Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

8e240582eba05140eff1d367a857e709--personality-types-manhattan

I am an ENTP and a Christian. I was initially raised Catholic but drifted away from the religion to go off and explore my own theories on life around age 17.

At age 21, I attended a non-denominational Christian church with my mother and was pleasantly surprised by the message—it was so different from what I was accustomed to. The sermon delighted my Ti* and my Si* because the pastor shared something historical from the bible but related it to life today. I then was able to deduct it down to its core principle and walk away with something to apply to my own life: an experiment. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I decided to try this experiment for a little while—study the Bible, apply its principles to my life, see what happens. Well, as most people can understand, this was very odd behavior for a 21 year old senior in college who was the usual party planner for her friends. But I was on a quest for a deeper understanding of life, myself, my worldview. I NEEDED to understand why I was on Earth.

As I read more of the Bible, I started to recognize God at work in the world around me. You can’t recognize someone if you don’t know what he looks like, so it made sense that I hadn’t really noticed him much before. But once I got to know his character by reading the interactions between him and his people in the Bible, I could see him at work in my own life. The lessons I applied to my life from the Bible improved my relationships, finances, and satisfaction.

I also started researching historical facts and artifacts, comparing what I found to the stories in the Bible for validity. I am a math/science tutor who always needs to logically understand something before I buy into it. I learned that there is a lot of scientific and historical evidence to back up much of the Jewish history in the Old Testament. In light of all this, I drew the conclusion that the Bible was God’s guidebook to help humans live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

During my quest, I studied the Bible, history, and other religions in order to make sense of the big picture (indulging in my Si* & Ti* to fulfill my Ne’s* desire for big picture understanding). So, for me, I utilized many parts of my personality type in order to form a relationship (Fe*) with my creator. Personality type hugely plays a role in the way one approaches religion/spirituality. I am fascinated by the unknown, and I look forward everyday to discovering what my loving God has planned for me.

*Ti refers to Introverted Thinking

*Si refers to Introverted Sensing

*Ne refers to Extraverted Intuition

*Fe refers to Extraverted Feeling

Montgomery Lake High #5: The Forces Within
9781628578966_Padula_CV_022018
After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secret passages and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities surrounding them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.
*The Forces Within was originally published separate from the Montgomery Lake High book series. In 2018, it was added to the series because it follows the journey of the Montgomery Lake High characters after book #4. It can be read apart from the series without any confusion.

amazon-buy-button_2


Book Review by Elizabeth Harvey of Needham, Massachusetts
The Forces Within is a perfect example of the battle between darkness and light. In the first half of the story, the mansion is perceived as being haunted or possessed with the spirits of Leslie’s relatives who have passed. All of the characters encounter darkness while searching for Chantal and each interaction depicts the individual spiritual warfare that each person goes through in Andy’s dream.The characters who have the most amount of spirituality are attacked by darkness, but lean on their faith to ensure their safety. Chantal is greeted by an angel in her sleep that surrounded her with a blinding light in order to protect her from satan. The Lord uses Chantal and for this she will be blessed by Him. While looking for Chantal, Jon remains calm and resorts to praying. When he mentions religion Katherine begins to grow nervous and panics; she believes something is possessing her.
In Montgomery, Andy wakes up from a coma and finds himself on bad terms with God. He does not want to pray with Chantal and is struggling to know who he is. While Andy is still in the hospital, Jason visits him and asks for forgiveness. This is a huge step in the healing process for Jason’s overwhelming guilt that he felt for what happened and was a component in his road to sobriety and spirituality. Meanwhile, Chantal is overwhelmed that Andy is awake and she doesn’t want to be around him. God is always Chantal’s top priority, but it is not Andy’s, and Chantal cannot be with someone like that. Katherine finally realizes who her friends truly are, which is foreshadowed in Fallen Lake. Her discovery of the power of God helped lead her into the light and she was able to see everything much clearer.

Tune in to Author Stacy Padula’s Interview with Doug Llewelyn

Audio Player

2522-large


From now until New Years Day, all Kindle editions of the “Montgomery Lake High” book series will be on sale for $2.99! These can be read on all iPhone, iPad, and Android devices with the free Kindle App. 

Picture 2

mlh-1-new-cover

mlh-2-new-cover

mlh-3-new-cover2

mlh-aftermath-new-cover

mlh-forces-new-cover

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2017!

By Max Alva

Kids have a lot of questions… that is no secret! But someone has a haunting secret (and plethora of questions) bound within the pages of When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy Padula. When Darkness Tries to Hide is the thrilling second book in the young adult fiction series Montgomery Lake High. The story takes place in a fictional town in western Massachusetts. Jason Davids and Chris Dunkin take the lead roles in this intriguing book, but Chantal Kagelli and Jon Anderson also play central parts.

When Darkness Tries to Hide reads like a movie reel across your mind. You get to see how a bunch of characters think, instead of just being trapped in one person’s mindset. The story begins two months after where the first book, The Right Person, left off. The main problem in this book is that Chantal’s boyfriend, Andy, is in a coma, and Jason feels responsible for the accident that landed him there. The hail is pelting down. The lightning is a spider web across the sky. Lady, Chantal’s golden retriever, is nowhere to be found. Andy is outside in the ominous storm searching for her. As far as Jason is concerned, he should have been outside saving Lady from the tornado-spawning storm. Instead Andy is sent into a coma, and Jason into a world of dismay. “He had not slept a wink in thirty-seven hours. He glanced at his clock again, seven twenty. You can do this Jason, he said to himself. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is all your fault.” (page 22) No one knows about Andy’s accident until Jason spreads the news at Alyssa Kelly’s party the following evening. At the party, Jason seeks out his ex-best friend, Chris Dunkin, to confide in. Chris lends Jason an ear, even though Jason has been spreading slanderous rumors about Chris around Montgomery Lake High ever since Chris turned away from drugs, alcohol, and their group of friends two months prior. At the party, Jason and Chris come up with a plan to help Andy and unite the students at Montgomery Lake High. However, no one—not even Chris—knows Jason’s secret about the day of the storm.

