Friday, June 17, 2016

The Horror Movie




How often have I lain in bed with a movie playing in my mind? The film repeats a litany of my poor choices, mistakes, things I should have done and said differently. 

These stories go back to my early years, and then slowly, painfully move forward. I see every error in miserable detail. With each scenario, I replay it with different choices. I wisely keep silent instead of speaking out when silence was the better choice, especially regarding what I perceived were personal injustices. Other times I speak the words of compassion to lessen another’s pain, instead of withholding them. 

How could I not see, not understand? I was too wound up in my own personal crises, tragedies, and pain, to see the needs of others.

This morning’s Gospel reading was from Luke 7: 36 – 8:3, the story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. I’ve read the story numerous times, but one verse changed my life. It offered the key to stopping the movie, ending its constant replaying, as long as I remember Jesus’ words. 

“And he said to the woman: Thy faith has made thee safe, go in peace.” Luke 7: 50.

God once told me in a vision that my faith would keep the fires of sorrow from burning me. Keep me safe from the flames.

And now, he tells me my faith will keep me safe from my sins, will give me peace. 

Peace. 

Peace from the litany of sins the devil replays in my mind to keep me weak, off balanced, afraid.
But God has freed me through my faith. 

Faith will also give me peace amid the turmoil of our world, the ongoing atrocities, and terrors. Through faith, I can put those problems in God’s hands, and leave them there. It will protect me, save me, even from myself.

My faith will lift me up like eagle’s wings. It will bear me up, raise me up, keep me above the things that frighten me, my sins, my night terrors, and the violence of the day. My body may perish, but not my soul. I am safe, protected by God through my faith. 

I walk through an inferno of fear, despair, and grief, but God holds my hand, saves me from the flames, and the roaring lion, through my faith. Instead of the term “all I need is love”, I say, “all I need is faith”, and God will do the rest.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

What’s Wrong with the World?




An image on the internet has haunted my thoughts recently. The picture showed Muslims at prayer. Below was a picture of a Christian church service. The text asked, “Why does our country accept the first and not the second?”

 I think the best answer is, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” (G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World (1910), ch. 1.5)
This quote is thought provoking. Christians are taking heat for our failures in unprecedented ways in our country, and people are turning toward alternatives. Many of these alternatives are frightening, like the Tolerance Movement. It promotes tolerance of anything non-Christian. We are now asked to accept gay, lesbian, and transgender lifestyles. Canada has announced legalized bestiality, and a new “gender” is now coming to the forefront, transabled, people who want to be disabled and will go to great lengths to lose limbs, the ability to walk, to see, or to hear. 

I can only shake my head. These lifestyles are too foreign to understand.

It should come as no surprise that Islam is now the fastest growing religion.  At the present rate, Christians could become the most hated faith in the world. We are half-way there now. Can we stem the tide? 

Only if we can somehow unite all the Churches with some common ground, and act as a whole. Only if we stand up for what is morally right, without sounding and acting hateful as we have in the past. If we can, we might stem the unholy tide of society’s demands for tolerance of things ungodly. But if we give into hateful judgments, we move right back to one reason we’re in trouble in the first place.
Can we learn to practice more of what we preach in order to let go of righteous judgements and unbridled hatred? Can we offer loving alternatives to these other deluded lifestyles? 

If we had put love first, before forced theology, maybe humans wouldn’t be putting animals first, as is evidenced with the uproar over Cecil the Lion, and the recent incident with the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. One woman actually stated that we have many boys, but few gorillas. It boggles my mind that anyone would believe a gorilla’s life is more important that a child’s. 

If we had been more loving in our zeal to convert the world, maybe we wouldn’t be fighting over men using women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. Perhaps we wouldn’t be listening to debates over when life begins, or hear people proclaim the earth and animals have more rights than humans.
Then maybe we would. 

History shows a pattern. After so many generations, nations eventually forgot their original foundations, and spiraled into decline. 

Regardless, it is time for Christians to stop asking why we are under such prosecution and start looking for ways to live our faith better. Yet, that is a scary thought. Witness in Greek means martyr. 

However, I take comfort in knowing St. Peter was once a coward too.