Holy Apostles CEC Father Jim Ball
In 1998, the Holy Apostles CEC was founded. Father Jim Ball talks about the church, how it began, and the people who call the Holy Apostles CEC church their home.
JEROME HILL: I’m Jerome Hill, and today is March 20– 24th, and I’m here with–
FATHER JIM BALL: Father Jim Ball– I’m the pastor of Holy Apostles Charismatic Episcopal Church.
JEROME HILL: Right– first question is what year was the church founded?
FATHER JIM BALL: 1998– so we’re coming up on our 13th anniversary in April.
JEROME HILL: All right. Were there any circumstances at the time that caused for your church to be founded?
FATHER JIM BALL: Uh, really just, I think, divine call. In other words, I just felt called to plant a church here in Westminster. Went to my bishop– talked to him about it– we prayed about it.
And there were people that did want a church like this up here, so that was really the issue. There was no, uh, no circumstances, per se, but more of a call.
JEROME HILL: And how would you describe your church community?
FATHER JIM BALL: Well, I’d say that it’s relatively small. We’re about 65-70 people, We have, um, everyone in our church is very committed. Uh, in a church the size, you– you usually don’t get too many slackers, because they don’t come here, uh, just to sit around.
So the people who are committed– they’re very devout. I have a lot of gifted people hear– lot of artists. Um, I’d say that, probably, uh– uhm– if you’re going to look at socioeconomic– they’re probably middle class– middle class– relatively educated people– lot of college grads, and things like that.
Um, not very culturally– not very racially diverse– probably because of where we– where we are. Uh, I think we had– we had a African American family here for awhile, but they moved away.
We have one Korean and one Pakistani here. You know, the rest are– pretty much, uh, you know, white middle class– that’s probably the best– I mean there’s a little bit of diversity in terms of socioeconomic, but not a lot. Probably mirrors the county we live in, pretty much.
JEROME HILL: That’s good. Have you noticed any immediate changes in your church from the time of its founding to the present day?
FATHER JIM BALL: In the church itself?
JEROME HILL: Yes.
FATHER JIM BALL: Uh, no major change. I mean– the typical– there are some people that come at the beginning and then they leave. And you get new people.
Probably the major change is out– in some sense outside of our church– and that is we had our bishop, and a number of bishops, who left about four or five years ago. And that created a bit of a stir, which was a problem to go through. But we actually ended up having a better bishop because of it. So– and that has affected us to– to the positive in that way.
JEROME HILL: Do you want to speak on that?
FATHER JIM BALL: Uh, uh– it’s a long story, but, I mean, basically, uhm– uh– just a bunch of bishops, and our bishop, that wanted to leave the church and was trying to get it– the parishes that were under him to go. Uh, we decided to stay, because we were called here. So they ended up leaving.
But again, when something like that happens, it does create a bit of controversy, if you will. And the reasons they were leaving were– were– in our opinion, minor, you know. And uh– uh– the bishop we had before was very devout, but not the easiest person to deal with, you know.
And uh, the new we–the new guy we got is, um, is just a lot more encouraging. He’s a lot more energetic in terms of uh– he likes young people better. You know. I like young people a lot. I mean, I like to do– I still– you know– I played rock and roll for 24 years, you know, as a filmmaker. I like all that stuff so I didn’t fit in to well with my previous bishop because of that. So the new guy likes it. You know, so for me it’s cool– you know, it’s better.
JEROME HILL: Yeah, that’s–
FATHER JIM BALL: Best way to describe it– you know–without going in to three days of details.
JEROME HILL: Yeah– I was– that’s what I was basically talking about– the new bishop.
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: Um, how much of an impact would you say your church has on the surrounding community? And how involved are– are your church– is your church within the community?
FATHER JIM BALL: Uh, in one of the– of the points of our– of our mission statement is we want to expand God’s kingdom, impact the culture, and then, also, bless the land. And uh, being a small church– you know, you don’t have the influence that maybe a larger church has.
However, um, one of the things that we do here– we do healing services. And so a lot of people come here from other churches, or even that don’t go to church, come for healing.
We also do something called deliverance. I mean there– there are people that have demonic oppressions, and so they’ll bring them here if they have some kind– or we’ll go to their house and get rid of, uh, whatever’s gone on in the house. I mean, some of the stuff that you hear about really is real.
So, in one sense, we get called upon to do things that other churches don’t always do. For instance, I was called to do a– a– bless a house, which is really exercise the house, because these workers were, uh, construction workers were fix– working on a house, and they couldn’t. Every time they were working in there– there’s– doors would be slamming. And one guy was up on the roof and he was lowering some building materials down the side of the house and he almost got pushed over by no one. In other words, an unseen force.
