Be careful if you reject the idea of an earthquake as God’s judgment for sin

God in Judgment Yesterday’s Strib has a letter to the editor by Northfielder and frequent LoGroNo commenter, John George, on “how earthquakes can be God’s judgment for sin.” (See full text below.) I’m hoping John will chime in here with a longer explanation. 

As an atheist, it makes no sense to me, of course, and I last blogged about God’s role in natural disasters back in 2007.

But for those of you who do believe in God and who might quickly dismiss John’s assertions, consider how often you pray or participate in prayers that ask God to intercede in some way in your physical world or the physical world of others. 

Praying to God to get you a job, to keep your child safe, or to heal a friend’s cancer assumes that God has fantastic power to reach inside and manipulate the economy, a potential attacker’s damaged emotions/brain, or the diseased cells of someone’s body. This is really no different than believing that God can reach inside the earth to manipulate its tectonic plates.

I’m guessing that most of Northfield’s ministers and members of their congregations would reject John’s assertion that the Haiti earthquake had anything to do with sins of Haitian or Americans. Yet I’m guessing that most regularly engage in  intercessory or petitionary prayers.

And as I wrote in another 2007 blog post, I think that’s a bastardization of what Jesus meant when he said, “Ask and you shall receive.”

John’s letter to the editor:

Update 6:37 am: I’ve added the scriptural references that John says were edited out of his original letter:

There have been several comments submitted about the Rev. Pat Robertson’s seemingly calloused opinion that this earthquake in Haiti was a result of sin. I read a CNN report this week in which their reporters visited some Haitian churches. The sermon topic in each church was about how earthquakes can be God’s judgment for sin. Hmmm. Do these local pastors have the courage to say something we refuse to admit?

There is a passage in Luke 13, NAS:Luke {13:4} "Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?”

{13:5} "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." 2002 (C) Bible.

The thing we Americans refuse to recognize is that our sin contributed to this disaster. How about it, Americans? When are we going to repent?


232 thoughts on “Be careful if you reject the idea of an earthquake as God’s judgment for sin”

  1. I think an important component of this discussion is the evaluating the difference in what a person says in one venue, as opposed to what they say in another.

    Example: a letter writer to the NFNews expresses a decidedly conservative, but not excessive response to a previous letter; then expresses a, IMO, excessively extreme, including incitement to violence, position on one of their blogs.

    What position is the ‘core’ belief? How are we to assess those two oppositional views… one within the realm of reality and the other, again IMO, outside of societal acceptability?

    Looking for some philosophical, ethically reasoned answers… not off -the-top-of-the-head rhetoric.
    Think about it…

    1. Anthony- Great observation. I agree. I heard a definition of humility one time. Humility is being willing to be known for who you are. This is covers both strengths and weaknesses. The person who is secure in his convictions can be the same in public or privacy. Another quip I heard is that the real test of a person’s character is what they do when they think no one is looking.

  2. I can’t help but wonder what God thinks about Focus on the Family (organization) spending THREE MILLION DOLLARS on an anti-abortion commercial for the Superbowl…

    Will there be an earthquake if God concludes that there was a more helpful way to spend THREE MILLION DOLLARS focussing on helping families in need…

    Like maybe in Haiti?

  3. What perhaps should be a greater concern is the billions of dollars spent over the last 3 decades killing babies out of convenience rather than necessity. Ps. 139:16 says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me,When as yet there was not one of them.” Murder is still murder (premeditated taking of a life for your OWN purposes), even if you call it choice.

    1. John: you have repeatedly said that you respect differing opinions… but here you go again: “killing babies out of convenience rather than necessity” and “Murder is still murder…”
      When you phrase your opinions in that summary and accusatory manner, you are assuming you can walk in someone else’s moccasins, as the saying goes.
      This goes back to my comment , # 51…
      So no matter how often you say you are respectful of the opinions of others, I don’t see that respect borne out in your comments.

