Don’t Look Down
Evangelization is akin to mountain climbing a sheer cliff. The best advice is, 'don't look down'.
More Revelation; Less Regulation
Can we devote at least 50% of the conversation to God? Is 50% too much to ask? We can look up to God or we can look down at our behavior. We cannot do both at the same time. Our necks don’t work like that. So, which do we do first? Which is the priority? Is revelation our first priority? Or is regulation?
Fishing for the Children of Adam and Eve
With what do we bait the hook and cast into the Valley of Tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve (Matthew 4:19)? The bait is the revelation that our God is our almighty lover. Our God is our friend not our foe. He wants to help us not to hurt us. He is a philanthropist not a sadist. Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? According to the law of symmetry, love jumps the gap between lover and beloved. Love begets love. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). Love inflates deflated hearts with love. The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall (Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5). From God’s heart our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. When our hearts are filled to the brim with love as Jesus’s heart was, we are born again into the kingdom of God.
The Mismanagement of Christianity
We have excluded God’s love for us from the conversation. We rather be busy with other things than with God’s love for us. Christianity is the home of God in the Valley of Tears. We have evicted God from his home. God is now homeless and Christianity is now godless. We have turned God’s home over to other, lesser aspects of Christianity. Our focus has been hijacked by little things. Minutiae has sidetracked us. The conversation of Christianity is all regulation and no revelation. We have allowed our God and his love for us to become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5) (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22).
God is the King who Loves us not the King who Rules us
God is the king who loves us not the king who rules us. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him (John 18:36). The Church and its clerics are wise to do likewise.
The UnBalanced Portfolio
The Church claims the king's role in matters of faith and morals (CCC 890). However, its portfolio of faith and morals is unbalanced. It is out of whack. The Church has mismanaged it. The Church has taken a larger position in morals than it has in faith - much larger. Morals has eclipsed faith. Regulation has replaced revelation. The Marthas have replaced the Marys (Luke 10:38-42). The nitty-gritty of Christianity has replaced the pizzazz. By failing to bait the hook with the pizzazz of Christianity, the Church is no longer catching fish (Matthew 4:19). Much worse, the Church is no longer keeping them. The fish are jumping out of the barque of Peter.
The Pathway for the Transformation of Godless People into People of God
The pathway for the transformation of godless people into people of God runs from the inside out not from the outside in (Matthew 15:19) (Luke 17:20-21). “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekial 36:26). The project of God is to fill our hearts to the brim with love. Inflating our deflated hearts with love is the salvation that God offers us.
Addressing the Causes rather than the Consequences of Evil
We can address the causes or the consequences of evil. Addressing the consequences of evil is the domain of politics. Addressing the causes of evil is the domain of religion. Politics pursues its purpose through the passage of laws. Politics works from the outside in. Religion, at least the Christian religion, works differently than politics. Religion works from the inside out (Matthew 15:19) (Luke 17:20-21). Religion tries to remove hearts of stone by replacing them with hearts of flesh (Ezekial 36:26).
The Difference and Similarity of Politics and Religion
Politics and religion overlap in that both try to influence outcomes. The difference between politics and religion is how they do it. The methodology of religion is different than the methodology of politics. They have a common destination but the route by which they reach their destination is different - peculiar to each. Politics tries to influence outcomes by external rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. Religion, at least the Christian religion when done right, tries to influence outcomes by repentance and conversion, that is, by filling our deflated hearts with love (Matthew 15:19) (Luke 17:20-21). “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekial 36:26). People whose hearts have been changed, i.e. people who have repented, tend to do the right thing - the right thing wells up and flows from their converted hearts. People whose deflated hearts become inflated with love behave in ways that try to please their lover. Love begets love. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). Religion works from the inside out (Luke 17:20-21) (Matthew 15:19). Politics works from the outside in. God does religion not politics. Many, however, do politics instead of religion mainly because religion is a heavier lift than politics and we rather do the easier job rather than the harder job.
