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The immediate future of the Mission of St Anselm and St Odile

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Things never quite go according to plan.

 My work over the last year has taken on a particularly unusual turn as I find myself involved more in writing and assisting my Diocese in its administration. That and my duty to my family means that I have reluctantly asked my bishop to put my provisional mission of St Anselm and St Odile aside for the time being in order to play to my strengths and be more effective for the development of the Church. He has kindly agreed and so I find myself as a non-parochial priest with permission to officiate.

This has been a difficult position, especially in a culture when a priest has to be priest of somewhere. My Church does not have the pattern for oratories or internal oblates, though we do have Religious Communities around the world. The size of the Diocese of the UK prevents these rather, and the fact that I am happily married does prevent me from setting up a Benedictine Monastery here.

Of course, there is nothing to stop me from living in a Benedictine manner: my community is my family and I am still linked to the monks in Salisbury formerly of Elmore and Nashdom. My superior is my bishop – that has to be so. One of the dangers of having Religious communities in Dioceses that are too small for them is that those religious folk become laws unto themselves. This is true of the last two professed members of the Diocese who both left at different times, both in a fit of pique because they couldn’t get their own way. The exercise of humility is to rejoice when one doesn’t get one’s own way and carry on – tough to do sometimes but very good for the soul.

My hope is that, one day, we shall have the resources and time to take the Mission of St Anselm and St Odile out of its mothballs. It will still sort of be in existence as I will be saying my Offices and celebrating the Mass early on a Sunday morning. However, in order to develop those resources, I need to pitch in with assisting the Diocese in developing its resources. We are growing and this growth means taking seriously the need for infrastructure and grounding. I have tried to produce a contribution to the theological grounding of the Anglican Catholic Church and to the administration of my Diocese and my commitment must be there before I can hope to build a more personal ministry in my locality. Given that, in general, the diocesan model is becoming less geographic due to social media, it makes sense to step back and see where the true needs lie.

Of course, I beg your prayers that I may serve the Church faithfully and effectively.

Moving to Vespers

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Last year, I made the decision to supply Readers with sermons for Mattins and Evensong and I have spent this year devoting my Sunday sermon posts to preaching for Mattins.

From next Sunday, being the start of a Liturgical New Year, I will be providing Sermons for Readers based on the readings from the Revised Lectionary for Evensong

I hope that this has been a useful exercise so far.

On a planet far, far away...

Sermon for the Sunday next before Advent

Astronomers now are detecting solar systems around stars that are so far way that they may no longer exist by the time the light from them has reached us. The way that we detect planets so far away is by looking at how the light from each star is being affected by gravity, or by changes in brightness or frequency. What astronomers are not doing is observing these planets directly through a telescope. As far as we are concerned, these planets exist only as measurements stored on pieces of paper or within the hard drive of a computer.

By faith, astronomers discover these far-off planets.

[PAUSE]

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

What does that mean?

We can certainly understand Faith as the evidence of things not seen like the astronomers never see those planets and yet have some evidence to show for why they believe that. But what does it mean to say that Faith is the substance of things hoped for?

As Christians, we know that there are three things that will last forever: Faith, Hope and Love. We hope that we will be raised from the dead. We hope that we shall enjoy Eternity with God. These are articles of our Faith and we can find them in our Creeds.

That’s not all we could hope for.

We could hope that Time will run backwards so that we didn’t shut our fingers in the door last Saturday. We could hope that our computer will start behaving itself after we belt it with a sledgehammer. We could also hope that we will be served breakfast in bed tomorrow by trained kangaroos on hoverboards. What makes these hopes different from the hopes set out in the Creed?

[PAUSE]

The answer is Faith – the evidence of things not seen. We have no evidence that Time will ever run backwards. We have no evidence that computers that are smashed with sledgehammers run at all, let alone run smoothly. We have no evidence that hoverboards can exist, or that kangaroos can be trained to serve food. We cannot hope for things which we cannot believe will happen.

We have evidence that when we see a shadow that there is something that causes that shadow. From this evidence we are justified in believing that planets can exist orbiting stars far, far away.

Faith underpins what we can reasonably hope for. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it is by Faith that all the people whose lives are recorded in Holy Scripture do such remarkable things.

