02 May 2010

Faith and sight

Our parish semi-annual newsletter asked for a short article.  The article below may be of interest to you:
1970 – Honolulu – 27 years old and a brand-new “Jesus Movement” Christian, I was living on a tiny income as a taxi-driver; paying large back debts, and paying other obligations resulting from a very dodgy way of life. I was very excited about being a Christian, however, and had persuaded my ex-druggie mate Niles to accompany me to an evening ‘youth service.’ Having coffee after the service, a young lady was telling me of the joy she had experienced in responding to the challenge to tithe. “You can’t out-give God!” she said, and when I explained my situation, she urged tithing on me.

“Wow, that’s cool, but there’s no way I can manage that. I don’t even know how I’m going to pay the rent this month. It’s all I can do to keep afloat as it is!”

Why did I have to bring Niles? “Hey, jj, if that’s part of this Jesus trip, man, you ought to do it!” Gee, thanks, Niles!

I think we often judge by sight. Shall I talk to my son about his living with his girl-friend? But I don’t want to be judgemental, and I’d probably just alienate him. Anyway, if he really loves her, aren’t they married in God’s sight?

Should our Catholic School insist on telling the teachers, parents, and children the whole truth of God’s Word, even if it might cost the loyalty of some? Or should we judge by what we think likely results?

It is very easy to let the world determine how we should live, what we should do; we easily follow its standards. When such matters as artificial contraception, extra-marital cohabitation, ‘politically correct’ schooling are universal around us – we Christians must be able to see the Lord’s vision – and follow Him, believing and trusting that He will not let us down, if we truly follow Him. I am told that those who did the Passion Play did just that – and were deeply gratified at the result.

I took the challenge. During the forty years since then, I have several times actually tried to stop tithing. Money has been – still is, really – often very tight.

I have been unable to stop. I have never been able to convince myself it was God’s will that I should stop.

Be not afraid. God has not changed. God’s Word is true, no matter what appears to be the case. Either the Church must change the world – or the world will devour the Church.

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