The real reason we burn incense: It isn’t merely symbolic. | Inwardly Digest

Incense is quite simply burned as an offering to God.

Source: The real reason we burn incense: It isn’t merely symbolic. – Inwardly Digest

“Incense is quite simply burned as an offering to God. The rising smoke of the incense fills the air with something beautiful in the same way that our voices fill the air when we sing. They are both ways in which God’s faithful people have sought to honor and worship their creator from the earliest biblical times. We don’t talk about singing as if it were symbolic of worship; it is worship. Music in church is not there to entertain the congregation; it is there to glorify God. We need to start thinking of incense in the same way.”

Little-known fact: I was the one basically responsible for re-starting the use of incense at Ascension (the Church of the Ascension, Episcopal, in Westminster, Maryland – my old home parish), back when Father Ron was still Rector there, before his retirement.

I brought some back from Nashville (where there was a Catholic bookstore just off-campus near Vanderbilt Divinity School, where I was attending at the time) and gave it to him for Christmas. Actually, I gave it to him before Christmas, and interestingly enough, darned if we didn’t have incense at the late service on Christmas Eve! I even got to serve as thurifer.

Eventually we had it on several of the higher feasts, and during the 11:15 service on the first Sunday of the month. But my favorite was always “Midnight Mass” on Christmas Eve. Just one of many things I miss about the “old days”…

“Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight as the incense [O Lord]; and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.” Psalm cxli. 2.

Lairds could be forced to sell off land by SNP ‘acreage cap’

Lairds and companies could be forced to sell off swathes of their land after it emerged that a Scottish Government commission is examining imposing a legally-enforced limit on how many acres they can own.

Source: Lairds could be forced to sell off land by SNP ‘acreage cap’

In which the Socialist Nincompoop Party (SNP) shows its true colours. Haven’t we seen how “well” this has worked in many communist countries over many decades, already…? As the old saying goes, “one definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

Scottish friends: can’t you do a recall vote on this sorry excuse for a politician (Nicola Sturgeon)? And I am very sorry to those who still think the SNP is about independence for Scotland. They gave up all pretense of that, for me, when Sturgeon decided she wanted to break “free” of Britain but remain enslaved to Brussels.

Touché!

British Prime Minister Theresa May reacting to the recent train-bombing in London by an 18-year-old Islamic immigrant

STEP 1) Feign shock
STEP 2) Express resolve
STEP 3) Say good things about Islam
STEP 4) Pretend that taking in more Muslims “defeats terrorists” and makes us safer

Source: The Religion of Peace

London bombing shows danger of Islamification in Britain and Europe. Is the US next? | Fox News

The terrorist bombing Friday of a train on the London Underground, which injured 30 people – including one of my very close friends – was yet more evidence of a painful truth: the Islamification of the United Kingdom and Europe is well under way, changing the very character of the continent that gave birth to Western Civilization.

Source: London bombing shows danger of Islamification in Britain and Europe. Is the US next? | Fox News

This is indeed an excellent essay, and the fact that it is written by someone who was, herself, touched by the latest bombing in London – through a friend of hers, who was fortunate that when the bomb detonated in her train compartment, it did not go off properly. I strongly recommend that you “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” this essay!

But like most other writings on the subject of Islam, in her commendable zeal to protect religious liberty and avoid tarring with too broad a brush, Ms Davis misses a few important points.

She quotes the Brookings Institute definition of Islamism, which of course is quite accurate, as far as it goes. However, consider: any religion worth its salt believes that its “values should play a role in public life,” and that it “has things to say about how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how other people – not just themselves – should conduct themselves.” If it does not, it hardly qualifies as a religion at all: at best, it is some form of nebulous personal spirituality.

Certainly, Christianity has things to say about these issues. Buddhism (more so in the East than in the West, but in some places even here) has things to say about these issues. Hinduism and certainly Taoism have things to say about these issues. The difference lies in how those values are promoted and expressed, and what the religion in question sees as its ultimate role in society.

I don’t feel that I can speak authoritatively for the other religions mentioned, but I do believe that I can speak fairly authoritatively for Christianity, having degrees in medieval studies and theology and being an ordained Christian minister. And what I can say is that while Christianity has certainly not been immune to the temptations to power-politics and even violence that come from a too-close alliance with secular authorities, such things are foreign and even contrary to the teachings of the Christian faith itself.

