Monday, November 21, 2011

Baptism Saves You Now

     Today, I was working on a paper for a college course I'm taking (at CDU--see below), when I decided to look up the phrase "baptism saves you now."  I couldn't remember exactly where it was in I Peter.  What was so funny is that many Protestant entries came on the Google search.  I clicked on the first one which did not, at first give the reference (I Peter 3:21, by the way).  It went on and on about how this verse had nothing to do with water baptism and salvation.  The rest of the diatribe was about how spiritual baptism saves us.  All I kept thinking as I'm reading this is how does this fit in with his professed sola scriptura position?  It wasn't just him, though.  There were many others with similar and differing things to say on the subject.
     My problem with such a convoluted explaining away of the actual context is the claim that they believe that the Bible is their "only authority" when it comes to doctrine.  Of course that first 'author' I read did not go back at all and quote the previous verses and I wonder if he'd even read them, judging by the way he twisted verse 21. 
"For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that He might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the spirit.  In it He also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water.  This prefigured baptism, which saves you now.  It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into Heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him."  (I Peter 3:18-22, NAB)

Honestly, even as a former Baptist, I cannot understand how one can ignore such a glaring indication of the place of WATER baptism in God's plan of salvation.  Noah and his family "were saved through water".  It says right there in black and white, "This prefigures baptism, which saves you now."  How can intelligent person in their right mind, unless of course they have a man-made agenda, pretend that this is not about literal water baptism?  Obviously, Peter does mean water baptism saves you now.  He indicates this not only by the prefigurement of the flood but also his comment afterward.  "It is not a removal of dirt from the body" can only indicate he means water.  Certainly if he meant "spirit baptism", for which the article I read tried to make a case,  he wouldn't need say anything about the removal of dirt from the body--only water can do that.  I just cannot comprehend that a man's agenda can blind him so much to God's plan.

According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus said, "All power in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (28:18-20a)

and in St Mark's Gospel, Jesus said:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."  (16:15,16) 

How one can "reason" away these passages is a mystery to me.  How so many "bible only" Christians not only don't believe what the Bible says about baptism and it's place in God's plan of salvation, but they don't follow Jesus' command and baptism anyone.  Many sincere, well-meaning Christians have been lead far afield by other Protestants or their own "understanding."  Another indication that sola-scriptura (bible only) Christianity doesn't work.  In His Church, the Catholic Church, the Scriptures are seen as a whole, not picked apart into proof-texting.  God's plan of salvation is in all of Scripture and given to us wonderfully and mystically and spiritually in the Sacraments, including baptism, "which saves you now."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Catholic Distance University

I started my college career at 18.  However in my Junior year, I quit college because I was scared of debt.  I was already $30,000 in the hole and had another year and a half to go for my teaching degree.  I eventually joined the Air Force and paid my debt.  I also received an Associates degree during my tenure.  I considered "completion" degrees here and there, but almost every one of them was for a business degree or nursing.  I was not interested at all in a business degree and I do not qualify for a nursing degree, so I pretty much let it go.  Until now...

CDU Logo
 I looked into Catholic Distance University.  My husband was flying for an airline, and gone 2 weeks out of 4.  Call it a mid-life crisis but I panicked a little, wondering what would happen to me if he didn't come back (I've been a stay at home, homeschooling mom for almost 18 years now).   Catholic Distance University (CDU) has a Bachelor's degree completion program in a field I'm interested in--Theology.  It can be done completely online.  They've had their online Master's courses for sometime, as well.  CDU also offers catechetical certificates and education credits, and their seminars are wonderful!  This year they've even introduced an Associates' degree program.  You can do it all on line, at your convenience.  Yes, I've done school work at 1AM a couple of times.  I fit my assignments, readings, and research for papers at my convenience. 

So, if you're a stay at home mom like me, or a working man or woman who would like to finish or get a degree, and interested in studying catechetics or theology, you should check them out. 

So go here for the CDU homepage, here for information on their AA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic Studies program, here for CDU's Bachelor of Arts in theology degree completion progree, and here for their Master of Arts in Theology degree.  Also available from CDU, the catechetical diploma,  courses for education credit withour applying to one of their programs, and non-credit courses and seminars for those who just want to learn more about the Catholic faith.  So, go check them out and help me win a free seminar!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hallelujah in Alaska

You have got to see this!  It is wonderful, especially if you like flash mob videos.  This is sweet!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rock and Roll

Last night we, here in Oklahoma, had a 5.6 earthquake at 11pm.  It lasted close to half a minute.  It is one of the strongest I've experienced since I was a kid in Seattle.  Two of my kids were awakened and my oldest, who was awake, all  showed up in the living room, asking me what was going on.  I told them it felt like it was between a 5 and a 6.  I didn't know how right I was until this morning!  But what a ride!  It is exhilarating at the same time it is terrifying.  Our whole house shook as if it were on rails.  No damage done--but it sounded like we had monsters in the closets.  It felt like I was "home" again in Auburn (near Seattle), Washington. 
We really are not in charge.  God has us right in His hands. 

More later...

Addendum:  We had another experience about 8 pm Saturday night.  It was "only" a 4.6.  But we were fully aware of the experience.  It was quite interesting to have a thunder storm with a threat of tornadoes, at the same time an earthquake is rocking the house.  Wow!  What is God trying to tell us?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I know, I know, it's All Saints' Day now, but it was so fun I had to share.  My kids dressed up and went to the carnival at our parish school Saturday night.  There were all kinds of games.  My youngest son's favorite was candy corn bowling--he is obsessed with bowling.  He was, after all, dressed as a bowling ball! (The costume probably cost $4!)  He was devastated when we returned to the game after having gone to the costume contest and they had switched out candy corn bowling for a cone ring toss game.  I'll have to find one of those darn things for him.  He was surprisingly good at the tossing games.  I can only guess that is because he has a basketball hoop, and he has been playing catch with his dad.

Speaking of oldest went as a "Steam punk" scientist, costing around $6 for a vest from the second hand store and a pair of spats made of white felt.  The rest of the costume he already had on hand.  My second son was the joker.  His was the most expensive.  I bought a shirt, tie, and 2 green shirts that I cut up to make Joker's green vest.  It cost around $15.  My third son was some sort of gaming character, costing around $10.  My daughter's hippie costume cost me around $5.  Her costume won second place in her category (6-8 grades).  So, all in all not a bad Halloween, and everyone got to dress up as the character they wanted.  They all got their pictures taken as a souvenir of the night--they were free!

Trick or treating tonight was interesting.  I would say about 1 house in 10 had its porch light on, and of those on, 1 in 4 did not answer the door.  It is hard to explain all that to an anxious 6yo bowling ball.  His older sister wanted to go another street but he just wanted to go home.  I got him to compromise, but he complain half-way round the loop home.  Just so you all know...don't sit in your dark driveway in a black hooded robe if you actually want the kids to come to your house.  I don't know about other people's kids, but mine don't particularly want to be scared by a complete stranger in the dark.

Oh, and one neighbor said, "And don't forget to celebrate Christmas."  Huh?  Does one exclude the other?  Not really.  Halloween is actually the Eve of All Saints' Day and has been a Christian celebration for centuries--not always with costumes and candy mind you but a celebration none-the-less.  It was similar to Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, when people get together, eat a big meal then go to midnight Mass for Christmas and open presents in the wee hours of the morning.  The man's comment just struck me as rather silly.  Halloween was never a celebration of witches and monsters.  It is actually a way of making fun of them and contrasting the silliness of them with the wonderful lives of the holy people we call saints.  Anyway, a Christian CAN celebrate both.  It is perfectly legitimate and perfectly alright.

It struck me as kind of silly, too, that I was carrying about 2-3 pounds of candy in my son's sack, while at home my husband was passing out about the same amount at home.  Silly custom, isn't it?  But the children have such a good time, I haven't the heart to not go.

I found Ben & Jerry's site tonight and got obsessed with some of the fun games on the site.  They have a Halloween section but I'm not sure if it will still be there tomorrow.  I'm going to watch out for Thanksgiving or Christmas games.  Thanks Ben & Jerry's!

Now--Don't forget to go to Mass tomorrow (today).  It IS a holy day of obligation.  That means all good Catholics must attend Mass.  You do realize it is for your own soul's health.  Jesus loves you and wants to see you there!  God bless!  Have a blessed All Saints Day!