Old vs. New: Which God Is For you?

Old vs. New: Which God Is For you?

Trick question, you can't choose a God.

A popular misconception today's society has with Christianity, is that its god is an overzealous, overbearing, strict, unforgiving, and homophobic god. Perhaps he is. No one will know, but religion in general is a lifestyle. It connects people, gathers them in a common cause and in the common desire to do good and be good. Religion essentially is a lifestyle, a guideline on how people channel their restless energy/spirituality. In no way is this article meant to convert a reader or to elevate Christianity over another religion. This article is meant to enlighten others on Christianity, and to help its members struggling to come to terms with its God. However, in order to talk about God, one must first talk about love. Because God in Christianity and in practice is love.

Love in the Old Testament is portrayed as a relationship between God and his people. God, who is depicted as an ever-powerful and ever-loving being; quick to reprimand and punish, but still able to forgive. God’s love for his people goes beyond the bounds of agape love, charity, and normal hesed. His love is based on divine hesed which exceeds plain hesed as it focuses on prolonging the relationship and not just giving and loving the other on a current needs basis. Our hesed is determined on a circumstantial basis: how much a person needs, and if we are the only person able to provide the solution to their needs. However, as Christians, we are charged to go beyond that. Leviticus 19:34 highlights the idea that we must extend our realm of hesed and help strangers. For to be charitable and loving towards others, we must give hesed, which is consideration and love for our neighbor, as well as reverence for God.

On the other hand, love in the New Testament shifts its focus onto expanding the definition of neighbor, and thus, on to a kinder God. As stated, this was probably due to the audience both Synoptic writers and on were addressing: non-Jewish public. Love, in the New Testament, is put to the test - and God, in turn, is altered for the eyes of the Gentiles. His role from a reprimanding deity turns into a gentle parent, as He charges his new disciples of this time to spread his word. Through Jesus and his disciples, God beseeches the Jews, his chosen people, to spread the word, to show that the sun rises on both “the good and the bad alike…” (Matthew 5:45). Love is undiscriminating, and should be given out freely, and not to those just in need; it is an act of reconciliation because it is an act of giving yourself over to the other person in need. God loves all and will always remain unbiased in his charity, so therefore, we must strive to emulate the very same unprejudiced forgiveness and love he gave us.

Hesed is not just an action, but a reciprocation of our compact with God; to channel our charity into hesed love for others, we must act with the Decalogue in my mind. Only by heeding the Commandments are we able provide a pure kind of hesed that God implores us to offer to our neighbors - which is everyone. Combined, the Old and New Testament preaches to us to give our love without biases, and without hesitation. We are to treat others as a reflection of God, and as an extension of ourselves. By offering our help regardless of the situation or person, we can come a bit closer to emulating that kind of selfless love. By keeping the other individual’s needs in mind before ours, we can hope to reciprocate our compact with God. Matthew said that God made the sun rise for both the good and the bad alike, and so, we must learn to love without prejudice as love is our only was at redemption and reconciliation with others. Doing harm to others would just prove fruitless either way, as God, gives the final judgement - not us; we harm our reputation more so than others by refusing to love them. By reaching out to others even with the smallest acts of kindness and charity, we make a little bit of this love more present in the world.

So if you are Christian, you can't choose a God. You have to come to terms with the fact that God has been both strict, punishing, and kind and forgiving. Because that is what exactly love is. Punishing and forgiving. Kind and strict; ever-evolving.

God adapts. God forgives. God will accept. God learns.

Our people, the public, are different from the people of both the Old and New Testament. Today's people don't need to be appealed to, they don't need a strong figure with power to find haven under, they need an ear, a shoulder, a friend, and love.

They need someone who embodies the sanctuary and love that God had given His people in both Old and New Testament.

Cover Image Credit: m-louis

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!

I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!

1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"

A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.

Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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To The Father Who Chose His Girlfriends Over His Children, I Wish You Well

After many moments spent in therapy, I don't resent you or hate you, I wish you well.


I have written and rewritten this article a thousand times over and over and the words never really ever came out right.

As a kid, you have this image in your head of what you think the perfect life is supposed to be like. Usually somewhere along the lines of a nice two-story house, with two parents, that both love you and love each other, with a few siblings, some family vacations, etc. you get the point. Obviously, as you grow up, you realize not everything is going to be like this perfect image that is in your head.

As a kid, I thought you were a great dad.

You spent time with me, took me to the movies, out for dinner, on vacations, and other things that I thought you were doing specifically to be able to spend time with your daughter. Sure, you had your faults like any other dad but I always thought they were never deal breakers until they became a deal breaker.

When you and my mother split up, I believed that is was my mother's fault for tearing apart my perfect little family. She was the one that moved out and took us away from you so it had to be her fault. And you never let me believe it wasn't either.

When you first got a girlfriend right after you and mom split, I didn't think anything of it. I mean at that age, she just seemed like another sister to me.

At the age of fourteen, after you chose your eighth or so girlfriend over your own flesh and blood, that was the moment when it became a problem for me.

That was the moment when your unableness to function without another female in your life, really affected how I see the world.

I watched you yell at your daughter, the daughter that you chose to raise as your own by adoption, and tell her that if she chose to talk like that to your girlfriend, then she would leave. But I also chose to leave. However, I, unlike my sister, chose to never go back.

After that happened a lot of things made sense for why we did a lot of things as kids.

Your partners were the reason for just about everything we did. If we ever went to the movies, it was because they wanted to go. If we ever went out to eat, it was either because they didn't know how to cook or because they wanted to go. If we ever weren't allowed to come over for our every other weekend, it was because you had plans with them. If we ever went on vacation, it was because they told you to take them somewhere.

It was never about us and always about them.

As a kid, you don't care so much as to why you are doing things, but you are just grateful to be doing them. But as a young adult with their own developing mind, you start to care why you are doing things.

I realized that day that your kids would never be the first thing for you to consider, we would always be second to last.

After many moments spent in therapy, I don't resent you or hate you, I wish you well.

You are the reason the phrase, "but they're still family" has no meaning to me. That day was a giant lesson to me about how to carefully choose who I let accompany me in my life.

As a kid, I saw a man who constantly needed another woman to take care of him and who could not ever manage to be alone. I will say that is partially the reason that I choose to never need someone, and to live my life how I choose, and to never let the actions of someone else dictate my life.

I wish you well. You find no discomfort in the life you live and I doubt you ever will and that is OK because it is your life and not mine. I am not writing this for you to read it and change your life and find a new way of living. No, I am writing this as a child who was treated as the last option and who refuses to be treated as the last option again.

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