About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not a review: "How the Irish Saved Civilization" and the Great Lie

Just finished reading "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of  Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe" by Thomas Cahill.

So many things I want to say about it.

First, I loved it! Cahill is an excellent writer and clearly showcased the fact that God made Ireland a lighthouse during a very dark time in history. He did it in such a way I was hardly aware I was doing research or reading history (which was once my worst subject!...I mean really, why learn about dead people and their lives...they are dead...so was my darkened perspective in school.) I think I also loved this book because of the way it's written. It's history with story. Not fictional, though Cahill includes some of that, but he includes poetry and fun facts! He writes with eloquence, humor, passion and an idea of objectivity which was as refreshing as it was ignoble.

Need to mention, during the first chapter, I almost put the book down on several occasions because he was so very anti-English and I couldn't discern at times if it was because he's of Irish decent OR if it's more of a Catholic/Protestant thing. Then he started quoting people like C.S.LEWIS and G.K.CHESTERTON and several times, through various quotes of persons or scripture, Thomas shares the true Gospel...Salvation by grace through faith.

Unfortunately though, it is as I suspected, though exposed to the truth, Cahill does not know it. This may put his book in question, and normally I'd concur; however, I don't believe that to be the case and my reasoning follows...

The historical time period of which Thomas Cahill is writing is a kind of "in between" world. There was only one church. There wasn't Catholic or Protestant...just Christianity. Some in the church knew the truth, some did not. Many would say it is that way today still (I will address that shortly). Cahill is able to tell the story without bias or religious prejudices as it was a time prior to the Reformation and even though the Roman Church played a very small part (if any) in Patrick's mission in Ireland...it's still there by association. Any which way you slice it, Patrick was still a monk of the existing church of the day, at least for a time.  So, Patrick's testimony in his Confession is interpreted not in light of his words (at least in modern time) rather in light of his appointment in the church and good works as a missionary to Ireland.

This brings me to the "Great Lie". Time and again, I came across convincing clues, ideas, quotes and thoughts that led me to hope the writer, Thomas Cahill, might actually KNOW the truth of Salvation. Titus 3:5. But it was just that...hope and wish. In the end, he clearly defends the Catholic perspective of good works, not as a product/proof of salvation, rather as a needful co-existence with the work of Christ. This is vital to understand the difference. When a Catholic says, "I trust Christ as my Savior" that's not the end of the conversation! That just makes the Believer, listening for the "buzz" words, more comfortable! I've done it too! HOW SELFISH ARE WE!

I have so many friends who say, "I know someone who is saved in the Catholic church and then look at me like I'm the one who should be called into question. And really, what do you say to that? I say, "Wow, if they are saved, be praying for them, because they WILL be ostracized and it doesn't take YEARS for that to happen." Everybody knows when a light is lit in a dark place...Those who want it there...those who don't.

I JUST met a woman working out at the gym who got saved and was ostracized by her Catholic Church and had to leave...I did not solicit this info, she just started giving her testimony on how she was born again and the happenings there. (I think she was trying to witness to me because I said "I'm not Baptist...though we are going to a Baptist Church"! God has a sense of humor!) Too, growing up, I knew a woman who was asked to leave the church and directed to a Protestant church, where, given her questions, "she'd be more comfortable". Not only that, my husband, my Aunt Catherine and a couple other relations I know were once Catholic too...There was a reason for the Reformation!!! The Catholic Church has not changed...we have. How that saddens the soul...

Now, please understand, I'm not saying Protestant is synonymous with salvation!! Oh my word, no! But what I am saying is that saying "A lot of Catholics are saved" is like saying a lot of Muslims are saved. Because a lie is a lie is a lie, no matter how pretty that lie is, or how close or far from the truth is strays...it's still a lie...and in that there is hope...hope that we can share the truth of the Gospel...that when Christ said, "It is finished!" he meant it! That the good works that believers do, aren't for our salvation, but for our Christ who gave himself for us that we might live for him.

So, read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" while reading the Gospels of how Christ saves sinners! I pray, as offensive as this post is (Didn't Christ promise it would be offensive), it will nettle those who disagree to seek THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life for themselves...and that God will grant faith, wisdom and understanding as we draw close to him. Amen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

About Patricius: Patrick of Ireland

Think back to your high school days.

Remember for a moment that certain young man from school so many teenage girls loved to have a crush on? The party loving, beer guzzling, happy-go-lucky boy born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a heritage of power and prestige at his back, pushing him along through life...

Do you have that teenage boy in mind? Well...THAT was Patrick as a teenager!

And then, not so tragically as it turns out, at the height of his carefree, partying life, he was kidnapped from his home in Britain and sold into slavery, at the age of 16, by the Irish Celts to one of the many Kings in Ireland. (Aside: The Kings were more like the Lords of England, operating with absolute authority on their own patch of earth~ Though the Druids throughout all the Celts in Ireland could pull these Kings together as they had need.)

