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patrick jane

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #156 on: August 12, 2021, 08:03:45 pm »
CONCLUSION SHOPPING

Are we reading scriptures, the Bible for support for our own agenda, viewpoints, and conclusions?   Are we just trying to find something that agrees with us and our thinking?  These are questions I have pondered for quite some time now.   I have seen a person make a statement that is very negative and can only be called hateful.  Then try to twist a single sentence from the Bible to support their statement.  This is nothing more than conclusion shopping in the Holy Scriptures.  So are you one of those that spend your time in the scriptures looking for something you have already decided, a viewpoint, or in support of your own agenda?  OR  Do you read the Bible to learn the meaning of the divinely inspired words of God, seeking His guidance, His wisdom, and His love?   Do you read the Bible with no pre-conceived viewpoint, no agenda, no desire to support what you have come to believe?  These are questions we need to be asking ourselves each time we open the Bible, go to a Church service or any other type of function related to faith.   Do not seek God through your own view and eyes of who he is, but rather seek God through the words and the eyes into his heaven.   Just my opinion.
Can you be more specific about what was said and which verse they "twisted"?

This is just a general observation from multiple comments and conversations of an extended period.   I am not trying to pinpoint one person, one statement or any one thing.  I just have noticed this tendency, even in myself.  So I voiced an observation that I think we all need to work on.
I agree, and I try not to fit scripture to coincide with my personal or selfish needs or desires. I try, yet I find myself doing it though not often. I think you mean more about our beliefs and trying to fit scripture to "agree" with our established overview.

Chaplain Mark Schmidt

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #157 on: August 12, 2021, 09:00:02 pm »
I think it goes both ways, but for me and you,  I think what you said will fit us more, but those I was talking with that started this whole train of thought, was more their current viewpoint on the current events.

For the record, I can be a very selfish and narrow focus on desires when it comes to things and this really hit me hard to realize I was bitching to myself about someone doing what I also did. 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2021, 09:01:34 pm by Chaplain Mark Schmidt »
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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Chaplain Mark Schmidt

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #158 on: August 14, 2021, 02:21:13 pm »
i liked this so sharing.
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #159 on: October 09, 2021, 08:59:03 pm »
interesting post
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #160 on: October 31, 2021, 09:14:28 pm »
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 29th, 2021

To the Faithful of the Reformed Catholic Church and all People of Goodwill:

We will be celebrating a variety of holidays and special events in the United States during the month of November. In addition to marking the Church’s celebration of All Saints Day, November 1st is the first day of a month-long celebration of Native Americans and Native Alaskans. The Native Americans and Native Alaskans and other indigenous people of our country have a remarkable history that predates the arrival of the Europeans and the Christian religion. November is a time to learn and rejoice in their varied, diverse and rich culture, histories and traditions. We should appreciate the great contributions that they have made. It is even more important to celebrate this month as the Indigenous people of the world help remind us all of our responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. Let us take the time to celebrate them and learn from them.

As we move through our celebrations this month, let us not forget our veterans of the Armed Forces on November 11th. We owe so much to our veterans for our freedoms. Our veterans, those drafted as well as those who volunteered, chose to serve their country in the defense of our freedoms. These include those indigenous people who fought for our country and the lands of their ancestors. We owe a great deal to the Eskimo Scouts, the Navajo Code talkers, and all who served. We honor them and thank those who are members of the Church as well as those we meet and encounter in our daily lives. Let us pray for them in a special way this November 11th.

Finally, there is Thanksgiving Day. The third Thursday of November was declared a federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a day set aside to express our gratitude. While we who follow Christ are called to give thanks every day, Thanksgiving Day invites us to deeper reflection on our many blessings. It also calls us to consider ways to share our gratitude with those around us who may be broken or in need. We encourage all Americans to take the time this month, and especially on Thanksgiving Day, to give thanks to those in our lives who are important and make our lives more complete. Let us also thank God for all the people, things and beauty that surround us on a daily basis.

Thank you for keeping the faith during these challenging times.  Have a blessed month of November!

