Saturday, June 27, 2015

A guest article re:parking

(The Rev. Know-it-all is making a trek to the north woods. In his place a pastor addresses a local situation.)
I have been asked if we are going to share the parking lot with our new neighbors, the  Al Suffah mosque. No, we are not. The Episcopalian church at 8201 Karlov Avenue had been for sale for quite a while. One morning, I saw someone taking down the for sale sign. I asked the fellow taking down the sign to whom the building had been sold. He said that he really would rather not say.
I said,” Oh, you sold it to Muslims.”

He said again, “I really can’t say.”
I then said, “I’m the pastor across the street.”

He brightened and said, “Oh, then I can tell you. Yes, we sold it to Muslims and I’ve wanted to talk to you about letting them use your parking lot.”
I said, “That will never happen.”  
Suffah Educational Guidance (School) and Masjid (Mosque) was formerly located in a rental property on Devon Ave. in Chicago. It is not originally a local congregation. Why would they purchase a facility that had no parking? I can only surmise that they assumed, or were told, that they would be able to use the large parking lot at St. Lambert’s. I was never consulted about the situation; it seems the whole transaction was rather secret.
I suspect that the realtor assured the buyers that they would be able to use the parking lot. I also suspect that the Muslim community had no idea that the people who had sold them the church were a different group than the members of St. Lambert’s. They told members of our staff that they had good relations with the diocese. They were surprised to learn that the Episcopal diocese is not the same as the Catholic archdiocese. If the building was sold as including parking, or even hinting that a deal had been made with St. Lambert’s that would seem to me to be fraud. It makes no sense that a congregation based in Chicago would purchase a facility here without parking included.
Parishioners, staff and neighbors have been approached by members of the mosque to ask about the parking lot. I had a brief e-mail correspondence with a member of the masjid staff, in which I said that I would be interested in dialogue, but collaboration was not possible unless I could agree with the aims of the school and mosque. I have managed a lot of parking lots in my life as a priest. I have actually had to go to parking lots to arbitrate fights and direct traffic while still wearing vestments.
 When a parking lot is open to shared use, it becomes the property of no one, and all feel they have rights to it, but have no responsibilities for it. To allow someone the use of the parking lot is to take on a legal liability and an insurance liability. Even if disclaimers are posted and waivers are signed, a decent lawyer can overturn them and drag things out in court for months. No one has permission to use St. Lambert’s parking lot, except on church business. Two large congregations simply cannot share the same space. Even if someone says, it will only be occasionally, it will inevitably become the mosque’s regular parking lot. We need to know exactly who is in our lot and why. When neighbors stake out territory and there are a 5 or 10 extra cars in the lot regularly, we find that odd things start happening. Drug dealers start meeting in the lot because among all those cars they have some anonymity.
I remember at another parish having to regularly clean up used condoms and syringes from the lot. No one worried about a few extra cars, no one except me. This was starting to happen here at St. Lambert’s, but because we were on it right away it stopped. For the good of the neighborhood, I refuse to lose control of the lot.  These are the practical reasons for my decision.  There are other reasons that, for me, are perhaps more important.
Suffah is an interesting word.  In the far end of the mosque in Medina there was a suffah, a raised platform for sitting or reclining at the north end of the mosque. This is where Muhammad and his companions met as exiles from Mecca.
The English word sofa is derived from suffah. So in effect the name of our new neighbors is “Masjid e Suffah,” means the mosque of the sofa, and perhaps implies that its members are the close companions of Muhammad in a new and strange land.  The new mosque on Karlov is more than a mosque. It’s a “hifz” school. Urdu is the common language of Pakistan and a number of northern Indian states. Hifz is the Urdu word for rote memorization.  From the literature I could find on the web the purpose of the school includes introducing young people to Muslim tradition, to train young Muslims in the memorization of Quran and in the implementation of its principles. Frankly, there are some Islamic principles that I find questionable.
I have a hard time with the Quranic injunctions regarding women. For instance, regarding inheritance: (Qur'an 4:11) "The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females."  Regarding divorce: “And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them.” (Qur'an 2:228) regarding legal testimony (Qur'an 2:282) "And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women.”  The veiling of women seems to be demanded by Quran 33 59 “O Prophet! Tell to your wives, and daughters and Muslim women, that they should keep putting a part of their wrapping covers over their faces.”  The most startling is An-Nisa 4:34 “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard. As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.” 
Modern Muslim apologists say that the context of the verb “daraba” is shun or advise, but in his farewell sermon Muhammad would seem to indicate otherwise. “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with the custom. Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals with you and do not possess anything for themselves”.
 Beyond the Quran, in the sayings of Muhammad we read, “Umar ibn al-Khattab told that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.” (Sunan Abu Dawoud 11:2142)
If you think I am making this up, or exaggerating it, look it up for yourself. Do a web search for “How to beat your wife, YouTube”. I dare you to do it. You will find videos discussing the virtue of moderate wife beating. If you think I am impolite or intolerant to mention this, you are a fool. Your wanting it not to be true changes nothing. I cannot in good conscience help a school where young men will be taught that under, certain circumstances, women should be beaten. I just can’t do it.
Two more verses in the Quran trouble me. Surah 3:28 teaches, “Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers…but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully.”  In Islamic law the doctrine of kitman (secrecy or, concealment) is part of ‘iyal, the art of deception. To make ambiguous statements, to pay lip-service to authority is perfectly acceptable in Islam. One is even expected to conceal one's religion when it is to the advantage of Islam or when the individual Muslim facing persecution. This is called “taqiyya.” No Muslim owes an infidel the truth when it comes to matters religious.
If you have a Muslim friend, he is either not a very good Muslim or not a very good friend. Close friendship with non-Muslims is forbidden. No matter how polite or friendly, a good Muslim should not let a non-Muslim into his deepest confidence. 