At this point, I'm going to point out some things you should recognize about his upbringing to understand some of the key points I'm going to make about his life and beliefs. As a child and youth, he was exposed heavily to scripture. And, if the normal religious practice of the day is to be upheld, he was likely baptized as an infant for the remission of sin ~ I'm not saying that is correct theology, I'm saying that is the practice of the Roman Church as seen in The Council of Carthage, in 253 (100+ years before Patrick was born).

This is where it gets interesting...

In his confessions, Patrick admits he did not know God until he repented of his sins and trusted in Christ, while a slave in Ireland. His insistence of this state of separation of his soul from God, and his acknowledgement of the existence and working of both original and actual sin in his life, causes his own family to disown him while at the height of his missionary work in Ireland. Forcing him to write his own Confessional...now a days we'd simply call it a testimonial.

Now, during his time as a slave and after his conversion to Christ, Patrick, in desperation and homesickness, drew near to God, praying and crying out to Him in all elements of raw weather, cold and alone and captive. An answer came; he heard a voice telling him where to go and how to escape captivity. (A remarkable story of exactness and wonder! If you've the chance to read it, I'll put up the link to the translation of Patrick's Confessions at the bottom of this post. It's a thrilling account of his life and a scripture filled testimony that mirrors any true believer's heart cry!)

Now, if you have a problem with him hearing voices (previously, I would have, so I understand) I urge you to keep in mind, the Voice didn't give him a "new" Gospel or Revelation...it helped him have hope and light during a horrible, dark time for Patrick. It is important to note, Patrick never mentions hearing a voice like this after escaping, neither does he showcase it as a sort of spiritual proof-texting. He simply states what he heard.

Also, Patrick is singular in more than one way. Missionaries went all over the Roman Republic to seek converts to Christianity. Patrick was the first to go to a people outside the protection of Rome, weak as the Republic was and within years of the sacking of Rome itself, it was a thing not done and vehemently opposed!

Patrick almost didn't make it back to Ireland. He met with SO much hostile opposition at home and from church officials, that had he been uncertain of his calling, he would have given up.  The turning point came when he realized the church officials never intended to let him go to Ireland. They stalled and they made up reasons for him to not go, so much so, he finally had enough and left without blessing and without support from the established Church. So firmly did he know where his support and blessing came from, that he seemed to count the lack of human support as no great loss. And apparently...it wasn't!

The more I find out about this Patrick of Ireland...the more I am in wonder of the God who called him back to a land that enslaved him, to be a light and a beacon to the hope of his calling in Christ Jesus. The magnitude and measure of those who came to Christ in Ireland scarred the Roman Church. Little did they know, you can't stop the fire of the HOLY SPIRIT...

When Patrick finally returned to Ireland, he did what the bishops were afraid he'd do...Patrick  preached the Gospel he found in the Gospels! Salvation by repentance and belief and that these can only come by the Grace of God to an unbeliever's cold, dark heart! For this, his converts were murdered by paid warriors sent by the same church officials that brought him up.

For this, too, Patrick of Ireland was excommunicated by the Roman Church officials of his hometown and presumable the papacy for heretical teachings...but only AFTER Patrick excommunicated the whole order of priest and bishops for their heretical teachings.

About the snakes...The serpents everyone hears about Patrick forcing out of Ireland...are most likely a euphemism for the murderers' being repelled out of Ireland. Given the gravity of the times and the historical relevance of the converted Irish people through the obedience of one man to the working of the Holy Spirit in his life...I have no problem believing there were great wonders and miracles done in Christ's name for the drawing together a people known for habitually sacrificing their own children for the smallest of reasons...the ushering in of Spring! It was considered an honor to have your child picked to be sacrificed! Oh the darkness that steals our children away...

Concerning the signs and wonders...Patrick himself is silent. He is such a humble man...and he is a true follower of Christ, after the order of Paul himself who determined to boast only in Christ! So though many Irish legends and myths surround Patrick...we don't know what the signs or wonders were...but that's okay...isn't the wonder of what happened in Ireland, enough?

I find it very interesting, that in the Confession of Saint Patrick, Patrick only quotes the canonized scripture...But for his letter of accusation against the murders of the converts in Ireland to the Roman Church, he quotes anything they deemed as scripture in order to present his case to darkened minds. Didn't the Lord do the same with Saul of Tarsus, "It is a hard thing for you to kick against the pricks" a Greek proverb taken from the self-same literature.

Aside from the wondrous conversion to Christ for/of the religious Druids and Celts of Ireland, there is an mind blowing, game changing, historically relevant result called the preservation of civilization by and through these same Irish converts that the world RARELY remembers...And that is:

When all of Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages, a time when the remnants of the Roman Republic crumbled to nothing and the sacking, plundering and burning of learned cities and the books of knowledge and understanding, a time poised to forget through loss in a single generation...much less generations...the converted of Ireland and their children's children and beyond became a sort of lighthouse of civilization.

They took up the monstrous task of collecting, preserving and transcribing not only scripture, but also the ancient literary works and ideas of the Greeks and Romans. This "opportunes" an enlightened moment in history, creating for the peoples of Ireland a little known and rarely recognized period in history called the Irish Renaissance where advancement in architecture, literature and all other art forms THRIVED! Another reigning example of "Blessing, they were also blessed!"