The Bishops & Board of Directors of the Reformed Catholic Church
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #161 on: October 31, 2021, 09:39:26 pm »
About the Day of the Dead

I published this elsewhere and met with some pushback as well as positive response,  just sharing with my friends here some of my writings.  It is kind of long

In recent years, the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (November 2) has gained visibility in the USA and around the world, thanks in great part to media and movies including Pixar’s animated feature Coco. It is a colorful part of Latin American Catholic culture.
For Americans, and perhaps people from other countries where this celebration is not a longstanding tradition, this folkloric holiday could simply seem like a “Mexican Halloween,” in the worst possible sense. It could appear as a pagan celebration that invites people to celebrate the darkness of death or even worship it (associating it with the “Santa Muerte” or “Saint Death” cult). Some even feel it is to seek to communicate with the dead through pre-Colombian rites and rituals.
This is the danger of learning about other cultures from movies, on one hand, and on the other, of misunderstanding the process of inculturation which the Church has practiced since its founding and in all the different forms of the Catholic Church.
Let us begin with what the Day of the Dead is not. To quote a 2019 article from Vatican News: “It must be made clear that in Mexico this celebration is not a ‘satanic cult’ or something related to a ‘cult of death.’” Nor is it generally understood exactly as it was depicted in the film Coco. This movie did incorporate many real elements of Mexican culture. But let us be honest here, subsidiary Pixar is not a reliable source for information on the way Catholics in Mexico celebrate the Day of the Dead.
 Using a well-written passage from Aleteia, let me quote them on what it is. First of all, returning to the Vatican News article, “it forms a part of a belief that has its roots in the Prehispanic world.” Among the cultures that existed in what is now Mexico before the coming of Europeans, the article goes on to explain, there was a general belief in an afterlife, including something analogous to Purgatory. For the dead to reach their destination in the afterlife, they needed certain essential objects, and once a year they visited the earth. During this occasion, the living could offer them food and objects to help them along.
At this point it is still possible to object, being easy to state, “See? It’s a pagan celebration that Catholics should avoid.” However, let us consider this; when Catholic missionaries arrived in the Americas, they realized that in these beliefs and celebrations there were elements of truth that were a common ground that could help the indigenous peoples understand the Catholic faith. These partial truths are what the Church calls “semina verbi” or the “seeds of the Word”—a term coined by St. Justin Martyr in the second century (originally in Greek, “logoi spermatikoi”).
The missionaries engaged in what is known as inculturation: they took the elements of truth they found and some of the cultural manifestations that accompanied them, and infused them with the Catholic faith, transforming the feast of the god of the underworld into a celebration of All Souls Day. In this way, the missionaries introduced Catholic teaching, and this helped transform the culture as a whole.
Inculturation is something that had been used in some form or another since St. Paul. St. Paul himself, when speaking at the Areopagus in Athens, did not say, “Forget everything you know, because it’s all wrong.” Instead, he quoted a pagan poet and referred to a pagan altar “to the unknown god,” saying, “What you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-31)
Many folkloric traditions surrounding Catholic feast days have been adopted over the centuries from non-Christian traditions as part of inculturation. Even some aspects of Catholic iconography, terminology, and philosophy (used to elucidate theology) have non-Christian origins, such as Greco-Roman mystery cults and Neoplatonism.
While anti-Catholic rhetoric from atheists and non-Catholic Christians often exaggerates how much the Church has adopted from these sources and claims it has harmed the faith, the fact of inculturation is undeniable and quite positive. Grace builds on and perfects nature. In His providence, he has guided humanity towards the truth and prepared us to receive the Gospel. When human beings strive forward, even with some mistakes, God takes what is good and makes it better, while purging what is mistaken or evil.
We must recognize the feast as an essential element of Mexican tradition and identity and warn against the corrupting influence of … none other than the United States, with its distortion of Mexican culture and its confusion of Day of the Dead with Halloween. At the same time, we must warn against the cult of Santa Muerte, a recent invention tied to the culture surrounding drug trafficking and not specifically related to the Day of the Dead.
Can Catholics celebrate the Day of the Dead? The answer is clearly “yes,” if those Catholics or any other Christian denomination understand properly as the celebration of All Souls Day with certain cultural, folkloric aspects of Mexican culture.
So, we say to the Faithful of the Reformed Catholic Church and all People of Goodwill, enjoy this special day and treat it with the respect and reverence it is meant to have.
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #162 on: October 31, 2021, 10:42:15 pm »
About the Day of the Dead

I published this elsewhere and met with some pushback as well as positive response,  just sharing with my friends here some of my writings.  It is kind of long

