emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not sure if this topic is more volatile than politics but I will take a poke at it anyway.

Had a conversation with a lady after a wedding the other day. I started by asking her if she knew what religion the minister who performed the ceremony was. (Wedding was held in a park so no church to clarify denomination).  After some thought, she suggested Lutheran.  As the use of the sign of the cross was used in addition to other actions I recall from my Catholic childhood I agreed with her and said.

“Lutherans are actually ex Catholics”. She acknowledged that although she had never heard it expressed that way before.

If one were to dig deeper one would find that all current religions are ex something or other.

I then asked her what her current religious affiliation was. She told me how she and her spouse had started attending a church with their granddaughter and eventually joined it, a Methodist church.

She told me of her husband’s enthusiastic participation in going to the Appalachian Mountains every summer with the youth group and working with the poor people there.

She closed by saying “Better to be an active Methodist than call yourself a Catholic and not go to church.” Good point.

Having known this lady and her husband for 50 some years, I know they are good people with good moral values.  So this post should in no way be considered disparaging on them or their actions.

However, I often wonder why these Christian do gooders have to travel half way across the country or even half way around the world to help the impoverished? I believe everyone in this country lives within 25-50 miles of an impoverished local area.

Do you suppose this aid to the less fortunate is actually a cover up for the actual action of proselytizing?

With that thought in mind I will leave you with this quote.

“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

Desmond Tutu


5 thoughts on “Religion

  1. I always get upset when I try to reach out for help from other ministries in my area for the poor and less fortunate in the area. They always decline, yet they all have yearly trips to places abroad, it makes no sense. Does one plant a vineyard in an area he canot tend it? Does one by a field 2000 miles from home? There are very real and anointed Missionaries, but when the local Assembly denies to aid local people, it does not matter who they convert 2000 miles away. Most Assemblies in the third world would excommunicate the leaders of Assemblies here, hard Truth, but Truth nonetheless. Discipleship starts in the home, then spreads out, it does not start in a land 2000 miles away and spread in. Nice thoughts, Shalom.


  2. You are asking good questions. I am inclined to wonder out loud whether the common phenomenon of the travelling do-gooder appears because ministering to the poor tends to look more romantic and interesting the further they are away from you when you set out? Of course, as Desmond Tutu (one of my very favourite people) knows very well, the African experience of missionary do-gooders was sadly influenced by the way many missionaries confused ministry with colonial empire building, and Christianity with their concept of what constituted civilization. Against these, however, we can remember people like Mary Slessor, Robert Moffatt, and Arthur Cripps, and a few more. Thank you for a good, thought-provoking post!


  3. Protestants (especially American, evangelical ones) like to complain that the Catholic Church neglects foreign missions (it actually doesn’t, but spends more on foreign aid than just about anybody; it’s just that average lay Catholics don’t tend to go on grand and regular foreign mission trips like evangelicals emphasize, but rather established it’s religious orders and organizations that are involved) — but the truth is, Catholics, both lay and religious, are generally much more involved in local missions, social justice efforts, and relief.


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