"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful" Quran 9:5
It is the goal of the orthodox Muslim to enforce Islamic law, sharia, on the entire world. Under Islamic law, we Christians, Jews and one or two other religions may practice our religion privately, provided we pay a special tax. When we pay the tax we must be made to feel that we are subjects. We are to be humiliated. Atheists, Hindus, Wiccans, Shintoist, Daoist, practitioners of any folk religion or nature worship, anyone who is not in a “religion of the book” must convert to Islam or be killed.
One more verse, "Bedizen not yourselves with the bedizenment of the Time of Ignorance.” 33.33 (al-Ahzab) There are only two eras in Islam, the time of Islam and the time of darkness. Muslims have a reputation for scientific advancement in the middle ages. The case can be made that many of the Muslim advances in art, architecture and science were the product of the conquered Non-Muslim people among them. Whether or not that is fact the door to science slammed shut around the year 1100 when the Islamic jurist Muhammad al-Ghazali rejected Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and other Greek thinkers because they were infidels. He taught that natural law is a restraint on Allah, and thus could not exist.  All things are caused by the sovereign will of Allah, and thus are not the result of natural processes.
Most of the Islamic world accepted al-Ghazali’s teachings and his view that the sciences are pointless and even unlawful. In Islamic law all forms of human art are discouraged except calligraphy and the use of Quran verses as ornamentation. Wahhabism, the strict form of Islam practice in Saudi Arabia, and the inspiration for the current Islamic movements advocates a return to the primitive life of seventh century Arabia, and absolute Sharia. There is nothing worthwhile beyond Quran and the will of Allah, and thus art and science and the use of reason are pointless. Music is discouraged as well as non-Quranic study except for the sake of the advancement of Islam. My entire culture should be dissolved. Goodbye to Mozart, Michelangelo, the great Buddhas of Bamiyam, and the treasures of the Louvre. Even grape vines must be uprooted by the true believer because wine is evil. (Qur'an 5:90) Goodbye to the Napa valley, Au revoir to the vineyards of Bordeaux.

I will not cooperate with an institution that by teaching Quran, if I understand correctly, hopes to teach young men to limit the freedom of women and to beat them on occasion, holds that under certain circumstance it is proper to deceive me, that wants to take away my freedoms as an American citizen and to subject me to its legal code or kill me, and wants to eradicate my culture and my way of life and my religion. 
Added to all this, we are a congregation that includes Arab, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who have fled Islamic initiated violence. We are a congregation whose members are Africans, Filipinos, and people from Sri Lanka and India all of whose countries of origin are suffering or have suffered conflict with Muslims. Why would I want to help a school that teaches anyone to memorize Quran and to use it as a guide for their lives?

Rev. Richard T. Simon

Friday, June 19, 2015

What about the doxology?

Dear Rev. Know-it-all,

You forgot to explain the final doxology of the Our Father, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen” How is that dangerous? 

Yours ever, 

Dr. Reinhold Saulogey PhD. DDT. FYI.
(Most people just call me “Doc”)

Dear “Doc” Saulogey,

The doxology at the end of the Our Father is not dangerous because it isn’t part of the original prayer. It isn’t found in Luke's version of the Our Father, and it isn’t found in the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew. Remember that at the time of Christ and in the subsequent centuries there were no Xerox machines, not even faxes! Things were written out by hand by underfed, freezing monks who spent their lives copying out books by hand. They might take a break and go to vespers then to the refectory for a hearty bowl of gruel and the pint of wine that St. Benedict allowed in his monastic rule and then return to the scriptorium to do a little more copying work before night prayer and a five-hour sleep on a pallet of straw on the unheated dirt or stone floor of their cozy cells. Then it was up for the service of readings at 2 or 3 AM and then off to another day of copying.  Sometimes monks made a mistake, or added something that wasn’t there, or put something in the wrong place in the text. 

