Christianity Is More Than Just a T-Shirt

Being a youth minister I have become a big fan of Walt Mueller and the CPYU. I have also spent a lot of time reading his blog. He is full of wisdom when it comes to the media and a Christian worldview. His most recent post, Integration, Same-Sex Marriage, and White Bikinis. . . . got me thinking a lot about what it means to be a true Christian. You should take a moment to read it yourself.

Many of us call ourselves Christians. We wear the t-shirts and crosses around our necks. When people ask us about our faith, we tell them we are Christian. However, many of us self-proclaimed Christians fail to actually live the life of a Christian to the fullest (myself included). Carrie Prejean is a perfect example of this. Don’t get me wrong, I salute her for what she said. It takes a lot of guts to stand up on a national stage and proclaim her beliefs, especially when she knows that the one asking the question won’t like her answer. She could have given the answer that Perez Hilton wanted to hear in an effort to win the title, but she didn’t. She stood her ground. However, as Walt points out, her prancing around stage in a little white bikini does not exemplify Christian behavior.

Being a true Christian means integrating the teachings of Christ into your WHOLE life, not just when it’s convenient for you. It is a lifestyle. You need to wear Christ in your heart, mind, soul, AND body. I admit, I’m a miserable failure at doing this. All of us are. It’s a part of our fallen nature. But we should all make an effort to integrate Christ into our whole being instead of just wearing the t-shirt.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Right Wing Extremism

POLITICS! I normally don’t get political in my blog posts. I do have very strong political beliefs, but the purpose of my blog is to help myself and others in our “Adventure to Salvation.” As a matter of fact, I think I only referred to politics once before in my blog and it was about the elections last fall. Click here if you would like to read it. However, recent news has fueled my desire to voice my concern about the future of our country. A report from the Department of Homeland Security has been released entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Below is a quote from a footnote on the second page of the document:

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

For the complete document, click here. A line has been drawn in the sand by President Obama and his administration. All Christians have been put on notice that they and their activities may be monitored. I say all Christians because most Christians oppose abortion. In addition, anyone who favors state authority over federal authority has been put on notice. In other words, if you agree with the founding fathers of our country, if you oppose abortion, and if you oppose immigration, including illegal immigration, you may be considered an extremist by the Department of Homeland Security. If you publicly stand up for those beliefs you may be monitored by the Federal Government.

So, what is the Christian response to this? Are we to remain silent in fear of the government watching our actions? Should we fear the government tapping our phone lines and listening in on our conversations? No! First of all, standing up for our beliefs is not illegal, not yet anyway. I also don’t think that the government has any interest in monitoring us at this point. They have more pressing matters to deal with right now. However, the current administration has let it known that they do not approve of our activities or beliefs.

In the event that the federal government does indeed decide to try to silence us, what are we, as Christians to do? We are to do what Peter and John did when they were brought before the Sanhedrin in Acts Chapter 4. The Sanhedrin ordered them to be silent about their beliefs in the Risen Christ. Their response was simple: “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). It is impossible for us, as Christians, to deny our faith and our beliefs. We must stand up! We must make our voices known. We must band together as the disciples did in the early Church and proclaim from the message of the Lord from the rooftops. Christ said we would be persecuted. It is all a part of the adventure of salvation. BRING IT ON!

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm  Comments (1)  

The Source and Summit of Our Faith

I love the Eucharist! The older I get, the more I understand and believe in the true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It becomes clear to me as I read the Gospels that Christ gave the Apostles the power to change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. You don’t need to be a biblical scholar to see what Christ did.

One of my favorite passages about the Eucharist is the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Here you have two disciples journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They are probably both distraught and excited at the same time. They are distraught over the fact that Jesus was killed, yet they are excited about the reports of His resurrection. Along comes “some guy” and starts a discussion with them about the scriptures. They are enlightened by what he has to say and strengthened by his words. Then they all sit down and have a meal together. This “guy” “took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.” (Luke 24:30). It was then, and only then, that the eyes of these two disciples were opened to who was with them. IT WAS CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST!! It was the Mass that Christ was celebrating with these two disciples–the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Luke stated twice in his Gospel that Jesus was only made known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist. He wanted to make it clear that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist. I am truly amazed by our Catholic tradition and I see the wisdom of the Church. The fathers of the Church didn’t just make this up. There is a scriptural basis for all of it. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and 2000 years later we hold true to the traditions Jesus implemented for us. No other Christian church can make that claim! Praise God for our Catholic faith.

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

I spent a lot of time over the last week reflecting on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It was, as you all know, Holy Week, and I hope and pray all of you spent some time in reflection as well. One of the things I have reflected on was Jesus’ last words.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus cries out, just before his death, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” As I was praying about this and reflecting on it, my prayer led me to God saying the same thing to me, “My son, my son, why have you forsaken me.” I have forsaken God in my life. We all have forsaken Him. Every time we turn our backs on Him and choose our will over His, we forsake our Heavenly Father. I imagine it hurts Him just as much as it hurt Christ when He felt forsaken. The difference is, Christ wasn’t really forsaken by the Father. In His Humanness Christ felt alone, but He wasn’t. The Father was with Him throughout His passion and death. When WE forsake our Father, we really do leave Him. We really do turn our backs on His love for us. And that causes Him pain. He suffers when we turn away from Him.

However, our God is a loving and merciful God. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus calls out, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Our heavenly Father says the same to us: “Son, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” Despite our brokenness and sinfulness, God our Father sends us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and guide us. He has not, and will not, give up on us. We must receive the Holy Spirit. We must allow the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to give us the strength we need to overcome our sinfulness. We must use the Holy Spirit to show love and mercy to others just as God shows love and mercy to us.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Comments (1)  

The Gap

I read something the other day that gave a new perspective on the idea of fasting. The premise of what I read was that we fast because something is missing in our lives and we want to remind ourselves of that gap. It made me think a lot about what it was that was missing and how to fill that “gap” in our lives.

Our human nature is one where there is something missing. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve our lives have been missing that deep, intimate, and personal connection with God the Father. We have been separated from Him through our sin. Our lives are filled with the pursuit of filling that gap in our lives. Everyone is pursuing something to fill themselves. The question is, what are you trying to fill that gap in your life with?

Many people try to fill that gap with things of this world. They pursue power, money, and personal gratification. They are concerned with status and the respect of others. Imagine digging a hole, a gap, in the ground. Now imagine filling that “gap” with water. You can probably fill it up, but it won’t stay filled. Eventually the water will seep into the ground. Filling the gap in your life with things of the world is like trying to fill the gap in the ground with water. You can fill your life up with money, power, status, and personal gratification but eventually the satisfaction you feel from those things will fade. It will seep into the soil and you will be left wanting once again.

Now imagine filling that hole in the ground with concrete. That concrete will not seep into the ground, but it will form a hard, firm foundation. Filling the gap in the ground with concrete is like filling your life with the life of Christ. The more you fill your life with Christ the harder the foundation of your life will become. You will never be left wanting if you fill your life with Christ.

Take the time of fasting and sacrifice this Lent to reflect on the gap in your life. What are you trying to fill that gap with? Use this holy time as an opportunity to reevaluate your life and put your priorities where they belong–with Christ.

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment