Welcome to a blog of discovery.

God expects us to continually improve our understanding of the physical, and scientific investigation has developed a more erudite grasp of our universe. God also encourages us to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the spiritual. We humans, unfortunately, have failed to pursue the requisite wisdom. Our intellectual progress in the spiritual has not matched our growing knowledge of the physical, and this simple fact is the crux of the conflict between science and Christianity.

So there is the challenge. Christianity needs to experience the refreshing clarity of a theological renaissance. Can we unite the essence of the wonderful, loving, spiritual message we received over 2000 years ago with 21st century knowledge?


April 14, 2014

The Commandment to Love

Those who hate, accept a desolate death.
Depression follows them everywhere.
The ravages of distrust drain their senses.
They condemn themselves to mortal despair.

Happiness eludes the cynic.
Love avoids the arrogant.
Anger creates hostility.
Indifference invites isolation.

Murderers are condemned to Oblivion.
Torture is the handmaiden of death.
Suicide desecrates the energy of Life.
Abortion violates natural law.

I command you, therefore:
Commit not the works of hatred.
Do what the Lord would do.
Fill your heart with the peace of love.

Love those who are your enemy.
Welcome the stranger.
Assist the injured.
Comfort those in need.

Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Embrace a positive lifestyle.
Experience the wonders of the Temporal Universe.
Sense the energy of the Spiritual Universe.

May the gift of Love bring you closer to God.
May it nourish your soul and give you peace.

A psalm from “The Compassion of Father Giovanni”
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April 09, 2014

Parental Responsibility

Parents love your children.
They are the tangible evidence of your union.
Nurture your children with compassion.
Teach your children faith, hope and charity.

Lead them away from evil temptation.
Defile not their bodies with drugs and drink.
Instead, encourage each child to excel.
Teach them mutual respect and fidelity.

Draw your children close to you.
Bring your family together each day.
Create the security of a loving home.
Encourage a belief in the spiritual.

Be thoughtful in your parental obligation.
Success requires commitment and participation.
What your children are - is your responsibility.
What they become - is your mission.

Love your growing children.
Share in their accomplishments and dreams.
Then be joyful on the day they leave your nest,
To create a family of their own.

We know God created the family
To nurture and protect the young.
May your home be a place of harmony
And a residence for the Holy Trinity.


A psalm from “The Compassion of Father Giovanni”
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April 04, 2014

Does This Story Belong in the Bible?

I do not know if this story is true. But it does illustrate an important lesson.

A farmer had a litter of puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups, and then nailed it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy. "Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat of the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money." The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.  "I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to let me take a look?"

"Sure," said the farmer with a smile. And with that he let out a whistle.  "Here, Dolly!" he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.  The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence.  His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared in the doorway. This little puppy was noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing his best to catch up with his brothers and sisters....

 "I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.  The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would." With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.  In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.  Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.  "How much?" asked the little boy.  "No charge," answered the farmer, "there is no charge for love."

There are many people in our world who need the love of someone special.

Many of the stories in the Bible have been described as myths or folktales. Does that really matter? Is it not more important they illustrate and convey the meaning of God’s message to us? Are acts of love and understanding inspired by what God has taught us?

.........

When I was six or so, I had a friend who was called “Runt”. That’s why this story has a special meaning for me.

Ron

April 02, 2014

Birthing

If you wish to follow God’s commandments,
do not participate in the conception of human life,
until you are ready, willing and able,
to love and support the infant you have created.
Your baby will be precious in the eyes of the Lord,
and no matter how difficult the challenges of your life,
he expects you to be a loving and responsible parent.

A psalm from “The Compassion of Father Giovanni”
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April 01, 2014

Marriage

Honor the one you love above yourself.
Show consideration in word and deed.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in commitment.
For true love must be sincere in purpose and honorable in act.
A good husband values his wife.
A good wife respects her husband.
Be your partner’s best friend, and most trusted companion.
Your love will be measured by your devotion to one another.
These are the things that bring you together as one.
And make your union precious in the eyes of God.

A psalm from “The Compassion of Father Giovanni”
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March 31, 2014

What about Bible Mythology?

The Bible is not merely a collection of mythologies. The text of the Bible conveys God’s message to us. Most of its stories and verse are easy to understand.

Think about it. If you were God, how would you reach out to humanity? When the content of Bible was created; radio, television, newspaper, magazine, telephone, and Internet media did not exist. There was only a limited supply of the materials needed to create written records and they would have been difficult to use. Making copies was a laborious manual task. Most of the people you want to reach cannot read or write.

So how do you convey your message to humanity? By inspiring selected humans to create a story that incorporates your message, and then having it repeated over and over again as people travel from land to land. Eventually, your message is converted into a written form that can be copied and sent everywhere your messengers go. By this means, you are able to teach and guide humanity. It’s not perfect. But it works.

Given that it was written over a period of 1,600 years, the content of the Bible has an amazing continuity. It conveys a caring message of inspiration and comfort to the millions who turn to it for counsel. Although the Bible presents us with a text drawn from another age, its lessons are timeless, the characters we meet are dramatic, and the drama is ageless. There is a unity of purpose. There are prophecies and the lessons of history. There is moral right and wrong, the best and worst of human behavior, and the experience of both pain and joy. The Bible is a book about tribes, families and individuals. The Bible’s authors tell us about marriage, divorce, adultery, obedience, authority, honesty, parenting, nature, revelation, behavior, God, and much more. It presents us with real life stories of spiritual vision, high ideals, and great moral depth.

