Monday, March 31, 2014

Never seen before: the pope makes me want to go to confession.

In another of his spontaneous acts, Francis has again astonished everybody by kneeling and going to confession there and then. Obviously, popes go to confession, so it should not astonish us to see it, but it has never seen before. It make me want to go to confession too.

As Roco Palmo tells us: 
The footage is indeed unprecedented – while John Paul II routinely heard the confessions of 12 laymen every Good Friday in St Peter's and B16 spent some time administering the sacrament in a Madrid park at World Youth Day 2011, no Pope has ever been seen as a penitent.

After his turn on the other side of the sacrament, Francis spent another 40 minutes hearing confessions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lent News: letter from the death raw

Some fragment from the letter from Ray Jasper, a man to be executed by the State of Texas.

I think 'empathy' is one of the most powerful words in this world that is expressed in all cultures. This is my underlining theme. I do not own a dictionary, so I can't give you the Oxford or Webster definition of the word, but in my own words, empathy means 'putting the shoe on the other foot.'

Empathy. A rich man would look at a poor man, not with sympathy, feeling sorrow for the unfortunate poverty, but also not with contempt, feeling disdain for the man's poverish state, but with empathy, which means the rich man would put himself in the poor man's shoes, feel what the poor man is feeling, and understand what it is to be the poor man.

Empathy breeds proper judgement. Sympathy breeds sorrow. Contempt breeds arrogance. Neither are proper judgements because they're based on emotions. That's why two people can look at the same situation and have totally different views. We all feel differently about a lot of things. Empathy gives you an inside view. It doesn't say 'If that was me...', empathy says, 'That is me.'

What that does is it takes the emotions out of situations and forces us to be honest with ourselves. Honesty has no hidden agenda. Thoreau proposed that 'one honest man' could morally regenerate an entire society.

 Under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution all prisoners in America are considered slaves. We look at slavery like its a thing of the past, but you can go to any penitentiary in this nation and you will see slavery. That was the reason for the protests by prisoners in Georgia in 2010. They said they were tired of being treated like slaves. People need to know that when they sit on trial juries and sentence people to prison time that they are sentencing them to slavery.
And more
If a prisoner refuses to work and be a slave, they will do their time in isolation as a punishment. You have thousands of people with a lot of prison time that have no choice but to make money for the government or live in isolation. The affects of prison isolation literally drive people crazy. Who can be isolated from human contact and not lose their mind? That was the reason California had an uproar last year behind Pelican Bay. 33,000 inmates across California protested refusing to work or refusing to eat on hunger-strikes because of those being tortured in isolation in Pelican Bay.

I think prison sentences have gotten way out of hand. People are getting life sentences for aggravated crimes where no violence had occurred. I know a man who was 24 years old and received 160 years in prison for two aggravated robberies where less that $500 was stole and no violence took place. There are guys walking around with 200 year sentences and they're not even 30 years old. Its outrageous. Giving a first time felon a sentence beyond their life span is pure oppression. Multitudes of young people have been thrown away in this generation.
 Read the full letter here.
May God have mercy on us.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

God's World and Holdman Christian Standard Bible won the prize.

In most bibles, the famous verse in John 3:16 is translated this way:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life." (NRSV)

Yet, when I ask my friends what this so loved means, they invariably answer that it means that God loved the world so much that He gave his Son. This is, God loves the world a lot.

Well, there is no doubt that God loves the world a lot, but that is not the intended meaning of the verse. Here, the verse in greek:

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ1 ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

However οὕτως, for what I know of greek, in this sentence would be adecuately translated by "this way".  So the two translations that won the prize are:

"God loved the world this way: He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life." (God's World)

"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (HCSB)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent News: prison system.

Prison in US is a very profitable industry, making a lot of money. No wonder that more and more prisons are being constructed. Interesting poster here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Deliverance of God. Richard Beck Summary

I have just brought "The Deliverance of God: An apocalyptic rereading of Justification in Paul" by Campbell. The reading of Campbell shows that Paul presents a gospel centered in Christ. The good news of a liberating God through the faithfulness of Jesus. This is better news than the most common reform reading, and arguably much closer to Paul teaching.  Here, I recover a wonderful series of posts by Richard Beck on this book.

Part1: Justification Theory
Part2: Intrinsic Problems of Justification Theory
Part3: Systematic Problems of Justification Theory
Part4: Empirical Problems of JustificationTheory
Part5: Justification Theory in Reformation
Part6: The Unholy alliance of Justification Theory and Modernity
Part7: Attacking the Citadel
Part8: The False Gospel
Part9: The False Gospel, Continuation
Part10: The deliverance of God
Part11: Father Abraham
Part12: The Rethorical Reading of Romans 1-4

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saint of the month: Joan of Valois

The random saint generator of Jenifer Fulwiler, gave me this female saint: Joan of Valois.

That is what wikipedia says:

Joan of France (French: Jeanne de France, Jeanne de Valois; (23 April 1464 – 4 February 1505), was briefly Queen of France as wife of King Louis XII, in between the death of her brother, King Charles VIII, and the annulment of her marriage.
After that, Joan retired to her domain, where she soon founded the monastic Order of the Sisters of the Annunciation of Mary. From this Order later sprang the religious congregation of the Apostolic Sisters of the Annunciation, founded in 1787 to teach the children of the poor. She was canonized on 28 May 1950 and is known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Joan of Valois, O.Ann.M.

St Joan of Valois, pray for us.