I recommend When Darkness Tries to Hide to all teenagers, even ones who have not read the first book in the series. I especially recommend this book to people who are going through hard times, and people who have issues with drugs and alcohol. I give this book four and a half stars! It deserves such a high rating because it has a very interesting idea running all the way through it that keeps the reader fascinated with the story, even after they have finished the book. The ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next and trying to imagine what the third book in the series will bring. I think it should be made into a movie, or a TV series! When Darkness Tries to Hide is filled with answers to those tough questions often asked by kids and teenagers!

John 19:26-27 states, “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

Here we see Jesus: drenched in his own blood, with his skin ripped to the bone in places from the 39 cat-of-nine-tail lashes He received. With nails through his wrists and feet and a crown of thorns cutting into his head, he glanced down to people at the foot of His Cross. He saw not the 5000 men he had fed by the Sea of Galilee, nor even his 12 disciples.

But there, beside his mother Mary, was one of the twelve: John, the youngest of all, who was about 18 years old.

What we see here is that Jesus entrusted his beloved mother to John. This is very interesting because Jesus had many brothers and sisters of his own. The difference was that John went to the Cross.

In Matthew 12:48 Jesus said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” We see this lived out at the foot of the Cross, as Jesus entrusts Mary to John.

As it was Jesus’ love for us that kept Him on the Cross, it was John’s love for the Lord that brought him to the Cross. In 1 John 4, John wrote, “We love because He first loved us.” John is known as “the disciple of love”, and he referred to himself in scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. John knew God’s love and was therefore able to give God’s love.

In our own lives, we often have many friends around us when things are going great. But when trials enter our lives, we can be taken by surprise by those who disappear. It is a painful yet invaluable lesson to learn, for genuine love and loyalty are tested and proven through hardship.

So, where were the other disciples during the Crucifixion? What is it that kept them from the Cross?

More importantly: what is it that keeps us from coming to the Cross?

Is it fear of the unknown? Or the fear of losing things we deem valuable? A fear of change? Or perhaps, a fear of being ridiculed, rejected, or misjudged by others?

What is it that keeps us from the Cross-from the full, complete trust that Jesus knows what is truly best for our lives-from complete trust that anything He sends our way will be good for us and for His Kingdom-from complete trust that anything He withholds from us, or asks us to let go of, is not good for us to have?

Is it fear that keeps us from fully committing our lives to the One who gave His life for us?

John-the disciple of love, the one who was not afraid to be seen at the foot of the Cross-is the apostle who wrote, “perfect love casts out fear.” He also wrote “he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

God tells us 365 times in the Bible “do not fear.” Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. It can immobilize us. It can keep us from God’s best-if we let it. It can keep us from coming to the Cross and laying down the things he asks of us. Fear can keep us from receiving the many blessings the Lord wants to bestow upon us.

As we see Jesus entrust His precious mother to John, what does that show us?

When we come to the Cross of Christ, The Lord entrusts us with what is important to Him.

When we remain at the Cross-even at times when everything around us is falling apart, times when it would be so easy to get mad at God and turn away from Him-when we remain there, the Lord comforts, guides, and instructs us through the words He speaks and the love He gives His believers for one another.

So, as we look toward the Cross this Easter weekend, I pray that God gives each of us a deeper understanding of His love-which is best demonstrated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c31/15004376/files/2014/12/img_3769.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c31/15004376/files/2014/12/img_3770.png

 

Chapter 2

 

“Jessie? Hello? Are you even listening to me?” Sarah Gleeson exclaimed and snapped her fingers in front of Jessie Robin’s face.

Jessie turned toward her best friend. “Sorry. What were you saying?”

Sarah sighed. “I swear you only wanted to come to this game because he would be here.”

Jessie dropped her jaw. “How could you say that? I don’t even know him, and he certainly doesn’t know me!”

“He’s a jerk!” Sarah exclaimed as she glanced at the group of freshmen boys standing behind the cheerleaders.

“Don’t be judgmental,” Jessie said and blushed slightly. “You don’t even know him.”

“Um, okay, sorry to be sinful—or whatever—but, seriously, have you ever listened to him talk? He’s not a nice person!” Sarah cried out defensively. “I know your dad’s a pastor, but how can you not judge someone like that?”

Jessie rolled her eyes and turned away from Sarah. As she glanced toward the field, a magnetic-like force captivated her eyes and planted them upon him. Dressed as nicely as usual, in a pair of khakis and a loose blue sweater, he stood out from his crowd of beautiful people. Doing some sort of jig—most likely making fun of someone nearby—he had his friends in hysterics.

“I’m sorry, Jessie. I don’t want to discourage you. I’m just trying to look out for you,” Sarah said apologetically. “I know that you think he’s cute, but he’s bad news. You don’t even want to go there! Plus, he’s dating Cathy Kagelli. She’s the last person anyone should cross. She and her friends would rip you apart.”

Jessie’s heart sank at the sound of Cathy’s name. It was hard to believe that Cathy had once sung alongside her in church and slept over her house. “I’m not afraid of Cathy,” Jessie stated sternly. “And it’s not that I think Jason’s cute. It’s nothing like that at all! I’ve told you a million times; God is drawing me toward him.”

Sarah laughed. “Why in the world would God draw you toward someone like him? Did you tell your father? He’ll straighten you out. Listen to me, Jessie. There is no way God wants you to have anything to do with Jason Davids. He’s like the Satan of our grade.”

“God’s ways are not our ways,” Jessie replied as she glanced again in Jason’s direction. “I know God’s voice, Sarah. Just pray for me.”

Walking in front of the bleachers toward a large group of juniors, Jason pulled his vibrating cell phone out of his pocket. For the fifteenth time that night, he sent Cathy’s call to voicemail. What does she not understand about a break? It’s not a breakup, so there is no need to freak out!

