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Profound or Profane?

I was able to tough my way thru “Another Life,” only because I enjoy Katee Sackoff (having discovered her in “Longmire” a few years ago); but it was tough going.  The Netflix series seems to be an adult version of “Lost in Space,” and since I do love sci-fi it was a given that I should try it.

But all I found was that it was trying.  Katee was fine; but the dialogue was unbelievably juvenile, beginning with the now ubiquitous “F-bomb.”

Yes, I am a word snob.  Somewhere in my past I developed a love and respect of the written word.  Now, thanks to the internet, I have learned that the language evolves and is often obliterated to fill the needs of the users – as it should be.  Language should not be confined to the hallowed halls of museums; but at the same time, it shouldn’t lose its ability to communicate.

And the recurring message I got from the over-use of the F-bomb was that the writers were either extremely unskilled, or the audience that they were writing for is extremely unimaginative.  In any event, relying on one word for every verbal interchange became an exercise in resistance for me.  I was never able to see past the constant, staccato pinging (no, I did not count how many times it was used – what would be the point in that?).

I have a co-worker who really is a rocket scientist, and one of those individuals who remembers “everything.”  I asked him once if he can recall everything he ever read and he said no, just the page numbers.  He is, quite literally, my workgroup’s very own internet.

Sadly, he uses “curse words” in every day life like the characters in “Another Life” use the F-bomb.  It does not help that, as an intellectual elitist, he does not respect either me or my religion; but beyond his blasphemy, his vocabulary is stilted, stunted and inadequate.

I ask myself why, in these two examples, is such a limited vocabulary characteristic.  Being as generous as I can be, I have concluded that it is an attempt to be profound, when all it is is profane.

If language cannot be used to communicate, then the human race has not advanced all that far from our prehistoric predecessors.  To overuse and misuse words seems more to prevent communication than to enhance it.  The irony is that people who rely on a handful of words to express themselves are communicating something I believe they would flatly deny.

I would not call the United States a physically violent place to live.  I wish I could say the same of our rhetoric.  In order to endure the mindless onslaught, the message is missed.  As an optimist, full of hope, I know we can do better – we have done better.

Much of what is said about the human race, the earth, democracy sounds as if the end is in sight.  Only 12 years until our home becomes inhabitable, thanks to farting cows?  Ludicrous.  I believe none of us now will see “the end.”  This is not to say the status quo will prevail – as has been said, the only constant is change.  We need to use words as a tool to communicate, not as a weapon to subjugate.  If we can’t be anything else, can we at least be civil?

Maintain the Status Quo

While I have, in fact, visited the Middle East, I cannot say I have…what?  I was going to say that I have “no dog in that fight.”  Then, I thought, “no skin in that game.”  But, if anything like that were true, I wouldn’t feel compelled to write anything on the subject.  Yet, here I am.

We now have two representatives in Congress who have roots in the Middle East: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somali refugee; and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a Palestinian-American.  Also Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is quite vocal, though I am not aware that she has roots there.  All three are women, which I think is “interesting,” given the Muslim repression of women.  All three are Democrats, which is not surprising, but another reason I have rejected the Demos.

What I don’t get is why the other cultures in the Middle East have given the Palestinians less support than the elected officials above.  That’s the first thing.  Why don’t the other Muslim societies support the Palestinians?  They don’t.  Period.  Countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia finance world-wide terrorism, but have they spent even one dollar on schools or hospitals in the area?  Do they finance education abroad to promise a brighter future for the people who live there?  Not that I know of.

I don’t see Middle East support for the Palestinians.  I don’t know why, I just don’t.  I presume, since they all live there, and have a vested interest in the Palestinians, they have a reason to look the other way.  But, if they don’t, why should we?  If they don’t, why should anyone on Capital Hill spend an iota of effort to help them.  Why should my tax dollars support them?

Israel has been a long friend, ever since they single-handedly wrenched a country and culture from the sand.  Visit Israel, if you dare.  The countryside is lush, the desert blooms.  Not so where Palestinians control the landscape.  Let’s see: sand or oranges?  Which do I prefer?

Ideologically, I’ve never heard Israel say the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim, yet almost daily I hear Muslims from all corners of the world espouse this attitude toward individual Jews and Israel in general.  That, right there, is all I need to know.  Yes, Israel has taken military action into lands that it does not “control.”  And, maybe some of that action has been pre-emptive; but mostly it is in response to a Hezbollah missile, or a suicide-bomber.  What would you do if someone killed someone you love, for no good reason?  If you would just roll over and say “Thank you, may I please have another,” then maybe you should strap on a vest.