So one of my parishioners knew about it, and said, would you go and bless it. They’re afraid to go in there. You know , so when I went there to do it, the construction guys are out there, and they say, well, Father, you know, um, you’re braver than I am. I said, well– this– this is– this is– my job. It’ll go.
So we go and we bless the house– we exercise it. And then the– the oppression leaves.
So, we do a lot of that stuff that doesn’t get seen by everybody. So, in other words, sometimes we’re not even sure the impact that we see, except that, uh, we will minister to people from other churches.
Uh, I still do some film work. Uh, basically the film work I want to do it all– all basically is pointed to, um, you know, encouraging people– calling people to, uh, God’s grace.
Uh, I– I help a– a– local school here– it’s a Christian school. I’ve done film work for them, because they were– their finances were down, because the economy.
Um, we pray– we pray for a land all the time. I’m mean, in other words, every time we do a service here, and I’m in here praying for– I just pray for the land itself. When I say the land, I mean, I ask that God will bless the inhabitants of this land– will bring people out of– out of depression, oppression.
Uh– so a lot of the stuff is, sort of, unseen. But we do– we feel– we feel like we’re called to– we’re called to, uh, bring God’s grace on the land. So we– we do a lot of prayer for it. We have services just for praying for the people that we don’t even know.
And then we also take part in things like– since we’re small we can’t do our own– we don’t have enough money to do a lot of poor ministry. So we– we have a group of people, out of our church, and the church itself, supports the different ministries around here that do– uhm– that help the poor.
So we work with the– you know like the food kitchens, and the food pantry, and– and– and– Shepherd’s Staff, and stuff like that. So, um, uh, if we don’t do it ourselves, we- we work with people who do it better than we do it.
So, I think for a small church there’s– there’s some impact. We know the p– we know the people know to– to bring people here if they’re sick. Whether they come for Saint John’s Catholic church, or they come from the Methodist church, they know if– if they have a need of a– a– like a healing or deliverance, they will come and see us.
So, uh, there’s a lot of people come to me for what’s called spiritual direction– which is not the same as counseling, you know. It’s basically– uh– uh– so– best way to describe it is we think we have an impact because we pray– we– because we– we– we– pray for the people in the land, and we do what we can help, in any way possible.
Uh, we also– when– uh, we also do have our own poor fund. In other words, if someone is– um, we don’t take phone calls to, uh, pay people’s rent. But if we hear of a family, or somebody that’s lost money or something like that, we will send them a check– if we hear about it, and we can afford at the time. So, uh, in whatever way we can help the community we do. And we pray for it. And that’s the best I– best answer I give you, you know.
JEROME HILL: What major events, post-founding, has shaped your church to become what it is, now, today?
FATHER JIM BALL: I– I’m not really sure there’s anything in particular, other than when I mentioned before. The– the change in the bishop has–has probably impacted the church– uh, for the good. Uh, getting a new bishop that– that– that, um, like I said– is an encourager– he’s– he’s– he’s a guy who’s just, basically, for you. That doesn’t mean he’s not my boss, but I mean– I’m saying that– that, uh, that’s prob– that’s probably the single most.
Uh, another one would be since we are formed, um, I started this by myself, but, uh, we had a small church plant up in Frederick that wasn’t working. And, uh, the bishop had sent the priest there to come and be my assistant. And he has been my assistant for the past 12 years. And that’s made a considerable difference. So I would– I would say that’s another one.
Because, uh, even with 60-70 people– 70 people– even that many people, it’s still, uhm– uhm– it’s a lot of work, you know, doing, um, being a pastor. So having an assistant has– has helped quite a bit. And where I’m– and the stuff I’m not good at, he’s good at, which especially makes it good.
JEROME HILL: All right. On your website your church describes itself as blending of three streams– of worship that may be found in modern Christian churches. These streams of worship being evan–
FATHER JIM BALL: Evangelical, yeah.
JEROME HILL: –evangelical–
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: Um, charismatic–
FATHER JIM BALL: Charismatic
JEROME HILL: –and sacramental?
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah,
JEROME HILL: What does this exactly mean, and how is this different from churches focusing on only one stream of worship?
FATHER JIM BALL: First and foremost, we would probably say that I don’t think there are– in reality there’s any– any church that, really, just does one stream. But you would use the word focus. And, uh, Evangelical churches might be characterized by churches like the Baptist church, Presbyterian church, uh, Low Church Anglicanism, um, Methodist– uh, to some degree. Uh, but– but primarily more like Baptists.