Their “break” had taken place five days prior. Since then, she had called him over fifty times and refused to speak to anyone except her closest friends, Lisa Ankerman and Julianna Camen. It bothered Jason to see Cathy hurt, but he knew that he could not help her, unfortunately, until he found help for himself.

Chris made it look so easy. Chris had been worse into drugs than Jason, and he had practically given them up overnight. Chris had even admitted that getting sober had been easy for him. Most importantly, he had said that he would help Jason. Dating Cathy pulled Jason away from Chris and into everything detrimental to his life.

 

Chapter 3

 

“I’m going to get hot chocolate,” Jessie stated and rose from the bleachers. “Do you want to come?”

“Of course,” Sarah replied and stood up beside her friend. “I’m all set with sitting here by myself. I don’t even care that we’re winning.”

Jessie laughed. “Well thanks for coming with me. My dad said that he has a ‘friend’ on the team that he’d like me to cheer on,” she said, walking across the bleachers toward the concession stand.

“Who’s your dad’s friend?” Sarah asked with a short laugh. “No one from youth group is on the team.”

“You’re going to laugh when I tell you,” Jessie replied. “You’ll think I’m making it up.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Try me.”

“Number 85—Chris Dunkin,” Jessie said and widened her eyes.

Sarah laughed. “Okay, you’re kidding right? How does your father know Chris Dunkin?”

“You haven’t noticed a change in Chris?” Jessie questioned her as she stepped down the stairs toward the field. “He comes to church now. He’s been coming since September.”

“I saw him at Andy’s prayer service, but I also saw Jason, Lisa Ankerman, and Leslie Lucus. I just figured Chris was there to support Chantal, like the rest of them,” Sarah replied.

“I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you this, but you probably won’t believe me anyway,” Jessie said as she stopped on one of the steps and turned toward Sarah. “Chris and Jason came up with the idea for Andy’s prayer service.”

A perplexed expression coated Sarah’s face—the exact reaction Jessie had expected. “I’m not budging. Jason’s still evil,” Sarah stated and stepped past Jessie down the remaining steps.

Jason and Bryan walked to the right of the bleachers where Luke and his friends were gathered. Luke was standing with his girlfriend against the chain-linked fence near the concession stand.

“Sup, Jay?” Luke called and waved Jason over to him.

“We’re ready to leave when you are,” Jason replied as he walked toward Luke with Bryan. “Hi, Missy.”

“Hey, Jay,” Missy said. She flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and smiled brightly. “Your friend’s playing really well out there tonight.”

“Yeah,” Jason agreed and glanced back at the field. “Chris is sick!”

“I’m down to the last beer I brought in,” Luke stated as he patted down the cargo pockets of his khakis. “I’m good to leave in a few. Why don’t you guys go get us some pizza?”

“Dude, what are we? Your slaves?” Jason asked and rolled his eyes.

“Hey! You owe me,” Luke said and pushed Jason toward the concession stand. “I’m about to take you to the sickest party you’ve ever seen. Saddle up, cowboy.”

Jason sighed and reluctantly turned back toward the bleachers. “Yo, at the party, I’m staying clear of any blunts that get passed around,” Jason said quietly to Bryan as they walked toward the concession stand. “You can do whatever you want, but I’m good with it.”

“Is your brother still going to give us those painkillers?” Bryan asked.

“Yeah, he’ll give us whatever we want,” Jason replied and shrugged carelessly.

Bryan smiled. “Don’t worry, dude. I won’t be smoking up either. I can’t lie to Courtney, and I know that she’ll ask if I smoked anything.”

Jason patted Bryan on the back appreciatively and then stepped into the food line. He leaned to his left to read the wooden menu above the ordering window. As he turned to suggest pepperoni pizza to Bryan, he felt his eyes grow abnormally large and his cheeks begin to burn.

Jessie was standing in line at the concession stand with Sarah when a group of sophomore boys approached them. From the scents on their breaths and the hazy looks in their eyes, Jessie could tell that the boys were intoxicated.

“Hey, girls. How’s your night going?” one of the boys asked as he leaned in closely to Sarah.

Sarah turned away and rolled her eyes at Jessie. Jessie continued to stare straight ahead.

“Oh, what, you don’t have any love for my boy?” another one taunted and stepped beside the first boy.

“Can you just leave us alone, please?” Sarah retorted sternly.

“That’s tough with two cute girls,” a third one laughed as he walked around to the other side of Jessie. “Why don’t you come chill with us?”

“Because you’re annoying,” Sarah rebuked and latched onto Jessie’s arm.

“Woah! That’s bold!” the first one laughed. “I like the little feisty one.”

“Why don’t you girls come sit with us for the rest of the game?” the third one suggested and placed his arm around Jessie’s shoulders.

“Please don’t touch me,” Jessie said calmly.

“I don’t think these broads like us very much,” the third one said to his friends as he tightened his grip on Jessie. “That’s just because they don’t know how satisfying we are.”

Jessie dropped her jaw and turned to push the boy off of her. Before she was able to lift a finger, the boy went flying off of her and onto the ground. Jessie’s heart pounded heavily inside of her chest.

“Stay the #$@% away from her!” Jason Davids screamed at the sophomore on the ground. “Don’t either of you look in their direction!” he cried out as he turned to face the other two boys. He grabbed hold of his fist that had sent Jessie’s perpetrator to the ground and turned toward Bryan Sartelli. Bryan’s eyes were wide and confusion was plastered all over his attractive face.

“Oh, what, do you think you’re tough or something, Davids?” the boy on the ground called out as he wiped blood off his lip.

A large crowd began gathering around them as people started chanting, “Fight! Fight!”

Suddenly, the boy on the ground jumped up and lunged at Jason, thrusting him into the chain link fence nearby. Immediately, Jason wrestled him to the ground. The sophomore’s two drunken friends jumped in, dragging Jason off of their friend and pinning him up against the fence. Without hesitation, Bryan lunged at the sophomores, grabbing one of them by the throat and punching him across the face.

Luke Davids, the most handsome boy at Montgomery Lake High, appeared through the crowd. His normally-at-ease-disposition turned angry once he caught sight of Jason being choked up against the fence by two of the boys. Without a second of hesitation, Luke tore the boys off of his younger brother. “What the hell is going on here?!” he screamed as he thrust the two boys into the crowd and then separated Bryan from the other one.

Gasping for air, Jason leaned against the fence with his eyes closed.

“Don’t you know enough to stay away from my brother?” Luke yelled at the bloody sophomores who were fleeing the scene.

“I started it,” Jason huffed, gasping for breath as he opened his aquamarine eyes.

Jessie stood frozen, trying to process the scene before her.

“What was the heck was that about?” Bryan asked as he eyed Jason warily. “Dude, you sucker-punched O’Leary for no reason. What the hell?”

Luke and Bryan stared expectantly at Jason as he slowly stepped away from the fence. He began walking toward Jessie, brushing dirt off his sweater. “Are you okay?” he asked, panting and eyeing her with concern.

Jessie swallowed deeply and nodded, gazing hesitantly into Jason’s glassy eyes.

“All right. I have to get out of here before the principal shows up, but I’ll see you around, Jessie,” Jason stated and smiled at her before hustling off through the crowd.

Jessie stared blankly ahead as the world spun around her. She blinked, half expecting to find herself sitting on the bleachers beside Sarah, realizing the fiasco had been a mere daydream. That, however, was not the case. Jason not only knew who she was but also felt the need to protect her—two things she had never expected. “I’m not even thirsty anymore,” she stated. She let out a short laugh, realizing that she had underestimated God.

 

Chapter 4

 

“Okay, you need to run that by me one more time. Who is that girl?” Bryan asked as he jogged beside Jason toward Luke’s car.

“Her name is Jessie Robins,” Jason replied, stopping short at his brother’s BMW 650i black convertible. “I really don’t want to get into it. She’s just a girl in our grade. O’Leary was being an idiot. No one should treat a girl like that.”

Bryan stared at Jason skeptically, recalling the many times one of their friends had mistreated a girl and Jason had done nothing but laugh. Clearly, Jason had some ulterior motive for fighting O’Leary. “Well, I think she’s pretty cute,” Bryan said.

“She’s do-able,” Jason stated flatly.

Bryan laughed. “You’re going to have to explain this a lot better to Luke. He seemed pretty heated,” Bryan said as he noticed Luke and Missy heading toward them.

Jason rolled his eyes and touched the small cut on his cheek. “Good thing I planned on popping Vicodin tonight,” he said as he twisted his bruised wrist. “It’s eight o’clock, and I’m already banged up. God help me.”

“What are you doing to celebrate tonight?” Justin Knight, the captain of the team, asked Chris Dunkin inside the locker room.

Chris smirked. “I am, first and foremost, thanking God for our victory and then chilling with my girlfriend at the Kagellis’ house,” Chris replied as he stood up from the bench.

“No crazy booze-fest?” Justin asked and stared at Chris strangely.

“Nope,” Chris laughed, wondering if his old reputation was going to haunt him for the remainder of high school. He patted Justin on the shoulder and walked toward the exit.

“Wow, you really do take more after Marc than Jordan and Taylor,” Justin said with a short laugh, referring to Chris’s older cousins, Montgomery Lake High football legends. “Ha, well good game, bro. See ya at practice.”

“Later,” Chris called as he tossed his gym bag over his shoulder and exited the locker room.

It would be so nice to see you smile, Katherine Rossi thought as she watched her boyfriend, Bobby, walk out of the locker room. She had been waiting for him in the gym with her close friends Lisa Ankerman, Leslie Lucus, Jeff Brooke, and Adam Case for fifteen minutes. She knew that everyone was trying to pretend Andy was outside, or just in the bathroom, or on the bleachers with Chantal. Sometimes, the mind game actually worked, the self-trickery, the delusion of it all. That’s not really an empty seat at our lunch table. Andy is just in line, getting a drink. But he wasn’t. He was in a hospital bed across Montgomery, hooked up to machines, fighting for his life.

“Hey, guys,” Bobby greeted them. He let out a loud sigh once he reached his friends. “I’m exhausted.”

“Good game, hunny!” Katherine exclaimed, hoping that her excitement would somehow be contagious and steal Bobby out of his sullen mood. She jumped up and threw her arms around him without hesitation.

“Yeah, Dunkin carried the team—again,” Bobby said. He dropped his gym bag to the floor and squeezed Katherine tightly. “That kid’s unstoppable.”

“You made some good passes, man,” Jeff said from behind Katherine. “We were watching.”

“Any word on Andy?” Bobby asked as he set Katherine free from their embrace.

“Sorry, dude,” Adam said and shook his head. “We haven’t heard anything.”

“We’ll go visit him tomorrow,” Lisa assured Bobby and placed a supportive hand on his shoulder. Katherine leaned against Bobby’s other shoulder and took hold of his arm as they began walking out of the gym.

My philosophy is that the world was created by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—God in three forms. God also created time, as a way for humans to experience his creation. Before he invented time, it did not exist and, therefore, God is not subject to time. I believe God experiences things eternally; he sees the past, present, and future all at once. Imagine a parade going down a long street. Someone at street level sees what is directly in front of him or her and experiences things in a linear order. If someone were high above the parade, he/she would see the parade in its entirety all at once. The person on the ground experiences bit by bit what the one above takes in all at once—able to see the beginning and the end and not subject to time.

I believe that God always has existed because, remember, time is merely an illusion created by God for us humans. I also believe that everything that exists has always existed, but in various forms. Science has proven that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed, which implies that what exists has always existed and that nothing new can come into existence. Anything “new” is actually something that already “was” but just in a different form. A human for example was once an egg and a sperm inside the form of his or her parents… who were once eggs and sperms inside their parents, etc. Another example would be the weather: a domino effect, resulting from pressure, systems, and patterns within our atmosphere that have always existed but transform as they travel around and intersect with each other. It is all a “flow” or a system of things working together and transforming, not creating something from nothing, but rather changing form as it progresses.

In this world, there are absolute truths because saying that there are not absolute truths would actually be an absolute truth! So in a way, it is like a trick question, a paradox, or an oxymoron. Absolute truths are true, whether someone believes they are or not. The force of gravity existed before humans were able to recognize it or calculate it mathematically. A stop sign still exists, whether people believe they need to stop at it or not. The truths exist; people, however, do not always believe in them. It does not make them any less true; it makes the people wrong.

Prophecy is proof of absolute truth and of the illusion of time. Hundreds of years before crucifixion even existed, the Prophet Isaiah wrote Isaiah 53, which describes Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ life fulfilled roughly 350 prophecies. These prophecies were true when they were first declared and true when they were fulfilled. Therefore, time is relative to the thinker. One may believe the prophecy was true when it was spoken, while another deemed it only true once it was fulfilled. Either way, it was true all along. God could share it with His prophets because He is not subject to time restraints. Past, present, and future are all one in His perspective. Aside from prophecies of Jesus, there were others that prophesied of Alexander the Great’s feats, wars, Israel gaining its land back, and so many more. Throughout history, Biblical prophecies have come true. This proves that what was declared is both true and eternal.

My belief in right and wrong is based on what God declares as right and wrong. He established principles in His word and declares certain actions as sins. God has also designed a path for each person to discover and walk in. The map to the path is found through reading the Bible, praying for God’s guidance, and watching Him work in circumstances around you. Men have free will; they can seek out God and follow his pre-designed path for them, or they can follow their own ideas of right and wrong. However, they will miss God’s blessings and purpose for their lives if they fail to find the path that they were designed to live—the path designed (with love) for them alone.

As American citizens it is only just and fair to link the birth of our nation with the American Revolution. A nation of independence, with a balance of freedom and security. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so many other American Constitutional rights are taken for granted every day. For many of us, we were born into these rights, and although we were most likely educated of theAmerican Revolution at a young age, it is impossible for us to fully grasp the passion, struggles, losses, and effort of our ancestors to gain us these rights. The American Revolution has been studied by many from a political point of view. It is less common that the sociological causes and consequences of the Revolution are evaluated in-depth. The Pre-Revolution Colonial Society based many of their decisions on religious beliefs. As a result, religion by large fueled the desire of the colonists to fight for their independence from the crown of England. Ironically, just as religion greatly affected the American Revolution, the Revolution greatly affected American religion and its freedom of.

The Church of England was established in six of the American colonies before the American Revolution broke out. In three other colonies, the Congregational Church was established by law and supported by general taxation. The Congregational Church was formed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Although there were a considerable amount of Baptists and Episcopalians, the majority of the population belonged to the Congregational Church. (Jameson, 83) In all of the six colonies where the Church of England was established, the majority of the population did not attend it. In Virginia about half of the population attended the Church of England, but in Maryland, New York, and New Jersey the dissenters out-weighed the churchmen. In Virginia the other half of the population was made up of Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Moravians. In New York the Church of England was only established in a few locations outside of New York City. (Jameson, 83) In New Jersey The Church of England was never documented to have been established at all. (Jameson, 84) In North Carolina the Presbyterians and the Moravians were as large in number as the Anglicans, but the Quakers out populated everyone. There were only six Episcopal clergymen in the province, yet all of the population had a duty by law to contribute to the support of the English clergymen. (Jameson, 84) Pennsylvania and Rhode Island allowed complete religious freedom. Quakers, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Moravians, Dunkards, Mennonites, and Catholics all co-existed there without conflict. Baptists stood as the leading denomination in Rhode Island. (Jameson, 85)

Taking all thirteen colonies into consideration there amounted to a total of 3105 religious organizations. Of these 3105, over six hundred congregations were of the Congregationalist order, mostly in New England. Approximately five hundred and fifty were Presbyterians, five hundred Baptist, four hundred eighty Anglican, three hundred of the Society of Friends, a little over two hundred fifty German and Dutch Reformed, one hundred fifty Lutheran, and fifty Catholic. (Jameson, 85) Despite the many popular denominations formed, until 1766 no marriages were legal unless the ceremonies were preformed by Episcopal clergymen. Only to the Presbyterians and the Anglicans was this service extended to. (Jameson, 84) Another law permitted that only men of the Episcopal faith could teach school. (Jameson, 84) With all of the varieties of religious denominations formed, it is obvious that the shock of the American Revolution would loosen the bonds which bound unwilling people to any church established by law. In New England however, this was not expected to be such a problem because the majority of the people belonged to the established church. (Jameson, 85)

In Virginia a Declaration of Rights was written in 1776. The Declaration stated, “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other.” (Jameson, 86) This law lead to the equality of all denominations before the law, and the established church no longer had special privileges. It could only be expected that with this law passed people would fall away from the established church. (Jameson, 86) The British had plotted to impose Anglican bishops in the colonies, which aroused fear in the Americans that they would be persecuted for their religion convictions, and this further poisoned relations between Britain and the colonies. (RAR, 3)

Jonathan Mayhew, pastor of the West Church in Boston, saw the Church of England as a dangerous diabolical enemy of the New England way of life. However his Christian morals lead him to announce that “Christians were obliged to suffer under an oppressive ruler… resistance to a tyrant was a glorious Christian duty. In offering moral sanction for political and military resistance.” (RAR, 2) This passive stand Mayhew took was common among ministers during the Revolution. Some Quakers were convinced that despite their faith’s passive beliefs, they could take up arms against Britain. They called themselves Free Quakers, organizing themselves in Pennsylvania. (RAR, 4) The Presbyterians were the first denomination to become large in number and activity. Soon after, the Moravians, Baptists, and New Lights flourished, as well as the Germans (Lutheran or Reformed) from Pennsylvania. (Jameson, 87)