The Core of Christianity
Many Christians are all bark and no bole. Their bark identifies them as Christian but the bole of their Christianity is hollow. It lacks a core. It is important for a Christian to have a core. The core of a Christian is love. Love is passed in buckets from Jesus to us and from us onto the fire. Christianity, when done right, is a bucket brigade of love.
Wage the War that God is Waging
The war that God is waging is the war on poverty. A LIFE WITHOUT LOVE IS A LIFE SPENT IN POVERTY. God, therefore, introduced the currency of love into the Valley of Tears and, in so doing, initiated the economy of paradise here on the earth. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but with the currency of love, the more we spend, the richer we get. GOD WANTS US TO SPEND OUR WAY OUT OF POVERTY. GOD WANTS US TO MAKE OURSELVES RICH (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10)!
Make sure the war that you are waging is the same war that God is waging. Don’t get sidetracked. Stay on the main path. Don’t fight your own war.
Go Rebuild My House
“At San Damiano the Crucified Christ challenged St. Francis to ‘go rebuild My house’ (St. Damiano)”. St. Francis understood, as well as anyone with any understanding of construction, that a sequence needs to be followed - the foundation needs to be built before the roof. The roof of a Christian is his behavior. The foundation of a Christian is a proper understanding of God. Get the foundation right and everything else falls into place. Get the foundation wrong and everything else falls apart.
A Surplus of Roofers; a Shortage of Foundation Workers
The Church has a surplus of roofers and a shortage of foundation workers. Everybody is a roofer with an opinion about how we ought to behave. Nobody is working on the foundation trying to establish a proper understanding of God.
“At San Damiano the Crucified Christ challenged St. Francis to ‘go rebuild My house’ (St. Damiano)”. Help is wanted to rebuild God’s house. We are starting with the foundation so only foundation workers are needed. Roofers need not apply.
Failure follows the evangelist who tries to build the roof before building the foundation
Becoming a Christian
It is not reasonable to expect the children of Adam and Eve to behave as a Christian behaves, to believe as a Christian believes and to practice as a Christian practices until after they become a Christian. Christian belief, Christian behavior and Christian practice are the fruits of becoming a Christian not vice versa. They are the tail not the dog. The fish need to be caught and the fish need to be kept before the fish can be cooked. The Church is no longer catching fish (Matthew 4:19). Much worse, the Church is no longer keeping them. The fish are jumping out of the barque of Peter. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund - a few breaths away from death. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. None are going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct (Pope Francis 1/28/2017). The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dying have little choice. Why? The art of catching and keeping fish is different than the art of cooking them. Yet, our evangelists do not make the distinction. The great mistake of evangelists is that they try to cook the fish before they catch and keep them. They invest all of their resources in cooking the fish and none of their resources in catching and keeping them. Would someone tell them that catching and keeping precedes cooking? Moreover, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the means of catching and keeping fish are the same as the means of cooking them? God’s love for us does both. It’s funny but when you catch and keep fish, they cook themselves. Figure out how to catch and keep them - to get them to take the hook and to keep the hook - and all of your problems are solved. P.S. The Church’s byzantine codex of rules, regulations, red tape, and rigmarole is not the bait that catches and keeps fish. Sorry. It is not.
Making Christians from the Inside Out
Religion is different than politics. Politicians want to regulate us. Politicians want to throw a net of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole over us to govern our behavior. Politics works from the outside in. Religion, when done properly, takes a different approach. Religion works from the inside out. It tries to fill our hearts to the brim with love. When our hearts are filled to the brim with love, we regulate ourselves. We become autocrats over ourselves. The path to building a Christian, therefore, runs from the inside out (Matthew 15:19) (Luke 17:20-21) not from the outside in. Many think that they are doing religion when, in reality, they are doing politics. Beware the politician masquerading as a cleric. He is up to no good. Welcome the cleric who has not succumbed to the temptation to try to rule us as our king - who instead prefers to serve as a witness who testifies to the truth about God. Distinguish between the roofer and the foundation worker.