So now we have three very vocal (I was going to say “noisy”) members of Congress who want to spend MY money getting further involved.  And, when it comes to American “diplomacy,” that invariably means boots on the ground.

Does “something” need to be done?  Well, how to interrupt or derail a never-ending history of violence of the worst kind is the question.  Apparently, the local Muslim population doesn’t want peace in the Middle East.  There is only one way to read their Not In My Backyard (NIMBY): they don’t want peace.  Even before the Jews established the State of Israel, the locals fought amongst themselves.  Since 1947, they’ve used Israel as an excuse to hide how poorly they manage themselves.  Don’t tell me Saudi Arabia doesn’t have enough money to “fix” the problem.  Don’t tell me Iran wants to better the lives of its own people.  Don’t tell me Assad is doing all that he can to raise Syria above the historical ashes.  Maybe individual Muslims want peace, but the powers that be certainly don’t know.

And it is those powers that need convincing.  To those three new members of Congress, I say start working on those powers in the Middle East.  The best way to help the Palestinians is to get the yoke of violence off their back – the yoke that is perpetrated by the established governments in the area.  Israel is just an excuse to continue with the status quo.  The powers in the Middle East need Israel to stay in power.  We now have three avowed anti-Semites in Congress; good luck changing the status quo.

Opposites Repel

I suppose, when it comes to romance, “opposites attract.”  But, when it comes to politics, it seems more and more that others are more likely to be repulsive than attractive.

The circus that some might call the Brett Kavanaugh hearings certainly proved one thing: the Demos are anything but civil.  I watched some of the proceedings (tho, by and large, found them too ludicrous to subject myself to), and admired the man for not getting up and walking out.  Clearly, he saw the bigger picture, he saw the prize.  And just as irrefutably, the Demos sitting on the panel, as well as those in the galley and on the street, completely lost sight of the bigger picture: the future.

That Trump was legally elected, in full accord with the existing laws of the land, can’t be denied.  “He’s there, deal with it.”  Have the “Never Trumps” made any effort at all to modify those laws, to somehow change the Electoral College so that someone with the popular vote gets into office?  Not that I am aware.  They still rail against the man.  Still throwing more money after bad.  Still living in yesterday.  Sure, he’s an easy target; Trump is no politician – if by “politician,” we mean someone who can fool enough people to overlook his warts.  However, the first job of a politician is to get into office – and he’s done that.  (The second job is to stay in office, and that is TBD.)

No, the horse has left the barn and the Demos continue to lament that someone – never themselves of course – left the door open.  Wide open.  And now, in the wake of Judge Kavanaugh’s swearing-in, the Demos are pushing the door ever wider.  For me, instead of building bridges (trying to look like a reasonable alternative), the Demos are setting the barn on fire.

That Judge Kavanaugh was nominated, and now sworn in, could have been an effort only to humiliate the Demos.  Judge Kavanaugh certainly paid a high price; his family has paid a high price.  For an appointee, he has been raked over the coals – largely, manufactured and fabricated coals – like we might expect someone running for the highest office in the land.  Maybe Judge Kavanaugh is just a surrogate for Trump?  What better way to move forward than to give the Demos enough rope to hang themselves with?  Self-immolation, more like it.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.”  I used to be a card-carrying Democrat.  They seemed “kinder and gentler” than the GOP.  My, my, my, how they have changed.  Not that the Republicans are now hugging trees.  But as party made up of individuals, the Demos continue to raise the bar on being uncivil.  For years, the Demos have developed a platform that seems to have only one purpose: destroy everything I hold dear.

I’m not saying I have somehow found the Holy Grail of truth, and that I never threw ice on anyone in high school (or, was it college?).  But I was taught by the old school: first my parents and then the Marine Corps.  I don’t feel all that old; but I do feel like a dinosaur.  Yes, we all know what happened to dinosaurs: they all died and now some smaller creature burns the oil and coal that they turned into.  Great legacy, huh?

