Sunday Law in Poland

Catholic church welcomes law that begins with ban on two Sundays a month, extending to all in 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/11/poland-sunday-trading-ban-takes-effect

https://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/news/item/id/20113/t/poland-s-sunday-law–a-harbinger-

https://www.rte.ie/amp/946597/

No comment, Read for yourselves.:

Anyone infringing on new rule faces fines up to about $30,000. Repeat offenders facing imprisonment.

According to this websitehttp://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/sc3.html Poland is only the top 4th catholic country by percentage in the world. We can only imagine which countries may follow a similar pattern.

Goodhart’s Law

Goodhart’s law states: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

I heard a story of a municipality in India had a huge problem with rats. In order to get rid of them, the ruler decided to award persons with payment, according to the number of rats killed. He would accept the tails of the rats as proof in exchange for payment.

Time passed and the problem persisted, even though many people were awarded and he had accumulated many tails. The number of rats should have shrunken at least proportionally to the amount of tails.

He later witnessed a lot of rats without tails running around and found out that people were raising rats for their tails to take advantage of the opportunity and letting them go.

This reminds me of how excellence is measured in the church. A “good” Pastor is measured by how well he or she speaks and how many persons are baptized. Good pastors are retained and “bad” ones are fired. However this measure doesn’t sum up the entire role of Pastorhood. This measure over-promotes one aspect of a good Pastor and allows for an inaccurate measure of performance.”

The word Pastor is closely related to the word shepherd. It would follow that a good Pastor should be rated against the qualities he shares with the Good Shepherd. The Bible contrast the qualities of a shepherd and a hireling in John chapter 10.

When the wolf comes the hireling runs away , but the good shepherd cares for his sheep.

Another passage shows a man leaving his 99 sheep to go after the one which was lost. In Matthew chapter 18 it shows that the shepherd after searching and finding his lost lamb, celebrates finding the one lost

I believe that as the Bible shows us a good shepherd cares for the sheep, protects them from danger, and seeks out the ones that are lost.

We should measure a pastor by his nurturing and retention skills. Not all pastors are evangelists as 1 Cor 12 (:27-31)

The question is this: how do we measure this?

Reconciliation within the Church

As brothers and sisters in Christ, I agree, family issues should be settled at home and not out in the streets.

Imagine a court of law. There is a judge  and sometimes a jury.  (a lot of the below references are from the second edition of the Common Law Process of Torts published by Lexis Nexis). In a trial before both judge and jury, issues of law (issues concerning what the law permits or requires) are decided by a judge,  while issues of fact  (issues concerning what happened in the events on which the suit is based) are considered by the jury.

Most can agree that the judge should be impartial, having no stake in the outcome of the suit. If the judge has a personal stake, there is danger that the proceedings would be conducted in favor of one of the parties.  The judge should, therefore, disqualify him/herself. If this does not happen lawyers are entitled to move for disqualification. To do this the lawyer must make a compelling case that the judge has or appears to have a personal interest in the outcome.

Similar to the court of law, church issues may be handled by the board (jury?) under its responsibility for spiritual nurture, and its chairman (judge?) a pastor or if otherwise not able an elder. There is not much procedural detail on the matter. The manual does not explicitly allow for the disqualification of a chairman for reasons of “personal interest”.  There should be such a provision at least in the church operational procedures to promote  fairness or the appearance of it.

In a civil suit, each party (plaintiff and defendant) presents her case in a manner to impress judge and jury of the strength of her position.  Even in mediation both sides are heard. Apologies cannot be said before one know’s what he apologizing for. A matter should not be called for a vote  without the affected party answering for herself.

Furthermore, there should be standard procedures for reconciliation and mediation since it is a common issue for churches. The mediator should be unbiased and allow a chance for both sides to heard. After both sides are heard, the mediator should seek middle ground and suggest ways for both parties to commit to moving forward. The two parties agree to a plan and move forward.

What happens if there is still disagreement?

Matthew 18 :(15-18) requires that the offence be spoken between the affected parties alone. If this doesn’t work try again with a few more persons to be witnesses. If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church. If still, then he will be as a heathen or a publican. Pretty clear.

What model do we use, however,  if church powers are abused?

maybe  Martin Luther’s experience may shed some light.

 

Christmas is Here: Should we Celebrate?

Imagine you are in a new marriage with a spouse who already has children and had been married before.  Your spouse tells you that there is a running tradition in the family in which there is  a large celebration in the middle of the Summer where family and friends and the entire neighbor hood comes together to celebrate your birthday! A little different, since your birthday is in February…but maybe it is more convenient for everyone else. Coming closer to the celebration you find out that the day they are celebrating is of the previous spouse – Who not only is still alive but will be attending!

Many Christians know that Christmas time is not the real birthday of Christ and that the celebration at such a time was reserved for the winter solstice feasts , such as Yule, Koleda, and Saturnalia festivals.

