Monday, October 18, 2010

Do We Compromise Too Much?

Read the following news story and think about this. Have we compromised too much when we are taught to not judge, to "live and let live", and accept each other's differences? In an effort to not shun sinners, have we begun accepting their behavior as ok, or even worse - we have no opinion at all?  How do you know when to speak up and when to forgive?
While we are taught to love the sinner but hate the sin are we really hating the sin and trying to help the sinner turn from his/her ways? We cannot straddle the fence of judgement, if we do, how can we teach our future generation right from wrong? 
Jesus loved the sinner, but He DID remind them to "go and sin no more."  Here is the story from Catholic News Agency:  (

Addressing a conference in British Columbia, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver asserted that Catholics today have failed to transmit the faith to the next generation, which has resulted in young people losing their “moral vocabulary.” The Denver prelate made his remarks on Oct. 15 at the “Faith in the Public Square” seminar sponsored by the Diocese of Victoria. He opened his speech with a reference to Shirley Jackson’s famed short story “The Lottery.”

Jackson’s story – set in rural 1940s America – features the tale of a small town that gathers every year to implore an unnamed force to grant a good corn harvest the people. Each year, town members draw a piece of paper from a wooden box to see who will be chosen for human sacrifice. A young mother ends up drawing the ominous black slip and is stoned to death by the community as part of the annual ritual.

Reflecting on Jackson’s piece, Archbishop Chaput cited professor Kay Haugaard’s analysis on how young people in academia in decades past would react passionately to the tale with intense classroom debate and discussion.

“She said that in the early 1970s, students who read the story voiced shock and indignation,” Archbishop Chaput noted. “The tale led to vivid conversations on big topics – the meaning of sacrifice and tradition; the dangers of group-think and blind allegiance to leaders; the demands of conscience and the consequences of cowardice.”

“Sometime in the mid-1990s, however, reactions began to change,” he said.

“Haugaard described one classroom discussion that – to me – was more disturbing than the story itself. The students had nothing to say except that the story bored them. So Haugaard asked them what they thought about the villagers ritually sacrificing one of their own for the sake of the harvest.”

“One student, speaking in quite rational tones, argued that many cultures have traditions of human sacrifice,” the archbishop continued. “Another said that the stoning might have been part of ‘a religion of long standing,’ and therefore acceptable and understandable.”

Another student brought up the idea of “multicultural sensitivity,” saying she learned in school that if “it’s a part of a person’s culture, we are taught not to judge.”

“I thought of Haugaard’s experience with 'The Lottery' as I got ready for this brief talk,” the prelate explained.

“Our culture is doing catechesis every day. It works like water dripping on a stone, eroding people’s moral and religious sensibilities, and leaving a hole where their convictions used to be.”

“Haugaard’s experience,” he added, “teaches us that it took less than a generation for this catechesis to produce a group of young adults who were unable to take a moral stand against the ritual murder of a young woman.”

“Not because they were cowards. But because they lost their moral vocabulary.”

“Christians in my country and yours – and throughout the West, generally – have done a terrible job of transmitting our faith to our own children and to the culture at large,” Archbishop Chaput remarked.

“Instead of changing the culture around us, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be changed by the culture. We’ve compromised too cheaply. We’ve hungered after assimilating and fitting in. And in the process, we’ve been bleached out and absorbed by the culture we were sent to make holy.”

“We need to confess that, and we need to fix it,” he asserted. “For too many of us, Christianity is not a filial relationship with the living God, but a habit and an inheritance. We’ve become tepid in our beliefs and naive about the world. We’ve lost our evangelical zeal. And we’ve failed in passing on our faith to the next generation.”

Renewing Catholic catechesis then, Archbishop Chaput added, “has little to do with techniques, or theories, or programs, or resources.”

“The central issue is whether we ourselves really do believe. Catechesis is not a profession. It’s a dimension of discipleship. If we’re Christians, we’re each of us called to be teachers and missionaries.”

However, the Denver prelate noted, “we can’t share what we don’t have.”

“If we’re embarrassed about Church teachings, or if we disagree with them, or if we’ve decided that they’re just too hard to live by, or too hard to explain, then we’ve already defeated ourselves.”

“We need to really believe what we claim to believe,” he stressed. “We need to stop calling ourselves ‘Catholic’ if we don’t stand with the Church in her teachings – all of them.”

In his concluding remarks, Archbishop Chaput added that “if we really are Catholic, or at least if we want to be, then we need to act like it with obedience and zeal and a fire for Jesus Christ in our hearts.”

“God gave us the faith in order to share it. This takes courage. It takes a deliberate dismantling of our own vanity. When we do that, the Church is strong. When we don’t, she grows weak. It’s that simple.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

God's Will - And The Lesson Is? I Don't Get It!

I honestly laughed out loud when I read this quote from C.S. Lewis, author of such classics as "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" - all the Narnia books,etc,  you get the picture. Anyway, he said:

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

I have found myself taking God to task on this very thing over the last several years as I helped my parents battle through illness after illness, and dealt with my father's eventual death and my mom's widowhood;  helped my brother and his family survive a very premature born child (she was born at 22 weeks and is a beautiful 3 years old now!) own and try to run and try to grow a family business, help my husband survive being let go of the main bread winning job in the household and not crash financially, and finally take on a full time job myself in addition to our business and keeping our own household running and raising my children!

Honestly, God, I'm tired...
So, really, when I tell myself God knows what He is doing....I honestly have to double check with Him sometimes.
 "Are you sure, Lord? I mean, you know how very weak I am...could we just review what this lesson was supposed to be about, cause....I'm just not getting it."

I love to read and have read hundreds of stories about people in situations like mine and they get to the end, look back and realize how much God's hand was guiding them to an certain end or enlightening moment. Then they sit down at their computer and write a story about it or blog or stand up in front of a church group and talk about it.

I'm looking back...I still don't get it. And you know what? I'm really scared that means I'm not finished with it mean there's still more lesson, Lord?
Just how strong do you think I am?
Because I'm NOT THAT STRONG!!! 
You may know something I don't, but couldn't you just give me a little hint???
 Let me know if I'm on track?

In any case, I'll keep moving forward, I mean,what else are you going to do?
 I do trust the Lord...and I DON"T doubt His intentions....
He's pulled us through some mighty tough times and if I could get the lesson done with I could sit down and write about those times too. But the lesson doesn't seem to be finished...I don't have time to sit down and write about it...or do I?
Is the lesson about moving forward while living the lesson?  ...hmmmm... 
Okay Lord, I still don't get it.
Is that your point?
 That Trusting's not about seeing the answer ourselves is it?
 Rats, I thought I had Him on this one.
Okay, thanks, Lord! Love ya!