    2. Kiffi- Respecting a person’s right to have and to express an opposing opinion is different than not using terms that offend. Neither of us has the right not to be offended by an opinion or the words used to express that opinion, as long as they are not libelous. Did you know that your use of “choice” to justify abortion is offensive to me and many others? You have the freedom to call it choice. I have the freedom to call it murder. I cannot control the words you use any more than you can control the words I use. I can only control my reaction to those words. And, I am not changing my vocabulary according to the venue I happen to be in. What you see is what you get.

  4. Will we see a billboard of the same nature, as has been discussed here, in Northfield?

    Would a billboard have more impact than the attendance of the “prayer ladies” at the City Council, and now , for the past two meetings, at the EDA?

    I understand completely the idea of praying for “good outcomes for the city of Northfield”… good outcomes in whose opinion?

    I would hope that any prayers for “good outcomes” for the EDA would get on task with getting the majority voters of that organization to focus on complying with the state statutes that must guide their process.

    1. Kiffi,

      I find the practice of the “prayer ladies” to be less an open ended appeal for undefined “good outcomes” than an attempt to influence the outcomes: manipulative, confrontational, and not just a little intimidating.

      And also unbiblical: “whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others…whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. Matt 6:5-6
      .-= (Obie Holmen is a blogger. See a recent post titled A Wretched Man novel release date set) =-.

    2. Obie: Explain “manipulative, confrontational, and not just a little intimidating.” Who are they manipulating, confronting and intimidating?

    3. It is already stated on the NFnews site, two hours after I made my comment #55, that Kiffi Summa “doesn’t want the prayer ladies at the EDA meetings any more”.

      Let me perfectly clear: I do not give a diddly d*** whether or not the prayer ladies want to get up for a 7:30 AM EDA meeting .
      I welcome as many people as can seeing the out-of- compliance -with -statutes EDA process, which is being enacted by the majority voting group.

      However, I would like them to be forthright enough to comment about what they consider “good outcomes”; that is still a ‘mystery'( and not a religious mystery) to most since they would not comment except in platitudes (“good outcomes”) during the whole “prayer lady” ‘controversy’.

    4. Obie & Kiffi- The context of Matthew 6:5&6 speaks to the motivation of the hypocrites, “to be seen by men.” If you remeber correctly, the prayer ladies started out in a private place, but because of the outcry of some people, they were forced out into the open meetings. They have every right to be there, and, as far as I know, have never created a disturbance, unlike others I have heard of.

      Regarding your sense of intimidation by someone praying in secret but in a public meeting, I would suggest you look at this scripture-

      John 18:20
      “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.”

      Also, the Great Commission says to go into all the world. The city governance organization I think fits that discription. These meetings are not being carried out on Mars. Christianity was never meant to be a hidden religion. It was meant to be a changed lifestyle lived openly in public, no matter what is said about it. Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

    5. John,

      Certainly, the prayer ladies have the right to do what they do, but having a right doesn’t make it right.

      You are correct that the Matthew pericope criticizes public prayer as hypocritical and boastful. My point exactly. “Look at us, see how holy we are!”

      The preaching and evangelizing verses you cite are inapplicable to public prayer, or are you saying the purpose of the public spectacle of the prayer ladies is evangelization? If so, it is rather “in your face” and likely to be received as offensive and counterproductive. Do you seriously equate Jesus’ preaching and teaching in synagogues and the temple with the prayer ladies? Public meetings of secular bodies is hardly the same setting as a synagogue or the ancient Jerusalem temple.

      Since I’m new to Northfield and unaware of prior prayer ladies discussions, I cannot speak to your assertion that they were somehow forced out of private prayer into public. Yet, it strikes me as odd and raises questions of motivation that the ladies choose to become a public spectacle. Is God less likely to heed their prayers if done without public pomp and circumstance? The Matthew text suggests otherwise. Thus, the motivation behind the public spectacle must be suspect as boastful, manipulative, or ill-mannered and misguided evangelism.
      .-= (Obie Holmen is a blogger. See a recent post titled A Wretched Man novel release date set) =-.