In other words, there are churches that– that focus on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You know that you must believe in him to be saved. They believe in the– the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I mean, they’re– they’re very focused on– on Bible centered worship.
And they’re also very focused on leading people to Christ. In other words, you’re going to see more of them out talking to people and– and– then trying to get people converted than you will see a Catholic, let’s say. Catholics don’t go out and try to convert people, as a rule. Um, so, uh, that– that– that stream is– the evangelical stream would be characterized by that kind of, um, ministry.
You’ll see a lot of TV preachers that may be– good and bad– you know, some of them are good, some of them are bad, but still they’re guys that– that– that still are focusing on leading souls to Christ. So that’s the evangelical stream.
The charismatic stream would be characterized by, like, the independent charismatic churches or the Pentecostal churches. Like the Assembly of God where there’s a, first and foremost, a– a very exuberant worship style. In other words it’s a– that’s where the, kind of, modern worship comes from, that even the mainline churches have picked up.
But on top of that, it’s a– a belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real. In other words, you’ll see people that pray in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing gifts, uh, deliverance, um words of– prophetic words. You know, things like that. Um, which the evangelical churches don’t believe in, by and large.
So the charismatic churches, uh, we believe that there’s suppose the power in the church. It’s not just empty worship. So, uh– uhm– that would be at– that would be– would be what charismatic would mean.
And then sacramental would be, um, the churches like the Catholic church, the orthodox churches, the Episcopal church, uh, Lutheran Church, in some ways, where, uh, sacraments are part of the worship– like communion. Uh, we hear confessions here. We do, um, uh, you know, uh, you know prayers for the dying, and so forth and so on.
And we also have what’s called a– a divine liturgy. In other words, we wear vestments. And– and, uhm– and we believe that the sacramental stream– we believe that there really is grace when you receive communion. It’s not just an empty memorial. There’s– there’s really the body and blood of Jesus Christ in– in the Eucharist. So if you take that, uh, you’re going to receive divine power, if you will.
And I don’t mean first– you know– power to go out and knocked down buildings. But I mean there’s– there’s transformative aspect to sacraments. And there’s also an order to liturgy that– that keeps the– the charismatic stream, kind of, in check.
If you go to some charismatic or Pentecostal churches, sometimes they go a little bit off the deep end, because they– there’s really no, um, strong form of governance to the service. So, uh, and the reas– the– the question that follows this is why would people– what was it? There was a question that kind of related to this question, I think.
JEROME HILL: The next question was what are some reasons for people to choose your church?
FATHER JIM BALL: Uh, one of the main ones is because there are people that are looking for all three streams. H-h-have I made myself clear with regards to, uh, you know–
JEROME HILL: I understand–
FATHER JIM BALL: OK,
JEROME HILL: There are three streams.
FATHER JIM BALL: Because some people don’t, and I just– uh– a lot of people come to us because they’re saying, I’m looking for– you know, I’ve been– I grew up Catholic and– and then a Baptist led me to the Lord, and I left the Catholic Church. And then someone came and prayed for me. I got the baptism of the Holy Spirit and now I’m– I’ve got spiritual gifts so I want the Pentecostal church.
But I miss– I miss going to Holy Communion. I miss– youw know– I miss some of the stuff of the Catholic church, so where do I fit? So– so in one sense, we provide a place for that. And that was, actually, my story.
I grew up Catholic. I ran away from God at the age 20– no 13. I left the church because I thought I was going to hell, and if I was going to hell I may as well have fun while I was doing it. And, uh, I was a musician and filmmaker for a bunch of years.
God sent a– a black Pentecostal gospel singer into my recording studio to lead me Jesus Christ, you know. And so I started going to the Baptist church and I realized, you know, boy the– the Bible really is true. You know, It’s not just a bunch of empty words.
But then I got the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I went– this is k– you know, if I do that here, they’ll think I’m weird, so I went to the Assemblies of God. Uh, but at the same time, I’m going, but there’s something to my Catholic upbringing it was, actually, quite valid, you know. I didn’t think it was, but I realized I learned a lot there. And there were things that they do better than everybody else.
So I go up to the grotto in Emmitsburg in the afternoons to, you know, pray up there. And I thought, there must be someplace that I fit. So that is one of the reasons why– why– uhm– one of the main reasons why– why people’s search us out.
With that said, we’re– we’re– we’re kind of, not for everybody. You know, we I– I– coined the– the– the phrase, it was, kind of, a joke saying, we have something to offend everyone. Because if you talk to Baptists, a lot of Baptists think the Catholics are going to hell.