While considering the American Revolution in regards to religion, one can not disregard Thomas Paine’s publication Common Sense. Common Sense, published in 1776, became an over night sensation read allowed in taverns, private homes, and other public places. (SEC, 2) A wide range of colonials, both literate and illiterate, felt compelled by Paine’s argument for breaking free from Britain’s death grip. What Paine wrote persuaded enough of the undecided men and women to empower the endorsement of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776. (SEC, 2) Common Sense was such a success among the colonists because it was an enticing combination of politics and religion. Paine addressed the issue of supporting the cause from the stand point of feeling rather than thought. (SEC, 2) He argues that all kings are blasphemous who claim a sovereign authority over human beings that rightfully only belongs to God. Paine reiterated how the Jews of the Old Testament rejected monarchial government, comparing America with Jerusalem. He believed that Americans would be God’s new chosen people, if they followed the Jewish example. (SEC, 3)

Interestingly enough, Thomas Paine was not an Orthodox Christian. He was born into Quakerism in England, but retreated from it years before writing Common Sense. In fact, prior to Common Sense Paine had been referred to as a “dirty little atheist” by those of the Protestant faith. (SEC, 3) He had proudly proclaimed his deistical beliefs in a pamphlet called The Age of Reason, which had prompted the Protestants to make such claims. Despite Paine’s insincerity in Common Sense, he wrote with his targeted audience in mind. By using religious appeals he gained a grasp on the readers, and evoked them to take political action against Great Britain. (SEC, 3)

Many historians characterize late colonial America as a religious society, full of competing denominations, religious enthusiasm, and opposition to the established church. “That contentious spiritual climate, they believe, at once revived older traditions of Protestant dissent, particularly the opposition to the divine right of kings, and lent impetus to popular and individualistic styles of religiosity that defied the claims of the established authorities and venerable hierarchies – first in churches, and later, in the 1760s and 1770s, in imperial politics.” (SEC, 4) Historians argue that the Great Awakening acted as a dress rehearsal for the American Revolution. In Alan Heimert’s Religion and The American Mind, he argues that those who supported the religious revival later become the most ardent rebels against Britain. Joseph Galloway, former speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, believed that the American Revolution was a religious quarrel “caused by Presbyterians and Congregationalists whose ‘principles of religion and polity were equally averse to those of the established Church and Government.” (RAR, 1) Some Historians also believe that the Revolution was a result of the merging of the traditional Protestant radical, and republicanism. (SEC, 4)

It is important to look at the psychological effect that the desire for freedom had on the colonists. The colonists began to ask themselves, how can we who are so engaged in this great struggle for liberty hold men in the bondage of slavery? If they strongly believed in their religious scriptures that said men were created equal and free under the rule of God, how could they expect liberty from England if they would not return the same courtesy to the negro population? It was quite contradicting all together.

When the American Revolution began there were approximately a half of a million slaves in the thirteen colonies. The majority of the slaves were held in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland. Out of the approximate half of a million slaves, 475,000 lived in these colonies. (Jameson, 21) Pre-revolution, many hearts had already begun to turn away from the cruel bonds of slavery, based on their own morals, ethics, and humanitarian beliefs. For those who had accepted slavery as a part of the normal culture, their beliefs were tested as the passion for liberty increased throughout America. Patrick Henry states it best in 1773, ” It is not amazing that at a time, when rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country above all others fond of liberty, that in such an age and in such a country we find men professing a religion the most humane, mild, gentle, and generous, adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible and destructive to liberty? … I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our day, if not, let us transmit to our descendents, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of slavery… It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants slavery.” (Jameson, 23)

Anti-slavery organizations began to form throughout the colonies, beginning on April 14, 1775 at the Sun Tavern in Philadelphia. This first organization was made primarily of the Society of Friends denomination, they called their organization The Society for the Relief of Free Negros Unlawfully Held in Bondage. They professed that “loosing the bonds of wickedness and setting the oppressed free, is evidently a duty incumbent on all professors of Christianity, but more especially at a time when justice, liberty, and the laws of the land are general topics among most ranks and stations of men.” (Jameson, 23) Previously in 1774 Rhode Island passed a law that all new slaves brought into the colony shall be set free. They believed that all who wish to enjoy personal freedom should be willing to extend personal liberty to others. Connecticut passed a similar law later on that year. Between 1776 and 1778 Delaware and Virginia prohibited importation of slaves. (Jameson, 25)

After America won its freedom, greater changes for the anti-slavery movement took place. The Superior Court of Massachusetts abolished slavery completely, stating it is a Constitutional right (“All men are born free and equal”). In 1784 Connecticut and Rhode Island passed laws that gradually extinguished slavery. (Jameson, 25) The other states were reluctant to abolish slavery. However in Virginia in 1782 an act was passed that eventually lead to the freedom of more than ten thousand slaves. This act stated that any slave owner may manumit all of his slaves as long as their maintenance would not become a public problem. Within eight years this act lead to the freedom of twice as many slaves than the Massachusetts constitution had. (Jameson, 26) It can be concluded that the successful struggle for America’s independence affected the character of America society. The freeing of the nation from Britain inevitably lead to the freedom of the individual. America was enlightened.

