Saturday, February 13, 2016

We Don't Change the Message: The Message Changes us!

There used to be a time when members of the Church would leave professions because the lifestyle of the profession was not conducive to the Christian calling. There used to be a time when we were committed the Faith of Christ enough to risk comforts to avoid temptation. There used to be time Christians considered their faith as more important than their work or recreation. Alas how things have changed.

By way of example there was a canon in the early Church that forbid members of the Church from the professions in the theater. It wasn’t that acting specifically was sinful, but that the way of the life back stage was filled with temptation and scandalous practices. It would be beneath the dignity of the Christian to be known as a member of the theater. The Church in her wisdom, remembering the words of Christ laid out in what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.... “lead us not into temptation” .... understood that is was better to avoid the temptation of the backstage life and not be in the profession.
Times have certainly changed, and not for the better. Now, rather than allowing the Church and Christian way of life to help us choose our professions, a large number of Christians including unfortunately a growing number of Orthodox Christians, would rather leave their Church than leave their job, if the two ways are not compatible. It is now considered old fashioned if we allow the morals of our Church to dictate how we live in private, let alone what job offer we accept.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised. With more than 43,000 denominations considering themselves the true Church, why would we expect any Christian to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church? If we don’t like the teachings of First Avenue Christian Church, we pick up and establish Second Avenue Christian Church, and then we are surprised and offended when people leave OUR Church to establish Third Avenue Christian Church.  The cycle continues to repeat itself. That is why I read a Church sign along my daily route as so ironic...a Protestant Church claiming, “We don’t change the message: The message changes us.” ...unless of course you don’t like the message. Then you just establish a new denomination. Times sure have changed...

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