If we take a moment to think about it, we soon recognize the Bible is the most enduring and popular book of philosophy ever written. It describes our triumphs and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our wisdom and our folly.  We are capable of gentle compassion and fierce passion. We are good and we are evil. We embrace both love and hate.

So there you are. No other book has had a greater influence on humanity because in its essence, this book is about us. We are the people in the Bible. It connects us with the compassion and wisdom of God. And that is why it has endured.

Rick

March 29, 2014

Is The Bible The Word Of God?

     There are three basic ways to perceive the text of the Bible.
    
     Conservative Christians believe the Bible is – word for word – the work of God. In essence, God caused every word to be written. Even the many revisions and translations are the work of God. If that interpretation brings us closer to God, and helps us to sustain a positive view of our existence, then our conviction is beneficial.
    
     Many contemporary Christians prefer to believe that although the Bible was written and revised by human authors over a period of years, it does reveal the word of God. The stories and scripture we find in the Bible are a way of conveying God’s message to us. Although God inspired the scriptures, he encouraged human authors to express his message to us in their own way.
    
     Critics and skeptics like to point out the Bible’s errors, weaknesses, and contradictions. Some of the passages appear to encourage violence, and many of the stories lack credibility. For them, the Bible is nothing more than a collection of fables.
    
     So. Who is right?
    
     The answer to that question is relatively simple.
    
     How you value the Bible... is between you and God.

Rick
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March 26, 2014

Separation of Church and State: The Freedom to Believe

The Constitution was intended to be an inclusive document. We were a loose collection of colonies struggling to establish a national unity while retaining a local identity. The framers did not wish to eliminate the participation of any group based on their religious affiliation.

Although most of the Framers were Christians, they believed that individual Americans should have the right to characterize "God" according to their adopted system of religious beliefs. They were painfully aware of the political disasters that had occurred in Europe and the Mediterranean area when zealous piety was combined with secular power. The quest for religious freedom had been a primary stimulus for America's growth and they were determined that to avoid any loss of this precious right. The First Amendment to the Constitution, ratified on December 15, 1791, makes this very clear:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”.

The framer's institutional neutrality has been confirmed in many ways. One of the more interesting was the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797. In this document,  the United States assured the  government of Tripoli it would not seek to impose the religious opinions of Christianity on any Muslim nation:    

" ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."  

 This Treaty was drafted by the Administration of George Washington, passed unanimously by the Senate, and signed into law by John Adams. The religious neutrality of the United States was again expressed in a subsequent Treaty of Tripoli in 1806:

"ARTICLE XIV. AS the government of the United States of America has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Mussulmen, …. it is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two nations. And the consuls and agents of both nations respectively shall have liberty to exercise his religion in his own house. …. "  

In other words, the U. S. had no intention of conducting a religious war against the Muslims of Tripoli.

These two treaties give us an example of the religious neutrality of the United States, are evidence the government of the United States had no established religion, and show that religion or religious opinion were not to be considered as a basis for interrupting the harmony of International affairs. However, these treaties also support the concept that in United States  religious conviction was - in fact - a customary practice.

The Framers believed that Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, Pilgrims, Anglicans, Baptists, Muslims, Hindus or any other group with its own system of religious beliefs could have its own unique characterization of "God".  Furthermore, "God" could also be called Yahweh, Jehovah, Lord, Allah, divine Providence, the way, Nature's God, supreme truth or - in a modern philosophical context - "the Force". 

There is a clear difference, however, between a recognition of a religious entity and the practice of the spiritual beliefs. As a practical matter, the framers of our Constitution would generally use the term "religion" when they were referring to a specific organized human institution that practiced a specific system of religious beliefs.  They did not, however, envision that freedom of religion would be equated with freedom from religion.  In the cultural environment within which our Constitution was created, it was assumed that all good men, women and children practiced some form of religion and believed in a spiritual Divinity - "God" - however defined by one's conscience.

This cultural framework appears in the references made to God in the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.  In part, it reads:

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- ….

WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Our Founding Fathers left us an abundance of quotes that reflect their Christian convictions.  It was assumed there is a divine Providence to which America would entrust its fortunes.  Thus, although they were careful to separate the influence of organized Religious institutions from the affairs of state, they never-the-less firmly believed all human activity – including government – was conducted under the watchful eye of our creator. 

Hence the term: “In God We Trust”.   That is also why you will find the “all seeing eye of god” on a one dollar bill.


Ronald R. Cooke

March 24, 2014

A Prayer

When I was a child, I spoke as a child. 
Having lived a full life, even unto the sunset of my years,
God grant I may speak with the wisdom of ages.

Father Giovanni
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March 13, 2014

RECALL NOTICE

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype unit’s code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been identified as "Subsequently Internal Non-morality," more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect. The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list, and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!

- GOD 

P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by 'Knee mail'! Because HE Lives!

Working for God on earth doesn't pay much......
but His retirement plan is out of this world!

Ron