[PAUSE]

Many people will tell you that having faith is the opposite of being reasonable. As we see, scientists have their faith that the laws of physics are what they have experienced and believe continue to govern how the Universe works. We Christians have evidence that God is Who He says He is. The very fact that your coffee cup doesn’t suddenly change into a rabbit, or that your arm doesn’t wink out of existence, and that events can be predicted, shows a Universe which makes sense to us and this is evidence that God exists to make the Universe make sense. Our understanding of how History works shows that there is evidence of Our Lord Jesus Christ and that there is evidence that what He says and does is true.

Our understanding of how we have come here to worship God is evidence that something has happened in the lives of countless Christians through the centuries for us to be here now.

[PAUSE]

We have plenty of evidence for Our God and Lord Jesus Christ and we are justified in living our lives according to this Faith. As we close our Liturgical Year, we find ourselves ready to begin again at looking at why we believe and taking heart that what we believe will bring us to the throne of God when He comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

By Faith, our hopes in Him will come true.

By Faith, pain and sorrow will end.

By Faith, our suffering will be shown to mean something truly wonderful.

By Faith, all wrong will be made right.

By Faith, we will see the Advent of our King.

Come, Lord Jesus.



The "wound" of Mutual Flourishing

Saturday, November 23, 2019

I notice that a Dr Gabrielle Thomas has published an article in Ecclesiology about the fact that CofE Women Ministers believe "mutual flourishing" to be damaging to their ministry and feel that they are assumed to be flourishing automatically. They feel that they have to be the ones to make sacrifices so that a minority within the Church of England who cannot accept the ordination of women can flourish.

There is a lot of talk of victimhood, of unkind rejection and active hatred displayed towards Women Ministers by those who disaffirm their ministry. What I hear is appalling and demonstrates a lack of Christian charity. That needs to stop.

However, I am concerned that organisations such as WATCH play the victim card in order to score the emotive point while, at the same time, never addressing the actual issue: if someone does not believe that a woman can minister in the CofE how can that one worship with a woman minister if to do so means affirming that which they cannot accept.

The point is that there is victimhood on both sides. A woman minister finds her ember cards torn up and placed in her pigeonhole. A non-affirming Reader finds himself compelled by the female Rural Dean to affirm her ministry in an hitherto unknown "renewal of commitment". A woman minister receives "hate mail". A minister of SSWSH is labelled "sexist" and "bigot". A women minister feels that "Mutual Flourishing" means "being grateful and keeping quiet". A non-affirming suffragan bishop is prevented from becoming Diocesan by those who think that he can never be a focus for unity for those who affirm women's ministry.

It all sounds like six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, doesn't it?

Of course, the victimhood of the straight white male is inferior to everyone else's victimhood. Interesting that ending victimhood means pushing it all onto the straight white male. Why not seek to end it wholesale?

What is utterly clear is that Dr Thomas is absolutely right. Mural Flourishing is anything but. It is a compromise that pushes underground the battle for the Catholic Faith in the CofE. The sad fact is that the Catholic Faith in the CofE is to all intents and purposes extinct. Forward in Faith is now an elephant's graveyard where the Catholic Priesthood has come to die. Every time WATCH open its mouth, there is silence from SSWSH. 

If the CofE truly wanted mutual flourishing then it would have told FiF that it could walk away with buildings, parishes, pensions and the blessing of the CofE. At least women ministers could be protected and Catholic parishes allowed to thrive apart.

However, I would still very much like to hear how forcing people of differing views on women's ministry to worship together would encourage flourishing. I have never heard WATCH answer that question, mainly because it seems that they simply cannot countenance the possibility that someone does not accept that women can be priests. If only they would stop forcing women to be perpetual victims and actually address the issue head on.

The Papal Temptation

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I posted last year on Pope Francis' decision to re-word the Lord's Prayer when he says that God doesn't lead us into temptation. I made the case that Our Lord was led into Temptation as part of His participation in our suffering as human beings. To be human is to face trial, test and temptation and to suffer the agonies therefrom which are caused by the conflict between the flesh and the spirit. It is an agony which we should not want because we want to follow Christ wholeheartedly and it is our human frailty whereby we do not do so.

Pope Francis is not a father: his communion forbids this of priests. Not one celibate priest will know the agony of serious illness in their child. Not one will experience that moment where one's faith is tested to the limit at the prospect of losing their little one. Yet, we know that faith must be tested if it is to be of any worth and refined. Faith is not an anodyne theoretical concept, but must be lived.