    6. Obie- What do you mean by this statement?

      “…but having a right doesn’t make it right.”

      Does this only apply to somone who would attend a public meeting to observe and privately pray about the proceedings? How does this differ from someone who chooses to sit at the front of the bus rather than the back?

      As far as the history behind the prayer ladies, there is a lengthy discussion on this blog from a couple years ago. Just cross reference it in the search engine.

      Also, your terms you use in this sentence

      “Thus, the motivation behind the public spectacle must be suspect as boastful, manipulative, or ill-mannered and misguided evangelism.”

      just simply do not fit the facts. Have you been to a meeting where they attend? If so, what have you observed to justify pronouncing this type of judgement upon their behavior?

      (Sorry about the quotation format. I still haven’t figured out how to do a block quote)

    7. John,

      I think the words speak for themselves and are oft-expressed in one form or another. Just because someone may have a legal right to perform a certain act doesn’t excuse bad behavior. Flatulence in a crowded elevator, for instance.

      What is their motivation? Why must they make a public spectacle of their prayer? What do they hope to accomplish by making it public rather than private?

      Do the prayer ladies have the right to do what they do? Of course, and all I’m saying is that I find their motivation suspect and their behavior noxious. Don’t begrudge my right to hold my nose.
      .-= (Obie Holmen is a blogger. See a recent post titled A Wretched Man novel release date set) =-.

    8. Obie- You can hold your nose all you want. As to the motivations, why don’t you ask the ladies for yourself. They are very approachable and gracious. I would still like to know why you use the terms you use to describe their behavior in the meetings they attend. Those terms just are not accurate. Perhaps you are reacting on someone else’s opinion?

    9. John,

      I’m not sure how I be any clearer. The fact that the ladies choose to make a public spectacle of their prayer raises questions about their motivations. I say again, what do they hope to accomplish in public that they could not in private?

      Opinions expressed are solely mine. I’ve said my piece. I’m done.
      .-= (Obie Holmen is a blogger. See a recent post titled A Wretched Man novel release date set) =-.

    10. Obie- Perhaps I am not understanding your terms. When you say they “…make a public spectacle of their prayer…”, that conjurs up images of of a ring of people sitting around beating a drum, or someone standing up with a mega-phone. How you would even know they are praying at all is not evident in their demeanor or actions. I feel your comments are more prejudicial opinions than actual observations. You are certainly entitled to those and to express them, but I reserve the right to call you on them, also.

  5. Griff: maybe you can resuscitate a blended EDA and “PrayerLadies” thread that might be a more tightly associated subject than here with God and sin and natural disasters ?

  6. God, sin, natural disasters… and Prayer Ladies and EDA meetings.

    I tend to be more of a lumper than a splitter, but that grouping does make some sense to me.

  7. Patrick,

    Does being a lumper and a regular, down-to-earth kind of guy make you a member of the lumpingproletariat?

    Seriously, I agree it’s time for a topic split. Like ’em or not, it’s hard to see the prayer ladies as a natural disaster.

  8. “Good outcomes?” Whose term is that, and from what context or article are you quoting it? Your animosity toward any open intercession for the city governance puzzles me. If God is as distant, inert, and universally loving as you seem to portray Him, what fear do you have of someone intreating Him for favor in the city governance? I know I am treading out on thin ice here, in light of other discussions I have had with you, but my curiosity got the best of me.

    1. Opps. I meant that post to be a continuance of the discussion in #60. Kiffi, I was addressing you with those questions. Sorry about the discontinuity.

    2. John: the literature from Transformation Northfield speaks of bringing” the sacred into the secular”.
      Fine, if that is the goal of the ‘public prayer sessions’ in city meetings. .. But you must understand that although you have a right to do that, it is considered to be an infraction of the INTENT of the separation of church and state.
      We must all live under that separation; it IS the law of the land.
      And it is disturbing to see the tactic spread.
      And given the Harvard University study on MegaChurches, and the focus described on the economics of a community, it is more disturbing to see it spread from the Council to the EDA.

      I FULLY support the right to be there; I also fully support the right to ‘call it out’ to public notice… and if you could bring yourself to be as fair as you profess to be… you would acknowledge my right to do just that.

      And there is no criticism implied in asking about wished for outcomes, or goals; I am curious about why that cannot be asked without being perceived to be an implied religious criticism? If it is a genuine hope, with no religiously framed intentions, then what is the problem with explaining what the transformative goals are?

      I think this is why Obie Holmen describes these actions as “manipulative, confrontational, and not just a little intimidating”.#55.1

      Herein lies the basic problem: when religious views creep into public policy and are called out, the hue and cry is always that someone’s religious views are being criticized.
      If you take your “sacred” views into the “secular” realm, as is stated on the homepage of Transformation Northfield, then you must also allow the ‘notice’ of that action.

    3. Kiffi- I really don’t want to take this up with you, but the INTENT of the opinion of the separation of church and state, voiced by Thomas Jefferson, was to assure a contemporary pastor that the new government would not come in and shut down his church because of what he preached. It was not to separate religion FROM the public domain. I think those who wield that sword of “separation” now have got the original intent twisted.

    4. John: If you don’t want to, what compels you to do so?
      and by the way , you did not answer any of my other questions… which of course I cannot compel you to do…
      Additionally, do you have a ‘channel’ to Thomas Jefferson and what he was anticipating in “contemporary” pastors and their possible problems with proselytizing?

    5. Kiffi- Ok, I’ll try to answer your other questions. This first question,

      “If you don’t want to, what compels you to do so?”

      I guess I still have some hope that you have a desire to understand where I am coming from. My past experiences trying to discuss these issues with you have not been fruitful toward those ends. My feeling in some of our interactions is that you are more intent on belittling me and my beliefs than to try to understand. I know that may sound harsh, but that has been my perception. I still am looking for some indication that my perception is incorrect. In other words, I haven’t just written you off as some termagant.

      This one I am simply not understanding what you are asking.

      “…I am curious about why that cannot be asked without being perceived to be an implied religious criticism?”

      I’m sorry to be so dense, but I just don’t understand the question, and what exactly you are refering to. My perception of your reaction to the ladies praying in the meetings is two fold. First, it doesn’t appear the ladies fit your understanding of the scriptures. I have no problem with that. If we all had the same understanding of scriptures, there would not be the numerous denominations represented. My other perception is that I feel you are condemning the ladies for even attending the meetings to pray. You seem to insist that this is a violation of the separation clause. I just do not understand why you would interpret their actions this way unless you think they are on some diabolical mission to overthrow the city government. Both things seem to elicict emotional reactions and accusations of wrongdoing from you rather than any desire to tolerate our position. Just seems strange to me.

      I think this is the other question you are refering to-

      “what is the problem with explaining what the transformative goals are?”

      I guess it seems pretty clear to me what the goals are. Our desire is best expressed in I Timothy 2:3&4,

      “3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
      4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

      When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, one line says, “May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We insert “Northfield” where He said “earth”. Our desire is to see the Kingdom of God come in our own lives, our families and our city. The only ones who need be afraid of that transformation are those who have sided with the enemies of God, IMO. The question is not whether God is for us or against us. The question is, are we for God? Beyond that, I don’t know how to explain it. If I’m using terms in ways you do not understand, please let me know.

      As far as taking the Sacred into the secular, I’m glad you noticed. The Spirit of God must be at work.

    6. Oops- I see one other question I missed, Kiffi,

      “…do you have a ‘channel’ to Thomas Jefferson…”?

      Actually, I do. It is called historical writings. They are readily available to read on the internet and at the library.

    7. Kiffi- I’m very aware of the meaning of termagant, and I have still not written you off as one. I don’t see that I have anything to appologize for.

  9. I made a mistake when I checked the box “notify me of the followup comments via e-mail.” can you fix it for me, Griff? No more comments via e-mail, thanks!

