29 August 2010

Thoughts on a Sunday Morning

Did you know that if you click on your own profile, whatever location you listed for yourself is a link.  If you click on that link, it will tell you the other people who blog from your area.  Now, maybe not something you want to do if your location is "Southern California," but in a small place like Big Bear (& permutations such as "Big Bear Lake" & "Big Bear City") there are only about 100 blogs listed.  So, curious, i visited them.  (Tho i've just discovered that if you spell out "California" you find a different listing, meaning more.)

I found a couple that i'd like to follow.  But what surprised me more is that there are so many that have one post or 4 or 10 & then nothing.  And quite a few who have none at all!  A lot of the "bloggers" are real estate agents.  And one really surprising fellow with about 8 different profiles has 10-25 different blogs at each profile.  And most of those blogs had ONE post!  I guess rather than having continunity in one blog, he feels each post deserves a blog of its own.  

I guess some folks start a blog & then discover that it isn't their thing.  Duane started a blog (Croggled) long before i even knew what a blog was.  He has a total of four posts, one that i wrote.

My point?  Oh, just some thoughts when i realized it has been a long time since last i posted.  

Two weekends ago, when my ILs were here, we went to the Catholic Church.  It turned out that it was the day in their liturgical calendar that celebrates the "Assumption of Mary."  Say what?  All the hymns were ones celebrating Mary.  My Catholic ILs & my Catholic-raised husband were not aware of this church doctrine.  It states that Mary died, was buried, was raised again, & was taken up directly into heaven.  AND it became official church canon in 1950.  SAY WHAT? ! ! ! 

So, when we got home i did some research into the "Mariology" of the Catholic church.  The belief that was finally canonized in 1950 had been part of church tradition since the 3rd or 4th century.  However, folks, non-traditional church info - meaning factual rather than an evolving trend - began in the first century, not long after Jesus' death & resurrection.  Frankly, after listening to the songs & attribution to Mary & checking the church doctrine, the Catholic church - or at least the ones that choose to worship this way - are in great danger of putting Mary on equal footing, or even higher, than Jesus.  

Duane tells me that in catechism, he was taught that Mary is the only person ever born without sin.  It was about that point that Duane rejected Catholic tradition, although he continued to attend that church for many years.

Frankly, i've a lot to say that is positive about the Catholic church.  My friend Jessica (His Scribe) is doing a series (rather off & on) about our "reconcilable differences" with the Catholic church, looking at the ways we are similar.  But i'm rather taken aback by this Mariology.  Too much for me.

I do believe that it is important for us as Christians to love others - INCLUDING CHRISTIANS!  So often it seems that Christianity is so very divisive instead of presenting to loving image of Jesus i believe we are intended to reflect.  I've long thought of Christianity as being a mirror.  We don't have an image in & of ourselves, but we can reflect the glory of God.  In doing so we can shine a light into dark places.  But it seems that mirror has been shattered & we are reflecting bits of God's glory, but not a true image.  I can't pick up one shard & say, "This is what it is like to reflect God's glory.  It takes the full mirror to reflect the full glory.  Perhaps the day is coming when God will repair that mirror.

That was one of my problems with our former Lutheran church.  The pastor was so sure that his church & only his church had the full mirror & none of the others had any of it.  They were all in "error."  But i think that God is so much more than we can comprehend that we are ALL in error in some way or another.  So we need to treat one another with kindness & love, & recognize weakness & not tear down those that struggle.  I know we've had the discussion about the Catholic church before.  I do think that perhaps it is too easy to get caught up in Catholic doctrine, dogma, tradition, & theology & lose the way to Christ.  BUT i think that is a possibility in ALL churches.  We tend to get caught in doctrine, dogma, tradition, & theology.  Granted, some more than others, but those trappings tend to overshadow the simple message of Christ crucified & risen, the message that God sent his Son to be our bridge.  

Too many people, in the church & out of it, tend to want to skip the bridge & see if they can't jump the gulf themselves.  Some churches tend to water down the message of Christ by placing a lot of emphasis on rules & regulations, making us think that we can earn our own way.  But that is not the message that Jesus brought & lived out.  

Ok, much can be said on that, but i'm done.  Hopefully i made my point.

We attended the "other" Lutheran church last week.  We like it.  It is warm & friendly.  But we are not at the point of wanting to join a church, even on a regular basis.

I don't handle "authority" or politics well.  When i worked hospital, i found them to be very political.  I tried to make sure that i worked mostly when administration & management was NOT on premises (evening shifts).  I liked to do my job & do it well without being sucked into the political management bull that often got in the way of doing a good job.  I did my best when i worked 3 different hospitals part-time.  I was able to go & work with folks i liked doing work i liked.  I heard their stories & complaints.  When i left at the end of the shift my work was done or passed on to the next shift (very good for a procrastinator like myself).  I also got to leave the office politics behind.  Walk away.  Because it didn't effect me.  The worst mistake i ever made was to go full-time at one hospital.  Because then i was in the same mire day after day & it DID effect me.  

I'm feeling the same way about joining a church at this time.  People are frequently wishing us luck or blessings in "finding a home," but at this point that is NOT what we are looking for.  I have too much difficulty with too many of the doctrines in the churches.  If we visit on a weekend & they preach the Gospel, then i'm not involved in their doctrine or politics.  Now, i know that this sounds like i'm copping out, but it is simply where i am at the moment.  We seek fellowship with other believers & to worship in a church that preaches the Gospel.  But i do NOT want to get involved in doctrine/politics.  If we find a church that needs help on an issue, we will try to help.  If we can join in an ecumenical group that is trying to _____________ (feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide) we will likely try to help.  It is not that we are not willing to work, but that we are not willing to align with a particular doctrine at this point.  

Truth is too, we've not made many friends here with whom to socialize.  We may see folks in a restaurant or at the store & chat with them, but that is not, to me, a satisfying relationship.  I'm hoping that by going to several different churches we can make some friends that cut across denominational ties.  Maybe that is why i'm "seeking" Big Bear bloggers, too.  :)

Have a blessed Sunday. 



Amrita said...

I didn 'ty know about this aspect of Mariology. This is way out.

I wonder of all Catholics know an d believe this

Kathi said...

I grew up Roman Catholic and remember this. As a kid I remember being confused about why Mary and the saints were placed on equal ground with Jesus.

Today, I've often thought about trying out the Catholic church again. Even knowing that I don't agree with a lot of the beliefs, there is something beautiful in the liturgy.

Honestly, I don't want to subject my kids to it. As a kid I enjoyed church. I went almost every day. My kids would not feel the same way about it and it would probably disinterest them.

Jessica Renshaw said...

Just finally get caught up with reading other people's blogs. I've been too busy writing my own. . . As always, I Looked for Love gives me a lot of meat to chew on. I've linked to two of these to attach to my occasional series, Reconcilable Differences. I agree with you that there are some differences that are really non-reconcilable but that we should stick to our common ground in Christ as laid out in the Apostles' and Nicene creeds.
Jesus called us to--commanded us to--love one another and begged the Father to make us one with each other.
I'm starting to ask God to give me love for Him and love for others. It's about time I go to the heart of my faith, instead of focusing on peripherals. Love, J.

Like a Child said...

I dont blame you for not wanting to join a church - as we are in the same predicament (although we haven't even settled on a church to even consider joining). For a time, it was nice to visit different churches and meet new people, but I found that it was impossible to foster those friendships.


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