Children die every day: some die in the womb, others suffer an agony which they are too young to express. Seeing a little boy lying in a gurney as his life ebbs painfully away causes us to question God. And it is God Who has led us here to present us to the facts of the human condition. It is God Himself Who has led us here to this point as our human compassion rips us to shreds. And the temptation is to turn to Him and tell Him to get stuffed.

Our faith is as weak as we are and we are not always strong enough or capable to cope with the reality of our life and death. We must recognise this weakness in humility rather than some cavalier bravado which will result in our faith crumbling under our own hubris.

In changing the Lord's Prayer, the Pope removes the statement of our humility, that we cannot face the temptation into which God would lead us in understanding His world and the consequences of its suffering. Only He has been able to bear all this on His shoulders upon the Cross. While we have crosses to bear, and must venerate those crosses, we must remember our breaking point and trust God not to bring us there.

"Lead us not into temptation" is a statement of humility, a recognition of the misery of the human condition, the truth of its sanctification upon the Lord's Cross, and the hope of its transformation in the Life Eternal. Change that, and you rob yourself and others of the participation in the great good that God can work in all things for those who love Him.

When the car keys just don't want to be found

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sermon for the twenty-second Sunday after Trinity

You were holding them in your hand just a moment ago. And then you put them down. And now they’ve gone. And you can’t think for the life of you where they’ve got to.

Sound familiar?

[PAUSE]

Losing things is part and parcel of cluttered lives. Lose fifty pence and it’s a source of irritation. Lose your car keys and that irritation turns into some vigorous searching. Lose your car keys five minutes before your important meeting and that’s when the panic really sets in.

And then your car keys walk up to you and say, “here I am! I’ve come back!” and you’re ecstatic.

Except that this doesn’t happen, does it?

[PAUSE]

This seems to be the problem with the Lord’s parables. It’s all very well comparing the joy of the shepherd finding the lost sheep with the joy in Heaven over the repentant sinner. It’s all very well, comparing the relief of the woman who lost a piece of silver with the relief that the angels have when we turn back to God. Perhaps this is all the parables say to us – just a simple message of how happy God is when we turn back to Him. So why does the Lord choose these parables to show how happy He is when we repent? Why not go with the father rejoicing at the return of the Prodigal Son? Or with a story of someone saying, “I’m sorry” and being reconciled with another?

After all, the sheep didn’t choose to be found, neither did the coin. Does that mean that we are all going to be found like a sheep, or a coin, or the car keys? If so, where does repentance come in? Why bother repenting of our sins?

[PAUSE]

In each of these situations, there is always the possibility that things have gone for good. When you hunt for your car keys, there are always these horrible thoughts like, “oh no, someone’s stolen them!” or “oh no, I’ve locked them in the car!” or “oh no, I left them on the wall outside.”

Until you’ve found it, your sheep could be in the jaws of a wolf. Until you’ve found it, the coin could be in the pocket of a thief. There is always the possibility of loss.

This is where human beings differ from coins, sheep and car keys. We can make choices. We can choose to be found. We can choose to hide. We can choose to wander off and we can choose to come back. We have this capacity to choose otherwise we wouldn’t be urged to repent at every turn.

And this repentance means that we have to choose to hate our possessions, our families, our friends, our very selves.

Hate’s a strong word, isn’t it?

[PAUSE]

We know that God is Love and we are to love God. We know full well that to love something in God’s place is idolatry. This means we have to love everything else less than God. We also know that hatred is the absence of love. If we are to love God most of all, then we must have less love for other things which means we must hate them more.

The hatred of which the Lord speaks is not an absolute loathing, it means loving less. We are to love our possessions, our families and our selves less than God. We are to put God first before all that we hold dear. If God is comparing Himself with a shepherd who loses a sheep, or a woman who loses a silver coin, and then goes overboard in celebrating their return, then He is demonstrating very clearly the concern He has for finding us. We remain lost while we choose not to repent and the moment we do, He finds us, scoops us up and cries out with joy, “it is finished!”

[PAUSE]

Repentance costs a lot – even our very lives – and the Lord bids us look at the cost carefully. After all, what is the cost of Him finding us? Hint: the answer’s on the altar.