You know, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that kind of battle, you know. Uh, but I grew up in the Catholic church where they were told that it was the one true church and everybody that wasn’t– not in the Catholic church, wasn’t really saved, or if they were saved, it was, sort of, because the Catholic church saved them, you know, type of thing.
So, um, uh, some people get worried about, uh, prophetic words given, or if we– sometimes we’ll pray for people here, and sometimes the Holy Spirit will touch them and they’ll fall– they’ll fall over on the ground, you know. Uhm– that weirds them out, you know.
So, uh, so if a Baptist walks in, they’d be upset by the spiritual gifts and by the vestments and the sacraments. If a Catholic walks in, they’d be upset by– by the speaking in tongues, sometimes, you know, which isn’t like all over the place, but it does happen from time to time. Um, so if you’re already a Christian– to come here, you’d have to be called here.
Uh, but we’ve also– but being that we’re evangelical, you know, we– we do– uhm– we don’t go out knocking on doors and trying to get people saved by getting in their face. But if someone comes up down the street and they– you know, I’ve had people walk up the streets and say, Father, I’m– I’m a wreck, you know, I don’t know what’s going on with my life. Everything’s a mess. And I just say, well, you know, you’re talking to me because you’re looking for God. You know it– so we’ll make– we will make a convert that way.
And, uh, uh, we do pastor people here. Since we’re small, uh, we don’t ignore anyone in the church, you know. So people will also come here because we will pray for them. We will pay attention to them. And, um, uh, those are just some of the reasons.
Some people say they like the music. Uh, you know, we try to preach with evangelical or charismatic fervor. In other words, um, uh, we don’t think the Word of God is boring, so we want to– we want to teach it with some- preach with fire, if you will.
So some people will come because they say, you know, this gets me fired up. You know, it makes me realize that God is really real and– uh– but I’d say the primary reason is because, um, people have already, kind of, looking for us. If that makes any sense.
JEROME HILL: All right– another interesting thing that I found on your website were– was the mass for the pre-born.
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: What is this function and the purpose?
FATHER JIM BALL: Well, I think, you’ll– one of your questions had to do with us being a pro-Life Church, and– and this is tied to that. Uh, so let me– can I answer your last question first, uh, and then go to this one, because they– they tie together?
JEROME HILL: I’m a, uhm– I’m a– I’m a ask it, I’m a read it–
FATHER JIM BALL: OK.
JEROME HILL: –and then– then, I’ll read the next one.
FATHER JIM BALL: OK.
JEROME HILL: So we can just edit it.
FATHER JIM BALL: OK.
JEROME HILL: Um, your church was founded in pro-life movement during the 1990s and it seems to be very important– a core concept to your church? How does this pro-life concept still impact you today?
FATHER JIM BALL: OK, well the church is founded, we say, in the pro-life movement because, um, what had occurred was in California, in the late 18– late 1980s and early 1990s. A bunch of, uhm– uh– charismatic, Pentecostal pastors began working with Operation Rescue in California, which is a pro-life movement. They would go and pray in front of abortion clinics and they– and they would get arrested. You know, that was, sort of, par– par for the course.
And they realized, as they were spending time in jail, they’re spending time in jail with Baptists. And they’re spending time in jail with Catholics. And what– what occurred was they, you know, once you’re in jail, you know, you’re not going to like, sep– separate off in three different groups. You become, like, kind of, one group of people.
And they were like praying together, and they realized that they had more in common than they thought they did. You know, they thought they were all enemies, in one sense. But they realized that they all had the same purpose and goals.
And so, uh, as they began to meet with other Christians, they realized there were certain aspects of the faith that they– that they had– that they didn’t have. In other words, uh, our first archbishop said, you know, I thought all Catholics were going to hell, or at the very least, part of the Whore of Babylon, you know– all that kind of stuff.
And, um, he said he realized that, um, uh, maybe the Catholics did some things better than they did. So he said, I started to adopt some Catholic practices. So the pro-life movement, sort of, formed that three streams through that.
But also, we felt that– being that God formed us in the pro-life movement, and that is– that is, we believe, one of the most important moral issues of this day– that God has given a mandate to the church. And by that we mean we are pro-life, which also means we are against abortion.
We are against abortion in any form. We’re against euthanasia. We don’t believe that you have– anyone has the right to take a life– no matter what that life looks like. Now I’m speaking in terms of, um, uh, killing old people because they’re decrepit. Or– or killing babies because they’re inconvenient. You know, which is primar– which is the primary reason for abortions.
And, also, we’ve done a lot of ministry to women who’ve had abortions. Uh, what people don’t realize is how much damage an abortion does to the mother– does to the father– and does to the other brothers and sisters, whether they knew the abortion occurred or not.
