Mar 5, 2007

recapping life: pt 2

I wrote this on August 5, 2006... never got around to publishing it.


Today I walked into an old sanctuary.

People were singing... mingling.

Some people embraced me... others shook my hand... others gave me the obligatory head nod because our eyes caught each other and to not give the obligatory head nod would be more awkward than the obligatory head nod.

I sat in the back row.

I sang.

I worshipped... beyond the music.

I left early.


Brian Eberly said...

There must be more.

Anonymous said...

These days I'm still walking in to the same old sanctuary. Most weeks I'd just as soon stay home. I care about the people there, and they care about me. A few embrace me and try to engage and show love. I usually shy away and try not to offend their sincere attempt.

About half of the people who worshipped there a year ago are still showing up. It still baffles me nearly every day.

The search is on for a new lead pastor. There is no Superman.


Katie said...

yes i'm intrigued to know the rest of the story

Tony Myles said...

Unfortunately I can say no more... my apologies. I think this may be an insider's post.

Joyful Catholics said...

Nice blog! Great pics! Drop by and visit us sometime.

We made our way back to the "old sanctuary" that we'd left nearly 30 years ago...and found the table set, the candles lit, the dinner bell ringing, and our Mother calling us home for Supper. We're grateful we heard Her and found the "light" on for us, by the golden tabernacle, just like a warm welcoming glow from a window seen from a cold, dark trail, and all of a sudden we couldn't run fast enough!

There are sheep trails all over the sheep tend to wander and get lost without a Shepherd, but all roads do lead to Rome Sweet Home, where the straight and narrow path then leads to the King's Dome of Heaven on Earth.

We made a "mass exodus" years ago, but the joke was on us, (God has a delightful sense of humor) for when one obeys the Holy whisper heard only in the depth of the soul, one will inevitably come "full circle" and find that "mass confusion" was really ignorance and pride and that combination leads one down many a rabbit hole, and a swirling labyrinth of sheeps trails.

I guess what I'm saying is, there's a "Old Sanctuary" that waits for us all...and it's not stodgy, traditionalism, but it's safety "enMasse"


Tony Myles said...

There is some great poetry in what you wrote, Susie. And I like the idea of being called Home...

I have to confess, though, that I've found its the One Voice of the Father that ultimately matters in the end. The more I listen to His whisper the less I'm worried about the different theological shouting going on around me. I understand you value Mary more so than I understand the Bible to teach, but am thankful for whatever way her example in Scripture spurs you on toward Jesus Christ.

Joyful Catholics said...

As St. Paul said, The entire world could not contain everything Jesus said. That's where Tradition comes in...for there was no New Testament when the early Church was founded. It didn't come to be until nearly 400 years later. A Church put it together as directed by the Holy Spirit. There weren't "many different 'churches' then, either.
They had to rely on oral tradition and the Old Testament in the first, "embryonic years" of the Church.

And as far as the "shouting" going on 'out there,' I unequivocally concur with your assessment. That's one vast delight about the C.C...the stillness. The quiet and reverence, which was long gone from the Interdenominational church we'd belonged to for 13 out of 25 years. Quiet was extremely uncomfortable for them and I found that to be odd. I love the "holy hush" that fills the "old Sanctuary."

I totally respect where you're at and what you believe, Tony. I thank you for posting my comment,too, as there aren't quite so many as kind, or as "ecumenical" or "unity- minded" out there in the blogosphere.

God is love and He did establish one Church, one deposit of Faith,One baptism... not 25,000+ churches,sects,fellowships teaching conflicting doctrines, and constantly bickering and dividing. Jesus said "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church." One Church. Visible as well as mystical and spiritual.

I invite you to visit
if you're ever interested in really learning about Catholicism, because what I'm trying to do, with a host of other Catholic bloggers, is to dispel the myths, and misinformation that has permeated the minds of so many preaching against the Catholic Church. In our former church, if you were to ask 7 people about baptism you'd get 7 differing thoughts. Now, something (or Some One)tells me, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit aren't as conflicted and aren't arguing that doctrine, right? To trust in the bible, is also to trust in the Church that gave us the bible."

God bless you and yours, and keep up the good blog. I appreciate your Christianity and kindness.


Tony Myles said...

Thanks again, Susie, for your comments. I'd contend, though, that the New Testament was in place when the early church was founded - both historically and eternally - even if it hadn't yet been articulated in text. The cool thing about Jesus being eternal is that all of this isn't just something that happened but is something that is happening.