Το θρήσκευμα προστατεύεται από τον αντιρατσιστικό νόμο

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Το άτομο πρέπει να προστατεύεται όταν υφίσταται προσβλητικές επιθέσεις ακόμη και λεκτικές για τις θρησκευτικές του πεποιθήσεις. Το ποιες επιθέσεις είναι προσβλητικές και ποιες ανεκτές το ορίζει το δίκαιο και ο νόμος. Δεν είναι πλεονασμός: ο νόμος αδυνατεί να διαρρυθμίσει το συνολικό εύρος της προστασίας του θρησκεύματος από τη μία πλευρά και της ελευθερίας της έκφρασης από την άλλη. Χρειαζόμαστε πιο αφηρημένα κανονιστικά σύνολα όπως το Σύνταγμα για να χαραχτούν οι γραμμές και ακόμη πιο απομακρυσμένους κριτές όπως τα διεθνή δικαστήρια για να είμαστε σίγουροι ότι οι αρχές του δικαίου εφαρμόζονται χωρίς τις εγχώριες διαπλοκές και προκαταλήψεις. 
Η σύγχρονη απάντηση για την προστασία του ατόμου όταν θίγεται για το θρήσκευμα του είναι ο αντιρατσιστικός νόμος: περιορίζει σίγουρα την ελευθερία της έκφρασης, αλλά το πράττει για να προστατευθεί ένας ίσης νομικής βαρύτητας έννομο αγαθό που είναι η θρησκευτική αυτοπραγμάτωση του ατόμου. Η οποία περιλαμβάνει τόσο τις θετικές διατυπώσεις (είμαι Χριστιανός) όσο και τις αρνητικά διατυπωμένες επιλογές επι ίσοις όροις (είμαι αγνωστικιστής). Το θέμα είναι που ακριβώς μπαίνει το όριο της παράνομης προσβολής. Διότι κάποτε επιτρέπονται και νόμιμες προσβολές (πχ στο πλαίσιο της ελευθερίας της τέχνης). Ο ελληνικός αντιρατσιστικός νόμος του 2014 έχει πολύ ψηλά το όριο της παράνομης προσβολής: θέλει όχι απλά να λες κάτι έναντια σε ένα θρήσκευμα αλλά και να παρακινείς σε πράξεις βίας ή μίσους. Αυτή η παρακίνηση δεν πραγματοποιείται μόνο με εκφράσεις προσβλητικές όπως είναι η βλασφημία διότι σε αυτές δεν υπάρχει το στοιχείο της υποκίνησης. Μια δεύτερη μορφή εγκλήματος είναι η κακόβουλη άρνηση ή ο εγκωμιασμός εγκλήματος κατά της ανθρωπότητας ή γενοκτονίας εφόσον βέβαια αυτή έχει αναγνωριστεί με δικαστική απόφαση «ή απόφαση της Βουλής». Αυτό το «ή απόφαση της Βουλής» που μπήκε για να καλύψει την γενοκτονια των Ποντίων που κανένα δικαστήριο δεν έχει αναγνωρίσει μέχρι στιγμής παρά μόνο η Βουλή και άλλα πολιτικά αντιπροσωπευτικά σώματα ενδεχόμενα, κρίθηκε αντισυνταγματική προσθήκη από την απόφαση του Μονομελούς Πλημμελειοδικείου που δίκασε την υπόθεση εναντίον του Γερμανού καθηγητή Ρίχτερ. 
Άρα σκέτος ο προσβλητικός λόγος εναντίον του θρησκεύματος του ατόμου δεν τιμωρείται κατά τον ελληνικό αντιρατσιστικό νόμο του 2014, διότι αυτό έκρινε ο νομοθέτης του δηλαδή η κυβέρνηση Σαμαρά. Δεν ήθελε η κυβέρνηση Σαμαρά να τιμωρείται ο προσβλητικός λόγος ήθελε να συντρέχει και το στοιχείο της παρακίνησης σε βία ή σε μίσος, η δημόσια υποκίνηση βίας ή έστω η κακόβουλη άρνηση ή ο εγκωμιασμός εγκλήματος κατά της ανθρωπότητας. 
Ενώ λοιπόν η Νέα Δημοκρατία είναι εκείνη που δεν θέλει να διώκεται ο απλός προσβλητικός λόγος με τον αντιρατσιστικό νόμο, γιατί είναι υπέρ της ελευθερίας της έκφρασης, σήμερα υποπίπτει σε μια αντινομία. Θέλει να επαναφέρει το μεμονωμένο πλημμέλημα κατά της κακόβουλης βλασφημίας που αποποινικοποιήθηκε με τον νέο Ποινικό Κώδικα, όχι όμως αυθαίρετα αλλά ύστερα από συστάσεις διεθνών οργανισμών. Συγκεκριμένα, η Επιτροπή Δικαιωμάτων του ΟΗΕ έχει συστήσει στα κράτη μέλη από το 2011 την κατάργηση νόμων που προστατεύουν μεμονωμένα θρησκεύματα και όχι άτομα από τις εις βάρος τους προσβολές για το θρήσκευμα τους, ως αντίθετα στην ελευθερία της έκφρασης. Αντίατοιχες συστάσεις υπάρχουν και από το Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης. Η ΝΔ επιλέγει να αψηφήσει αυτή τη σύσταση εκθέτοντας την χώρα στον κίνδυνο νέων κατάδικων από διεθνή δικαιοδοτικά όργανα. 
Η λύση κατά τη γνώμη μου θα ήταν πολύ απλή ώστε αφενός η ποινική νομοθεσία να ανταποκρίνεται στον ρόλο της για προστασία των ατόμων ως προς τις θρησκευτικές τους πεποιθήσεις αλλά και να συμμορφωθούμε στις συστάσεις των διεθνών οργανισμών: να αφαιρεθεί η παρακίνηση από τον αντιρατσιστικό και να επανέλθουμε στην αρχική μορφή του ν.927/1979 που ποινικοποιούσε την κοινή προσβολή του ατόμου για το θρήσκευμα του. Το θεωρώ πολύ έντιμο και συνεπές και με την ελευθερία της έκφρασης και θα ανταποκρίνεται και στην επιθυμία της κοινής γνώμης για ευσέβεια και αποφυγή προσβλητικών ακροτήτων για το θρήσκευμα.