I mean, I could tell you stories about deliverances and healings that have taken place. Uh, I always tell people I’m not– I don’t condemn anyone that’s had an abortion. I– I paid for two of them before, uh, I came into the church. You know, I had friends that got pregnant and they asked me for money. I paid for them. So I consider myself to be guilty of that in the same way anyone else is.
However, um, uh, we believe in civil rights. And we believe that the civil rights, uh, apply not just to black, white, yellow, red– civil rights also apply to babies in the womb and they apply to older people, as well.
And, uh, we also would– would– would point to the Declaration of Independence. Uh, which we consider to be an important document in the founding of our country. And one of the primary sentences in that is– is– the– the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. These rights are– are built on what are commonly called the classical ordering of rights, which was understood by all– all people back in the 1700s.
And, especially, as most of the world was Christian, this was understood from a Christian standpoint– that these ordering of rights were not– was not just a nice sentence that said, you know, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. But they were– they were written with a specific order.
Life was the primary right– God given right. First is life. Second is liberty. And third is the pursuit of happiness. Not the right to happiness, but the right to pursue happiness– to pursue your goals. And no one can tell you have to be an architect. Or no one can tell you have to be, you know, a state mandated doctor. You have the right to pursue your own goals.
But if we look at these rights– life being number one– if it’s the primary right, then no other right can interfere with that. For instance, um, if a mother says well this– this baby will inhibit my ability to get a job, we’d say, well that’s– we understand that. But you’re right to get a job falls under the right of pursuit of happiness. That is– that is– that is– submission– in submission to the primary right of life. So a– a lot of people don’t I don’t even know this was a common understanding when this country was formed
So, uh, the second right of liberty, uh, for instance. Liberty was– was– was a primary issue in the– in slavery in the– in the 1700-1800s. What they– what the argument was was– was the slaveholder– holders are using their right of pursuit of happiness to impede on their superior right of liberty– and sometimes life.
So yes, it may be inconvenient for slaveholders to– to release their slaves, but that right to pursuit of happiness is n– is– is not superior to the right of liberty. The freedom of– of– of any person is superior to somebody else’s pursuit of happiness.
So therefore, uhm– uh– the– the– the way they combated it was to try and– and lessen than the humanity of the slaves. So if they said was slaves are only 5/8 human beings. They– because they understood, they could not argue.
They could not argue about the right of liberty for a full human being, so they tried to make a black person less than human. Which is the same argument they are now making about the child in the womb. It is not fully human being yet– same exact argument.
So, uh, and the reason this is important is because, well for one thing, it violates– it violates the first law of God. And when a nation, basically, puts itself forth and says something that God says is unlawful, and they say it’s lawful, that’s when you bring yourself under judgment. In other words, the argument that, uh, the argument that, uh, well people will do it anyway.
That argument’s like the most idiotic argument I’ve ever heard in my life. You know, we should make abortion legal because they’ll do it anyway. OK. well people will kill people anyway. I mean, I could walk out and get killed. They’re going to it anyway– make it legal. It does– there’s no– there’s no logical consistency to it.
So– so to us, uh, uh, there are other wrongs that are being perpetrated in this country. Yes, that’s true. But– but– but the primary right, again, even our– our Declaration of Independence and Constitution backs this up, is the primary right is life.
So we– our– our belief is that, uh, when you break this primary rule, uh, uh, uh chaos ensues. And I can tell you, I’m a lot older than you guys are– we did not have the chaos in our culture, uh, 50– 40 years ago that we have now. And some of this is a direct result of– of– of– of– a– of a– of a an unlawful law.
Which, by the way, is not even a law. It was– it was done– that was even done unlawfully. It was not a– a law passed by Congress. It was a mandate. Uh, it was a mandate by judicial– uh, judicial branch, which had the right to do that. So, obviously, we’re very– you can tell by my talking I– I– I have a– have a firm belief in this.
And again, because I care for people, uh, and I– and I know– and I– and I– I have lived– I’ve lived a lot of my life in sin. You know, I’m still a sinner. But I’m talking about in– in– in– in willful sin for about 20 years. And I– and I paid– I paid the price for it. In other words, I know what those sins did to me. I understand why God hates the sin, because it messed me up, you know.
I wasn’t like an alcoholic lying in the gutter, or anything like that. But I went through a divorce. You know, lost– lost everything I had, because I, basically, decided to my own way.
And so, uh, uh, because I don’t like people to fall into that, you know– I hope my young people here don’t do what I did. And I say– I say, I know you want to do it, but don’t do it. You’ll mess yourself up. You know, you’ll ruin your life. Or at least, wreck it pretty good.