You mentioned the famous Scripture about Peter and how Jesus said that upon this "rock" He would build His church. Have you ever done a study of where they were geographically at when Jesus said these words? There's another rock in this passage that was understood by a Jewish audience which may offer some greater texture to the traditional view of that verse.

As per Catholicism, I am quite familiar from my own journey through it and out of it, as well as some reconnecting I've done through intentional relationships and study. For me I don't think Christian denominations in themselves are bad because they reflect how much bigger God is than the side of His face we happen to see. As long as Jesus is at the center, I think that we all have something to learn from each other while each recognizing our own blind spots.

Locally, I practice it by understanding while I have a church I am a part of my goal isn't to build it up but to join Jesus in enlarging the Kingdom of God. If that happens to benefit our human representation of the eternal Church, so be it. If not, I'm not so worried about pushing my traditions forward at the expense of the Kingdom because ultimately it's the latter that will last.

Thanks again for the pop-in... T.

Joyful Catholics said...

This is history. I'm not saying the Catholic Church is the One True Church, Jesus did. Either She is or She isn't. Just like He is Lord or a liar or a lunatic as C.S. Lewis said so often. God is not the author of confusion and chaos. The spread of some 25,000 to 30,000 denominations throughout the the world isn't bringing the lost into the Kingdom as much as it is making some angry, and deflating the faith of others at an alarming rate.

If the bible is the "sole authority" by which to live, then why doesn't the bible claim that in and on the pages? Nowhere does it say that it is the sole authority. It DOES say the Church is. Well, which one? If the bible is what all these other churches base their mission on and their own set of beliefs and doctrines and yes, their own traditions, then why do they all disagree? That's schizophrenia, not unity Jesus prayed for in John 17.

I think it truly matters where one belongs. I love my entire family and they lived out their Methodist and Baptist faiths devoutly, which to their credit was wonderful, for that is all the knew. That's all we're accountable for in the end. However, if God is clearly speaking and has told my husband and I to my heart as he did to my husbands in Dec. 2004 telling us to "come back Rome" then that is what He's told us. According to "sola scriptura" then nobody else who interprets the bible for themselves, and "hears God talking to them" in their own way, can refute that He told us to "go back to His Church" or it would put them in contradiction with themselves...which I was finding to be the case some 3 years ago and it all crumbled to the ground and turned to ash.

We're here to proclaim that Heaven on earth, the Kingdom of Heaven is found right now, everyday at Mass. The love feast, the Bride's banquet, the perfect Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is re-presented, in an unbloody way, to give life. The same sacrifice 2000 years ago is made efficacious in the "here and now" at every Catholic Church altar every day. For his sacrifice is ongoing as it happened in time and out of time, to be applied to all ages for our redemption and forgiveness of sin.

That is where Jesus IS present in his tabernacle and in the Blessed Sacrament. He is not in that way present anywhere else. Now, either that is true or it isn't. Being a seeker of TRUTH, and finally finding where TRUTH dwells, (physically and mystically)(as in our hearts as well) then you can understand the enormous urge to "go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere."

Denominations were not in the "original plan" and Luther would be hard pressed to even recognize one iota of the church he built. Did you know that only 60 years after his 95 thesis was nailed to the door, there were 200 interpretations of the words "This is my body" being discussed and debated? Isn't that incredible? Jesus said, "Take and eat, for this is my Body" "Take and drink, for this is my blood." "Unless you 'eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life within you." I didn't say it, our Lord did. If it was a symbol only, then nobody would have left the room and turned away from Him. If it was a symbol only, then surely He would have clarified it and told them to come back...but He didn't. Either he was playing a cruel joke or He loved them so much that he let them go and walk away, as he does all of us to this day. He let them "go their own way" for they knew exactly that He "meant the words he spoke" and it baffled some, angered some, and frightened some.

The only Church (other than the Eastern Orthodox) that offers His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the form of Bread and Wine is the Catholic Church. For Jesus transforms those elements through the priest, not the priest. He is the Shepherd who feeds His flock His very Body and Blood. For that, martyrs died. They didn't die for a symbol. That would be ridiculous.

From the upper room, to here, 2007, that supper, that meal is still partaken of by the Church, His Bride. 2000 years of history and the "gates of Hell" have not prevailed to this day against Her.But boy do they try!

However, the gates of hell are prevailing all over in other denominations and fellowships in Christendom, for they've left His Church to found and plant churches to suit their fancies, their OWN ideologies. And they are built on traditions of men, and their foundations, though once a bit more "closer to Home" and stronger, have become more and more cracked, and more like sand the farther away the roam from Rome.

Check this out, it's a great visual of what has 'gone down' through time, since the inception of The One True Church.

