|Posted on December 16, 2021 at 4:45 AM|
Some people open the Bible, take a verse and yell, "See! It is written - there! It says so!". Well, yes it does - at least at first glance.
Think about it: Somebody writes down today "It's raining cats and dogs". Two thousand years from now on a person finds this and wonders what must have happened back then. How did the animals get up? Who threw them down? You know what I mean.
Even more so if you take the Bible as God's inspired Word. When the Lord inspired the writers to write all that down, His inspiration came from His mind. If we try to interpret it with our small pea brains, all we get is confusion at best - spiritual abuse and doctrinal terror at worst.
Yes, even today the Holy Spirit leads the Church and its pastors, also in teaching and preaching. Those men, however, are humans as well and as such fallible. To recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit among the many voices out there and then to follow and obey it against the will of the flash is a task for a saint.
What does that mean? Can't we rely on anything but our personal likes and dislikes? Should we dismiss the Holy Scripture and replace it with moral relativism?
By no means. In everything though we need to keep in mind that we see a tiny part of the whole - and even as to that tiny part we don't really know what to do with. God is bigger than all of that. He does not need proof texting of human concepts. God does not just love us, He is love. Not love as humans see it, but love as He sees it. The kind of love that is fully unconditional, sacrifices itself for others and gives itself a 100 %. Where you give yourself totally. This love is what our faith is all about. Everything else is just a means to the goal. Each situation, each person and each life will require different means. The goal, however, stays the same: God is love and He wants us to be part of Him.
|Posted on May 6, 2017 at 1:30 PM|
Die Kirchengemeinde starrt euch mit einem leeren Blick während eurer Predigt an und schläft offensichtlich innerlich während ihr euch als Priester abmüht?
Hier einige Tips:
1) So wie die Apostel die Worte in ihren Briefen gemäß den Adressaten wählten, solltet auch ihr daran denken, wen ihr vor euch hat. Ein theologischer Vortrag im Altenheim wird vielleicht nur wenige erreichen.
2) Eure Predigt sollte ein Ziel, eine Kernbotschaft haben. Worauf wollt ihr hinaus? Wo wollt ihr hin? Wer auf tausend Hochzeiten tanzt, wer hier etwas erwähnt und dort etwas anschneidet, erreicht im Prinzip nur, dass niemand weiß, um was es geht. Eure Predigt wird dann in dem Moment vergessen, in dem ihr sieh haltet.
3) Kaum ein Katholik weiß mehr, was die Kirche lehrt und warum. Eure Aufgabe ist es unter anderem, das zu ändern - in lebensnahen Worten und Bildern.
4) Stellt euch vor, das ist die letzte Predigt, die ihr haltet - und dann müsst ihr sterben. Genau diese Power braucht es beim Predigen.
5) Eure Botschaft sollte authentisch und wahrhaftig sein. Wer bodenständige Wörter und Botschaften verwendet, aber selbst ein vergeistigter Theologe zu sein scheint, macht sich lächerlich.
6) Die Aufgabe jedes Christen - und insbesondere jedes Priesters - ist es, von der Hoffnung und Liebe zu künden, die in uns ist - und andere damit anzustecken. Die Gläubigen (und Nichtgläubigen!) sollten aus dem Kirchengebäude gehen und voller Feuer sein, brennend darauf, das anderen zu erzählen! Geht nicht? Geht wohl! Wer meint, das ist utopisch, hätte nie Priester werden sollen und ist ein armseliger Christ. Vergesst aber nie: Die Zuhörer sollten anschließend nicht sagen "Was für ein toller Prediger!", sondern vielmehr "Was für ein toller Erlöser!"!
7) Wer in jedem Satz durchklingen lässt, was er alles weiß, gelernt und studiert hat, weiß im Grunde gar nichts und hat auch nichts verstanden. Seid wie Jesus in der Bergpredigt, wenn Er zu einfachen Menschen spricht!
Ihr müsst euch nicht anbiedern. Eure Aufgabe ist es nicht, zu erreichen, dass jeder euch gern hat. Ihr müsst die Menschen genug lieben, um ihnen die Wahrheit, die ganze (!) Wahrheit zu sagen - ob sie es nun hören wollen oder nicht. Die Menschen haben den Sohn Gottes ans Kreuz geschlagen - warum sollten sie seinen Jüngern Beifall klatschen?
9) Auf keinem Fall sollt ihr der Versuchung des "Wohlfühl-Christentums", des "Auswahl-Christentums" oder des "therapeutischen Christentums erliegen. Euer Job ist es nicht, dass sich die Menschen wohl dabei fühlen, was sie tun - unabhängig davon, um was es sich dabei handelt. Euer Job ist es genauso wenig, die Gläubigen zu ermutigen, sich selbst auszusuchen, was ihnen an der Kirche gefällt und was nicht - und was sie befolgen und was nicht. Euer Job ist vor allem nicht der Leiter einer therapeutischen Selbsthilfegruppe!
