Greetings dear Friends:
I appreciate you visiting with me today.
Once upon a time, we belonged to a Roman Catholic Church in a very small town in central New York. Over the years, we had several priests assigned to our parish. Some were good homilists; some were not. One priest was rather large and boisterous. His sermons were like a bull in a china shop. Mostly everyone spent their Sunday family dinners complaining about him.
He frustrated me also. After the china shop experience, I spent the following week studying Scripture and church theology to prove him wrong. Guess what? He was always right. Sadly his style ruined the message. He was soon transferred to some faraway place.
Ministers of every denomination have a challenging job and need the gratitude and appreciation of their flock.
I have several soap-boxes on these matters. The following article is just chok full of soap and maybe a china shop experience.
The Abbot Speaks Out – Hang on to your hat!!!
by Abbot Oscar Joseph, OCCO
Christianity is a 100% religion. You have to be 100% committed. Most of us are not 100% anything, never mind 100% into a faith effort. What can the church do?
All too frequently, an alternative is sugar candy sola scriptura preaching filled with platitudes and false promises. This approach eliminates personal responsibility for our misdoings and misplaces guilt onto God. Thus the church/preacher creates a god that manipulates its followers and consequently is not trustworthy. The preacher shifts the light onto himself as the true and certain God.
I would like to believe that this ploy for power is not intentional; however, slothful stupidity and living in narcissistic human weakness are deliberate. Churches, pastors, church leaders of every sort have been, for a long time, lead to believe that pop psychology, new age euphemisms, and political correctness are biblically/traditionally supported.
I hate false platitudes and have fought my way to oblivion as I have attempted to straighten out the FaceBook religious liars. Today I will discuss just one of the lies but if you want more examples, read my up-and-coming book, Listen With The Ear Of Your Heart, Your Pilgrimage Toward Intimacy With God.
An all too popular and so easily misunderstood phrase is, “Surrender to God, and He will do everything for you.” The 20% Christian says, “Cool.” I will surrender, and all will be well. Of course, he has never surrendered to anything, but that doesn’t matter. It gets him off the responsibility hook. You might hear him say such things as, “I need a job. I am waiting on God.” I am looking for a holy mate so II will sit here, and God will bring one to me.” “Our country is in a mess; all I can do is turn it over to God.” We have all either heard or said such trash.
Let’s get something straight. The Bible is not a book about attitudes. It is an action book. Love is an action word. Salvation is an action word. Peace is an action word. Surrender to God is an action word.
Psalm 37 and Tradition provide a list of surrendering actions.
- do not fret
- trust in the Lord
- do good
- dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture
- take delight in the Lord
- commit your way to the Lord
- be still before the Lord
- be patient
- refrain from anger
- turn from wrath
- be meek
- be upright
- be blameless
Dear clerical brothers, understand that sola scriptura is the vehicle toward power-driven church/clerical abuse. We need to have balance by knowing and teaching what the church has always taught everywhere to everyone.
From The Joy of Spiritual Freedom p. 8
“Letting go, giving over, is difficult, particularly when we are hurting. Everything in us wants to be in control because we are afraid. This being in control can take on the semblance of witchcraft. By that, I mean we perform actions with the intent of controlling God. We want God to respond to our faith, our claiming, and our whatever. But God responds because He loves us, not because of what we do or fail to do.”
Please reflect on your life. How many times have you offered God a bribe? What would have been the better thing to do?
From Memoirs of a Christian Healer p. 10
“I moved slowly into the healing ministry.”
Even Jesus spent a considerable time alone with His Father to discuss what He should be doing next. Should we not do the same?
From Listen with the Ear of Your Heart p. 2
“So you put in an enormous amount of energy and time into acquiring these things that rot. One day, you may realize that a lifetime of misplaced effort was wasted. No matter what you achieved or parts you played, you could never be good enough. You never felt safe to live honestly. You have become more like the walking dead.”
It becomes vital to know who you are in a relationship with God, not people or achievements. When you know that, you will become your true self rather than play the role others have given to you.
Abbot Oscar Joseph has been a Christian Counselor and Spiritual Director to hundreds over the past thirty-five years. He has also conducted healing services throughout the East Coast of the United States. He is currently a Bishop and serves as the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross.