Thursday, December 13, 2012

CP 200 What some of you wrote...



CP 200 What some of you wrote...

I receive lots of thoughtful responses to what I write. This week I thought I’d share some of them with you.

This first one was in response to CP 199, “An unwelcome 'blessing' from heaven”.

Yes, in my life and my choices I’ve been covered by this kind of mess!  Stink to high heaven!  Even the hazmat crews couldn’t get the smell to go away.  Tomato sauce, vinegar, coffee grounds, even the best spiritual odour- eaters, can’t cover it up or make it abate…only one precious substance can make me clean again…the blood of my saviour!  Thank God and Merry Christmas!!!!!!

I received many responses to the post about the German churches which refuse word and sacrament ministry to anybody who does not pay the Church Income Tax. CP197

Let me tell you about our experiences with the 'no pay, no sacraments' policy in Germany. In 2009 we returned ‘home’ to have our son baptised in 'my' church, where I went to Kindergarten, Children's Church, and made my Confirmation. I was no stranger there and all I wanted was for my son to have a special connection with this Church. We had a meeting with the Pastor there who told us that because we no longer reside in Germany and don't pay our church taxes (which back then was about 9% of the income tax), they would have to seek special permission to have the baptism approved. Thankfully my dad had a very convincing way of offering a 'generous donation' and making a point of how much money he had contributed to the church in his working life.
Our son was duly baptised without further 'problems' and the ceremony was conducted very nicely. It was the female Pastor's very first baptism and she went to the trouble of conducting the service in two languages, but it did make us think at the time......

On the same matter, a German engineer who had read the post sent me two cartoons which were to the point. In the first one, a bishop is proclaiming the absolution to a penitent on his knees. One hand is raised in blessing… the other is swiping a credit card through the man’s mouth…
The second cartoon shows a man on his death bed with a pastor/priest in attendance. The man of the cloth has a simple point to make. “Tut, tut. No cents, no sacraments.”

A young person had this insight…

Hi Fred... My thoughts... I feel it is sad that one knows he is forgiven or not by what a human does or doesn't do... Whether what the Cardinal said is what he meant or not, to me is not the issue... The issue for me is that some people think (or may have experienced) that absolution is actually from men, when it is NOT.
Good to get people thinking about this stuff... especially when it's out there in the secular world - sometimes the Christian world turns a blind eye when it's a tough topic.

And now a cry from the heart after CP 195, “Freddy, my heart is black.”

This post is quite scary, in that it's an easy disease to catch and a very difficult one to cure. How do you forgive someone who doesn't apologise or regret their actions towards you which were wrong? Even if they know they've wronged you, they're still not sorry.  It would be easy if this was a person I didn't have to have in my life, but this is a family member, so it's hard to just ignore it. 
Specifically, (we) no longer see eye to eye... and I only found out the extent of it later... We had never had any problems prior to this... it was the greatest betrayal. My mum said it was jealousy, and that she was trying to pull me down, but whatever the reason, ultimately it has caused such a huge problem, and she won't acknowledge or admit to me she has done any wrong. I refuse to speak to her… she minimises it more and more, like I am the one dreaming this up. 

I don't want hardening of the heart… Anyway, how do I forgive her when she now claims she has done no wrong, and certainly hasn't apologised to me?  I don't want bitterness on top of all of the other unhappiness. I have prayed about it, but it hasn't happened and I wonder if the problem is that I don't really have the heart that wants to forgive her while I know I am right and she has done me a major wrong. But still this doesn't answer how I can prevent bitterness… 

And a final contribution about bitterness from a friend who has had a very difficult journey…

I’m pretty sure it was you that said in one of your sermons that “only hurt people, hurt people”. (I probably did say that without the word ‘only’. It is true that the rejected often become rejectors themselves. Victims can become perpetrators. Fred’s comment) I have thought about that so many times when I encounter someone who just acts nasty, rude or mean.  Often, I feel the urging deep inside to just pray for the person.  Sometimes, I even do the “unthinkable” and try to show the person true compassion although just as many times I walk away.  The saddest thing about a really bad event in someone’s life is the potential for residual that “harden’s their heart”.  What a terrible, lonely, hopeless place to ever be!

I’d like to thank so many of you for the encouragement and support. It’s water for the soul when your responses are coloured by the Spirit of Jesus.

One final comment about all this ‘wrestling’ we have to do as Christians. We are often led to think that it is only about love… but I reckon each struggle is also a challenge to our faith and trust in our Lord and his word… which endures forever! (?)

Be blessed in Him.

Fred

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