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Monday, June 29, 2009

thoughts from the week

I'm back!

Great week of vacation. Spent three days with Christie, Andy, George, Debbie and of course, little Georgia. She is a true delight. It's fun to watch her brighten up everyone's day when she comes in the room.

I also enjoyed just "hanging out" with everyone. Nothing better than standing in Lake Michigan, throwing the football around - especially when it is over 90 degrees out.

I do have a confession to make. I wasn't going to check my email while I was away, but I did. A lot.

And, I guess I am in with a lot of people who do the same thing.

According to a 2009 survey by Qwest Communications, 47 percent of Americans say they can last an hour at most before feeling "antsy" about checking email, instant messaging, or other social networking sites.

Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they could only make it one day. The remaining 7 percent said they could probably go a week without checking in.

How often do you check your email? I would be interested in finding out. Or maybe you are too busy checking your email (twitter, text) to respond to this blog. That's how caught up we are with all of this stuff.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I think it's mostly good - in fact, one of the only negatives that I can think about is that it takes away time for reflection and mediation on important things.

A few weeks ago, I asked my Wednesday evening class, "how many here are from a Catholic background?" Most raised their hands.

I've been reading a book entitled, "Catholicism for Dummies" (perfect for me) by John Trigillio and Kenneth Brighenti.

I am learning quite a bit.

Maybe it is overstating it, but it seems to me that Catholicism is a denomination of guilt, while our denomination is one of grace.

There seems to be a heavy emphasis on sin and working toward receiving forgiveness for that sin. Here's what I know:

God forgives me unconditionally.
God forgives me immediately
God forgives me continually.

Now then, let me make a strong statement. It's one I need to think through so maybe you can help me with it.

It's a negative statement.

Before I make it, let me say how much I love the Church. I love my church. I am thrilled to have the privilege of being a Pentecostal pastor. I believe that there are many, many Catholics who love God as well. I believe there are priests who are serving God mightily and in a godly way.

But even those in the Catholic church would say that their church is filled with corruption and immorality at times.

Here's the statement: While the Catholic church may be corrupt, we Protestant types can be hypocritical.

Catholics spend their time looking for sins to repent. We Protestants think we don't have any sins to repent of at all. That's where the hypocrisy comes in.

Catholics confess to a priest - we Protestant types aren't going to confess to anybody, even God.

Maybe there is a balance in there somewhere.

As a pastor, there is one thing I did "like" from the book on Catholicism.

The author writes, "Sunday attendance at a parish isn't just expected; it's a moral obligation. Not going to Sunday Mass without a worthy excuse, such as illness or bad weather, is considered a grave sin."

Maybe that's going a little too far (the grave sin part) but a little bit of that wouldn't hurt.....just a thought.....

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