    Happy Friday, everyone. 🙂

    1. Holly, any blog post comment thread you’ve subscribed to via email has this phrase under the reply/comment box:

      You are the author of this entry. Manage subscriptions.

      Clicking on that “Manage subscriptions” link allows you to remove yourself.

      I’ve removed your email address from two posts for you.

  10. Dorothea Hrossowyc has a letter to the editor in today’s Nfld News:

    This seems to be the same philosophy as Pat Robertson, ie, earthquakes as God’s (Mother Earth’s) punishment for our lack of compassion:

    These times are calling to us to turn our hearts toward compassion. Twenty-five years ago I heard a Hopi elder teach that we human beings must turn our hearts toward compassion and beauty, that if we do not, the earth would see floods, storms, tornados, earthquakes, etc. to cleanse itself from our pollution, and to open human hearts toward that compassion and care. We have been lax in those directions of paying attention to the pollution of the earth, and the human suffering of the children, but we can listen and heed this indigenous intelligence.

    1. Griff- That’s really interesting. Seems that the concept of judgement for destructive behavior is not just a Judeo-Christian concept. Maybe Paul knew what he was talking about in Romans 1:18-20

      18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
      19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
      20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    2. John G:


      … the concept of judgement for destructive behavior is not just a Judeo-Christian concept. Maybe Paul knew what he was talking about in Romans 1:18-20 …

      Well, yes — the concept of judgement and retribution is part of every broad religious tradition I’ve ever heard of, from Hinduism to the Hopi teaching Dorothea H references.

      The idea that bad actions (environmental, societal, …) can have bad consequences is not, to my knowledge, controversial, and it’s certainly not what this discussion thread has tried to address. The live questions here, I think, are (i) whether bad events, like earthquakes, are in any useful sense brought on themselves by those afflicted; and (ii) whether God (or gods) have any role in causing or triggering such bad events, retributive or not.

    3. Paul Z.- I think your statements of the original questions

      “…i) whether bad events, like earthquakes, are in any useful sense brought on themselves by those afflicted; and (ii) whether God (or gods) have any role in causing or triggering such bad events, retributive or not.”

      have been well discussed above. I still go back to the the verses in Luke 13:3-5 to gain some insight. I don’t think we have to know one way or the other whether God has any role in triggering these events to benefit from repenting of those wrongs we know we do. I don’t believe it is a magic tallisman, but it certainly improves our lives and those who have to live around us.

      This current discussion between Kiffi and I really needs to be over in the EDA thread, but I have no idea how to move it there. Griff?

  11. I hope everyone has read John’s comment, #61.5, in which he explains the Transformation Northfield initiative/goals.

    John: you say that in the words of the Bible, where it says: ” …your will be done on earth…”, TF substitutes “Northfield”.

    So you, who often state that you believe the Bible to be the literal word of God, feel free to take that word, and particularize it for yourself and yours. I.E., you have taken the wish for God’s beneficence for the earth, and asked that it be focussed on your ‘special’ community.
    I call that arrogance, if not greed.

    Then you say; “only ones who need to be afraid of that are the ones who have sided with the enemies of God”.
    Who would those enemies be identified as? Anyone who does not believe as you do? Other religions, those who have other deities or belief systems?
    I call that judgmental, if not threatening.
    Well, actually, I DO call that threatening.

    You say it is your duty to follow the Great Commission; but as I have pointed out to you before, you have forsaken the last half of the Great Commandment, which is the focus of what is to be spread by the Great Commission… and that is to ” …love thy neighbor as thyself”.

    So.. once again you have particularized the word of God to your own special use, and narrowed the benefaction of the message.

    P.S. would it also be possible for you to put a ‘penance’ on yourself, and speak from your own mind, rather than the references of your concordance, for , oh, … let’s say 30 days?