Moving forward to the political arena in months to come, it will be harder and harder for the “guy on the street” to divine the issues and see thru the mud-slinging (I’d like to say “rhetoric”; but that would imply civility, and we no longer have that available to us).  And even if I can convince myself that “this person” has the same values as I do, how can I be sure the “system” will respect those values, respect that representation?  If my vote ever meant anything besides just a warm feeling, now it feels like a betrayal.  Do I continue to participate in a disgustingly flawed political system – and tar myself with the same brush – or, do I withdraw from the playing field.  Stick my head in the sand, or do the right thing?

Dunno what the future will bring; but one thing is sure: Judge Kavanaugh is very likely to outlive either President Trump or Hilary Clinton.

Two questions will be answered real soon: (1) What mud will the Demos throw – since they seem to have already fired their best shots at Judge Kavanaugh, and (2) will the GOP lower itself, or take the high road?

New wine, old skins?

I am not amused.  I have read, in too many places to number, that the bishops are going to investigate themselves.  Ha.  I have more faith in the fox guarding the henhouse.

Apparently, it was debated in some circles that sex between two males was somehow ok, because it wasn’t sex between a male and a female.  Maybe as an exercise in a debate class, but as a path toward becoming a priest?  Say wha?

I guess, looking at the speculative numbers, it is a wonder I was never approached, let alone violated, while growing up.  Yes, I was an altar boy.  Yes, I was extremely active in the CYO in high school.  How did I miss all that sex stuff?  Perhaps, as a teenager, I was too interested in girls?  Dunno; but do know that no man has ever showed an interest in me.  Thank GOD.

I kinda sorta walked away from the Church in my young twenties.  Didn’t run.  Wasn’t drawn away by some irresistible force.  It just kinda happened.  Then, in the Spring of 2005, like a two-by-four between the eyes, I did an about face and ran back.  Fortunately, there was a priest who welcomed me home like the father of the prodigal son (actually, a stunningly accurate analogy).  When I told him I would have come back sooner, except for the priest sex scandal, all he could do was sigh.

Fast forward to this “summer of horrors” (thanks to George Weigel).  It is indeed that.  But, if the captain of the Titanic had asked what was on the menu for dinner with water lapping at his socks, the Church hierarchy can’t possibly be more clueless.  In fact, as little factoids are leaked to the secular press (for no official Church mouthpiece has the moral courage) it is becoming increasingly clear that the bishops are not unaware – they have either been primaries or accomplices.

What to do?  Extol the virtues of the lifeboats, or assure everyone that the Barque of Peter is unsinkable (water well past the ankles at this point)?  I know: business as usual – or, that is how I interpret Pope Francis’ “I will not say a single word.”

None of the above, apparently.  Instead the very group that should have ensured that the priest sex scandal should have been stillborn (pun intended), were in fact, condoning it, encouraging it, perpetuating it.  That very group, the USCCB, is going to “investigate.”  As the warden in Shawshank Redemption says: “It’s a miracle!”

I’d like to say, “I respectfully disagree.”  But wouldn’t I have to respect the bishops, first?  I suppose I could “politely” disagree, but that smacks of a nod and a wink.  Disagree, I certainly do; but only in the most vehement manner I can possibly muster.

I no longer contribute financially to the Church.  If it has millions, if not hundreds of millions, to throw at victims (can any amount of money ever heal those scars?), it doesn’t need my coin.

Is this a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater?  I think not.  As I heard recently, there is not one single bishop who could be called a hero in all this.  There are some who are guilty – whose souls are as black as their cassocks.  There are some who kept their pants zipped, but also, unfortunately also kept their lips zipped.  There are some who might have been completely ignorant.  But, no bishop, evidently, ever said No!

Rather, moving forward, the Church will get smaller.  Schools, buildings, positions, gone.  If secular authorities move in the direction of RICO, I hate to think what will happen – tho I am not sure it shouldn’t.  The new Church – the new wine – will find itself again.  It has before.  It is divinely ordained for all eternity.  Maybe St Peter’s will become a museum?

Maybe we devout Catholics are in the eye of the storm?  If so, look to Jesus: He commands the wind and the waves.  In any event, the old skins are leaking and need to be thrown into the bonfire of the vanities.

I have twin three-year olds.  I will “move heaven and earth” to have them grow up and love the Church.  Even if that means never going to Mass (too late for that, they’ve been, and been appropriately “appreciated” by the stodgy).  I would love for them to attend a Catholic school – a real one, certainly not associated with the Jesuits.

