I have written before that the Lord has told me that all faithful Jews and Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, are to be treated as full partners in the work ahead of us. There are no junior partners among the authentic children of Abraham. God, Himself, will take care of unity. It will be one of the greatest fruits of the Storm.
Contemplating that, I have come to see that the fundamental divisions in the faith are not what they appear to be on the surface or what they are portrayed to be in popular culture. The fundamental division is between those who believe that God is really God and those who believe Him to be a powerfully useful myth. If you believe God is really God, then what He says matters. Believers may argue in their interpretation of God’s word, but they agree that what He says matters…is, in fact, binding. Those who believe Him to be a powerfully useful myth merely believe that what THEY can impute to Him matters in their quest for temporal power and influence. Thus you see large swaths of what used to be Mainline Protestantism and American Jews trying primarily to baptize left-wing nostrums rather than obey even the unambiguous commands of God. Episcopalians, Presbyterians and other Mainliners most vigorously teach that even though all the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles unanimously condemn active homosexuality as a sin, God really approves it and thinks it a marvelous affirmation of love. They also teach vigorously that executing infants in utero – though something regarded with stark horror throughout the Old and New Testaments, is really what God wants. This, of course, is utterly bonkers. It is baffling to any who take their faith seriously. You have a right to advocate for gay “marriage” or abortion in a free society, but why try to even maintain a connection with a religion that condemns both unambiguously, much less torture its Scriptures to pretend they say what they don’t in an effort to recruit it to your ideological preferences? This is baffling unless you accept that some who have devoted their lives to a denomination do not do so out of a sincere belief in God, but because they believe it to be a useful path to power and privilege. They have their reward.
And for my dear fellow Catholics, don’t think we are off the hook. Is there any abortion advocate so extreme, even to the point of open infanticide, that Notre Dame University would not eagerly offer him an honorary degree to keynote a commencement if he were a sufficiently prominent Democratic politician? Is there any Catholic orthodox enough or charitable enough that the same University would approve his request to speak to the campus pro-life club with anything other than grudging disdain if he were a Republican? Shoot, Notre Dame has been public with its disdain for recent popes. They have their reward.
A great work now looms before us. We are called to endure, to lift each other up, to bind up the wounds of those injured during the Storm and to be a sign of hope to those around us. Many speak to me of loved ones who have left the faith – and many worry that their loved ones are not of the denomination they are. It is natural to worry…but God has a plan for all. I invite all to contemplate the brief parable Jesus tells in Matthew 21:28-30. It is about two sons whose father commanded to go work in a vineyard. The first said he would, but snuck away. The second said he would not, but regretted it and went anyway. Jesus pointedly asked His listeners which son did the will of the father.
Look to the work. When you see one who helps others endure, who lifts up his neighbors, who binds up the wounds of the injured and acts as a sign of hope to all around him, know that he is one who does the Father’s will…whatever he professes otherwise. And he who constantly tries to outsmart his neighbor, who tears others down with malice, who ignores others wounds and is a constant sign of contention to those around, does not do the Father’s will, regardless of how pious his pronouncements. Let us all be dutiful sons and daughters, embracing whoever does the same as brother or sister. Proclaim your faith with clarity and vigor, but do not waste time disputing with another who proclaims differently while still doing the work we are all called to.
When the power of the Storm is broken and we are rescued, it is not those who proclaimed the Word most boldly who will be most favored by God, but those who lived it.
(Please make sure to read the comment by John McFarm below. That is the handle for someone I completely admire, who lives his faith as well as anyone I have ever known, and a man whose counsel I value highly. His comment indicates I may misunderstand something that is going on within the demographic cohort known as Mainline Protestantism – or may have phrased something clumsily enough here to be offensive to very faithful Protestants such as he is. Of course, I have great regard for Evangelical Protestants – and the Missionary Baptist denomination from which he comes is, I think, from the Evangelical line. He is completely given to serving the Lord and serving those around him and his comments should be given the weight his character has earned).