Sunday, February 12, 2012

Despise not the Church

I would like to submit that many people who claim to hate Christianity don't actually hate it. What they hate is the hypocrisy they see in the Church. They often attack and defend their position by pointing out Christians who act counter to their faith. Consider a quote that is often attributed to Ghandi, which says something like, "I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

If we consider Christianity to be a 'system', a code of rules or a way of living (though we know it to be much more than that), then what they hate is not the system itself but those members of the system who abuse it or seem to abuse it. Consider, for example, the recent Wall Street protests-people don't actually hate Wall Street or the system of capitalism, what they despise is those that abuse the system. And this is because it angers us when we see others who refuse to conform to the rules of the system they belong. Nobody likes a cheater. This leads me to a few important thoughts or conclusions.

First, as Christians, we need to truly live as disciples of Christ. We have to respond to the world with love and charity just as Christ did and we have to be who we say we are. Too many of those in our fold do not practice what they preach.

Second, we must remember that there will always be a Judas among us. There will always be those that don't follow the rules of the 'system' they claim to belong to. Rather than attacking the system itself, we must instead place the focus of our anger, distrust, or frustration on the one who is not who he says he is. We must defend the Church in our daily lives, in our workplace and in public. And we must point out to others that it is not the Church that they should find fault with but the man who is in error. Christianity is not broken, man is.

And finally, because we are sinners and because we are broken we must always put our trust in the Lord, for He is the only one who can make us whole. We must continually examine ourselves and re-orient ourselves to Him. And we must always serve our brethren, for in serving others we serve ourselves.

A final quote:
"A man can be as truly a saint in a factory as in a monastery, and there is as much need of him in the one as in the other."  
-Robert J. McCracken

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