Some days, my only solace is in: “Your Heavenly Father knows what you need.” (Matthew 6:32).  Ah, but wouldn’t it be grand if He would drop me a clue?

And the hits just keep on coming.

What’s it gonna take?

If you hoped (as I did) that things would have improved since the Boston Globe ran its expose on the priest sex scandal back in 2002, you missed the recent 884 page grand jury report by the Pennsylvania Attorney General.  For convenience (and brevity), I’ll ignore the Chilean debacle, also Zavala, Bransfield, McCarrick, Wuerl, others?

Clearly, it has been business as usual, and Pope Francis continues to fiddle while Rome burns.  The official list of participants of October’s Synod of Bishops has been published, and three cardinals who should be fired have been named: Marx (Munich), Cupich (Chicago) and Tobin (Newark).

I guess Francis will drive the Popemobile off the cliff, not even slowing down, to say nothing of stopping or reversing.  The only question is: “Who will follow him?”

Way back when, Francis gave us his signature quote: “Who am I to judge?”  When we desperately need “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” we got a dismissive non-answer.  Since then, the priest sex scandal has done the impossible: cover-ups by bishops and cardinals have been exposed.  Some have claimed that Francis is not uninformed.  He certainly chooses to do nothing.  Perhaps “Not one single word” has become his legacy?

The Urban Dictionary has defined “cupich” in a manner that I hope its namesake finds unflattering: “A remark unparalleled in its combined stupidity, arrogance and insensitivity.”  An example: “Did you really just say climate change was a bigger issue than sex abuse in the Church?”  I am tempted to get their mug with this definition on it – soon to be a collector’s piece?

I don’t know how Church hierarchy can be clueless, so the only other explanation is that it is culpable.

In 1969, if you had hoped (as I did) that Cardinal Ratzinger’s statement, “The Church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning,” was just too pessimistic to ever come true, I’m afraid it might.  He probably hopes he will not see that day; but I would hasten to add that GOD has a sense of humor (judging from my own experience).

he original transgressions (sexually active priests) are bad enough.  Abusing minors is worse – far worse.  Facilitating all this, by moving priests to other locations (sometimes), is worse still.  And, the hits just keep on coming.  But, I believe this “summer of horrors” will be the tipping point.  I believe that the Church has proven – beyond reasonable doubt – that it will do nothing to either correct or prevent these abuses.

So, it becomes the duty of the secular press and secular law enforcement to do the “pruning.”  And, I believe they will get out the scythes – bad enough that the Church won’t do that.  And the absolute glee with which Caesar will attack the Church will be discouraging (try to find some Good News in the press these days).

I don’t know how often the ancient Hebrews were referred to as GOD’s chosen people; but I do know that their magnificent temple was utterly destroyed.

His winnowing fork is in His hand….(Matthew 3:12 and Luke 3:17)

 

References:

Faith and Future, Joseph Ratzinger, Ignatius Press, 2009

“Church allowed abuse by priest for years,” Boston Globe Spotlight Team (Carroll, Pfeiffer, Rezendes), Boston Globe, 2002 January 6, https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2002/01/06/church-allowed-abuse-priest-for-years/cSHfGkTIrAT25qKGvBuDNM/story.html

 “More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse,” Michelle Boorstein, Gary Gately, Washington Post, 2018 August 14, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/08/14/pennsylvania-grand-jury-report-on-sex-abuse-in-catholic-church-will-list-hundreds-of-accused-predator-priests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8144c4cca83b

“Pope Francis taps loyalists for key roles in Synod of Bishops,” Elise Harris, Senior Correspondent, Crux, https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/09/15/francis-synod-appointees-reflect-papal-priorities/

Cupich Mug: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cupich

 

Summer of horrors, or opportunity?

Some dream of high office, few ever attain it.  I can only imagine that one of the first things that anyone would do is sit in that chair behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and just…smile.  If ever there was a time to say, “I’ve arrived,” I think that would be it.  Similarly, whatever desk and whatever office the pope occupies, I would think the man would smile like a Cheshire Cat.

Finally: the opportunity to actually make a difference, to change the world.  Surely, that aspiration would go hand in glove with the pinnacle of power.

So, while the Summer of ’08 would seem to be the summer of horrors for the White House, it is no less than the summer of horrors for the papal palace.  While one occupant is probably sincere, and the other one anything but, both are blowing their opportunity.