If Duke Squiselbert or some such wealthy medieval nobleman commissioned 10 or 20 copies of the Bible to give as nice St. Swiven’s Day presents to people he wanted to impress with his piety, and those copies had a mistake in them, such instead of “To wit, Libyans and troglodytes.” (2 Chronicles 12:13) some exhausted monk, woozy with oil lamp fumes, wrote, “To wit Libyans and hermaphrodites” then the wrong word appeared in 20 copies. When those 20 copies were again copied, the text was discussing hermaphrodites instead of troglodytes. Meanwhile, another monk who had gotten a little more sleep but had been commissioned to write only one copy of the text, properly wrote, “To wit, Libyans and troglodytes.” 

The majority text, with its interest in hermaphrodites, became accepted as the authentic version. Then many years later, in for instance the wacky 20th century, when people hadn’t the sense that God gave geese, scholars might point out that the scripture condoned sex change operations using the reference to hermaphrodites in 2 Chronicles 12:13, as a proof text. Their whole theology would have been based on the error of a drowsy monk in a dark medieval scriptorium. Herein lays the problem with sola scriptura, (Bible only) theology. The common text is not always the right text. 

There is a whole science called papyrology in which very smart, very squirrely professors try to figure these things out. They don’t get out much, but at least it’s a living. So, the simple answer is that, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory” appears in a lot of later manuscripts, but not in the earlier manuscripts. It appears in a similar wording (“for yours is the power and the glory forever”), as a conclusion for the Our Father in the Didache, 8:2, a late 1st century or early 2nd century text written in Syria. It was probably used in the liturgy as an addition to the prayer, and thus was ultimately included in certain manuscripts especially in the Eastern Church. We Latins have never used it in the Mass that is until the changes after second Vatican Council when we tried to make nice with the Protestants but, not wishing to offend more traditional Catholics, we didn’t add it directly to the Our Father, but threw it in a little further on in the Mass, thus making nobody happy.

So there you have it. It’s probably not part of the Our Father as the first Christians received it from the Lord and prayed it, but it’s still true and not a bad thing to say. And besides it is a little bit dangerous. Remember that we are saying “thine” not mine.
Yours Ever,

Rev. Know-it-all

Friday, June 12, 2015

What do you mean the "Our Father" is dangerous? - part 10

Letter to Dan J. Russ continued..
Here is an illuminating section from Chapter VII of  C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, (Remember that the Screwtape Letters are a correspondence between two devils, the senior, Uncle Screwtape, the undersecretary for the department of temptations and the younger, his nephew, Wormwood, a junior tempter. The book is chockfull of suggestions on how to get your man safely into Hell, “our father’s kingdom below” as they call it.

“I wonder that you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism, and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and skeptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the enemy. The “Life Force,” the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”

May I draw your attention to a few particular lines in the above quoted passage? “We shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science.” Science itself is a belief system. This year’s science books will be tomorrow’s trash. It is the nature of science to replace itself, yet people constantly say ridiculous things like, “Science has proven….” or “Religion is just a way to answer questions that science has not yet answered.” As far as I can tell, the more one knows about things like physics and microbiology, the more wondrous things become and the more questions there are to ask. Science for most people, especially those with a light smattering of learning, is not an inquiry but a belief system. 

“The ‘Life Force,’ the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful.” This is an amazing line. There seems to have been an actual conspiracy in the 50’s and 60’s on the part of people like Sigmund Freud’s disciple, the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich and the famed anthropologist Bronsilav Malinowksi to get young people to start thinking about matters intimate and solitary. This would help young people to stop worrying about God, and thus would free society from the restrictive tyranny of religion.

It worked. Now all we think about is sex. Every other commercial on television seems to counsel us on how to be ready when the moment is right. I blush to be any more direct. All it seems we ever talk about now is sex and how the stranger varieties are just fine. To say that maybe there are just some things that one should perhaps avoid is to indulge in hate speech and to have right-thinking people storm out on you and call you intolerant and unenlightened. We have exchanged the tyranny of religion for the tyranny of weirdness.