So, uh, with that said, we also– the ministry– to that other question– the liter– the liturgy for the pre-born– the mass for the pre-born is where– where we, uh, as I said, we pray for everybody. We have a mass where we– we ask God to deliver all of the souls of the infants that are being killed in abortion chambers. And we ask that he bring them, you know, and we commend– we– we commend their– their souls to God, in the mass– in the Eucharist. Which is the most powerful prayer, we believe, in the church.
It is– really what we’re doing is giving them a Christian burial. One of the– I guess one of things we do is we do the sacrament of– of– of– of, you know, for the dead. We bury them. We give them a Christian burial. We commend them to God. That’s one of the ministries of the church.
And so, what’s happening is a lot of these children are not being commended by God. And these are real kids. They’re not just ideas. There’s a real soul in there.
And by the way, these kids have a lot more cognitive ability than– than we suppose they do. Uh, people have been able to trace memory to the– to the instant of their conception– scientific studies. And a lot of people say, well, how can that happen, because their brains aren’t formed yet.
Uh, from a theological standpoint, what we would say is, yeah, but they have a soul at that– at the moment of conception, they now have a soul. They are– the scriptures say that you’ve knit me together and my mother’s womb. You know, the scriptures say that you know– you– when I was in my mother’s womb, you knew me. And so, we believe that– that the child in the womb is a real child.
If we believe in Jesus Christ, which we do. And we believe– we– we see in the gospel that, uh, when Mary visits Elizabeth, and she’s pregnant with Jesus, and Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist, Elizabeth says to, uh, Mary, she says, you know, who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me. As soon as the child in my womb heard your voice, he leapt with joy.
So a lot of people say that the church– a lot of people say the Christians have not always said that abortion was wrong, or that it wasn’t really a life. But the scriptures tell us that this is a real child, and it reacted to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Mother. So we would look at– for instance, that icon back there has a picture of Mary, with Jesus in her womb, which is a symbol of life.
So, scientifically– scientifically, uh, with regards to memory, people have been able to trace memory– children’s memory back to the womb. What– what science has discovered is memory doesn’t re– reside so much in the brain as each– there’s something called peptides in cells. And these peptides have been found to– to actually be the repository of memory. Now this is– this is based on scientific research. So, I’m just making some cases for the efficacy, or the– or the– of life in the womb.
So with that being said, when a mother goes to an abortion chamber, uh, probably one of the worst things that– that a mother or father can do is abandon their child. You know, that’s one of the greatest– greatest, uh, psychological and emotional wounds that you can cause someone. Uh, and– and this also has to do with divorce. You know, I– I deal with a lot of people who are products of divorce, and there’s some healing that needs to go forth.
So with that being said, we recognize these children as a real children. And that Jesus Christ loves them. And so we do a mass for them commending their souls, just like we would in a– in a funeral– commending them to God. And, in that service, we pray for those who have had abortions.
You know, when I– because I want to understand, while– while we condemn abortion, we do not condemn sinners. We’re all sinners. We’ve all messed up. I don’t care how good you are, how bad you are, we’re all sinners. And so, we really try to separate the sin from the sinner. You know, I don’t want God to judge me for my sins. You know, I’m hoping he has mercy on me, which I know he does.
But by the same token, uh, we don’t condemn people that have had abortions. We would say what they did was wrong. And it was harmful. But we pray that God would forgive them and would also draw them to a conversion experience.
We also pray for the people who commit abortions, because this is a gave sin. You know, this is every bit as grave a sin as what the– what the Nazi doctors did in Germany. You know, experimenting on human beings– it was grave sin. So we pray for these people that God would draw them out of what they’re in, you know.
Because we firmly believe that life is sacred. And we also firmly believe that, you know, God wants to save everybody. And, uh, so, uh, we don’t argue that issue. If someone says, I disagree with you about abortion, I say, that’s fine you can disagree with me all you want. I mean– but that will not change our position, because we firmly believe that it’s God mandated.
And it would be– it– some people said to me, well you’re not very nice. I said, would– would it have been– wr– would it have been not very ni– so in other words it would’ve been nice not to confront slavery. I mean, we– we equate the two. We say, they’re both gross violations of civil rights– or rights of human beings.
So, even if you disagree with our– our position, you would have– in other words, agree– if you would disagree with our position, we’d still have to agree that if we believe it’s true, we– then we are– then we are doing what we should be doing. In other words, it would– it would only follow and make logical sense.
So there’s my little diatribe on that. But– but I figured you– you know, these– these are the things that are important to us, Uh– uh–
JEROME HILL: I can see a passion within the church. And I’m pretty sure the people that are watching can see a passion.