It has been debated whether or not we have “free will” – the ability to make truly independent choices.  I won’t discuss that here.  But whether we have unlimited choices, or very limited choices, we still have choices.  Someone in the White House obviously has choices that a coal miner doesn’t.  The Bishop of Rome has choices no one else has.  Windows of opportunity come in sizes.

Next, there would be the ability to act upon the choices we make.  If we can’t act, then they really aren’t choices – at least viable ones.  Without ability, all we have are fantasies.  Again, a topic for another day.  Yes, some do win the lottery, tho for the overwhelming majority of us, the answer to the question of “what would I do if I won the lottery?” is just a fantasy.

You need both: opportunity and ability.

I just don’t understand why it is that two people in the news every day these days are squandering their opportunity.  It is said in jest that promotion requires a lobotomy; that, somehow, while we all start off the same, elevation in power is predicated on becoming more and more forgetful of our roots.  That people at the pinnacle truly forget how they got where they are, and therefore do not truly know where they are.

It is fitting that history judges most harshly those that have forgotten it.

I just finished watching an episode of NCIS where Gibbs switches some evidence.  Gibbs is usually unfailingly honest.  Integrity his highest code.  But in this episode he demonstrates that honor is more important than integrity.  There are other opportunities in the series for him to put integrity first, and he chooses another path (almost always honor).  But he “never” loses sight of the “big picture.”  He knows what he does and why he does it.

Neither Trump nor Francis seem to have a clue why they are doing what they’re doing.  I keep coming back to a book that I read years ago: The March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman.  In it, she picks a few examples of leaders that, had they chosen to do absolutely nothing at all, events would have turned out far different, and probably in their favor.  By being out to lunch, history would have been far kinder, maybe even salutatory.  But, no, they chose to be active in the situation, and all hell broke loose.  Three examples come to mind (it has been years since I read the book): Renaissance Popes, King George and the American Revolution, Vietnam (pick either the French or the Americans, it really doesn’t matter).

Fast forward to the Summer of 2018.  Trump did whatever he could to be elected; it worked.  Since gaining the Oval Office, he has been on a death spiral.  The only question now is whether his four years will end before he’s impeached.  After he’s out, America will breathe a sigh of relief and wonder if we have survived.  Bergoglio got elected pope and has been bouncing around like a pinball.  I don’t believe there is any mechanism to remove him from office, so we are stuck with him for awhile (as long as his health holds out, I suppose; Benedict’s resignation still doesn’t feel right, Francis’ resignation doesn’t seem possible).

Is this the era of the truly stupid leader?  Are these the times for head scratching decision making.  As in, leaders make decisions that the rest of us just wonder at.

My fantasy is that Trump will hit his head on something, rearrange all those megalomaniac brain cells, and move this country forward.  While I agree with Meghan McCain (this country has always been great), we definitely need some direction from that chair in the Oval Office.  My fantasy is that Francis will take responsibility for the predatory priests, instead of facilitating their fantasies.  I don’t know that Trump “must” resign; but I am convinced Bergoglio must.

The rest of us hoi polloi  must do more than tilt at windmills.  In politics, we must become more active and participate.  In the Church, well, we have no idea who the next pope will be, but at the local level, we owe it to the bishops to keep them on track (we don’t vote for them either; but we can close our checkbooks).

Truly, the Summer of ’08 is a summer of horrors.  But, what are we going to do with the opportunity to make this a better world for our children?  As painful as these times are now, to do nothing would be worse, for eternity is a long time.

(Thanks to Georg Weigel and his essay in First Things for “summer of horrors”)

Jesus Christ. What’s the point.

A few years ago, I heard the question, “There is a reasonable hope that all are saved.”  Michael Voris was repeating what Bishop Robert Barron said Urs von Balthasar said Karl Barth said.  Voris was shaking his head as he said it; the bishop was not, and I suppose Balthasar and Barth also believed it.  That question prompted me to do my daily Bible reading with a particular focus: “Where in the Bible would anyone get that impression?”  Where does it say, or imply, that all are saved?

Over the past few years I have compiled quite a list of Bible references that seem to dispute this notion.  I have not been able to find the one quote that is so significant that no other passage could possibly stand.  Or, conversely, the one passage that supports the empty Hell theory.  Since I am no Biblical scholar or theologian, I approached trying to argue against a giant like Balthasar, or a brilliant priest like Barron with a great deal of fear: clearly I was missing something.  Clearly, any justification I might find that they could use, I was missing.  Clearly any justification that I might use, I was missing.