Tolerance is no longer enough. The truly good person must now joyfully endorse what in other time was thought ghoulishly unnatural. We have the bizarre phenomenon of the president of the United States congratulating a former Olympic athlete on his, I mean her, or its, or something on a change in gender that has involved a bad haircut and a lot of botched cosmetic surgery. The worship of sex and science is strange enough, but there seems to be a fascination with the occult among people who deny the existence of God in their ordinary lives and who certainly deny the validity of organized religion.  “If once we can produce our perfect work — the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls ‘Forces’ while denying the existence of ‘spirits’—then the end of the war will be in sight.” Lewis wrote these thing around 1940, 75 years ago. How did he know that where the 20th century was headed? One smart fellow, if you ask me. 

We worship sex and science and treat spiritual forces as a sort of parlor game that we can find on our smart-phones. Believe me, “The kingdom below” is no parlor game. In my line of work I have run into the devil a few times. I have never been an exorcist, but I have assisted in exorcisms and they are most certainly real. People think that evil is more interesting than virtue. It is all great fun in scary movies and ghost-hunting TV shows. Trust me. Hollywood has got it wrong. Over the years, people have come to me insisting they are possessed because they are hearing voices or there are things going bump in the night. 99% of those who have come to me with these problems just have over-active imaginations.

But then there is the 1 percent. Their situation is truly horrible. When someone comes to me with a Hollywood style demonic problem, they are usually just watching too much television. The real sign of demonic possession isn’t so much heat as it is cold.  By this I mean that there is a great coldness about the devil. The devil rarely convulses and levitates, though those things actually happen. The devil is cold. There is a sudden coldness and distance about the person possessed. From being a person who loves kittens and butterflies, they become people who like to pull the wings off flies. They are cold, not so much overheated. 

I have seen and heard of enough strange things to think the devil is real. It is not the strange things that convince me that it’s real. It is that when you run into a truly possessed person, at least in my limited experience, he is always the same as the others. It is as if you’ve got a snarling badger trapped under the porch. The devil is mean and colorless and humorless. There is nothing interesting about him at all.  He is a devourer, as Lewis says, the stronger will devouring the weaker. He promises freedom but delivers slavery. We are a generation who believes itself free. We are badly mistaken. We are slaves to our own passions and desires. We believe that because I want it, it must be good. God, if there is a God, would never forbid me something I really feel or want. 

Overwhelming appetite and passion, masquerading as love, justify any number of self-destructive behaviors and relationships. We are no freer than a fish firmly snared on a hook. The worm may be tasty but we cannot swim away. We are ready to be gutted, breaded and tossed in a frying pan for the devil’s delight. Hell is an eternally boring place where we experience the darkness that we chose in this world — yes, chose!  You must choose to go to heaven, or choose to remain in hell. The truth is that God doesn’t send anyone to hell. He finds us there, and so sent us His only begotten Son to show us a way out.  

Think about the human condition for a moment. Infants are complete narcissists. They live in a world of one. If the baby wants a bottle in his mouth, or needs a change of clothes, or simply wants mommy to hold him, he lets out that certain cry that can penetrate brick. It matters not that you have to be up at 5 AM to go to work. If that baby wants something the whole house is up!  I know people who are 50 or 60 years old who are content only if they have a bottle in their mouths, a change of clothes and mommy to hold them. 

Most of us never leave the fundamental egotism and selfishness into which we are born, and I suspect that when we leave this world the only thing that really happens is that time stops and we are who we have decided to be. If we cling to our childish narcissism then that’s who we will be forever. 



I have met a number of people who, when they had a near-death experience, did not see a light and a tunnel, but experienced “an outer darkness” and absolute aloneness. If, on the other hand we admit our sinfulness and ask for the grace of repentance, if we do our best to respond to the grace that’s given, then He will lead us to a wedding feast, an eternal banquet of love. The choice really is ours. The devil wants to convince us that he is the interesting one when nothing could be farther from the truth. Hell is eternal boring sameness, a gray aloneness, lit only the fires of love denied. 

“Deliver us, O Lord, from the evil one.”   Please. 

Rev. Know-it-all

PS. If you want to learn more about the devil and how he works, don’t bother with the Discovery Channel or anything else on TV. Get CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and read it while listening to it read by John Cleese of A Fish Called Wanda and “Monty Python” fame.  It’s easy to find on YouTube just do a web search for The Screwtape Letters (Narrated by John Cleese) - YouTube

Friday, June 5, 2015

What do you mean the "Our Father" is dangerous - part 9

Letter to Dan. J. Russ continued.