10) Emotion und Intellekt gehören zusammen. Zeigt beides in eurer Predigt! Redet zu den Menschen, unter den Menschen, mit den Menschen! Öffnet euer Herz und eurern Verstand! Bei manchen Predigten scheint beides verloren gegangen zu sein.
11) Auf keinen Fall "Theologen-Sprech". "Ich lade euch ein,...", "der begleitende Gott, der mit uns geht...", "in den johanneischen Briefen...", "In-Sich-Sein", "Gott ruft uns und möchte mit uns ein Stück des Weges gehen" - ihr kennt das. Ja, so reden (leider) manche an der Uni. Kein Mensch spricht aber so im wirklichen leben. Wer sich so ausdrückt, weiß selbst nicht, was er sagen will und macht aus Gott ein kraftloses Etwas, dass durch Theologen erklärt werden kann. Ist er nicht und kann Er nicht.
12) Der für alle Christen geltende Missionsauftrag fordert uns auf, hinaus (!) zu gehen, Menschen zu taufen und zu Jüngern Jesu Christi zu machen. Das heißt, ich muss wissen, was ein Jünger ist. Das heißt weiterhin, ich muss hinaus gehen! Ich kann nicht nur meine wöchentlichen Gottesdienste abhalten und rumjammern, warum immer weniger kommen. Die Menschen, die Jesus am nötigsten haben, klopfen nicht an unsere Tür. Da müssen wir uns schon die Mühe machen und zu ihnen gehen!
|Posted on December 17, 2016 at 2:00 PM|
Funny how sometimes Christians use spiritual-sounding words when they actually want to say you tick them off... Why don't you just say what you mean ??
|Posted on August 9, 2016 at 2:15 PM|
In Germany, evangelizing, mission work, making disciples or whatever you might call it, is a touchy subject. At best, smaller evangelical churches might practice it - the way it should be done. The two big ones - Lutheran and Catholic - have (if at all) a totally different concept. For most of the Christians here, this is at best something fundamentalists do. Ar members of religious orders when they go to Africa. We donate a little money. This is what we contribute to mission work.
Evangelizing Jews is something the big churches won't even think of - or reject straight away (where in the Bible does God exclude the Jews from the Great Commission?).
Even Muslims or members of other religions are "non-touchables" when it comes to evangelizing.
What lacks, is an understanding of what discipleship is all about to begin with. You cannot pass on what you do not love. And you cannot love what you do not know.
At the moment, God blesses us with pastors, priests and nuns from Africa, India and similar countries that used to be the object of mission and evangelizing work. They sometimes painfully remind us of what being a disciple of Jesus Christ is all about (though German Christians would never call themselves like that. They are Lutherans or Catholics - and not disciples of Jesus Christ).
The idea that both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is something EVERY Christian is called to and will be held accountable for lacks completely.
Lukewarm cafeteria Christianity and moral relativism reign.
So far, so bad.
But! It does not end there.
In the worst of times, God sometimes calls the least of the least. Simple laypeople stand up for Him, even though others attack them. Simple people like Peter was one. It is easy to spread the faith when everything goes easy street. When things get rough though, it becomes a challenge. Jesus did not come to heal the healthy, but the sick.
The situation in Europe is very grave - spiritually and politically. Things can escalate and explode very fast. The current times remind me of the Weimar Republic - the political system here before Hitler got to power. Likewise today people do not seem to be able and willing to read the sign of the times.
To live in such times is both very hard and very rewarding. It has been a long time when being a true disciple was such a challenge. Then again - it was worse for the early Christians and reading their testimonies, we get an idea of what discipleship is all about.
Our hearts must burn for the love of God, neighbor and self. Burn so much we set others on fire!
"What are we so afraid of," Fr. Bill Casey from the Fathers of Mercy in Kentucky, USA, might say now. That we get angry emails? That others will not talk with us anymore?
So be it! Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world at the moment. Many are brutally murdered for their faith.
And yet - their light will continue to shine. They will not be forgotten.
Some time ago, I visited the memorial site of the former concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, Germany. The tour guide showed us the cells where the priests were at. Technically, they were even allowed to celebrate mass there. In reality, it could happen that someone took the chalice and smashed it into their face.
People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer were there (I had also been at the site where he was finally killed in Flossenbürg). He wrote a book that fascinated me: "Life together".
Or take people like Mother Theresa. She could not care less when she was talking in the USA in front of the President and other celebrities. She said what needed to be said, not would people wanted to hear. Among others, she very strongly condemned one of the most horrible crimes - abortion.
However, it has always been the most simple people that touched my heart deeply. Those that nobody knows and talks about and whose life witness had been a tremendous testimony for the hope and love within them. They evangelized in a way that puts me to shame.