I met Fr Jack when I was in high school.  Some 40 years later, we still keep in touch; and altho he is now a semi-retired parish priest, he still reads the Bible in Greek and Hebrew.  He is absolutely convinced that Jesus left no wriggle room.  Nothing Jesus said leaves any doubt.  I have known Fr Jack for more than half my life; I could not possibly hold him in higher esteem.

But, a couple of weeks ago, finding yet another passage that just screamed “few are saved” I had a Damascus Road experience, an epiphany that was appropriate for me.  (So, no voices, no thunderstorm, etc.)

The most significant statement is not the Bible itself, or any words in the Bible.  There is nothing that Jesus said or did that speaks louder to the question than simply, Him.  He is The Word (gee, where have I seen that?)

While all things are possible with GOD, it was His original thought that we humans should have free will.  This is absolutely fundamental to who (what) we are.  This, I believe, is what is meant by we are created in His Image.  Free will is our sine qua non.

And so, Jesus Christ was born of a woman, just like the rest of us.  He spent some time with us.  Not too long and not too short.  Just enough to make a point – for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

You see, if we are all saved, if we are all going to Heaven anyway, there would have been no point in anything remotely like Jesus Christ, a Messiah.  I suppose some would have needed a magical figure to tell us we were on the right path anyway.  Or, it didn’t really matter what we did during this life, we were destined – whether we wanted it or not – to an eternity of milk and honey and song and dance.

But, that’s not what happened.  We did get Jesus Christ.  Thousands of years and thousands of pages and gallons of ink spoke of His coming.  Of the need for His coming.  Afterwards, a few hundred years and a few hundred pages told us of His life here.  If we are all doing the right thing, then why?  Why all those years of discussion and countless parchments and pages and gallons?  Just an academic exercise?  I think not.

There is that one passage in Isaiah where the lion lays down with the sheep (Isaiah 11:6), which might imply that, regardless of whether we are a lion or a sheep, in the end it won’t matter.  I’d like a Biblical scholar or theologian to help with this passage because I can’t really find that much credence in it.  I don’t mean to cherry-pick the Bible, but it doesn’t seem to me that either the lion or the sheep are living within Natural Law.  So, I don’t see this one passage as justification for the idea that all are saved.

In any event, the mere existence of Jesus Christ proves that we are not a priori saved.  Maybe we are, after all anything is possible.  But, then we wouldn’t need Jesus Christ.  We could ignore Him, casually, completely.

Some would argue that we don’t have Free Will.  Ok, if we don’t, then again, there is no point in Jesus Christ.  It seems to me that our Free Will absolutely demands Jesus Christ.  And, Jesus Christ proves that we do have Free Will.  Dunno if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ if you can have Free Will or not; I’ll save that for later (much later).

My years of careful, pointed, focused reading have lead me to just one conclusion: my salvation, at the very least, is not guaranteed.  It is not written in stone, or in some book somewhere.  I can still screw up – I pray that I don’t.  I pray every day that I do stay on the Right Road (and I am thankful that, for the grace of GOD, I did find the Right Road).  Maybe I just need Jesus Christ, and some do not?  Well, I don’t think that is true, and I certainly would not encourage anyone to think that they can do without.  But, I do have a Faith that requires that I do believe in Jesus Christ; and that He is “the point.”

Is there a “reasonable hope that all are saved”?  Obviously, there is a growing number of people who do think that; Voris calls that the “Church of Feel Good.”  And, he’s right.  For those who want this life to be as comfortable as possible, they must hope they can still sneak under the wire when the get to the Pearly Gates.  But this does not answer the question of why Jesus went to the Cross.  Whatever His life was like, it did not end well.  He’s in Glory now, but that transition from this life to Eternal Life was, well, hell.

So, I don’t belong to the Church of Feel Good.  I do “fear” GOD.  I know that Christ stands at the door of my heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20); and the things of this world make so much noise that it is damned hard to hear Him.

Oh, and don’t get me started on whether we are all going to see each other in Heaven.  Or, if our pets will join us.

Jesus Christ.  What’s the point?  My salvation.  For eternity is a long time.