“But deliver us from evil…”  Another problem! This phrase comes to us from the Latin translation of the Our Father. There is a grammatical problem with Latin. Ancient Romans talked like cavemen. They had no articles. Remember grammar from long ago and far way? Remember how your fifth grade teacher said that someday you would need to remember your grammar lessons? Well, that’s today. 

The article is an adjective, a determiner that precedes a noun. There are two types of articles in English: the definite article (the) and the indefinite (a/an). The definite article specifies a particular individual; the indefinite article indicates that the noun following it is a member of a larger group. Got that?  Essentially we are talking about “a” or “the.” For instance, “a dog” means any old dog. “The dog” refers to that beloved family pet whom you follow around with a plastic bag on a cold winter morning. 

In English we might say “We need a dog!” or “Do I have to take the dog out for a walk this morning. It’s Becky Sue’s turn.”  Romans and, presumably, cave persons did not have articles of any kind. They would say, “We need dog” or “Do I have to take dog out for walk this morning. It’s Becky Sue’s turn.” You see, Romans talked just like cavemen.

Greek and English both have articles, though Greek only had a definite article. They are used in a remarkably similar way in both languages. One of their uses is to turn an adjective into a noun. For instance to say these three adjectives preceded by the definite article, “the good, the bad, and the ugly’” clearly indicates “the good person, the bad person and the ugly person,” — or it indicates a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western. Forget about the Western. Concentrate on the substantive adjective, Greek did the same thing. 

This whole harangue about grammar is essential for understanding the final phrase of the Our Father. As I said, we get the prayer from the Latin text which says “Deliver us from evil.” that’s not what the prayer is really saying. In Greek it says “alla hrusia hemas apo tou ponerou  Tou” means “the.”  Deliver us from “THE evil (one). In other words in the final phrase of the Our Father we are admitting that there is such a thing as the devil and we need to be freed from him.   

We are in a war with unseen powers, and I don’t mean just the Internal Revenue Service. There is an unseen world on whose border we live. As the old Scottish prayer says,

“From ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!”   

I don’t know about ghosties and ghoulies, but there are certainly things unseen that would devour us. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  (1Peter 5:8)  

In praying the Our Father, we are admitting that there is such a world and if you are not of that opinion, perhaps you should leave out this part of the Our Father next time you say it. In the introduction to his Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis says, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” 

He goes on to say that we moderns either think of them as humorous fellows with horns, a tail and wearing a red union suit, or oppositely, something much more powerful that they really are. And that the devil’s most clever strategy in this present age is to make us think he does not exist. St Paul warns us clearly. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  (Ephesians 6:12)  We disregard their existence at our own peril, and the world is currently being devoured and no one is noticing. The devil feasts on the blood of children. It is his favorite dish. We are providing the feast while insisting all the while that there is no devil.

So who are the devils and why do they hate us? The scriptures and the teaching of the Church are fairly silent on the point, but there are theories. The most common one goes something like this. The celestial spirits, whom we usually call angels, are as if infinitely more wondrous than we. They are as if all powerful; as if all knowing; as if all seeing and eternal — that is timeless. Only God is truly omnipotent and all-knowing, but compared to the angelic spirits we are like insects, like worms. 

The theory holds that the Heavenly Father presented his plan to the angels, saying that for love of the human insects, He was going to incarnate His heart, His very Son as one of them and that He planned to elevate them even above the angels. Fully a third of the celestial spirits, decided that if this was God’s decision, God could not be God and so they rebelled under the leadership of the Angel of Light, called “Lucifer” in Latin. They were cast out of heaven in a great battle led by the archangel Michael. The book of Ecclesiasticus (2:24) says, “Nevertheless through the envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.”

The fallen angels conceived an unending hatred for humanity, because God had shared with the humans something he did not share even with the celestial spirits. Angels do not reproduce. Of them Jesus said, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30) The devil hates all forms of creativity. The ugliness of current art and its desire to shock rather than uplift is demonic. It is interesting that so many modern churches look more like spaceships from the planet Ugly than like the House of God; but more than art, the devil despises children. A man and a woman in their union can create something immortal. True, God creates the soul, but from a woman’s body there emerges a unique new body and, if what Christ said is true, the body is eternal, for good or for ill.  

The angels do not create, and they do not reproduce. The devil wants to end human creativity. Our generation in the name of human freedom has ruined art and has created narcissistic, sterile marriages. Same-sex marriage, abortion, pornography, artificial birth control, are all forms of sterile sexuality, and that is exactly what the devil is going for. God loves children. The devil hates them. He likes to kill the ones that are conceived and better still, to keep them from ever being conceived.  We think we are free. We are snared just as surely as the fly in spider’s web. 

“From ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!”

Rev. Know-it-all