boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
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4/25/05

The new Pope...

Boy...it is tough to keep up with this blog! I even missed a Top 5 list! I've had lots of ideas I've wanted to communicate, but it takes not only time but also a lot of emotional energy create a post. I'm going to get back to my thoughts on worship leaders soon, but today I have something else to ramble on about.

I was raised in the Roman Catholic church. When I was in college, I had a spiritual rebirth in which I believe the Holy Spirit gave me an understanding of the Gospel for the first time. I realized that in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, my sin was dealt with finally and fully. I knew that my salvation in Christ meant knowing God as my merciful and loving Father rather than as a vindictive Judge.

For some time, I was very confused about what community of faith I belonged to. I attended Catholic mass on Saturday nights and went to a "non-denominational" Protestant church with friends on Sunday mornings. Eventually, I only went to the Protestant church. And finally, after my wife and I became engaged (of course, she wasn't my wife then), we settled in a church that belonged to the Presbyterian Church in America denomination.

After leaving the Roman Catholic church, I held a significant degree of resentment toward it for some time. In that church body, I saw only the elements that I perceived to have been obstacles to my understanding and receiving the Gospel revealed in Scripture. To some extent, I still see those obstacles. I believe that there are significant problems with the theological committments and ecclesiastical structures of the Roman Catholic church that make it difficult for people to understand the free grace that God offers in the person and work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of sinners. Yet, as I have matured in my faith and become less insecure about my own theological commitments, I have become more able to see value in the beliefs of even those I disagree with. So, while I still have disagreements, I see much glory and beauty in the Roman Catholic church.

On Sunday, Benedict XVI was installed as the Bishop of Rome, Pope of the Roman Catholic church. I read the text of Benedict XVI's homily from that service and I was rather impressed. I encourage you to click on the link, read it, and let me know what you think. I cetainly have disagreements with some of the statments and themes from the homily. But, I was also encouraged that the main emphasis of the Pope's message was Christ. In the end, he did not leave us with a call to self-righteousness, or even to the sacraments, but instead with a call to find true freedom and real life in a relationship with Christ. That is a message of unencumbered Good News. And, I am thankful for it.



1 comment:

W Sofield said...

Off the record, that was a good sermon. I agree with you that there were some problems with its themes, but also I agree that the main thrust is Christ. Christ was clearly lifted up as the only hope for all of us. I especially appreciate how he dealt with his own office as "official representative of Christ." On the one hand, he puts the wool on his own back, as a picture of Christ saving the sheep (himself as Christ), but he turns it and says he needs help, prayers, etc. in order to do what God has called him to do, and that actually, all Christians (including himself) are called to imitate Christ in this same way. Wow! That's great! Of course, this is all off the record.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."