The heart of worship

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sermon for the twenty-first Sunday after Trinity

We are often accused of worshipping our ikons, holy pictures and statues. We are often accused of worshipping the Blessed Virgin or one of the saints. We are often accused of worshipping the Book of Common Prayer, or the old language, or the old hymns.

Is this true? Are we worshipping these things?

There is a sense in which we are, but this needs careful thought.

[PAUSE]

Perhaps you remember that the word “worship” comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “worth-ship”, that is, the act of giving something worth. It means that anything we give any personal value to, that thing we worship. There are fifty-pence pieces with Peter Rabbit on them and, to some, these are more valuable than fifty pence. They are of greater worship to collectors. A photograph of our family is of greater worship to us than to someone who does not know our family. Worship is a very personal thing.

So yes, an ikon of the Blessed Virgin Mary is of greater worship to the Catholic than a picture of Rita Ora. The Book of Common Prayer is of greater value to an Anglican than a copy of His Dark Materials. But is this the worship that goes against the Second Commandment?

[PAUSE]

English is often a very poor language in comparison to Greek. There are three words in Greek that mean worship, duliahyperdulia, and latria. We might translate them as veneration, profound veneration and full worship. Only God is worthy of latria, that is, full worship. The Blessed Virgin is worthy of profound veneration, and the saints and angels worthy of veneration. Essentially, the Church says that we value the Blessed Virgin, the saints and angels, holy objects, and the rest, because we value God most. God is the source of our worship, and so the things He touches, we value more highly than those He does not.

We look at an ikon or a religious statue and our hearts and minds are drawn to whoever is depicted. If it is an ikon or statue of a saint then we allow them to point us to God. God must be the source of our veneration. He must be the reason why we venerate.

The trouble happens when we displace God from being the centre of our worship.

[PAUSE]

Whatever we worship more than God is an idol. If we value something in itself rather than because it points to God, then we have set up an idol. An idol need not even be a physical thing. God tells Ezekiel to speak out against those who have set up idols in their hearts. We can certainly see that this is true with money. Money doesn’t even have to be a physical thing anymore since many places are going cashless. Do we value money because we worship God? The very existence of money comes from a lack of trust in other human beings. If humanity truly valued God more, there would be no need of it as we see in the early Church forming Acts of the Apostles.