In recent years, the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (November 2) has gained visibility in the USA and around the world, thanks in great part to media and movies including Pixar’s animated feature Coco. It is a colorful part of Latin American Catholic culture.
For Americans, and perhaps people from other countries where this celebration is not a longstanding tradition, this folkloric holiday could simply seem like a “Mexican Halloween,” in the worst possible sense. It could appear as a pagan celebration that invites people to celebrate the darkness of death or even worship it (associating it with the “Santa Muerte” or “Saint Death” cult). Some even feel it is to seek to communicate with the dead through pre-Colombian rites and rituals.
This is the danger of learning about other cultures from movies, on one hand, and on the other, of misunderstanding the process of inculturation which the Church has practiced since its founding and in all the different forms of the Catholic Church.
Let us begin with what the Day of the Dead is not. To quote a 2019 article from Vatican News: “It must be made clear that in Mexico this celebration is not a ‘satanic cult’ or something related to a ‘cult of death.’” Nor is it generally understood exactly as it was depicted in the film Coco. This movie did incorporate many real elements of Mexican culture. But let us be honest here, subsidiary Pixar is not a reliable source for information on the way Catholics in Mexico celebrate the Day of the Dead.
 Using a well-written passage from Aleteia, let me quote them on what it is. First of all, returning to the Vatican News article, “it forms a part of a belief that has its roots in the Prehispanic world.” Among the cultures that existed in what is now Mexico before the coming of Europeans, the article goes on to explain, there was a general belief in an afterlife, including something analogous to Purgatory. For the dead to reach their destination in the afterlife, they needed certain essential objects, and once a year they visited the earth. During this occasion, the living could offer them food and objects to help them along.
At this point it is still possible to object, being easy to state, “See? It’s a pagan celebration that Catholics should avoid.” However, let us consider this; when Catholic missionaries arrived in the Americas, they realized that in these beliefs and celebrations there were elements of truth that were a common ground that could help the indigenous peoples understand the Catholic faith. These partial truths are what the Church calls “semina verbi” or the “seeds of the Word”—a term coined by St. Justin Martyr in the second century (originally in Greek, “logoi spermatikoi”).
The missionaries engaged in what is known as inculturation: they took the elements of truth they found and some of the cultural manifestations that accompanied them, and infused them with the Catholic faith, transforming the feast of the god of the underworld into a celebration of All Souls Day. In this way, the missionaries introduced Catholic teaching, and this helped transform the culture as a whole.
Inculturation is something that had been used in some form or another since St. Paul. St. Paul himself, when speaking at the Areopagus in Athens, did not say, “Forget everything you know, because it’s all wrong.” Instead, he quoted a pagan poet and referred to a pagan altar “to the unknown god,” saying, “What you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-31)
Many folkloric traditions surrounding Catholic feast days have been adopted over the centuries from non-Christian traditions as part of inculturation. Even some aspects of Catholic iconography, terminology, and philosophy (used to elucidate theology) have non-Christian origins, such as Greco-Roman mystery cults and Neoplatonism.
While anti-Catholic rhetoric from atheists and non-Catholic Christians often exaggerates how much the Church has adopted from these sources and claims it has harmed the faith, the fact of inculturation is undeniable and quite positive. Grace builds on and perfects nature. In His providence, he has guided humanity towards the truth and prepared us to receive the Gospel. When human beings strive forward, even with some mistakes, God takes what is good and makes it better, while purging what is mistaken or evil.
We must recognize the feast as an essential element of Mexican tradition and identity and warn against the corrupting influence of … none other than the United States, with its distortion of Mexican culture and its confusion of Day of the Dead with Halloween. At the same time, we must warn against the cult of Santa Muerte, a recent invention tied to the culture surrounding drug trafficking and not specifically related to the Day of the Dead.
Can Catholics celebrate the Day of the Dead? The answer is clearly “yes,” if those Catholics or any other Christian denomination understand properly as the celebration of All Souls Day with certain cultural, folkloric aspects of Mexican culture.
So, we say to the Faithful of the Reformed Catholic Church and all People of Goodwill, enjoy this special day and treat it with the respect and reverence it is meant to have.

Mark, well written and very interesting. Thanks

Bladed
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #163 on: November 01, 2021, 12:26:08 am »
Thank you Blade
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #164 on: November 06, 2021, 07:44:18 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/october-web-only/day-of-dead-christians-participate-dia-de-los-muertos.html







Should Christians Participate in the Day of the Dead?








