Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On liberal churches

Would you want to stay in a church that taught heresy? I know I wouldn’t. How about a church that taught less than the truth? I couldn’t go for that either. And it appears that many other Americans don’t like those kinds of churches all that much, too. Mainline Protestant churches in the U.S. have been steadily losing membership since about 1965. Churches like the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Methodists, United Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ have all been losing members. Sometimes, as in the case of the Disciples of Christ, up to nearly 50 percent of their members have left or died without being replaced.

Contrast that with churches that are more faithful to the Gospel, or as the mainstream media like to say, conservative. Evangelical churches have seen an increase of at least 10 percent over the last 20 years, the Southern Baptists have increased 4 percent, Pentecostals have increased percent.

And even with the number of people leaving the Catholic Church for other denominations like the Evangelicals and Pentecostals, or leaving because of scandals, the numbers of those coming into the Roman Catholic Church have been steadily increasing.

Why is this happening? I think it’s because people are finding out that the liberal agenda is a dead end street. They’re realizing that a God who loves you where you’re at and then leaves you there isn’t much of a God. They’re realizing in their hearts that they need something more than to be told that they’re OK where they are, because they know they can’t go on sinning. They know in their heart of hearts that love is more than getting what I want when I want and how I want.

So they are looking for someone to serve. They are looking for a God who can take them out of their misery and bring them up to something they can’t get – divinity. Only God can give that to us.

So many churches today, and there are, unfortunately, a lot of Catholics who buy into this as well, have said we have to conform to the culture. We have to support people who want to contracept, who want abortions, who want us to bless homosexual “unions,” who want us to say, “It’s OK if you divorce and remarry even though Jesus himself said that to do so would be to commit adultery.”

And that’s what is happening in many of these churches. But what happens when the Church does that? The Church disappears. There is no need for it to exist anymore. If you say that the prevailing culture is good, then what purpose does the Church fulfill? The Church is there to call people to God, to call people away from sin and if the Church says, “Go ahead, sin all you want – it’s OK, we don’t mind,” then the Church has lost her reason for existence. And people know this in their hearts. Oh, sure they’ll grouse about how the Church says this and that and can’t they just shut up and leave us alone, but, like Herod before John the Baptist, they know the attraction of his words and their hearts are being pulled to the beauty of the truth.


NoTONoEagles said...

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C said...

I wouldn't want to go to a church that taught against interracial marriage, "the place" of a woman, and other the newer bad things religion is used for, including the whole gay marriage thing. Those aren't liberal issues, they're just right. It just takes time for people to come around, but in time they eventually do.

I'm not sure you can measure membership with truth. If so, only 3 out of 10 would be Christian.

It's sad you see everything in left versus right. The world is richer than that. Some don't care about politics, some think other things are more important (the press and the courts tend to think they're profession is more important than politics, that's why they're always attacked by both sides for their own ends) .....

Your obsession with the evil liberals is scary. Usually, the person unlike "us" has been a jew, a black, or a gay. As those things have become politically incorrect, so a new image was created -- the evil, latte-drinkin liberal. Once you see that one half of the world isn't automatically evil because someone told you so, things might be a little more ... real. The ultimate battle between good and evil isn't between traditional religions, and those religions preaching more about poverty and love and justice.

We should be bringing people together based in love, rather than dividing them based on small differences.

Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz said...


Please note that in the post I said, "or as the mainstream media like to say, conservative." If you've read any of my other posts, you'll know that I don't like the labels of 'liberal' and 'conservative'. I only use them for convenience.

Churches that teach against interracial marriage or teach "'the place' of a woman" are called 'conservative,' but it's unclear what exactly they're conserving. These have never been teachings of the Catholic Church. (Yes, I know you'll argue that because the Church only allows men to be ordained that that teaches a woman her 'place.' Actually, it teaches a man his place, which is to be acting 'in persona Christi' and the person of Christ, Paul rightly says in Ephesians 5, gives "Himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5.25c-27) That's something most people overlook.)

Same-sex 'marriage,' on the other hand, is something to which no Church worthy of the name will ever "come around" because it's immoral -- always has been and always will be.