Aside from slavery, the religious effect of the American Revolution had many other sociological impacts on America. As mentioned previously it was inevitable that a Revolution against Great Britain would loosen the grip of the established church on the colonists. Of course the church of England suffered the deepest inflictions from the American Revolution, as the King of England was head of the church. (RAR, 5) With the established church aside, the Revolution had an immense effect on other denominations as well. Both positive and negative effects took place as a result of the war. Throughout the war many churches were destroyed. (RAR 5) During the war congregations broke up. Many ministers either fled to Britain or went off to war themselves, some even becoming colonels or generals of the Continental Army. (Jameson, 91) Post-war there became a great absence of ministers, who had been bound by oath to support the Kind of England. (RAR, 1) This was especially true for those of the Church of England and the Anglican Priests. The Presbyterian faith also suffered greatly as a result of the war, as most of the Presbyterian clergy were Whigs (rebels to England). The British took any sign of the Presbyterian faith (i.e. large Bibles or a metrical version of the psalms of David) as evidence of the rebel cause. The Presbyterian church in Long Island’s steeple was sawed off by the British, and it was used as a prison and guardhouse until it was torn down. The Episcopalian faith suffered because the majority of its clergy was made up of Tories (loyalists to England). (Jameson, 92)

During the war many churches were damaged greatly, some completely destroyed. Others were used for non-religious functions, like the Old South Church in Boston that was used by the British as a Cavalry school. One church was used as a hospital in New York City. Other churches in New York City were used as stables for the British officer’s horses, and others were used as prisons. (Jameson. 92) Maryland’s churches also suffered greatly as a result of the Revolution. Prior to the war there had been forty-four parishes in the colony. Post-war only eighteen remained. The same falls true with Virginia. Prior to the war Virginia had ninety-five parishes, one hundred four churches, and ninety-one members of the established church. Post-war twenty-three of the parishes had been forsaken, and thirty-four were without services. Out of the ninety-one members of the established church only twenty-eight remained. (Jameson, 93) As one can see the war left Virginia in terrible shape for any form of organized religion. One historian of the Virginian Baptists stated, “the war, though very propitious to the liberty of the Baptists had an opposite effect upon the life of religion among them. From whatever cause, certain it is that they suffered a very wintry season. With some few exceptions, the declension was general throughout the state. The love of many waxed cold. Some of the watchmenfell, others stumbled, and many slumbered at their posts. Iniquity greatly abounded.” (Jameson, 94)

For the Anglican churches The Book of Common Prayer became a problem, as many of the prayers it consisted of were prayers for the monarch, and for the King of England. The Christ Church in Philadelphia decided to replace the prayers for the King with a prayer for Congress: “That is may please thee to endue the Congress of the United States and all others in Authority, legislative, executive, and judicial with grace, wisdom, and understanding, to execute Justice and maintain Truth.” (RAR, 6)

Almost immediately after the first legislature was formed under independence, requests for religious freedom came pouring in. One petition was signed by ten thousand men in favor of this request. In opposition there were petitions signed by members of the established church, along with a Methodist minister who represented three thousand Methodists. (Jameson, 88) These clergymen represent the public who by faith had pledged to the established church, and were unable to get past that.

The Virginian Presbyterians, the Baptists, Quakers, and Mennonites were in high favor for religious freedom. They argued with great passion for an act that would exempt dissenters of the established church from paying taxes to it. Each person would be given the choice of which denomination they would pay their taxes to. Patrick Henry and George Washington were in great favor if this, however the law was never passed. It did however become legal for ministers of other denominations to perform the ceremony of marriage. (Jameson, 89) Instead, Thomas Jefferson proposed an act for religious freedom in entirety: “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever; nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” (Jameson, 90) The act passed and lead to the complete separation of church from state. Some people found this difficult, but in the end this act presented the world with a nation built upon equality and religious freedom.

Religious freedom and equality had not then reached its full development, as three of the four New England states still used established Congregational churches. In order for a man to take office in Massachusetts or Maryland they had to declare they were of Christian faith. Similar rules applied to Pennsylvania and Delaware. (Jameson, 90) North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey set laws that no person could serve office unless they were of the Protestant faith. These restrictions gradually disappeared over the years, and religious freedom eventually prevailed in its full color. The battle for religious freedom was won. (Jameson, 91)
Many of the denominations had major reorganization that needed to take place. The Episcopalians had previously been part of the diocese of the bishop of London. (Jameson, 96) Clearly they could not function with any ties to the bishop of London, nor did they wish to continue praying for King George and a monarchial government. It became clear that a new Americanized Episcopate needed to be formed.

In 1783 the Catholic church faced a similar problem, as it had been under the control of the vicar apostolic of London. (Jameson, 97) With America’s new independence from Britain it became impossible for the Catholics to function under the previous apostolic. The Catholic clergymen met in Maryland to come up with a solution to this dilemma. There was talk of joining under the French apostolic, but in 1784 the decision was made to erect under the Roman Catholic’s because more judicious counsels had prevailed there. In 1790 John Carroll was made bishop of Baltimore, and the American Catholic Church was complete. (Jameson, 97)

The Methodists had been entirely under the control of John Wesley. By 1783 the Methodist denomination had grown five times the size of what it had been in 1773. John Wesley, who had always wished his followers to remain in the Church of England, found it very difficult to keep such a large number of Methodists under his rule. The American Methodists did not like Wesley’s rules, and could not bare to receive communion or have their children baptized under Episcopal clergymen as Wesley desired. (Jameson. 98) As a result Wesley stepped down from his leading role and appointed Thomas Coke as the new superintendent. Coke had full power of ordination, as did Francis Asbury who Wesley also appointed. In 1784 Asbury was ordained, and the American Methodist Church was formed in completion. (Jameson, 98)

The Universalists formed their first organized convention is 1786. One denomination after another began to take on organized forms as such. In 1788 the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church organized in America, The United Brethren in Christ had their first formal conference in 1789, and the Free-will Baptists set up their first yearly meeting in 1792. There was no denomination, with the exception of the Congregationalists, that did not go through some sort of similar organization process. (Jameson. 99)

