This date is important . For the first time , i have heard a sermon that deemed my previous action as one that plunges my whole being to be a " non-Christian ". It is not murder , nor rape , nor slander , nor vulgar words , racial insult or any of the ilks. It is not selling my soul to the devil , worship Baal or Asherah or renounce my faith in the true triune God. Want to guess what it is ? For attending a Catholic mass with my fellow brethrens.
" Those who attended Mass have fell to the trap and are not Christians anymore".
I fumed at this statement. Ok , but the fact mistaken by the presenter is that attending Mass is not the same as having the Eucharist ( or the communion ) which is their argument. For non-catholics are not allowed to eat the Eucharist. Oh ya , and since later also i brought the youth there , now we got a bunch of Non-christian youths in our church . Halleluyah!
But this is not an issue. The bigger issue is the regressive change of a church transformed to one that is dogmatic with a 'holier than thou' attitude. I am sorry that this article is written and broadcasted , but it seemed to be a reflection of the adopted attitude where " one needs to say the truth when it is needed to be said". Nothing in life can be a solid 'truth' except the truth about God ... yet i think that this issue needs to be dwelwed further.
We had a session of sermon to understand what Catholic faith stands for on that day. It is supposed to be informative and educational esp. in view of the death of the Pope. And i prayed with pastor in the morning looking to a 'broad ' understanding with love. Now , i find that the whole intent was good and the teachings were pretty much what i believed in esp the part about faith. But by then , i was turned off by all the outright attack of this denomination by the speakers.
The first statement is that " Catholic church is an apostate " and carried on the outline of sharing on the Pope ( personal and general ) , the saint system ( understandably ) , the purgotory system and the passport out of it ( undestandbly ) , the Mary motherhood ( as usual ) , the usage of Bible ( very supportive ) , the constuction of the Basillica etc. The he proceeded to read from another material about the kissing of Koran by Pope , the sin of catholics in allowing Croatia to be formed , the adulteration of the catholic faith by accepting the Islam God as their god, the practise of the pope in praying to 'different Gods' in this town of Assisi. etc. Oh ya , and that there is a contradiction of born again christians in Catholic denomination for they cannot co-
exist . Only when they renounce Catholicism and came out , then they can be called Christians. What do you think of this statement?
A sharing is not supposed to be a brazen attack especially if the other party have no chance to respond. Oh ya , we are not supposed to be in talks with them or we will fall the the trap and be like them .. the non-Christians. How absurb a sweeping statement like this can end up in my churches's sermon time? And even in the specific accounts used by the speaker to establish the evilness of the Catholic empire, can it be extrapolated ? But one thing i know is that the Catholics are not the only one to be blamed for the massacre is former Yugoslavia .. more so the Protestant Serbs ( the agressors ) and Muslims ( but they are more like victims ) . But that is more political with race/ religion determining the camps. I am not sure about the accuracy of the rest yet do i want to spend time gettting all these information?
Secondly , the approach of the sermon is somewhat aggressive and gives the notion of what is written here. Though it is clarified that the important gist of the message is to be able to understand the significant differences and approach this issue with love through a constant prayer for them to know the truth. Yet , the language and posture will most be interpreted differently than the real intent. In fact , we may encourage behaviours that is not kind nor in love. The assumption that people can look beyond a negative potrayal and correctly respond in the application context is alarming.
Let us be careful when we critize somebody else as the bible has repeatedly state - Remember about Jesus and the women at the well ? Or the analogy about the log in our own eyes ? It goes beyond the issue of the Catholic / Pope sermon but surely this one got me very agitated. That to approach an issue with such intensity , one needs to be very careful , sensitive and absolutely sure of the facts. The dogmatic approach is akin to George Bush's war mongering and it may potentially be harmful. " either u are with us or against us" should be replaced by a genuince concern in love. And prayer will come naturally. We have been turning ever more dogmatic and picking on the smallest details , yet Christianity is not just about building up of knowledge but also living a transformed life in a fallen world where community and people are real.
I pray for your forgiveness for such a frank statement and may I have the humbleness to forgive and forget. Let us build a church that is energized to evengelize by engaging instead of condemning .. buidling up and rooting down a community that loves and respect God and fellow men.
I guess it is good coincidence that i will have 2 weeks of in Shang Hai and Kota Kinabalu to be more clear of the situation.