In proper society, we're not supposed to discuss Politics and Religion. Well, don't worry, I won't talk about politics here at all. (wink wink)
I hope you will know that this blog is in NO WAY intended to offend my brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to the Catholic Church. I was actually baptized Catholic. Whenever I have asked for prayer for things, it is ALWAYS my faithful Catholic friends who pray for me and I KNOW that Father hears them and honors those prayers. Last Fall I went to Holy Hill Retreat Center and very much enjoyed the homily/sermon I experienced when I attended Mass. I was delighted by the Grace and Truth of Jesus the Priest expressed in his message. I am actually repenting of my past negative thoughts of my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ!
I am using the Catholic religion only as one of many examples of how religion has not changed since Adam and Eve bit into the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Assuming to know the mind of God and how to manipulate Him has always been one of the idols that mankind has bowed before rather than standing in relationship with the Living God.
When I came to know Christ it was through a newer "religion"... Oh, we didn't call it a religion at all... no, it was a "RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS". It was new and fresh! Brought on by Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, Billy Graham and some other fresh young leaders in Christianity. I understood the "Four Spiritual Laws" and I "Prayed the Prayer!"... I was IN! I would refer to myself as a "Bible Believing Christian" or a "Born-Again Christian" or an "Evangelical Christian" or a "Non-Denominational Christian". All cool, hip, out-of-the-box descriptions in their day for something that was NOT a religion at all... Or, so I thought.
We would gather together in bible studies and often times many of the people who came to these, were people who had left the Catholic church. These people were often bitter at their old church for the fact that they never felt they found Christ there. But the Gospel most certainly is presented by the Catholic church! These Ex-Catholics were like people who quit smoking who are often the most harshest critics of smokers... I remember often worrying about inviting my Catholic friends to bible studies for fear of the words that might be said against Catholics. I mean, can't we ALL just get along!??
But let's also understand that people who left their Catholic church to join one of these crazy new "Born Again" type of churches, were also frowned upon by the people still in their old churches. They may have been gossiped about, shunned, not included in certain circles, excommunicated perhaps called a "Heretic!" What's interesting to me, is that I am finding that the belief system I grew up in is very much mirroring today what some of the Catholics did when I was younger.
Side note here: I think it's rather funny that Protestants STOLE the Apostles creed and left out the words "Holy Catholic Church". I mean, where's a good copyright law when you need it!??
Catholic ChurchThe Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the following English translation of the Apostles' Creed. In its discussion of the Creed, the Catechism maintains the traditional division into twelve articles, the numbering of which is here added to the text.
- 1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
- 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
- 3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
- 4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
- 5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
- 6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
- 7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- 8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
- 9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
- 10. the forgiveness of sins,
- 11. the resurrection of the body,
- 12. and life everlasting.
who are seeing the ways that it too HAS become a "religion" and are addressing the dysfunction of their upbringing and some of the "fruit" that the idolatry of religion always produces.
There are some "cool, hip out-of the box" descriptions for this group of so called "rebels"... "Post Modern" "New Reformists" "Emergent" and of course there are some new "Fresh Young Leaders" in Christianity to talk about these thoughts.
You see to me, the interesting thing about all of this, is that ONCE AGAIN people are coming away from their old religion with a sense of being bitter. Likewise, the folks still in these systems and the parents who have raised them in these "non-religious religions" are scared to death that their friends and kids are "leaving the church for some crazy, liberal new movement!" ... Am I the only one seeing a trend here??
These are just some of my observations. My main thought in all of this is that I really believe that Jesus came to earth to let us know that "religion" never HAS and never WILL be the way to come to God. Jesus would NOT have died on the cross if religion COULD be the way. Because then we really could fix our own problem! I am not saying that religion in and of itself is evil, only that it is SO non-essential... "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile." Galatians Chapter 3
I am obviously one to take a critical and serious look at the religious system I grew up under. I feel that it is very healthy for people to look at things and speak truthfully about the flaws therein. I do not think this should be as feared and avoided as it often is. I would still today call myself a "Born Again Christian" ... Maybe, I guess, depending on who's trying to define that term! Then again, I suppose there are some who would say I don't have the right to call myself that because I do not fit in with THEIR religion. So silly we humans be!
I love Jesus, I try to love others, I pray, I read my bible, I believe the Apostles Creed~ ... Isn't it interesting that I share this fact with millions of other people all in DIFFERING denominations? Heck, some of them don't even go to church at all and some of them even refuse to call themselves "Christian" because they feel this term has been abused so badly.
Just for curiosity, I looked up the definition of the word "Catholic"
I couldn't believe my eyes! Here it is...