God, Genocide & Good Neigbourliness

 You shall consume all the peoples which the Lord, your God, is giving over to you. You are not to look on them with pity, nor serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 7:16 

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you, shall be as one of yourselves, and thou shalt love him as thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Those who attack the God of the Abrahamic faiths as a genocidal maniac often quote the text from Deuteronomy but never the one from Leviticus. The reverse is true for those who conceive of Abraham’s God as some kind of ethereal fluffy bunny. Yet both texts belong to the same religious tradition and are considered to form part of the divine revelation of God to man. It is especially difficult for the followers of Jesus to reconcile the smiting hip and thigh which forms such a great part of the Old Testament histories to the peaceful teachings and witness of the Son of Mary. So much so that from the earliest times various heresies have been proposed by figures like Marcion and Mani suggesting that there is an evil God who does bad things (most of the Old Testament) and a good God who does good things (most of the New Testament.) Whilst such heresies are seldom actively advocated nowadays they are, as it were, taught by default by those, mostly liberal, theologians who simply omit to defend the ‘difficult‘ passages of the Old Testament.

Is there a single common thread which unites the command to destroy the Canaanites with the Law demanding that strangers be treated with love? click here to read more

The Devil is Dead?

Be sober, and watch: for your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren which are in the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9

Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains
Jean-Jacques Rousseau- The Social Contract

The philosopher Nietzsche was somewhat premature in his announcement  “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that GOD IS DEAD!” (Thus Spake Zarathurstra- Prologue) Despite several centuries of continuous assault belief in God is still buoyant even in Western Europe where the atheist campaign began and where it has been most successful. The associated attack on organised religion, specifically Christianity, has had more effect but still the Christian Church and the ecclesial communities of the Reformation remain stubbornly alive and kicking in Europe whilst expanding elsewhere in much of the world. By contrast there has been no real parallel assault on belief in the devil yet such belief has withered on the vine and even among Christians there are many who do not take the idea seriously.

Various factors no doubt contribute to this decline in satanic credibility but I will focus on one. The answer to the question ‘what is Man?‘ (meaning female and male) has changed over the past six centuries or so and with this altered understanding of ourselves has come an altered conception of the forces that influence us….click here to read more

Stealing God’s Job

If you asked a typical Catholic, “Are you stealing God’s job?”, they would laugh out loud at such a ridiculous question and emphatically deny it.  I know I did.  Granted, the wording of this question is designed to shock. Yet the question is also meant to provoke self- examination.  After someone asked me this question, I examined my life and was surprised at what I discovered. I realized like almost everyone else, I was trying to fulfill the role of God in my day-to-day life.
It is an easy trap for most modern people since we are pressured by obligations. In an attempt to cope, we resort to rushing around independently without God. We seize control as we  try to be ever more efficient with little time to relax, pray or socialize. The result is we end up living in isolated, man-made prisons that shut out other humans, never mind other living creatures and God.  Instead of seeking communion, each of us exists at the absolute centre of our little artificial universe.  continue reading

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

G.K. Chesterton and the Square Circle

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Luke 7:33-35

Not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness.
Orthodoxy Chapter VI by G. K. Chesterton

Writing about Chesterton is quite a tricky business. For most of the world’s population if they have heard of him at all it is only as the author of the Father Brown detective stories. However for many Catholics, especially in the English speaking world, he is a towering figure, a great writer, controversialist and apologist. If I were to write uncritically about him many of the readers of this blog would think ‘what’s Catholic Scot on about?‘ If critically many devoted Catholics would think ‘burn the witch.‘ So I am going, paradoxically, to do both although you will have to stick with me to the end to see how I do it….click here to read more

Unbelief and the Lust Loving Giant

When I exchange opinions, it cannot be called an intelligent debate, with some of the fashionably militant New Atheists I am often told ‘of course you don’t really believe this stuff.’ What they mean, I suppose, is that I actually deep down accept the truth of their positivism and scientism but for some perverse reason of my own refuse to acknowledge that fact. Interestingly enough a common thread running through the Christian Scriptures is precisely the reverse proposition. The Israelites deep down know the truth about God but except for brief periods refuse to accept it; or at any rate accept it enough to base their entire life upon it.

In the Old Testament it is the book of Exodus where this phenomenon is most clearly manifested. The Children of Israel see the Red Sea parted, the manna falling from heaven, water springing from hard rocks and much, much more besides yet every new sign of God’s power is followed by a new manifestation of distrust or disbelief in Him. So much so that of all the adults who left Egypt only two make it to the Promised Land all the others, even the great Moses, die in the wilderness because either they have rebelled outright or because their faith has wavered at times despite all the overwhelming mass of evidence in favour of trusting in the Lord. In the Gospels the pattern is repeated, from the outright oppositions of the pharisees and the high priestly party to the complete failure of even the Apostles to understand Him Jesus is ever cast as a figure always to some extent alone because no amount of evidence seems to convince anyone to cast themselves fully upon Him without the slightest reserve. Arguably the only recorded exceptions being Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, who successively say Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21,32) and even more strikingly our Lady who simply said They have no wine (John 2:3)

The interesting psycho-spiritual question in all this is why would or why do people refuse to belief something which they know to be true? Click here to read more

From Primitive to Degenerate?

Whenever I hear the expressions ‘Primitive Church’ or ‘Primitive Christian’ I always have a vision of Wilma and Fred Flintstone occupying a pew or at any rate something involving cave dwellers wielding clubs while dressed in animal skins. Which, it appears, is something of a misapprehension on my part. ‘Primitive’ in this context means ‘early’ or ‘first.’ The Primitive Church is simply the Christian community as it existed in it beginnings, fresh from the events surrounding Jesus in Galilee and Judaea, guided by the Apostles. It is considered by many to be the gold standard against which contemporary Christianity should be judged usually to its considerable disadvantage. There are two particular currents of thought which make use of this critical tool largely for the purposes of disparaging Catholicism.