    1. Kiffi- First of all, personalizing the Scriptures accomplishes what is written in I John 2:14,

      “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

      Note this phrase, “… the word of God abides in you…” When I say that I have a Biblical world view, I mean exactly that. As far as calling this “arrogance and greed,” that only shows your ignorance of any experience with God. What qualifies you to pronounce this type of judgement when you have no personal understanding or experience of God? This verse in James 2:19 fits right in with this concept,

      “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

      This exchange in Acts 19:15

      “And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” ”

      gives us some insight into the spirit world. I don’t have to go looking for those who are the enemies of God. They know about me.

      Regarding judgement, I Cor. 6:2 speaks into this,

      “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?”

      Also Heb 5:14 speaks into this,

      “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

      I don’t understand your charge against me of not loving my neighbor. You do not know what things I do demonstrating love for my neighbor, but my neighbors know. And you never will, unless they chose to tell you, because I adhere to the adminition to not let my right hand know what my left hand is doing when giving alms.

      Regarding your PS, the answer is NO! The reason is what I quoted above in I John 2:14. Aside from Him, I can do nothing.

    2. Griff: I frankly think that the statements that John Made in 65.1 are far worse, far more insulting, than any sarcasm could possibly be.

      John: You have got one hell of a nerve saying I have no personal experience or understanding of God, and that I am ignorant of any religious experience. I was baptized, brought up, and confirmed in the Methodist Church; how I choose to express my religion now is none of your business to judge.
      You have shown yourself to be at the height of bigotry and arrogance; you should be ashamed to call yourself a man of religion.

      If you are so thickheaded as to think “love thy neighbor” is actually referring to thy explicit ‘neighbor’, rather than the whole of humanity.. well , John… I finally understand why you are so dependent on that concordance of yours.

    3. Kiffi- I think your statement,

      “…how I choose to express my religion now is none of your business to judge.”

      speaks for itself.

    1. Take your time , Griff… Having just come from seeing Michael Haneke’s extraordinary film “the White Ribbon” and just having finished Hilary Mantel’s stunning novel of Thomas Cromwell, “Wolf Hall”, I have all the time in the world for the Renewal churches to drag down the Idea of the goodness of God , encompassing all his ‘children’ of the world, rather than any specific population… to drag down the Idea of the goodness of a God, to a meanness against a perceived minority, or indeed any group or singular person whose perception of ‘life’ may differ , and whose beliefs may pursue that question.

    2. My comment in 61.5 still stands-

      “My feeling in some of our interactions is that you are more intent on belittling me and my beliefs than to try to understand.”

  12. For those of you looking for God’s purposes in Haiti, take a look at this video clip and read the account.

    Two scriptures come to mind- when God moves, no one can prevent Him; and God works all things together for good for those who love Him and keep His commandments. Also, a third- God is not slack as some count slackness, but is longsuffering, not willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentence and the knowledge of the truth.

    And, for those of you who might be concerned, I don’t have to use my references for those scriptures. They are a part of me.

  13. For those of you looking for God’s purposes in Haiti, please consider looking at some scientific truths rather than “supernatural truth”… i.e. the extremely rapid movement of the submerged oceanic plates both immediately above and below the equator…

  14. I think your concordance has failed you, John… You keep quoting verses that speak to exclusion, not inclusion , because of how YOU define god’s interest in people.
    I personally think you do your god a disservice by this misinterpretation…

    1. Christianity is NOT and never has been a universalist inclusive religion. Just as Islam, it is mutually exclusive to those who do not believe its tenets. If you believe, you are in. If you do not believe, you are not in. Just as Jesus said, many are called, but few are chosen. Also, narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life, but wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction. That balances out His desire that all men come to repentance and the knowledge of the truth. It is the difference between His desire and the reality of each individual’s choice. That is not my definition. It is His.

      And, my concordance serves me very well, but it is the prompting of the Holy Spirit that brings these verses to rememberance.

      1. But John, you have said that not all who call themselves Christians are; that only those who are of a “renewal” frame of mind are, and you have stated what is required by YOU to be included in the Christian part of the world… and you have set YOUR rules as to who is a believer.