I do not see things as 'left vs. right' but as wrong vs. right. There is grey, which I do readily acknowledge when it's there, but there is also black and white and that has to be recognized and named.

Am I obsessed "with evil liberals"? Hardly. I am concerned, though, that those who consider themselves 'liberal' are in positions where they can push their supposed liberality onto those who do not wish to be considered as such. You may say the same of 'conservatives,' but it is exactly the opposite. 'Conservatives' generally legislate to keep people from doing something. 'Liberals' legislate to force people to do something, such as forcing people to recognize so-called 'hate crimes' or to be 'generous' with their taxes or to recognize rights which should not exist, like the 'right' to kill one's unborn child or the 'right' to sodomize another person.

Your conflation of Jews, blacks and 'gays' is misleading. Though same-sex attraction may not be something one chooses to experience, how one acts on that attraction is something else entirely. A Jew or a black is someone born with those genetic heritages and one cannot divorce oneself from them. Same-sex attraction, though, is not genetically based. But even if an argument could be made that it is, that would still not give an excuse to yield to the attraction. I might be genetically attracted to alcohol because of my German and Polish background, as some researchers at the University of Minnesota have determined that people of certain ethnic heritages do have that propensity. However, if I were to turn into an alcoholic, that would not excuse me for my behavior. My wife and children wouldn't say, "Oh, it's understandable that he comes home every night drunk and wakes us up only to hit us and has wrecked three different cars and blows through our money in search of more drink and spends all his time at the bar and lets everything go at home because he's Polish and German and, you know, it's his heritage." No one in his right mind would take that for an excuse.

It's the same for same-sex attraction. "Oh, it's OK for him to go to 'gay' bars for anonymous sex and to be obsessed with preening himself and to engage in things like water sports, fisting and allowing someone to stick some really nasty things up his anus that have to be surgically removed after being taken to the ER, because he's 'gay' and that's what 'gays' do." Sorry, but that doesn't fly with me.

Your final comments are, unfortunately, completely incomprehensible. "The ultimate battle between good and evil isn't between traditional religions, and those religions preaching more about poverty and love and justice." Well, then, what is it between? And whoever said there was a dichotomy between "traditional religions" and those which preach "more about poverty and love and justice"?

You probably look at St. Francis of Assisi as one who was more concerned about "poverty and love and justice" than being a traditionalist. You would be wrong. Here's an extract from his letter to the faithful, which he wrote as he lay dying:

"The most high Father made known from heaven through His holy angel Gabriel this Word of the Father – so worthy, so holy and glorious – in the womb of the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, from whose womb He received the flesh of our humanity and frailty. Though He was rich, He wished, together with the most Blessed Virgin, His mother, to choose poverty in the world beyond all else. And as His Passion was near, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples and, taking bread, gave thanks, blessed and broke it, saying: Take and eat: This is My Body. And taking the cup He said: This is My Blood of the New Covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Then He prayed to His Father, saying: Father, if it can be done, let this cup pass from me. And His sweat became as drops of blood falling on the ground. Nevertheless, He placed His will in the will of His father, saying: Father, let Your will be done; not as I will, but as You will. His Father’s will was such that His blessed and glorious Son, Whom He gave to us and Who was born for us, should offer Himself through His own blood as a sacrifice and oblation on the altar of the cross: not for Himself through Whom all things were made, but for our sins, leaving us an example that we might follow His footprints. And He wishes all of us to be saved through Him and receive Him with our heart pure and our body chaste."

If that's not traditional religion, I don't know what is. And if it's not about "poverty and love and justice" I don't know what is. In other words, in the Catholic Church, there is no dichotomy between the two -- they are fused and flow in logical order from one to the other and back again.

"We should be bringing people together based in love, rather than dividing them based on small differences." "Small differences" you call them? What is the "small difference" between saying that Jesus Christ is the only savior of the world and 'there are many paths to enlightenment'? That's not small.

And please get beyond this "love unites and doesn't divide" nonsense. Sorry, I have no time to get into it, but I'll note that Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters" and "I have come to bring, not peace, but division," and "No man can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will love and despise the other. You cannot love both God and mammon," and, "Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me." That doesn't sound as if Jesus is bringing people together, does it?