Tuesday, September 26, 2006

There is an anti-culture demonstrated by the flight to drugs, by the flight from reality, by illusions, by false happiness... in our times, we need to say 'no' to the largely dominant culture of death.
-Pope Benedict XVI

The culture of life means respect for nature and protection of God's work of creation. In a special way, it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end.
-Pope John Paul II
I picked up, as I am occasionally wont to do, the latest issue of Adbusters, and found the quotes above. Adbusters has previously printed criticism of the pill. One never knows where our allies in the culture wars will lie. A further note about the edition: it's is double-ended, with one cover entitled "Culture of Life" and the other "Culture of Death."

Monday, September 18, 2006

One More Horror Story in the Culture of Death

Telling detail: the car they drove was a Lexus. Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Amillenialist, Postmillenialist, Preterist, Idealist

Really, I'm not sure how perfectly I fit into any of these categories, but I'm still fairly happy with the outcome here.

You scored as Amillenialist. Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.



Moltmannian Eschatology








Left Behind




What's your eschatology?
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Reading the Blogs

It's very pleasant in St. Blogs, by and large. But venture out into the wild wastes of political blogs, and it becomes much less so. As I've mentioned before, I've been enjoying reading Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons blog. Unfortunately, because Rod doesn't fit neatly into one political camp or the other, his blog attracts a number of people on both sides of the political and cultural divides, resulting in fireworks. As an observation, I'd say that the balance of vitriol lies with the left, and the cultural left in particular.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Pope & The Bear

The Holy Father speaking in Bavaria:
The bear of St. Korbinian was released in Rome. In my case, the Lord has decided differently.
go read the context- Benedict is extremely witty.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Paranoid Fringe?

A recent Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll of 1,010 Americans found that 36 percent suspect the U.S. government promoted the attacks or intentionally sat on its hands. Sixteen percent believe explosives brought down the towers. Twelve percent believe a cruise missile hit the Pentagon. -source

We imagine conspiracy theorists to be a tiny fraction of the population, but it is rarely a reliable truth. Today, vast swathes of the Middle East perhaps the oldest conspiracy, that Jews murder gentile children for use in their religious ceremonies. Americans overwhelmingly suspect that the official version of JFK's assassination is false. Societies have repeatedly been able to self-deceive in a manner which should make us wary of the power of any majority.
Brad Pitt Demands Polyandrous Marriages! and More!

"Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."

This bold statement of principle should be applauded. Unwilling to kow-tow to the bigotry of the dualist marriage commissars, Pitt demands that marriage be opened up to threesomes, foursomes and moresomes. But Pitt is consistent- if thirteen year-olds want to get married, let them! If a brother and sister want to become something more- we should respect that right. Tear down this wall! Let my people go! Strike off these chains!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Seminarians at Westminster Abbey

I thought I'd drag out of the comments section a newsworthy item from dilexitprior:
I was just up at the abbey on Friday and talking with one of the monks who was saying they have 36 major seminarians this coming year and only 32 beds! He was saying that they might have to invite some of the senior theology students to live in the cloister with the monks since they have some extra cells!

I think this is a good problem to have.
Indeed. Westminster Abbey is a seminary for a number of dioceses, including Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Kamloops.
Thoughts about the Apocalypse

He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come. When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains... Matthew 24: 13-16

Interpretation of apocalyptic passages in scripture is dominated by the extremes. There are those who read exceedingly particular and peculiar messages into such passages. In opposition to the Rapture-ready, a common interpretation has minimized the relevance of these passages to the return of Christ, instead seeing their fulfillment in such historical events as the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the fall of the Roman Empire.

I am not writing to dispute the relevance of these historic events to apocalyptic passages throughout Scripture. Instead, I wish to propose (though I am hardly the first to do so) that these passages are best viewed as being progressively fulfilled, with their consummation yet to occur. The above passage in Matthew 24 is definitely evocative of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The question is whether that event marked the entirety of the fulfillment of the Matthew 24 prophecy, or whether there is a greater fulfillment yet to come. To answer that question, let us turn back to the Prophet Daniel.

The "abomination that causes desolation" is mentioned three times in Daniel- in 9:27, in 11:31 and in 12:11. 9:27 occurs in the context of a prophecy of the Messiah (Daniel 9:25-27):
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
The striking thing about this passage is that the abomination that causes desolation appears to be something that follows the destruction of the city and the sanctuary (70 AD). The words "War will continue until the end" do not fit AD 70 particularly well, as AD 70 did not mark the end. Still, one can read this as limited to AD 70. Perhaps it is not the best interpretation, but neither is it plainly wrong.

Chapter 11 of Daniel begins with a detailed prophecy of the rise of a future King, a prophecy that is fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanes. He would desecrate the Temple, sacrificing pigs and erecting his own image in the sanctuary:
His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. (Daniel 11:31-35)
While the remainder of Daniel 11 appears to continue to describe this King who is to come, the prophecy no longer fits Antiochus Epiphanes- the Prophet has subtly allowed the description of Antiochus Epiphanes be overtaken by a prophecy of the Antichrist.

The twelfth chapter of Daniel describes the victory of God over this King: the delivery of Israel by Michael the Archangel, the resurrection of the dead, and the reward of the just. The prophet Daniel is instructed to "shut up these words, and seal the book", a further indication that this prophecy is not for the immediate time. Daniel then sees two men by the side of a river, and one asks "how long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" The answer is given: a time, times and half a time. Finally, in a further explication of this answer, we are referred back to the abomination that causes desolation: :
From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Daniel 12:11)
That's pretty much 3 1/2 years (a time, times & half a time). This mention of the abomination that causes desolation is referring back to its presence in Daniel 11. However, that places us in a conundrum- the Daniel 11 reference clearly applies to Antiochus Epiphanes. Remember however that Daniel imperceptably shifts between the King who fits Antiochus Epiphanes and a King who is best regarded as the Antichrist. With this understanding, it is not surprising that the "abomination that causes desolation" passage should apply to both Kings.

We should see in history the prefigurements of the Antichrist and of Satan's final defeat, but should not mistake them for the whole. I believe, as generations of Christians have believed, that Holy Scripture describes the coming of the Antichrist and the consummation of history. Of the day and the hour we are not told, nor are we granted a detailed, blow-by-blow account. We are not granted certainty, nor can we dismiss it as already occured. Instead, we are given mystery.