        Even the US government (re: the Census) allows self definition; as a matter of fact it is the ONLY definition they allow, by law.

      2. John: I’m going to disagree. I think Paul says that Christ is for Jew and Gentile, master and slave, man and woman, etc.

        In the Catholic faith, creed is only one part of the faith. There are also sacramental, moral, and prayerful elements that compromise the pillars of faith. I think it is the Gospel of Matthew that says that the righteous will be separated from the wicked by how they have acted, not how they have believed, and that theifs and whores will make it to heaven before some others claiming to be faithful and pious.

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church now even provides that atheists may have eternal salvation. So, I would say that proclamation is quite universalist.

      3. David- This “proclamation” is Catholic, not necessarily scriptural. It does appear to be universalist. You can use the Catholic catacism as a standard to judge what things fit into the Catholic faith, but that is a relatively small percentage of the total Christian Church. I use the scripture as it is written to judge various philosophies, sects, etc. We each have to answer for how we each apply the scripture to our daily lives. That is why I refer to Christianity as a relationship with God. Take a look at John 1:12, Luke 8:12 and I Corinthians 1:21 for a few examples of how “believing” relates to “being saved.”.

      4. Kiffi- See Matthew 7:20-23. I didn’t make the rules. He did. I choose to believe Him rather than men.

  15. Might we have somewhat of an “earthquake” in Northfield, or at least a minor tempest…

    I am wondering how “God” would respond to the idea of this: I heard a rumor that Rejoice Renewal Lutheran Church, which has bought the historic site of the Holy Cross Church in Dundas, is wanting to move the cemetery, because it does not suit them for those graves to be there…

    Is that possibly true?

    I thought that Church was a designated historic site. I thought that graveyards were respected sacred sites.

    I hope this is an unfounded piece of speculation, rather than fact.
    Can anyone from Dundas speak to this?

  16. Catholic means “universal”, does it not? When I grew up I was taught that we are all God’s children and that Jesus was like our brother, no matter what. And it’s just like here…if you don’t want to see the miracle of life you are, if you want to suck mud so to speak, you can, but you won’t see the morning sun, even if it is right before your eyes. Same with heaven. If you don’t claim it, then you can go elsewhere, but wherever you are God is there. So, no big deal about who can get in.

    It’s about what you want to do. God gives us free will. That’s what’s so nice about God. Not many people will allow you absolute free will once they know you exist.

    Now I can see if my new photo has followed me here and wave hello to my neighbors Griff and Robbie whom I have not seen for a long time!

    1. Bright- This is how Noah Webster defines “catholic”:

      catholic definition catho·lic (kat?h?? lik, kat?h?lik)


      1.of general scope or value; all-inclusive; universal
      2.broad in sympathies, tastes, or understanding; liberal
      3.of the Christian church as a whole; specif., of the ancient, undivided Christian church
      4.of the Christian church headed by the pope; Roman Catholic
      5.of any of the orthodox Christian churches, including the Roman, Greek Orthodox, Anglo-Catholic, etc., as distinguished from the Reformed or Protestant churches
      Etymology: ME catholik < L catholicus, universal, general (in LL(Ec) & ML, orthodox, Catholic) < Gr katholikos < kata-, down, completely + holos, whole: see holo-

      1.a member of the universal Christian church
      2.a member of any of the Catholic churches; esp., a Roman Catholic

  17. John: re: your 69.1.4…. you are such a strict literal constructionist; If I were you, I’d be worrying… BIG TIME… about the word “iniquity” in your recommended Matthew 7:23.

  18. So… does anyone care to respond to the ‘destruction’ of a historic site, Holy Cross Church in Dundas, and the possible moving of its cemetery?

    Is it true that memorial tablets in the sanctuary , purchased by families in memory of their family members, have been removed by the new owners of the property?

    1. Kiffi- Are you a member of the former church or a member of Rejoice! that would put you in a position to affect what the new owners do with the property?

