I have been thinking about the various issues we have in our home lives, in our churches, and in our country, and of course one answer to my questions--rooted in the fundamental side of Christianity--are (like some good advice on how to be a pilgrim ) this time found in the writings of a Catholic priest named Longenecker. (H/T Traditional Catholicism)
Where can such Catholics be found in such a soft and decadent age? They are here. I see them day by day and week by week. They are here in our pews, in our schools, in our parishes. They will stand up for the faith if they have leaders, and they will move forward with great sacrifice and courage once they have a cause.
Now note what the priest says here; he notes that those in the pews of the churches he serves will make great sacrifices once they have a cause. No disrespect here--especially as the same thing could be said about my church, my workplace, and more--but does not the Church have a cause already? Something about our Lord and Savior, and bringing His Good News to the world?
In short, the difficulties I've seen in church--and elsewhere--really come down to a point where we simply don't know how to motivate--and this in turn comes from a failure to understand what we really have to offer. All too often, one argues in terms of morality, "social justice," "standards," or some such thing, when what we really ought to be dealing with is the nature of God, the glory of His name and His life, death, and resurrection.
And as a result, those who have forgotten their first love then turn not to the motivational strategies of a betrothed (which is after all what we are if we are in Him), but rather those of the drill sargeant--and we wonder why, when we use the weapons and methods of this world, the church looks so....worldly.
Not terribly surprising, when you think about it. Teach marriage as a worldly, rather than a spiritual (Ephesians 5-6) enterprise, and you will get fornication and divorce.. Teach finances as an earthly, rather than as a spiritual concern, and you will get bankruptcy and greed. Teach "church growth" instead of true life in the Gospel, and you will get stagnation.
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