Duties and limits according to Paul and Tertullian.

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Wiki- Jean-Léon Gérôme — The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Rom 13:1–3.

Christians in the West have enjoyed a long “Constantinian” relationship with the state and now, as we feel it slip away and the values and thinking of society sheds its Christian cloak and reverts to something more pagan, it is worthwhile…

A crisis of trust and seven predictions

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Pixabay Image

We can’t deny it. Our country was built on rebellion. And rebellion is the result of a breach of trust. When people flood the streets to protest for their rights to congregate or practice their religion, well, that is in our American DNA.

Our founding fathers did not trust the government, so they wrote checks and balances into the Constitution so it would be darn near impossible for tyranny to take hold. …

The Life Reset You Seek May Have Been Here All Along

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With Permission, MJM

Lots of people have been rethinking their lives in light of COVID-19. Those of us in highly developed countries and cities have lived very busy lives. We learned that our time was so stuffed with work, entertainment, and materialistic pursuits that there was very little time for the things that make life meaningful. Relationships took second-seat to careers. Conversations surrendered to phone screens. The higher purpose and meaning of life was swallowed up by mindless, soulless pleasure.

The BBC recently released a podcast/article on The Life Project that suggests, in this piece, how Covid provides us all an opportunity to…

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Public domain

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Our nation has always understood that the strength of our country and constitution depended upon us — We, the people.

The power of our form of government and constitution derives from us. We, the people, are the ones who form the more perfect union. We are the ones…

A poem of portents

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Image by Richard Cejas, Pixabay

When the Blazing Eye stands in the sky
neither sun, nor moon, nor star.
The portent signs the dire times
chastisements are not far.

What light a sign in blazed rhyme
when love attempts to turn us,
‘tis not too cruel if turn the fool
from follies amending life thus.

But wait a while before too long
a sign will light the sky up.
‘tis mercy just when on us thrust
that wine was tread in our cup.

Though signs increase yet still as yeast
our sins be multiplying,
each one implores from heaven’s stores
we turn to Christ’s supplying.

An Argument for Opening Churches Sensibly

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With Permission Photo by MJMirabile

There are people who don’t think religion is very important. Many of those hold political positions. Some of them have declared that churches are non-essential services during the Covid-19 crisis. Could it be that these people don’t understand the importance of faith in times of crisis? Are they the wrong people to decide?

Liberals, according to Pew research, are not very religious. Most almost never attend religious services, a disappointing 79%. Prayer, Bible study, and religious education are nearly as unimportant, at 71%. Moderates are not much better. Their absence from church lies at 69%, and 72% respectively. Fewer than…

Paul’s advice for a people in an unsteady world

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The Last Supper Restored — Leonardo Da Vinci — Wiki Commons

The women go to the tomb and find it empty.

“He is not here. He is risen,” the angel says.

They return to report to the disciples, who hear the news in disbelief.

The news of the Resurrection launched its own conspiracy theories. The women who came to the tomb believed someone had taken the body. Some said the Jews took the body. Others said the Romans took it.

Later that evening Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you”. It was that appearance that allayed their fears and quelled the conspiracy theories for the…

Shut up in the house of the dead

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Pixabay Image by 272447

It is evening, after supper. They have enjoyed the Passover meal and Jesus tells of a betrayer. He takes bread and wine and, blessing them, tells his beloved friends that he has inaugurated a new covenant in his own blood. They struggle to comprehend this.

The scene shifts and they are on the mount of Olives, in the garden of Gethsemane. It is late, and they are tired, and Jesus insists on praying. “Keep watch with me and pray that you are not tempted”. He agonizes in prayer knowing what is about to befall him. He asks his Father that…

Stressors reveal how hollow or helpful religion can be.

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Photo by MJMirabile. With Permission

Armed with a prayer book, I vault into the darkness. A prayer book. An old one, but not so old. And this book, it prays for us as our little community of believers seek consolation. We huddle together behind our screens and hear and pray together the comforting words. We light our little candle in the darkness, and we are comforted.

When things are difficult, it is helpful to have established practices to help hold the world together. Our world seems to be flying apart, even before there ever was a pandemic, we seemed to be flying apart. Politically. Socially…

Matt Mirabile

Critical Believing. A pastor and spiritual director examines issues critical to, for, and of believing, in our post-christian context.

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