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: And when you’re speaking of God mandated, you were speaking– you were talking about abortion. Do you want to speak on the gay marriage?
FATHER JIM BALL: Sure– uh, well first off, we’re against gay marriage. You know, uh, uh, because we don’t believe it’s God mandated. You know, it’s pretty clear that– that God makes it very clear, you know, that, uh, uh, that it’s between a man and woman. You know what– uh, both in Genesis, and when Jesus talks about marriage, you know, he does not talk about men and men.
And there are scriptures in the Old Testament that condemn it as an abomination, you know. Which is a fairly strong word, you know. Uh, some people have said that, well, that’s an Old Testament thing. You know, Jesus came and there’s grace and mercy now, so it’s OK.
Uh, Jesus– but Jesus also said, uh, when he forgave people, he said go and sin no more. He didn’t say, it’s OK, I for– what he would say is, I forgive you, but don’t go do it again. He says this a number of times, you know.
To the woman caught in adultery he said, I for– you know, who condemns you? She says, no one. He says, neither do I. However, go and sin no more. So that’s the second part. Uh, he also– when he heals the blind man at the pool, he says, now make sure you don’t go and sin, less something worse should come upon you.
So the point being, is it’s not like Jesus saying I don’t want to go out have fun. He’s saying, I don’t want to go and sin or you’ll be– you’ll end up worse than you were before– because I love you, you know. It’s like telling a kid don’t stick your hand– don’t stick your finger on the burner, you know. And the kid wants to stick his finger on the burner.
You know, I have a daughter– don’t stick your finger on the burner, you know. Finally, I said fine, go touch the burner– go ahead. And she burns herself. I said, so do you realize I’m not being– I’m not being– uh, I’m not mad at you or trying to keep having fun. I’m trying to protect you, because it doesn’t work this way.
We believe that God has created everything there is, and God created things with a– a– God created a divine order– things supposed to work a certain way. So if we tr– we don’t agree with God, and try to do it another way, we can do it, but we pay the consequences.
So, with that being said, with the issue of gay marriage, uh, we believe that homosexuality is a disorder. If something is disordered, it’s inherently sinful. Now what we don’t say is a person with homosexual desires is evil. We would say his desires are disordered, but he’s not necessarily sinning.
Some people who have homosexual desires, don’t want them. And they’re trying not to have them.
And, by the way, as a caveat, every person I’ve ever worked with that is– that is– that is a homosexual has always– I’m saying for myself– every single one has been abused a young age– sexually abused by someone in their family, in a rather gross way. And what happened was is they– they didn’t have any love from their father. They were abused. And they– they– they’ve confused that sexual lust with– with a fatherly affection. They’re really looking for a man’s– a– a– a man– a father’s affection, rather than sexual release. And they get confused.
So they are– we consider them to be afflicted. There’s something that they– that they’re– afflicted means they’re wounded some way. They’re out of order.
Because of that, we recognize that they– they go through more suffering than a lot of people do. Because, in other words, if I have certain desires, and I find out they are not right, that’s a– that’s a lot of suffering in my life. Uh, but– but to say it’s OK is like going to the alcoholic, who is also disordered, and saying you know, you– you’ve got a problem. You’re afflicted with a– with a congenital disorder in your life. You have alc– you’re an alcoholic. But, because I like you, I’m going to enable you to drink even more. Is that– is that love or is that not love?
It’s not love the let someone do something that hurts themselves. So what we would say is- is– again, I’m not going to go tell someone what he– he or she can’t do in their bedroom. I’m not going to do that.
But I’m not going to make it– but I’m not going to take something that is a God ordained covenant and sacrament of marriage and put a stamp of approval on it, when we believe– when we believe that it is destructive A) to the persons and B) I believe it is destructive to society. Because I believe that the family is the building block of our– of every s– every family, every culture. The family is the God ordained institution for love, protection, growth, and everything else.
So if you take it distort it intentionally, you– you b– you bring harm on a culture that really is hard to– to turn around. Uh, so we are against gay marriage for– for those reasons.
Uh, but we also make it clear, again, and because I’ve been called a homophobe before, which is– an ad hominem argument, which means nothing. And I’ll– I’ll give you a little anecdotal story about that.
Because, uh, when I was still making films, I was, uh, shooting a bunch of TV spots for channel two, a bunch of years ago– down in Baltimore. And they had brought this question up. And they said, what do you think? And I said, I– I’m against it. And they said, well you’re a homophobe. I said, I’m not a homophobe. They said, yes you are. I said, no I’m not. I’m not afraid of gay people. They don’t make me scared. You know, I’m not afraid of it– you know– run and hide.
