Belief #6 – The World Is Going To Get Worse And Worse Before Jesus Returns
Drysdale says: This one is pretty funny. Or at least it would be if it wasn’t so prevalent and damaging to the body of Christ and the world around us! The church today seems to be hellbent (no pun intended) on seeing the world “go to hell”. The stats are in and no matter what the Christians might say the world is unanimous… things are getting better in every area of life. There has never been a better time to be alive on the Earth than today. […]
My response: I can agree that the world has made great strides in some respects, but certainly not in others. Religious freedom, for example, is rapidly declining, and certain immoral behaviors have become accepted as normal, to the point that some Christians are losing their jobs and livelihoods for politely declining to participate in and celebrate events that they find morally objectionable.
I don\’t see why Drysdale is so puzzled as to where Christians are getting the belief that the end times will be ushered in by increasing global calamities, because Scripture says as much; for example: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
Belief #7 -Thinking Everyone Should Agree With You
Drysdale says: If you are the type of person that can’t be around people who disagree you are going to have a bad time. In fact, you are probably already having a bad time. There isn’t a person on the planet you will agree with 100%. If you know of such a person you just haven’t gotten to know them well enough yet! Doing life with those who disagree with us is inevitable, we can’t avoid it so we had better learn to do it! Not only that, you need to embrace differing opinions as a good thing. It’s in the relationship with different people that we are sharpened, we learn new things, discover our blind-spots and help others discover theirs. […]
My response: I can agree with him to a point. I certainly don\’t think that everyone can or will agree with me. There are many aspects of Catholicism, as well as the secular world (e.g., politics), which are matters of prudential judgment upon which Catholics can legitimately disagree (as long as the underlying doctrinal principles are upheld).
But then there\’s the problem mentioned above, where “not agreeing” has escalated to harassing, hounding, and attempting to pass laws to force people out of business, simply because their disagreement is being (wrongly) equated to hateful intolerance. See, for example, Brandon Eich or Sister Jane Dominic Laurel. This is bullying, plain and simple, and it must be confronted and condemned, even if you then get accused of “thinking everyone should agree with you.” I don\’t expect everyone to agree with me – I just want to be extended the same amount of tolerance that I\’m expected to extend in return.
Belief #8 – Thinking You Need To Have All The Answers
Drysdale says: I don’t know about you but I’m a recovering know-it-all. I’m the most opinionated guy I know. Even if I don’t know about a topic I’ll be quick to pick a side and argue it to the death. While I’m a lot more mellow these days and have let a lot of that side of me fall to the wayside – I still have my moments. Learning to be humble, teachable and say “I don’t know” is a huge life skill to learn. It helps us grow, connects us with people on a more meaningful level (nobody likes a no-it-all) and it stops the spread of bad theology! (I’d say a huge amount of bad theology was born because someone wasn’t willing to say “I don’t know”. This causes us to have to come up with the best thing we can think of at the time.) Learning to live in mystery and say – “I don’t know about that. What do you think?” is one of the biggest steps towards maturity you can take. As Socrates said – “When I was young, I knew everything but now I know nothing.” Learn to be humble and admit we don’t have all the answers. Peace comes from leaning on His understanding, not ours.
My response: I can\’t quibble too much with this one because I mostly agree. That being said, one caveat is that I\’ve yet to find a question that some saint or doctor of the Church or learned theologian hasn\’t at least attempted to answer. That\’s why I\’m glad there\’s 2,000 years of consistent Church teaching to back me up when I\’m discussing my faith with others. I may not have all the answers but I know a Church that does (even if it\’s a struggle to understand those answers). And while I absolutely agree that there\’s no shame in saying, “I don\’t know,” there\’s also no shame in studying your faith so that you can give a reason for the hope that is in you (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
Belief #9 – Believing That Your Sin Somehow Causes God To Separate From You
Drysdale says: Few things are more stupid than believing God can’t look upon sin. I mean, that would leave God very little to look at since the fall! If Jesus taught us anything it was that God has no problem being around sinners. He chooses to love them where they are, amidst all their faults and failures. We most certainly don’t want to have sin in our lives. We have been made righteous, our nature in Christ is to bring forth righteous fruit. So don’t think I’m saying that it’s good to sin, or that we should turn a blind eye to it. However, in our lives, if and when it occurs we need to know that it in no way separates us from God. We have to learn to trust that God is bigger than sin and fully dealt with it on the cross.
My response: What Drysdale is missing here is that God doesn\’t separate from us when we sin – we choose to separate ourselves from Him when we make the choice to sin. He allows us to make that choice out of respect for our free will, but He also patiently waits for our repentance and our return to him. That\’s what makes the parable of the Prodigal Son so beautiful. In that story, the father did not choose to separate himself from his son; rather, his son made the choice to separate. The father stands as a representation of God, joyfully welcoming the wayward sinner – who chose to sin and who chose to repent – back into his embrace. As the Catechism says in paragraph 1864, paraphrasing St. John Paul II, “There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.”
Thankfully, Jesus also established the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we can reconcile ourselves to God and do penance for our sins.
Belief #10 – Thinking God Will Punish You If You Don’t Tithe
Drysdale says: The amount of people who think that they will come under a curse if they don’t give 10% to their local church every week scares me! Christ became a curse so that we could be delivered from the curse completely! We are blessed in Him and as it says in Numbers – “What God has blessed no man can curse”. And yet, all over the world, church leaders are telling their congregations that they will be cursed if they don’t conduct their finances in a certain way. Here’s the deal, we are Christians, we are in God’s image and likeness… of course we want to give. But God does not want us to give under compulsion! Certainly not because we might be cursed if we don’t! He wants us to give freely and generously because we are givers by nature.
My response: This is another point upon which we are mostly in agreement. Ten-percent of one\’s gross income is a good guideline for tithing, but it\’s not a mandate. Furthermore, one can also tithe time and talent in addition to (or maybe instead of) treasure, and one does not have to tithe only to one\’s parish (although it is a good idea to do so!).
At the same time, this is an area in which many Catholic parishes struggle – they need to pay utilities, staff, educational resources, etc., which is incredibly difficult to do if parishioners are only dropping $1 in the collection basket each week.
In general, the best advice on this topic comes from Scripture: “So I thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for your promised gift [donation], so that in this way it might be ready as a bountiful gift and not as an exaction. Consider this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:5-8)
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Personal prayer request: My daughter, Elanor, is receiving the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation this Saturday, May 3. Will you say a prayer for her, perhaps while asking for the intercession of Blessed Imelda Lambertini as well as her confirmation saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary? Thank you!
© 2014. JoAnna Wahlund. All rights reserved.