The Mexican holiday is more prominent than ever. Three evangelicals who’ve seen Día de los Muertos up close weigh in.


El Día de los Muertos, translated as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday also celebrated in many US communities. It has roots both in the Catholic observances of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days and in indigenous Mexican beliefs about the dead.

According to the ancient religion of Mexico, Day of the Dead traditions help the spirits of the dead return to their families, keeping them happy and forestalling the difficulties the dead could inflict on the living. Celebrations vary by region, but they have much in common: altars with offerings to dead relatives, skull-shaped sugar candies, marigolds, incense, votives, and food; candlelit cemeteries; tissue-paper cutouts; and calaverita (“little skull”) decorations everywhere.

CT asked Christians who’ve been in ministry in places where the Day of the Dead is celebrated, “Can Christians participate in good conscience? If so, how?”

Sally Isáis (Mexico City, Mexico): Christians shouldn’t participate at all, given the nature of the holiday.

Every mid-October before the Day of the Dead, my parents would receive a note from my Mexico City school saying, “If your daughter does not bring her part for the classroom offering, she will flunk civics class.”

My mother would say, “I am sorry, but as evangelical Christians, we cannot be part of this celebration, even if it means Sally will not pass the course.” She would then ask the teacher if there was any way that I could make up for not participating. Some years I flunked the course, and other years I was allowed to present another project. My peers were always upset that I would not do my part to decorate the class altar to the dead. My children had similar experiences when they were in Mexico City schools.

Some people see the Day of the Dead as simply a Mexican cultural art form and a family-friendly celebration: colorful, decorative, and dramatic, even somewhat romantic. However, there is a dark spiritual side to the holiday that has steadily increased and become more obvious and unrestrained.

Like other evangelicals in Mexico, I believe the Day of the Dead is about honoring death—not just the dead—and taking part (consciously or unconsciously) in occult practices that God forbids his people to engage in (Deut. 18:10–14).

I asked other Mexican evangelical leaders to weigh in, and they were very consistent on the issue. I haven’t found any evangelical Christians in Mexico who would actively participate in this tradition in which our culture, like the prophet Daniel’s, pushes us to compromise our worship of the one true God.

“Under no circumstance should a truly born-again believer celebrate the Day of the Dead,” says Victoriano Baez Camargo, pastoral leader and former director of the Mexican Bible Society.

Pastor Cirilo Cruz, president of the National Evangelical Fraternity of Mexico, states, “Every altar to the dead has idols. Daniel chose not to contaminate himself with things offered to them.”

Gilberto Rocha and his wife, Clara, pastors of the megachurch Calacoaya, say the normalization of Día de los Muertos shouldn’t be a big factor: “Our basis should be the Word of God and not culture or what is in style.”

“Our participation during these days is that of witnessing,” says Cruz. Many evangelical churches hold all-night prayer meetings and evangelistic outreach efforts during these especially dark days.

At the core of many Mexican Christians’ objections to Día de Los Muertos is its celebration of death. “This celebration is in reality the worship of death. Jesus taught us to celebrate life and that death is no longer triumphant,” says Baez Camargo.

The Rochas note that “Scripture is very clear regarding death: it is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26). We cannot celebrate our enemy. We must choose between life (a blessing) and death (a curse).”

“The only death that Christians celebrate is that of our Savior and the life that his sacrifice has afforded to us. We celebrate Jesus, the Bread of Life—not the dead. We participate at the table of Christ, not at the table of demons” asserts pastor Edna Porras.

Believers should not participate in the Day of the Dead. To do so is to play with fire. During the days of Día de los Muertos, we Christians take the opportunity to celebrate and share the life offered to us through Jesus Christ, who conquered death.

Sally Isáis is the director of Milamex, a nonprofit ministry that leads and empowers Mexicans in their calling to walk alongside the Church and serve Christ in all areas of life.

Heidi Carlson (San Diego, California): Christians should avoid ancestor worship, but we can mourn with those who mourn.

I wasn’t born into a family that participates in Day of the Dead rituals. So, when I realized I needed to prepare my children for the festivities in our San Diego neighborhood, the context I primarily drew upon was my upbringing in Africa.

Our Sherman Heights community in San Diego holds the region’s most traditional Day of the Dead festivities, where the local community center hosts a hall of altars and residents participate in a candlelight procession. People set up altars in their front yards with candles, offerings, and photos. Those thoughtfully curated displays are more prevalent on our evening walks than fake cobwebs or other Halloween decorations.

In Mozambique, where I grew up, ancestor worship, as well as ancestor veneration, played an important role in people’s lives. In ancestor worship, the dead aren’t simply honored; their souls need to be appeased, as they can make the lives of the living better or worse. Ancestors are revered as spiritual entities that communicate with family on earth and act as mediators to a distant god. They are a presence in daily life. Fear is a common theme in ancestor worship.

For people across the globe, honoring ancestors can become a fear-filled religion. In cultures where ancestor veneration forms an integral part of cultural identity, Christians who do not participate in the rituals often risk persecution. Their seeming lack of reverence for ancestors might bring shame and bad fortune to the family. It is an apparent rejection of their cultural identity.

Given this understanding, my instinct was to remain separate and not be present at any Day of the Dead events in our neighborhood. Being present at events might hinder my Christian witness, I thought. Others might think I’m tacitly endorsing ancestor worship if I engage in the activities. But these were our neighbors, our community. What was our calling in this context?

Once, during an evening stroll, we met a neighbor sitting on his front porch, carefully curating an altar. His front steps were lined with a beautiful arrangement of flowers and candles, interspersed with framed family photos. He had never done an altar before. But his father passed away the previous year, so this year he wanted to memorialize him. Joyfully, he pointed out photos and shared memories. For this neighbor, the altar functioned as a memorial.

I learned that for many residents, the Day of the Dead is a holiday of remembrance. Sharing stories and the act of communal remembrance can be a meaningful event. Day of the Dead in Sherman Heights is also a festival celebrating cultural heritage.

The secularization and commercialization have made pathways around its connection with the occult and ancestor worship, in the same way that many who enjoy Halloween are not participating in pagan ritual.

Nevertheless, there is no denying the strong spiritual component to Day of the Dead. Some people—even churchgoers—pray to dead relatives and leave food offerings, fearing what will happen if they don’t.

Mixing Christianity with other practices and coming to believe a gospel of works may be glaringly obvious syncretism when I perceive it in others. But there are ways I may be syncretistic, trusting in Jesus and something else, that are not so spiritually different from an offering to a dead relative.

No matter where Day of the Dead celebrants fall on the spectrum or how your neighbors and community celebrate, this is not a holiday to be feared. When I see the smirking skull, I think of Paul’s words: “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55–57).

When the neighborhood is bedecked with sugar skulls, candles, and pots of marigolds, I engage, asking my neighbors questions about beloved deceased family members and sharing in joy at the memories.

And perhaps I will have the opportunity to share with them the joy and assurance we have because we serve the God of the living, not the dead—the God who welcomes us not because of the rituals we perform but because of the work he did on the cross.

Heidi Carlson is a writer now living in the Kingdom of Bahrain with her husband and four children.

Alexia Salvatierra (Pasadena, California): This is an issue Christians can disagree on, so long as we put our neighbors’ spiritual health first.

Paul had to teach the early church about more than one morally thorny question. Instead of coming down neatly with a list of dos and don’ts, the apostle raised a more fundamental theological principle: How will this choice affect your neighbor?

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Cor. 10:23–24).

As a Lutheran, I understand church holidays as physical reminders of spiritual principles: helpful for people with bodies, whose learning is strengthened by physical experience. All Saints’ Day—one of the traditions el Día de los Muertos stems from—is a vehicle for the biblical message that the body of Christ is both earthly and heavenly, providing a moment of reassurance, a sense of support, and a gift of perspective.

Of course, el Día de los Muertos is not All Saints’ Day. For some, it is a form of ancestor worship or an excuse for a drunken party. For others, it is a time of remembering loved ones and valuing the gift of family.

I was born in Los Angeles, to family who came from the antichurch, socialist tradition in Mexico and saw the holiday as encouraging superstition. I became a Christian in the Jesus Movement of the ’70s.

I joined evangelical Spanish-speaking churches who saw the holiday as promoting a dangerous distortion of the afterlife, distracting people from the eternal consequences of accepting or rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and encouraging pagan beliefs.