When I look at America today in 2006, I see a lack of faith, a lack of the fear of God, and a strong force of anti-Christian behavior. This has been becoming more strongly evident with every generation, and every passing year. People now speak out that they are offended by the word “Christmas Tree”. They want God taken out of the pledge of allegiance. Society wishes to take prayer out of the classroom. In many schools children are no longer allowed to sing Christmas carols, yet Hanukah songs are welcomed. People are taught by the American culture to do the best they can for themselves, and to get ahead no matter what they have to do, morals aside. The morality of younger generations is gradually becoming obsolete. Children of young ages are participating in immoral activities that I did not even know existed when I was their age. Sin is accepted as normal behavior, in regards to many different areas. Pre-marital sex is embraced by all of the methods of birth control available to the unwed. Abortion is legal, which means killing is legal, which is just absurd. Gay marriages have become legal in Massachusetts, which completely goes against the Word of God. I sometimes sit and ask myself what has happened to this world I live in? It is a world that I certainly am not of. It is crazy that America was once a nation where religious beliefs were so strong that they could fuel a Revolution, and today God is unwanted in it’s Pledge of Allegiance. It is interesting how our nation’s most influential writers, like Thomas Paine, believed America would become God’s new chosen land. They looked at the triumph over Britain as a sign that God approved of America, and when Jesus came down to reign on Earth for thousand years it would be here it America. Yet today, I can not name many people, besides those at my church, who even know that Jesus is supposed to reign on the earth for a thousand years. It all started with wanting freedom from having to pay taxes to a denomination that taxpayers did not belong. How is it that society has carried this freedom so far from what our ancestors originally planned? There intent was not to create a country largely populated with agnostics, atheists, and those offended by the mention of God. Whether it is the lack of morals being taught to America’s younger generations, or the media corrupting minds, or the disgust brought on by the disobedience of religious figures (like the Catholic Priests molestation cases), there clearly is something fueling an anti-Christian movement in current American society. In a strong way I wish it was still the law that no man could serve office in Massachusetts unless he were of Christian faith. Then perhaps the acceptance of gay marriage wouldn’t be being taught in schools, but instead the Word of God. I wonder, where would our society be today if Thomas Jefferson and his deistical beliefs, had not passed the act for religious freedom?

As American citizens we link the birth of our nation with the American Revolution. We are a nation of independence, with a balance of freedom and security. The American Revolution has been studied by many from a political point of view, and here it has been looked at from a sociological standpoint. The Pre-Revolution Colonial Society based many of their decisions on their religious beliefs. As a result, religion by large fueled the desire of the colonists to fight for their independence from the crown of England. Ironically, just as religion greatly affected the American Revolution, the Revolution led to many social movements that greatly affected American religion: its organization of, in some cases its lack there of, and of course, its freedom of.

Works Cited

Jameson, J. Franklin. The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement.
Princeton University Press: 1926 (Jameson)

“Religion and the Founding of the American Republic” Religion and the American
Revolution (Religion and the Founding of the America Republic, Library of Congress Exhibition). July 2006. rel03.html> (RAR)

“Religion and the American Revolution” The 17th and 18th Centuries. July 2006.
(SEC)

Article by Stacy A. Padula, August 2006

“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Mark 7:5-7, 20-23

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”

6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘ This people honors Me withtheirlips,

But their heart is far from Me.

7And in vain they worship Me,

Teachingasdoctrines the commandments of men

“Hypocrites” – Pharisees pretend to be something they are not and have no intention of being. They worshipped God for the wrong reasons – not motivated by love for God, but their selfish and self-centered desires to appear holy, gain profit, and gain social status.

Have you ever done anything just to look good to you someone, or because you want them to like you? Not just out of your love for them?

Like the Pharisees people today can be hypocrites. If someone pretends to love God just to make their parents or friends or teachers happy they are hypocrites. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at our hearts. God judges by faith and character. Because only God can see on the inside only He can accurately judge people. James 4:11 tells us we are not to speak evil and judge a brother because then we become a judge of the law instead of a doer. 1 Cor 4:5 tells us to judge nothing before the appointed time, wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. We are to confront those who are sinning, in love, but we must not judge who is a better servant for Christ. When you judge someone you are considering yourself better than him or her and that is sinful behavior.

Have you ever had someone dislike you and they don’t even know you? How does it feel when someone judges you? Does it hurt? Does it feel unfair? How should you react? Pray for that person! Does it make you never want to put someone else through the pain they have caused you?

As you grow up you may have a lot of people come against you and judge you by your outward appearance. They may seeks to taint things that you have done out of a pure heart to ruin your reputation or to make themselves look better. They may attack your character and accuse you of doing things you never did. They may spread rumors, slander, or gossip about you. They may attempt to judge you without even getting to know you. All of these things are contrary to God’s word and are attacks from the enemy.

If the judgment and accusations comes from a Non-Christian then it is Satan using them to discourage and condemn you. If it comes from a Christian it is Satan trying to cause strife and division. Don’t let the enemy keep you down. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Don’t worry about what men think of you. God is your defender! He knows your heart. If you can stand before God with a clear conscience, knowing who you are in Him, as someone who desires His Will for your life then fear not. Worry not. What can man do to you? Nothing – God is your deliverer and your shield. God is in control. So when you are tempted to give into Satan’s plan and get upset over what others think of you – just remember that God knows the truth, He knows your heart, and His opinion is the only one that matters. It was the Pharisees who were concerned with their outward appearance, not Jesus!

The Pharisees were concerned about looking “holy”. They wanted people to fear them as the religious leaders, making sure everything looked perfect from the outside but paid little or no attention to what was taking place in their hearts. God’s word tells us that when we seek Him with our whole hearts, we will find him. If they had truly been seeking God in their hearts they would have known Jesus as Messiah. Instead they were hypocrites.

We become hypocrites when we pay more attention to reputation than to character. (Whether its others’ or our own)

We become hypocrites when we follow religious practices but allow our hearts to remain distant from God.

We become hypocrites when we emphasize our own goodness but others’ sins.

We are supposed to do everything in love. Without love, works profit us nothing (1 Cor 13). God sees our hearts and desires for our hearts to be close to Him. He did not desire the Pharisees traditions and man made laws; he desired a relationship with them. We grow close to God by praying, reading the Bible, obeying His commandments, trusting Him, and desiring His Will above our own wants & desires. God promises when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. What do you do to draw near to God?