* What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21... killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az?

* What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24... killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado?

* What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or?

* What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct?

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/05/el...

(2) http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/06/uc...

About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month. 

In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to becontaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015. 

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profitConsumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories. 

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies. 

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggetsfake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics. 

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.