Idols of the heart need tearing down as much as any physical idol. This include ideas, thoughts, opinions and feelings. As soon as we create an idol, we separate ourselves from God. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. We can and should value human rights, seek to save the planet, feed the hungry and poor, but we do them because we love God first. It’s when we say that God must love these causes because we love these causes that the problem begins. Which comes first? God? Or the cause we feel passionately about?

The Creeds of our Church are ikons of the heart and need to be used as such. We see so many Christians falling away from the Faith because they have made idols in their hearts of things of this world. There are Christians rejecting the Creeds because they value modern thinking rather than what the Church has always believed. Are the Creeds idols of the heart? How can they be? They were written in order to paint a picture of Who God Is. No, they do not give a complete picture of God, but they are not wrong because they have been forged from what God has revealed to us about Himself. Take away any little piece of them, and we have a flawed picture of God. Hold onto that broken Creed, and it becomes an idol because it have been broken by us to fit our own sense of what is worthy.

[PAUSE]

One day, the Creeds will vanish away because the fulness of God will come and burst them with His truth like a wineskin. But we don’t value the Creeds for themselves: we value them because we love God. When He comes, we won’t need them. Our ikons can fall and burn and break and it must not matter to us because the Source of our worship remains whole and glorious in His Majesty. It is those who cling on to their idols who will be thrown away because they will not let go of something that is perishing.

What ikons do we have in our heart? How do we know that they are not idols?

The Death of Analogy

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Sermon for the twentieth Sunday after Trinity

You probably already know that the first recorded word of Our Lord’s public ministry is, “repent”. Of course we understand that this is really a very positive commandment. We are to be like compass needles. Whenever we are shaken by sin, we spin round and turn back to God. Always we seek realignment to God. This is what repentance is.

But why? Why do we need to repent? Surely, when the time comes, God, in His Almighty Love for us will meet us where we are.

[PAUSE]

Our Lord points to two disasters that have befallen some people from Galilee. Some have reportedly been murdered by Pontius Pilate during their sacrifices. Others have been killed by the falling tower of Siloam. In each case, Our Lord is very clear. These people were no greater sinners than anyone else. However, if we do not repent, we shall be like unto them. There is no mincing of words here. 

Repentance matters.

What does the Lord mean when He says that we will be like those who died under tragic circumstances if we do not repent of our ways? What He is doing is using death as an analogy for what happens. We know that Holy Scripture contains many and varied violent deaths. We can point to those that perish in the flood. We can point to the Egyptians pursuing the Israelites. We can point to Sodom and Gomorrah, to Sisera, Jezebel, Saul, Absalom, those who perish in the captivity of Assyria and Babylon. What we see in each is that their fate is the fate of the unrepentant
Again, the Lord calls up a parable about a fig tree which does not bear fruit and is given a last chance before it is cut down. . God uses the analogy of death in this life to point to the second death, the death that follows the resurrection of all human beings in preparation for the Day of Judgement.

This Second Death sounds rather permanent, doesn’t it?

The Lord Jesus Christ is showing us precisely what He is here to save us from. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us, is born as one of us, lives and teaches among us, suffers and dies for us so that we might be saved. The cost to Him is huge so what He must be saving us from must be pretty huge as well. He saves us from Eternal Death – a fate we must accept if we choose to reject God.

How can a Loving Almighty God condemn us to an Eternity of Hell?

Simply put He doesn’t. As St Athanasius says, God became Man so that Man might become a god. St Athanasius is thinking of St John’s words here.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

 What God wants is for us to partake of His Divine Nature just as He partakes of our Human Nature. If He respects our Human Nature so much that He takes on human free-will as well, then He must value our choices even when they reject Him. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.
Our Lord warns us of the sin that shall not be forgiven. If God forgives all who truly repent then this unforgivable sin must arise from a wilful refusal to repent. If it is unforgivable then the sin will always remain and, if the sin will always remain, separation from God is permanent.

[PAUSE]

Christians should fear Hell and we should fear it because we should want to be with God for all Eternity. And, further, we need to share in the urgency of bringing people to Christ so that they do not suffer the same fate. This is why spreading the Gospel is so vital. And the Gospel is very simple. Repent: turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and enter Eternity with God in pure love.

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