Among many, I want to mention my mom. She died last year after 30 (!) years of illness. No, she was no saint. She was an ordinary woman. Except for the way she dealt with her pain. I had been with her the last months when it got really bad. The way she bravely coped with her deteriorating health while at the same time keeping a strong faith very much impressed me.
In her last days she fell into a coma after water got into her lungs. They put a tube down her air pipe so she would get oxygen and also many cables into her arms to supply her with what her body needed, to watch over the body functions, to put her on dialysis and so on. I was told that even if she woke up she would not be the same as her brain was damaged through the lack of oxygen. Anyways she would notice nothing as she was in a coma, they said.
The family gathered around her bed and we had a priest come for the anointing of the sick. We prayed over her and the priest performed the rite. I stood beside her head and my sister near me.
When the priest made the cross on her forehead with the chrisam oil, I thought my heart would stop beating and my blood would freeze. Tears were rolling down her cheek. I nudged my sister to show her.
There was no dry eye in the room.
Sometimes God shows you through the weakest of the weakest that He is still there, that He is in control and that He is - and will always be - God.
In her hardest hour, my mother most likely drew more people to God than in her whole life.
Munich. August 9th 2016
Robert Anton Gollwitzer
|Posted on August 1, 2016 at 2:25 PM|
Habe mir gerade die Homepage einer evangelischen Kirchengemeinde angesehen (ist aber austauschbar - hätte genauso gut irgendeine andere, auch katholische Gemeinde sein können). Wie überall dreht sich hier alles um das "Wohlfühl-Christentum". Der Missionsauftrag, die Weitergabe kirchlicher Lehre, Jesus Christus als Zentrum allen Tuns etc. spielt keine Rolle mehr. Es geht nur mehr darum, dass sich die Gemeindemitglieder wohl fühlen, dass sie zusammen etwas unternehmen und auch ein wenig Wohltätiges tun (um das eigene Gewissen zu beruhigen?). Die einzelnen Mitglieder sind im Mittelpunkt, nicht mehr der, auf den die Kirche aufgebaut sein sollte. So gesehen müsste es noch nicht einmal eine christliche Gemeinde sein - irgendein sozialer Club mit Freizeitprogramm und spirituellem Touch würde es auch tun. Das Ganze wirkt "nett", belanglos und beliebig. Weder Fisch noch Fleisch - lauwarm. Oder noch nicht mal das.
|Posted on July 31, 2016 at 6:15 AM|
1.5 million youths at the concluding mass of the World Youth Day in Krakow. Great. Now when they are all at home again, you won't see most of them again. You will look in vain to see their faces in the Sunday masses. You will not see them on vacation days of religious orders. So what is WYD? A short and emotional hype or a tremendous potential that lies bare? If so, what can be done so it bears rich fruit?
|Posted on June 4, 2016 at 7:00 AM|
Few things I dislike more than those I-know-it-all Christians. You know them: Whether asked or not they give an endless monologue on everything and love to hear themselves talk. It is futile to even start a discussion with them, as their point is not a reasonable argument but winning the fight at all costs. They look down on others and think themselves something better, but of course hide that behind Christan phrases and common places.
In a way I feel sorry for them. If you are so convinced of having the ultimate and complete truth you do nothing else than playing God. Idolatry and pride is the antidote of Christian love and humilty. They prevent you from finding the real truth - God.
|Posted on May 8, 2016 at 1:20 PM|
I am not here on this planet to make friends, but to serve Jesus. Therefore, I don't have to like everybody, but I have to love them. It is okay not to like some as well as it is okay that some don't like me (it is impossible to like everyone anyway). The thing is: Will you love them with the same unconditional love with which Jesus loved us just the same? Also I am not here to kiss people's butts. Many will find me and what I stand for and believe in offensive. So be it. They nailed the Son of God on the cross - why should they treat His followers any differently. Or as people say: When our King and Savior wore a crown of thorns, ours should not be of gold. There will be moments when we will have to suffer for Him. Will we still love Him then? Will we let Him suffer through us? We share His whole life - the joy, the witness, but also the passion and the cross.
"If you don't look good on wood, don't become a Christian." (Mike Cumbie)
I love the Bible and I love God. At the same time I believe that He is so much bigger than we want to see and make Him. The Bible is not a cook book with answers for each single problem you think you have. It is a love letter from God. Yes, it also contains rules - but not because He likes to boss us around, but because He loves us and wants to keep us from being harmed! This very love is the basis for everything. The rules don't stand alone - they are a means for love. Some try to make laws punishable by death out of these rules, hereby forgetting the purpose they have.
"He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12:3-8 New International Version
The laws or rules are of no value out of themselves. They receive their value through the purpose they are here for. No, that does not mean we can or should forget about all of God's commands or interpret them according to our personal likes and dislikes. It does mean, however, that we must see them for what they are: a love letter from God.