And, uh, they said, we’ll no, you are. I said you– because I have an opinion, I’m a homophobe. Where is your argument? Argue with me, at least. Give me some argument.
And so what happened was– you know, we had this back and forth– and we were all friends, you know, good natured argument type of thing. At the end of it, uh, we were on a street corner, and we’re shooting this thing, and these two guys come down the road skating– in– in– on inline skates and hot pants.
My wife was a professional modern dancer for 10 years, and all the guys she danced with her gay. So these are two of those guys. And they come skating down, and they go, oh, hi Jim. And I go, hi Ed, hi Tom, how are you guys doing?
The guys who called me a homophobe went– you know, they went, ooo– ooo. You know, it’s like, that’s disgusting. I said, you guys are the– you guys are the homophobes. I don’t hate these guys. But you, yourself, your visceral reaction let me know that there’s something out of order here.
So, now, again, let me just clarify in a few other areas. I’m against all sin. I’m against all disorder, including the disorder of my own life.
I have areas in my own life that aren’t right. And it’s e– it’s– it would be easy for me to say, well that’s OK. I have a tendency to do that. It’s all right. Well it’s not all right. It’s a sin. Or it’s a flaw. Or it’s a disorder. But I’m not going to say it’s OK.
I’m gonna– you know, what we say here, is just like– you know, this place is for sinners. It’s not for a bunch of people who are better than everybody else. We’re– we’re a– we’re– we’re sinners. So we come here because we God. We need to be helped.
You know, and we’re better than anybody else just because we– we’re better, only because he helps us. But we– we consider ourselves to be like beggars who know– you know, know where the food is. You know, and we’re trying to help other beggars find the way, you know.
And the reason I say this is because there’s a perception– a lot of people think that Christians– and, then, some do and, sometimes, I do it myself, probably– Christians think they’re better than everybody else. No, they’re not. Our faith really says that– that we’re– that we’re all in need of help.
So for the same reason I’m also against– you know, I’m also against, uh, premarital sex. I’m hoping my daughter doesn’t do it. I did, you know, when it was a teenager. I wish I didn’t now, because I paid a big price for that. You know, I realized that I hurt myself and hurt these women. You know, not intentionally, but I did.
So I hope this makes it clear that, you know, because– because one concern we always have is when you take a stance against something, that the first reaction is, you know, you don’t like people. No, I like everybody.
So those are my long-winded answers. But we preach on this all the time. You know, these are– these are, uh, and I– and we really do care that– that– this– this culture has to be con– reconverted.
You know, we have people that are believing stuff that are just flat out lies. And that’s one reason– one reason why– uh, there’s more mental illness going on there. I don’t know if you know– if you look at statistics, there’s a lot more cases of depression, bipolar disorder. Uh, some of it has to do with the ability to diagnose and treat. But I would posit that, uh, a lot of it’s because people are believing things that they think they’re supposed to believe, but they don’t really believe it deep down. and creates a lot of– it creates depression. So any other questions?
JEROME HILL: Uh, well, being that you’re down the street from McDaniel College you have a lot of kids that go to college–
FATHER JIM BALL: Mm-hmm.
JEROME HILL: –from all– all around the world.
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: Uh, and they don’t go home– they don’t get a chance to go home on the weekends, so they can’t go to church.
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah.
JEROME HILL: Would you like to speak to them, and tell them, like, how would you– what would you say to them– since you’re right down the street to come to your church, or–
FATHER JIM BALL: You know, we’ve– we’ve actually tried a couple times. And I’ve– I’ve been thinking about that again, lately, because– like I said, I– I probably relate better to 20 and– 20-year-olds than I do to 50-year-olds, you know, because I’m extremely immature, you know, is– is what– no, I’m– I’m– teasing you guys.
But, uh, uh, yeah– I would– I would– uh, I would– I’d love to talk to young people on campus, you know. Because that’s the future. You know, but the future’s still got to be trained up to the right way, you know. Any–
JEROME HILL: Well, that’s all we had. We’d like thank you for your input.
FATHER JIM BALL: Do you want to argue with me? Anybody want to argue at all?
JEROME HILL: Nah, just thank you. Uh, is there any more comments you would like to share with anyone?
FATHER JIM BALL: Yeah, I– I do what I do, because I want everybody get blessed like I did. You know, like I said, I just want people to do well. You know, which means letting them know what things– letting them know what things, uh, keep them from doing well, you know. And I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I was stupid, you know. So, that’s all I can think of.
JEROME HILL: Well that’s it– thanks– thanks a lot.