See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
"Catholics aren't Christians!"
My breath exits with a whoosh. I'm floored!
Where does this sixth grade girl get her ideas?
Regaining my composure as best I can, I ask, "What do you mean by that, Lindy?"
"Oh, you know," she declares, as if I do. "They baptize babies. Everyone knows that's wrong. You get baptized after you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior."
I know I shouldn't push the envelope, but curiosity gets the better of me.
"Is that all? Is that the only reason you think Catholics aren't Christians?"
"Oh, no, ma'am," Lindy continues confidently, "they have wine at communion. Everyone knows Christians don't drink. And, they confess to a priest of all things, not to Jesus directly."
The word priest escapes her lips in a venomous hiss.
"Who is telling you these things?" I say, even though I'm sure I'm breaching some kind of boundary here.
"Lindy's chest puffs with pride as she announces, "My pastor! My mom says he knows everything about being a Christian."
But, nothing about history . . .
"I see . . . so, if Catholics aren't Christians, does that mean they won't go to Heaven when they die?"
Her eyes flash as though inflamed by the very place she now envisions.
"They burn in hell!"
Really? Now, this should come as a shock to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics . . .
Lindy's pastor shepherds a mega-church. How many others, besides her family, have been led astray?
Abandoned to the wolves of fear and prejudice and ignorance?
What of the myriad other pastors pontificating from the pulpit?
The televangelists who preach a gospel of health and wealth? Assured prosperity?
But, only for those sheep who open their wallets.
Where are the good shepherds . . . ?
The ones who point directly to Christ. His love. His teaching. His salvation.
Not pointing their fingers at others.
I pray the church you attend is led by one led by Christ . . .
What can you do in your daily life to point others to Jesus?
Will you pray with me?
We know, Father, that none of us is perfect. Like sheep, we have all gone astray. We need the Good Shepherd, Lord Jesus, to lead us on the right paths for His sake and for ours. May those who pastor us from the pulpit point only to Christ. Amen.
Psalms 138, 139:1-17 (18-23) or 147
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"Don't Know Much About History . . ."
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Quite the appropriate title as many church leaders mislead their flocks not on purpose but by their own lack of knowledge. When judgement day arrives I'm afraid so many folks will not be called home due to being one of those sheep being led astray. Blessings :)ReplyDelete
It is just not in Christianity....feeding people with hatred and false information about religion is everywhere...sometimes the basis for political gains. Yes, we need more good shepherds. If you can not lead properly, then do not lead at all.ReplyDelete
Hi, David and Janu, and thanks for stopping by today!ReplyDelete
@David - It is scary to think about. So many well-meaning folks really are sheep who don't know or want to think for themselves. I pray they find THE Good Shepherd!
@Janu - It's so sad when religious leaders use the pulpit for power or politics. You are so right about leadership, too. As I commented to David, there are just so many souls who follow like sheep and never question . . .
Blessings to you both!
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”~John 13:35ReplyDelete
I think if people would see how Christians shine in God's love, then they'd be attracted to us and our way of living. But the thing is, we don't count how many have been baptized to our religion or have been converted. We just know that God creates miracles in the lives of many everyday in their own beliefs and religions.
On preaching, I think people should be taught to discern carefully and to think critically. I believe in the infallibility of the Pope but other than him, any of us could make mistakes. I think we are called to be preachers and therefore, we should be knowledgeable of who we are preaching. I do agree that most of the time, the limelight focuses on us instead of Christ.
I pray with you that God will continue to send us Shepherds who will guide us towards Him.
Thanks so much, Melissa, for your thoughtful and heartfelt comments here.ReplyDelete
It is so true that others will "know we are Christians by our love", but so many are misguided and need the light of our Lord to truly shine in our lives. I agree, too, that we are all called to "preach" the Gospel, not just in our words, but in our actions, too.
I am not Catholic, but I do have great reverence and respect for the Pope. He IS one of the Good Shepherds! :)
Blessings to you!
How very limited a person's vision can be if led by the wrong person. It's wrong but I found her naive responses quite amusing but mostly also quite scary because this is the future, the future we shape. How are we to live in a world that refutes hatred, bigotry, racism, etc if we cannot teach the truth of the very history that created us but twist it to make it mean the very pit of what can be despised. Its very sad, I do hope that your comments and responses led her to question what she had been told so far.ReplyDelete
Nowadays good shepherds are so difficult to find. May we pray for the right guidance especially to the young and innocent.ReplyDelete
Thank you, SJ and Nelieta, for stopping by today and offering such wonderful commentary!ReplyDelete
@SJ - this is a recreation of a very real conversation I had with a student when I was teaching at a Christian academy. Happy to say, this once naive and misled child is a well-adjusted, Christian adult who has moved beyond such hatred and prejudice. If you want to see a positive acceptance of Christ's will in the younger generation, check out my blog on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday where I talk about the amazing college students who attended Passion 2012 here in Atlanta, GA.
@Nelieta - We all need good shepherds in our lives. As I posted to SJ above, watch for the coming posts which will give us all a hope for the future of these young people. They are living out the promise!
Blessings and thanks again to you both!
I tell people I am a Christian..they say what is that ..i say...I do GOD not religion...as dark as i can get i still believe in God and Jesus as my savoir...that's what a Christian is..and Jesus says..we are not to judge..that is his and his alone...As always...XOXOXOXOOXReplyDelete
For many years, man has misinterpreted the Bible & its truth for his own doing. It's so easy to be led astray by the false prophets who are in our midst. Sometimes, I wonder if God isn't looking down at us & laughing at the discord among us. Only He alone knows who the true Christians are.
Thanks for sharing & visiting. Your comments are always appreciated.
I wonder where he gets his information... teaching from one's own experience and perspective is ok but to make it god's words is NOT!ReplyDelete
When you begin to invest teachings like the above into a young mind... I shudder to think of the outcome..
Hi, Bonnie, Andy, and Savira, and thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such wonderful comments!ReplyDelete
@Bonnie - Sadly, church (religion) can dilute the true message of the Gospel which is summed up perfectly in John 3:16. And, no, we are not to judge others, but to leave that to God alone.
@Andy - You are so right. The sins of power and pride can infiltrate the midst of those who begin with the best and most honorable of intentions. And, yes, God knows our hearts . . .
@Savira - I wondered that, too, and puzzled over how this man ever got to be where he was in the church hierarchy without someone calling him on this. Yes, we should always qualify our personal experience and perspectives, and not claim them as God's word.
Blessings to you all!