One of the key drivers for success on any level is knowing the rules of the game. It gives us a path to achievement.
Many studies (and many parents) tell us that the best formed children come from homes where the rules are clear and consistent. Children want rules. They may complain about them, dislike them and even choose the break them, but without them, they don’t know how to be successful and, therefore, don’t know how to be happy.
When a child follows the rules and is successful they know they’ve also made their parents happy. And what child doesn’t want that? They long for that approving nod or those affirming words.
How many broken starlets in Hollywood are driven by the basic need for affirmation that they didn’t receive at home and instead try to fill that void with alcohol, drugs, sex or from the “love” of their fans?
If knowing and understanding a clear set of rules is imperative for children to attain happiness, then doesn’t the same apply to our churches and you and me, the children of God?
Yet so many churches are vague and inconsistent and afraid to offend their church members. For example, there are over 40,000 Christian denominations. 40,000!!! How can there possibly be 40,000 versions of the eternal truth of God?
There can’t be. That’s impossible.
As a Catholic, I cannot speak to any of the other faiths.
However, I can say that one of the greatest deificits in the Catholic Church today is its inability or unwillingness to teach the hard truths of the faith.
In the Bible, Jesus is very clear that NOTHING can get between him and us. If your eye, your hand, your foot, your family or your vices get between Jesus and you, then you should remove it from the equation. Period.
Yet, one Sunday, when the readings from the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels tied this all together to explain this hard and simple truth, the Priest during the homily chose the easy way out. Instead of charging us to rely on God to make these difficult decisions and remove all that stands between us and Jesus, the Priest said “What Jesus is really saying is we have to be nice to each other.”
WHAT?!?!?!? No, that is absolutely NOT what Jesus said. What does being nice to each other have to do with the barriers between me and the Almighty???
And again… a few weeks ago the Gospel spoke of the time where Jesus tested the Gentile woman whose daughter was dying. Jesus told her it would be below him to talk to her, let alone help her, even equating her with a dog. But, she would not be stopped, saying that even dogs get the scraps from the master’s table. Jesus tested her and it was that test of faith that saved her child.
Yet, another great opportunity to teach the faith was wasted when a different Priest followed up with a homily explaining that “Jesus wasn’t serious, he was joking around.”
WHAT?!?!?!? Joking? Really? Was there a LOL or : ) at the end of the text that I’ve missed in every translation of the Bible that I’ve ever read?
For the love of the Almighty God, I implore the clergy to stop raising religious brats! Give us the hard truths. The path to Heaven is narrow and difficult, requiring sacrifice, selflessness and a reliance on God.
Teach us that!
When you water down the faith and weaken the rules tied to those truths, then we, the children of God, don’t know how to be successful in the faith. We don’t know how our faith will make us happy.
And what happens to children who come from an unhappy, unsatisifying home?
Like the mass exodus occuring in every Christian denomination today.
Priests, Bishops, Pastors and Nuns… you are charged with telling us the truth, not telling us what we want to hear. You are there to tell us not only what we should not do, but more importantly, what we should do INSTEAD and why this is a better, more holy choice!
If a parent teaches their child not to play with fire because it will burn them, and therefore abstaining from playing with fire will give them a healthier and less painful future, then they’ll happily not play with fire.
If a parent only tells a child not to play with fire and gives them no other reason, that will only spark curiosity and the odds of that child burning themselves increases dramatically.
And if a parent doesn’t ever talk about playing with fire, but instead fills their head with ideas about the joys of heat and light, then those children will not only burn themselves, but probably everything else around them as well.
Being a parent is hard. It’s not about being you child’s friend, although you can be. It’s not about being their playmate, although you can be.
It’s about raising them to be happy, holy and successful.
Please, leaders of the Church, stop trying to be our friends and playmates. Be our parents! Raise us so we understand the rules and why they are important.
We SO want to be happy in our faith.
Yes, Clergy, parenthood can often be selfess and thankless. No one ever said it was easy.
But it is necessary.
Now man up and do your job before all of the children leave the home, unhappy and unsatisfied.