  19. John : of course I cannot AFFECT what the “owners” do with the property…

    I think all owners of historic properties should be respectful of those properties that have a community history; I think that’s an INclusive, as opposed to EXclusive, precept of owning a historic property.

    As usual, IMO, you are dismissive of other’s history, as well as everything else about ‘others’.

    If there is a rational rationale for dismantling the history of that property, let’s hear it…

    1. Kiffi- The church building is registered as a historic property. Any changes will go through the proper channels. That is what they are there for.

  20. John, Who is Noah Webster? But really, I believe that a location is completely and absolutely to be preserved for historical purposes for future generations. Every religion, every martial art, every native peoples subscribe to the idea that the energy and vibration grow and become more powerful over time as energy of the same sort is put into it.

    If you are making a stew and use all the right ingredients, at the end of the cooking time, you are going to get one heck of a meal. But if you keep moving that pot around to all the neighbors’ and relatives’ houses, and put too many odd experimental food stuffs in there, you will get a bunch of people pushing their chairs away from the table and high tailing it over to KFC.

    I’m all for progress but not at the expense of blowing away the past, exclusive of the past where the culture is ready for all people to move away from oppression and hunger.

    Can I get a witness?

    1. Bright- Noah was that little know brother of Mirriam’s who actually did most of the research on the dictionary, but went into obscurity without ever getting any credit. Actually, Noah was a late night typo from my overtired brain. Sorry.

      I’m not convinced of your stew analogy, aside from too many cooks ruining it. Christianity is not a part of a sum of total spiritual influences associated with a local.

  21. Sorry, John and everyone, I somehow got myself on the wrong thread no. 75. I was talking about the church in Dundas, except for the reference to the terms universal and catholic.

    So far as this question is concerned, I don’t think that death is a punishment and I don’t think that injury is anything more than a chance to learn and experience life under different circumstances. Be like the dog.

  22. This thread has lain dormant for a while. Would that volcanoes and other natural and unnatural disasters had done the same.

    But the natural-disaster-as-God’s-punishment theme just won’t stay dead. An article in today’s Washington Post

    collects a variety of novel religious theories about the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, which has been linked to iniquities ranging from gay rights in Europe to (thanks, Rush L) health care law in America to British ads for tourism in Palestine to immodest female dress.

    No word yet on God’s role in the Louisiana coastal oil spill. (Rush Limbaugh seems to suspect headline-seeking environmentalists.)

    1. Paul- Concerning the oil well rupture, I was reminded of this scripture in I Kings 8:32: “…condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head…” Now, it is not wicked to drill an oil well, by any means, but to not have some contingency plan for this type of event is whistling past the graveyard. IMO, this is a case where man’s own actions have caused his own judgement. God just sits back and watches. Now, if we could see some divine intervention in stopping this rupture…

      1. Maybe the “Transformation” movement should take on the oil industry … as seen, a lot more destructive than Nf’s City Council or EDA …

      2. Kiffi- I think we will stay with our original directions:

        ” Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” Jer. 29:7

  23. Paul…For the sake of focus, maybe we should stop calling this disaster an oil ‘spill’. It is a huge gushing underwater hydrant that can not be turned off. Latest estimate: 5000 barrels a day. But nobody really knows. It could be releasing much more oil. The Ixtoc 1 well spewed 30,000 barrels a day (for months) into the southern gulf when it blew. It is considered the second biggest ‘spill’ of all time (just under the gulf war. The BP well is much bigger, deeper, and harder to stop. And only 50 miles from our coast.

    This will be a catastrophe for the gulf coast and the entire nation. Locally Grown impact? The environmental impact effects us all. Some economic impact: lower prices for crops if ‘the river’ and other gulf ports are closed; higher prices for energy (and other goods) that can not be unloaded/refined at those same ports; right down to my wife’s son and her three nieces who will have to cancel their trip to our house on the alabama coast. That beach there will be covered with oil within days.

    Frankly I’m amazed that Obama is hosting the playful white house coorespondents dinner last night, while what could be the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history is developing right before our eyes…

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