The fundamental teachings of Christianity are encapsulated in Christ’s summary of the law: “Love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself.” This concept is repeated and reinforced in such passages as “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” and “a new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another.” Similar teachings appear in the writings of the Apostles, Christ’s successors after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

And his final instruction was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptize. Not conquer. Not subjugate. Not kill. Baptize. That is a voluntary action: one must make a choice to receive the teachings, before baptism can take place (1). Nowhere is violence called for (2). Nowhere are Christians called to fight, kill, or make war against the “infidel.” Nowhere are they told to make non-Christians second-class citizens (dhimmi) who must die, convert, or admit they are inferior and pay protection money (jizya).

Beyond that, Christians are supposed to be the “leaven in the loaf” of the body politic, not its rulers and dominators. Christ was clear about this, stating “My kingdom is not of this world,” and instructing his listeners to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” His Apostles followed the same track, exhorting the early Christians to “honour the king,” and to obey the secular authorities, including the (then pagan) Roman Emperor. Christians were – and are – intended to seek to exert a positive influence on the actions of secular and political authorities by example and moral exhortation, not, as I say, domination and rulership.

So Christianity has, and God willing will continue to have, “things to say” about “how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how [people in general] should conduct themselves.” The important point is that the Christian faith itself – regardless of what deluded or over-zealous devotees may have done on their own initiative – does not teach that Christianity, or its followers, should politically dominate the world, and it does not teach violence as a way to spread its teachings. You can search the New Testament, and for that matter the Fathers of the Church (approximately corresponding to Islamic prophet Mohammed’s immediate successors), in vain for any such teachings.

And that is the point that so many otherwise intelligent and perceptive individuals – on both sides of the political aisle – consistently miss, or misunderstand: Islam is not just another religion. It does not merely believe that “its values should play a role in public life.” It does not simply have “things to say about how politics should be conducted, how the law should be applied, and how other people… should conduct themselves.” Would that that’s all it were! But it is not.

It is a religious / spiritual / theological justification for absolute dominance, conquest, and subjugation, in all realms: religious, political, judicial, economic, and military. One is either part of the Dar al-Islam, the Realm of Submission to Allah, or one is part of the Dar al-Harb, the Realm of Conflict, and thus subject to conquest so that submission to Allah may be enforced upon you. Those are the choices. And that is why the present contest between the West and Islam is a civilizational, existential conflict, whether one likes to think of it in those terms or not. Islam has not left us any choice in the matter.

All of that said: this is nonetheless a cogent and timely article, and an important warning for us, here in the U.S. It is well worth a read! Just don’t let yourself get caught up into too erroneous concepts, which this otherwise superb essay implicitly accepts: a) that Islam / Islamism is just a religion, and that b) no other religion has, or should have, things to say to and about the rest of (secular) society.

Personally, as The Anglophilic Anglican, I am heartsick at what is happening in Britain, and I pray it’s not too late to reverse it. But it will take some doing, and it may take sterner measures than people nowadays have the stomach for, unfortunately.

I also pray that we may resist this evil – and yes, it is an evil, both Islam and its Sharia law, and the loss of Western values, ideals, and the history and heritage of our Western civilization to Islam – here in the United States. Better not to let it gain any more of a foothold than it already has, rather than trying to get the camel back out once it’s already in the tent!


 

(1) Yes, I know there were some mass, forced baptisms in the course of the conversion of Europe. But those were the exceptions rather than the rule; they were done by secular rulers for primarily political purposes; and they were clearly contrary to the teachings of the Christian faith. Everyone has sinned and fallen short, and Christians are no exceptions.

(2) Christ’s most violent action was to make a whip of knotted cords and drive the money changers out of the Temple, turning over their tables. Not, please note, killing them! And when he exhorts his disciples that “let he who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one,” and is told they have two swords (for twelve disciples) he says, “It is enough.” When one of them actually uses his sword, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Christ heals him. Contrast that to the actions of the Prophet of Islam and tell me there is moral equivalency between the two!

Trachtenumzug Oktoberfest München (Traditional Costume Parade, Oktoberfest, Munich)

Source: Trachtenumzug Oktoberfest München – Das offizielle Stadtportal muenchen.de

München (Munich), Bayern (Bavaria), Deutschland (Germany) – The Traditional Costume (Trachten) Parade through Munich on Sunday, 17 September 2017. The official opening of the 184th Oktoberfest was on Saturday the 16th, with the tapping of the first Oktoberfest beer-barrel by the Mayor (Bürgermeister) of Munich. The traditional Oktoberfest Mass will be on Thursday the 21st – my birthday!

According the official website,

Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810.

[It was later moved to September as the weather is generally better then.]

The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”.

Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.

In 1811 an added feature to the horse races was the first Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse races, which were the oldest and – at one time – the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds.

Someday I hope to attend this famous festival!