A Truth To Consider
|It is very true individuals
may change, but human nature being what it is, true change of heart is rarely a widespread thing. People may experience changes of heart
through grace, through
growth, through resolution and training of the will and in other ways.
But generally the tendency of people is not so much to change as to go underground.
I suggest one reason people prefer not to change is because they are unthinking on moral issues. They are also generally busy. People sincerely intend to do better, but they are busy elsewhere and find they do not have the time. Old habits are hard to break and new ones take self-discipline and time for self-examination. So it is easier as Scarlet O’Hara did to give change a lick and a promise, and then go about life as she was accustomed to doing, saying, “tomorrow is another day.”
Educators have long held on to the “Socratic Fallacy,” which is that if people are taught the good, they will do it. This of course is not a true statement on the deeper, true and puzzling side of mankind. The Apostle was far keener when he said that he knew what he ought to do, but he did not do it. He was therefore a sinner. A change of mind may come through education, but not always does change of heart follow. It is one thing to know it intellectually and another to apply it emotionally. And therein enters Christianity.
Christianity in giving us a relationship with God offers us a personal primary relationship with God that can change us. After all nearly everyone has motivation to change in a personal primary relationship with God who is a spirit, as the Catechism states. God is a spiritual Personality we may develop a relationship with. Of course the entirety of God certainly will not be reflected or revealed in any one human’s tiny, finite ability for a divine friendship. But the relationship is planted for a continuing growth of that relationship in this life and the after life.
But the idea is that anyone has a better chance of changing in a living union with God rather than simply intellectually learning a lot about God. Without a living personality on the other end of the see-saw, there is no balance to the relationship to get it off the ground. Religion simply becomes a lot of intellectually held facts which may ornament the mind but are never emotionally applied to living
Thus I present to you overall the plight of many of the churches all over the world nowadays as well as in times past. There are many who have a warm feeling from an aesthetic display of ritual (this is quite possible) and also have minds hung with ornaments and displays of religious learning, the icicles of God in the cave cold churches, but the members have not found a personal relationship with God. Without intimate, personal and warm knowledge of God what kind of church is it? Such is a halfway church. These are dark and modern churches: hidden away, cave cold and high hung with frozen knowledge of God. It is half pay religion for a non-believing world.
A priest, a good friend of mine, a good man, remarked to me one day, “I go to mass each Sunday and eat God. I know the religious classics. Yet I do not understand what you mean by haying Christ as your “Personal” Saviour “. And I thought, “Therein lies the problem. Not just his church but many churches of all different denominations are but halfway up the mountain. What then is our duty? It is the duty the Apostles were told: To go down into the village and give them Christ.”
We must give Christ today to WORN OUT churchy INSTITUTIONS AS WELL THE PEOPLE WHO everywhere need HIM. For time has shown us how MANY Christian churches have become ineffectual half way leftovers of another age. They are ministered to by halfway institutions which offer everything but GOD. WHAT GOOD IS TO BICKER ABOUT CREEDS WHEN the churches DON’T HAVE CHRIST. I AM AMUSED BY THE PULPITS OF TODAY READING ENDLESS, BORING POMPOUS STATEMENTS ON THE MINOR ISSUES OF THE DAY WHEN THEY CANNOT EVEN PRESENT CHRIST THE ETERNAL.
THE ENERGY OF THE CHURCH IS GENERATED BY THE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. THE WESTERN CHURCHES TODAY SEEM TO HAVE LITTLE ENERGY. SOREN KIERKEGAARD MADE A VALID POINT WHEN HE SAID THE HALF WAY CHURCH OF EUROPE HAS MADE EUROPEANS IMMUNE TO REAL RELIGION.
THOSE IN NON-EUROPEAN COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD SEEM OFTEN TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL BETTER, DEEPER BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED AGAINST CHRIST BY HALF WAY EUROPEAN CHRISTIANITY THAT BICKERS OVER EVERYTHING BUT SEEMS TO HAVE NOT CHRIST ON ANYTHING. ASIANS AND AFRICANS AND NON-WESTERNERS HEAR THE GOSPEL CLEARER BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN CONFUSED BY GENERATIONS OF HALF WAY COVENANTED DENOMINATIONS WHO TALK ABOUT CREEDS AND PONTIFICATE ON POLITICS WHEN THEY KNOW NOT CHRIST.
So what is your congregation to be? Is it to be another congregation of
the uncovenanted: those who have learned some creed and read wisely and widely but know not
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.