Friday, August 8, 2008

Two in One!

Firstly, I apologize for posting out of turn. We've had Internet issues lately so this is the first chance I've had to post for a while.

My original blog was about an article that I found last week. The article (and the atheist community's reaction to the article) is pretty interesting. However, as I was re-reading through some of the ACWI blogs that had been posted previously, I was inspired to edit my article blog and comment on a blog from marco paz galusha-luna on July 25. So, the article is first and my comments about the other blog follow.

The Article:

A student at the University of Central Florida claims his life — and
afterlife — were threatened by enraged Catholics after he pocketed "the body of
Christ" during a church ceremony, according to a report on
Webster Cook says he received death threats and eternal damnation after he
removed a wafer of bread from his mouth during communion and smuggled it from
the church in a Ziploc bag.
Click here for video.
Though Cook returned
the wafer one week after the theft, outraged Catholics were unforgiving,
according to
“We don’t know 100 percent what Mr.
Cook's motivation was,” Susan Fani, a spokeswoman with the local Catholic diocese,
told “However, if anything were to
qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”
The UCF student leader said he
stole the communion bread, known by Catholics as the Eucharist and believed to
be the body of Christ, to show to his non-Catholic friend.
.A hate crime? I know my lack of belief in the Catholic view of Transubstantiation probably lessons the severity of this act for me. Actually, my initial response to this was shock and shame for the Catholic church. Afterwards, however, I tried to put myself in a Catholics shoes- if I really believed that little cracker was indeed the flesh of Christ, perhaps I would be a little put out. Even so, wouldn't graciousness and an explanation of the sacrament been a better reaction than rage? Perhaps no. The lesson to be learned from this ordeal is twofold: 1) Know what you believe and why you believe it. During my involvement in all kinds of youth ministry, I have encountered many teens and young adults who "firmly" hold to a belief and really have no idea why. It always saddens me to see people who "hold to" orthodox Christian beliefs but couldn't debate their way out of a paper bag. 2) Prioritize. The Pharisees in the Bible are excellent examples of zealous religion gone wrong. Jesus continuously deals with the Pharisees in their wrongful prioritization of Biblical truths. Does tradition come before grace? Does love change the rules? When I don't know the answer to those questions, I go back to #1.

Now, for the comment/addition to "Faith and Cell Phones" by marco paz ...
Don't get me wrong, I am very glad that Marco got his phone back the day he lost it. I also applaud his faithfulness in God's grace and sovereignty at a time that could have been really frustrating. I love that his blog talks about God's grace and faithfulness in a way that shows that God is faithful to give us what we need/want. This theologically-based optimism is totally biblical and 100% true, but I often look at it from the other side. Before I was a Christian, I was one of those people who couldn't understand why I should believe in a God that allowed my life to be as difficult as it was. Even after I became a Christian, I felt like I was constantly being plunged under water after struggling my way up and getting a single gasp of air. I felt damaged from important things like strained family relationships and catastrophic weddings to small things like a $300 ticket for going 2 miles over the speed limit. I have a hard time dealing with the hard times until I remember that God is faithful and sovereign and just even if He doesn't deliver. My struggles remind me that I am not owed anything by the Almighty, and if I never see another blessing in my life, He will have done me no injustice. As a person who has lost many cell phones and never seen a single one returned, I can say that God is just as faithful to me as he is to Marco.

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