When Christianity became popular in Rome, in order to make it an acceptable religion of the state, they began to make compromises to please the worshipers of the former religion. Throughout the years statues of roman gods became statues of Peter and Paul simply by changing the names.  The same happened with the holidays.

Most people see nothing wrong with this since they themselves are not worshiping the pagan “dieties.” What would you think if you were being  “celebrated” on the birthday of your new spouse’s  ex?  What do think our jealous God feels in light that the ex is the enemy. But we continue for the sake of tradition even though we know better.

But what should we do?

I recommend stripping away the tradition and spending the free time getting closer with God.

U.S Embassy in Jerusalem: What does it mean?

On December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israeli  Capitol. What does this mean for the U.S., Israel, Palestine and the Arab world?

For one, many believe this is a forfeit of the United States’ ability to be the unbiased referee in relations between Palestine and Israel. On one hand, Palestine feels insulted. On the other, however, Israel is already looking to other nation-candidates to line up behind the USA.

This should be no surprise to most. In his campaign,  President Trump promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is one of the key issues in the Israeli – Palestinian peace process. Both want her as their capitol. In 1947, Jerusalem was to be established, under UN General Assembly resolution 181 , a corpus separatum (a separate body), its own international city. (under UN control)  this was in order to preserve the importance of Jerusalem and its association with 3 world religions. on Good Friday 1949 the Vatican expressed its favor of Jerusalem as an interational city (under UN control or a related organization)  in the Redemptoris nostri cruciatus.

Currently in Jerusalem a little less than two thirds  of the residents are Jewish. and a little over a third  is Arab. Israel declared the entire Jerusalem as its capitol- (and still considers this). Years later the US Congress n 1995 announced that it will be relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, but it has been postponed by US presidents since then.

Trump is ending the postponing . Israel loves this; Palestine not so much. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has looked to other world leaders  such as Russia and Jordan to help change Trump’s mind.

Religiously, Israel in the hands of the West is already an abomination.  At least, according to the Muslim world (especially the radical /extremist side). At the very least, they reject Isreali sovereignty in east Jerusalem. The forecast for the future is cloudy as we see what major world actors do next.

Who will own Jerusalem, Israel? Will it be shared with Palestine? On the other hand, wahat will Jerusalem as a separate entity look like for us? Will it look like the UN, or maybe D.C., or would it look like the Vatican?

Disfellowship

During my time in the National Guard, I had a peeve in the area of discipline. In the military, the non-commissioned officer (NCO) was responsible for “corrective training”; the commissioned officer for punishment. Drill sergeants for example were really good at finding creative ways to encourage soldiers. However in the Guard , frequently you would hear from the NCO’s mouth, “I am going to take your pay”.

Normally (and legally), an NCO cannot take someone’s pay. The only person(s) within a soldier’s chain of command with the authority take one’s pay is a commander of some sort. As an officer, and especially as commander, this always struck a nerve. While I understand that the lack of a Code of Military Justice limits a leader’s ability to ensure effective discipline, this demonstrates a lack of imagination on the part of the NCO.

The statement would relieve the NCO of responsibility and put the job of correction on his superior. If the soldier is late. “Take his pay.” If the soldier forgot to bring his helmet. “Take his pay.” If the soldier assaults someone. “Take his pay.”

I believe the punishment should fit the crime. And before we get to the hammer we should take a step to try to correct the action.

In the Church, I see the same thing. The rush to disfellowship is horrifying. Excommunicating young mothers, instead of nurturing them. What about the sperm donors, have we found them? It shows that we do not understand what it is. Disfellowship should not be the first step in discipline but the last. And only if the member chooses not to turn from sin. In my reading of EGW writings, I understand disfellowship as I mentioned above. Disfellowship is not discipline; it is Death.

I would recommend empowering the elders of the church as well in areas such as these. I truly believe the elders are underutilized and there is little accountability. But that’s another topic.

Happy Reformation Day

I am happy to get our first post out before the day ends. (It was originally posted on the on Reformation Day) I intend to cover the worldwide and local events as they affect the Christian. I disclaim an endorsement from any religious institution. These are my beliefs and thoughts.

As the Anniversary of Protestantism winds to a close, we would like to encourage the Christian to keep his/her eyes open (Matt 24:4)
Today the Catholic and Lutheran leaders issued a joint statement begging forgiveness for “wounding” the Church as they progress toward unity. They continued to use this language as they long for this “wound” to be healed (But we know that the wound will would be healed; Rev 13:3).
John 17:21 was quoted, advocating that this is the same unity that Christ prayed for. But let us not sacrifice truth for harmony. Jesus prays for “sanctify them through thy truth”. (17:17) before he prayed for unity. Otherwise we advocate for an contaminated union. How can we expect God to become one with an unsanctified body?

Let us keep vigilant and let’s keep our eyes open.