The ecclesial Christian communities of the Reformation (Protestants for short) since the emergence of their various tendencies have united in the criticism that the Catholic Church distorted, obscured, deviated from, and added alien elements to, the original faith of the Primitive Christians. By thus corrupting the religion they at some point, usually arbitrarily selected by the critics, became definitively degenerate or actually apostate. The Protestant aim from the beginning and in each subsequent schism, split or formation of a brand new sect has always been to return to the faith and practice of the Primitive Church. Quite how they reconcile this with their dogmatic assertion that Scripture Alone is the sure basis of Christianity I’ve never quite understood because if there is one thing about which we can be certain regarding the first Christians it is that they did not possess the New Testament and therefore could neither use it in their liturgies nor seek within its pages for the doctrines of their faith.

The currently more influential critique emerges from the secularists, the atheists and the liberal theologians. It amounts to this: Jesus was misunderstood by His contemporaries, friend and foe alike. These misunderstandings were incorporated into the Bible and the Christian Church (which subsists in the Catholic Church) has busied itself ever since in emphasising the misunderstandings and downplaying the authentic fragments which we possess. Click here to read more

Et Incarnatus Est

When the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation began to be proclaimed it immediately provoked strong reactions. Jews thought it a horrible blasphemy, Greeks a foolish absurdity. From the moment of their first encounter with it they realised its revolutionary implications for the world of thought and religion and reacted accordingly. So radical were these implications that even many who were attracted by the figure of Jesus rejected them and most of the heresies which the primitive Church had to battle, from Gnosticism to Arianism, aimed quite precisely at removing the doctrine of Incarnation from the Christian credo.

However with the spread of Christianity and the passage of time Incarnation became the new normal. It’s implications did not stop being revolutionary but these implications for the most part did stop being considered. Humans adapted to the extraordinary by banalising it, ignoring it or denying it under a form of words which implied accepting it. It belongs, however, to the peculiar genius of the Catholic Church that it is this doctrine above all others which she has held patiently, doggedly and unapologetically before the eyes of the faithful and the world these past two millennia or so. It is this which lies behind the myriad images of the baby Jesus and the crucified Christ, behind the cult of Mary and the saints, behind the relics, the shrines, the pilgrimages and most of all behind the holy sacrifice of the Mass as the ‘source and summit of Christian life.’ To the extent that we simply consider these things severally and together as just being the Catholic ‘brand’ the stuff that Catholics do then we miss the point that it is not just what Catholicism does but also what Catholicism is. To see why this is so we need to step back several paces so that we can encounter the doctrine of Incarnation as if for the first time. Click here to read more

Sense & Sensuality

Sense & Sensuality

I reflect on what the short Catholic Epistle of St Jude the Apostle teaches us. Considering in particular the path dominated by sensuality and that dominated by the spirit. With a digression, courtesy of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, on the subject of the right use of Scripture as opposed to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura

Because I have a short attention span I’ve always had a soft spot for the Very Small Books in the Bible. I’m especially fond of the Old Testament books of Ruth and of Jonah. They are good stories and, apart from their religious content are full of little vignettes of human emotion from tender love to extreme crabbiness. The Very Small Books of the New Testament are more ‘difficult’ since they lack narrative and touch on deep spiritual and theological themes which you can’t really get to grips with unless you have a good working knowledge of the ideas contained in the rest of the NT. Nonetheless the Catholic Epistle of St Jude the Apostle has several things going for it, its only 25 verses long, it illustrates the wheat and tares parable of our Lord and it is attributed to the patron saint of lost causes who is an appropriate patron for this little cottage blog that dreams of international stardom.


Essentially the letter concerns the presence within the body of Christ of those who do not truly belong to it….

Pope Francis: The Greatest Modern Pope?

Theology Degrees contacted me, wondering if I would share their latest infographic entitled “Pope Francis: The Greatest Modern Pope?”  The information  on this infographic is a concise history of Pope Francis, where he came from, what he believes and how he fits into both the history of the Church and modern Catholicism. It is an invaluable aide to help people get to know a little bit more about this unique pope.

To view the infogragh click here

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Ezekiel’s Bones and The Church

Pope Francis invites us to read Ezekiel chapter 37 which describes the Spirit of God breathing life into a Valley of Dry Bones. Francis always emphasizes that God is in charge and in control of the Church, not man. In Ezekiel, it is God who, through the prophet, sends the Spirit upon the skeletons. Ezekiel humbly admits he doesn’t know what God’s plan is. Similarly, it is God Himself who breathes His life into the Body, the Church.
Francis explained that”the vision of Prophet Ezechiel, in which God’s Spirit gives flesh and life to a field of dry bones, is a foreshadowing of the Church, filled with the Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love.”

In addition, it is important to notice God sends Ezekiel in the midst of a rebellious house of the exiled Israelites. The dry bones are Israel, cut off from the of life God. By zeroing in on this scene of the Valley of Dry Bones, the pope makes a parallel connection with individual members of the modern Church who act like the rebellious house of Israel, “with the experience of division, of jealousies, of misunderstandings and marginalizations”. He said this “dismembers us” and moreover is the beginning of a war. “War does not begin on the battlefield: war, wars begin in the heart, with this misunderstanding, division, envy, with this fighting among each other”.
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Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9