When I became a Lutheran pastor, I walked into a debate between pastors who shared the above perspective and others who thought the holiday was a positive cultural practice for its emphasis on the value of family and respect for elders, useful as a teaching tool.

How should Christians respond? Do we participate in the best aspects of the holiday and ignore the worst? Do we absent ourselves and denounce it? In the Lutheran Hispanic context as well as in the Centro Latino community at Fuller Theological Seminary, we can find both perspectives.

It is ultimately a question of evangelism: how we proclaim the gospel in words and deeds so that the love of Christ and the way of Christ are both experienced and named.

For example, Martin Luther used the tune of a famous German drinking song for his signature hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” because he wanted to communicate the concept of Immanuel—God with us in the midst of our lives, in every dark human corner that needs his mercy and light.

At times in the Book of Acts, Paul pointed out God’s presence in the familiar and used that as a signpost to lead people to a saving knowledge of Christ. At other times, he denounced idol worship and sinful cultural practices.

In all of the cultures that I know well, people honor the memory of their dead relatives. I can't imagine why we would consider that in itself to be a sin. As for the altars, or shrines, of Day of the Dead, building a shrine is sinful or not depending on who you are worshiping there. If you are worshiping an idol, then it is a sin. If you are worshiping God, then it is not.

However, in the Latin American context, a Christian would have to do some intentional work to clarify that a picture of a relative at a Día de los Muertos shrine was not being treated as an idol.

It is possible to use Día de los Muertos as an occasion to preach about earthly and heavenly family, to talk about eternal life, to ask what it takes to truly laugh in the face of death—and perhaps to do all that at the table of celebration with “tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:15–16).

It is also possible to use Día de los Muertos to talk about how to separate from the world and seek a life of purity and faithfulness, embodying the Word in the refusal to participate.

Whether to participate in the holiday is a question of discernment in context, using the guiding principle of love for one’s neighbor. This is an example of what Martin Luther called adiaphora, a topic about which faithful Christians can disagree without breaking the unity that Jesus prayed for.




Alexia Salvatierra is Academic Dean at Fuller Theological Seminary’s Centro Latino and ordained pastor since 1988.

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Chaplain Mark Schmidt

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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #166 on: November 25, 2021, 01:41:11 am »
Happy Thanksgiving to all. May it be filled with Blessings and Joy
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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Re: Chaplain's Chat
« Reply #167 on: November 25, 2021, 09:16:39 pm »

When most of us read the scriptures we read the Bible from the viewpoint of the 21st-century human.  That means we read it from a perspective and understand being born to freedoms of some type.  Now I know, some will point out that parts of the world still are oppressive and slavery still exists.   All true, but the majority of the world people have some level of freedom.    Reading the Bible this way is a mistake.  You have to place yourself in the Middle East, the Holy Land in Jesus' time.   Jesus was not born free.  He was born into an occupied territory.  He was born into a type of captivity. He was born into oppression, slavery, and captivity.  These factors cannot be changed just because your master and oppressors give you some freedoms of movement and leeways in some practices to include your religion.  You are still under their thumb and control.

So let us put ourselves in that mindset and remember that there is a lot unsaid.  Think of the sermon on the Mount.  Jesus did not spend time telling those gathered of their plight, of their oppression, of the fact they were Jews and hate and looked down upon by the Romans that were their masters.  He did not have to.    It was just understood.  Think of coming into the middle of a movie with no idea of the story arc.  That is what we have in the Bible.  I know some of the modern Bibles add footnotes to explain as much as they can, but the original authors were not writing for the century’s they were writing for the now. The audience already knew what was not said.  We do not.   This has led to centuries of assumptions.  This has led to centuries of possible misunderstanding of what is said and meant.

Take the time to reread your favorite passages, clear your mind of your perspective of now and of your preconceived assumptions.  Instead, read it with thoughts of the situation that Jesus lived in and realize that most of the statements he makes are answers to questions not yet asked but needed an answer.   I have a feeling that you will find a deep appreciation for the brilliance and the genius of Jesus of Nazareth before he became Jesus the Christ.   A true genius in Philosophy, strategy, and tactics to turn the tables on the masters that oppressed his people.  He set in motion a truly beautiful thing once you understand his motives and his plan.
Say each prayer as if it is your very last conversation with God and live each day as your last day to glorify God by your actions and words.”

My rule of spiritual life.  6/22/2021
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