Many of my Protestant friends, Evangelical friends are followers of Jesus, too. In fact many of them show more love, and even my atheist friends show more love than is sometimes seen in the CC. However, we're ALL sinners...and only God's grace can work in us to purify our hearts, for only the pure of heart will see Heaven. But where best to become pure of heart, when called by the Bridegroom but to his Bride, the Church he established by his own words? He built his Church on Peter and his successors have carried and handed down that Christ-given authority for 2000 years. Were they all "infallible men?" Of course not, but where will the little store-front fellowship, or the Interdenominational church we belonged to for 13 years be in 2000 years? That is the question Dion Dimucci's wife, Susan, asked him one day, as they were drifting from church to church to find Truth. Dion came back to the CC. We have over 700 coming into the CC and returnees coming Home right here in Omaha, this Easter.

If you're a Methodist, be the best Methodist you can be. The same for any other 'faith tradition.' BUT, if you're Catholic you best stay in the Catholic Church and really LEARN and Live the Faith, for there will be an accountability for each one of us on that final Day, that is quite sobering. I find it ironic that many who try to "proselytize" Catholics, and get them to leave the Church,use the bible the Catholic Church gave them.

Anyway, I've rambled on, please forgive me. I'll be back because I feel welcome here and thank you for your time. Tony, I really do appreciate your time and have enjoyed this conversation. You are a true follower of Christ, I have no doubt. God bless and keep you.

Saved, being saved and I hope to be saved by God's grace alone. Pray for me and I'll pray for you.


Tony Myles said...

Hmm... it seems like this is becoming more of a debate and less of an exchange. I have to confess I'm not on the same page with your line of thinking which means that either you're right and I'm wrong or I'm right and you're wrong.

Or maybe God's right and we're both wrong.

As it is, I'll share a few thoughts and assume that they may not change your mind but at the very least will help me clarify mine.

Did Jesus say the "Catholic church is the one true church?" I think I missed that in the Gospels... what I see Him talking about is His Church - a movement of people and God and not an organization with offices. I'm curious about the Scripture where you would draw that kind of specificity from.

For the record, a dude named Ignatius in 107 AD denoted Jesus' Church with that title.

Denoted... sounds like a root word for "denomination."


Also, does the Bible need to claim authority to be authority? I think that redundant, because it points to the authority of the Triune God and never once asks us to worship it instead. Rather, it does claim authority to do just that - I'm glad for 2 Timothy 3:16. Granted, this is a reference to what we call the Old Testament, but hand in hand with Revelation 22:18 it seems as though Scripture has some solid God given authority.

Tradition, on the other hand, gets quite the opposite treatment. See Matthew 15:3 and Colossians 2:8 for a couple of examples. We can't nitpick at new churches being started to bring people to Christ as people adding their own opinion to the Gospel without confessing this is what the Catholic tradition is, too.

I understand your thinking, though, for as a former Catholic I know the trust we are supposed to put in the pope and the local priest. All of that allegedly tracks back to Peter... but, well... did you look up that passage I mentioned about the rock? Again, I think there's some rather intriguing context there that deals with why Jesus said what He said beyond traditional interpretation.

Funny story... there was a woman preparing a turkey for her newlywed husband and she cut off the breast to cook it separately. He asked, "Why did you do that?" She said, "Well, that's how my mom did it."

So she called up her mom and asked about it, to which her mom said, "That's a great question, but I do it this way because my mom did. Let me call her."

So she did, and it turns out Grandma started the tradition years ago...

when the turkey wouldn't fit into the oven because it was too big.

Generations later were engaging in a tradition that had lost its context.

Again... I'm not trying to debate here, but I'm wondering where you're drawing your conclusions from and am interested in learning more. I don't want to stop short at saying that the Kingdom of heaven is found in "mass" when it's actually found in Jesus Christ.

Because buildings are not the church...

and services are not the church...

the church is people and God, made possible by the one and only High Priest we've needed since the fall of man.

If Jesus is perfect and His ministry is perfect, then why would we need to add to perfection?

You mentioned the irony of proselytizing Catholics... but Catholics need Jesus.

Just like Baptists need Jesus.

Just like Methodists need Jesus.

Just like atheists need Jesus.

Just like we all need Jesus... who doesn't see titles but sees people.

And then somehow takes us from being sinners and transforms us all into "saints," a title used over and over again in Scripture to refer to anyone who surrendered their life to Christ.

Man... this really sounds like a debate now. Sorry for that.

By the way, I'd still love to hear your thoughts on that Peter/rock thing from the specific geographical context I mentioned.

Marty said...

You should check out this link.