Friend Joshua, who possesses much wisdom and very solid powers of observation, made the following comment as a result of his first telling me about Ashley Cleveland, a Christian musician he came across years ago, and my posting one of her songs from youtube here yesterday.
Here are his thoughts:
Thank you so much. In my previous communication about Ashley Cleveland, I forgot to mention that it was through Ashley Cleveland that we (my wife and I) reconnected with the Christian world. Until then, we had thought of our family as one of God's "little flocks of sheep", but socially speaking we were our own little island. After "getting into" the "Christian rock" sections in various US music stores (and online), we began to form strong connections, bonds and friendships with families like our own in the USA.I was going to just add a comment to his, but think he has touched on a more serious issue, so decided to make a posting about it here.
Michael, this brings up an important point. My wife, adult children and I all agree that Christian families are far more common in the United States than in Canada. And we all KEEP noticing it. It's been years now! And it's depressing to us all as Canadians. Just an observation, but maybe one that has been/could be confirmed/denied? I really don't know...
I think my friend Joshua has noted something that I currently agree with, though the long term reality, I both fear and hope is likely to be different, so let me explain.
First off, I think that American Christians are far more out there and in your face with their faith, and by that I mean most particularly and in general the American Evangelical Christian family. God Bless Them. It appears to me as a snowbird, some time resident of the USA, that the American people are more demonstrative of everything that they possess, and that includes their faith. It shows up more in Evangelical Christians, and they have been a blessing to that nation, and to any of us who have reason to meet them or receive the blessing from them or their music or teaching, and preaching.
What is not so much in evidence in America is the Catholic Christian family, and not because of their weakness of faith as such, but because of the quiet way that Catholics have learned to live their faith.
In Canada, we are by our nature quieter about everything, and so are our Evangelical Christians. Canadian Catholics are quieter still, by and large, I think, and observe.
In my view, the Christian family has been under attack in this country, Canada, for a long time, and one area of that attack is the muzzling of free speech and trampling of other fundamental human rights here particularly for Christians. The HRC attacks on Stephen Boissoin, Fr. Alphonse deValk, Bishop Henry for having the temerity to speak out on Church teaching, which is unpopular in our secularized world are only some of the examples. HRC/HRT decisions that follow the secular agenda in all areas, where it is often contrary to Church teachings and the beliefs of people of good will has served to make us even more timid to speak out. At this time, the only group in this country that you can discriminate against with impunity is Christians.
From my time in the US, particularly over the last few winters, it seems that the Christian family in the US was stronger there, but I think it is reasonable to say that the Christian family is now under serious attack, and that attack is being led by the US Democratic Party. It happens in subtle ways, like the new Hate Speech legislation, and not so subtle ways, like in the vaunted Health Care Reform. And there is more on the horizon.
Christians, who now form a minority in both our countries are being handed over to be slaughtered, not in a visual holocaust sort of way, YET. It is the destruction of and manipulation of the values that we Christians hold dear. The devil is very much behind this and is only too pleased to facilitate it. Hell (and I mean that word), he has what is happening now in his end game plan.
But, we Christians have read the end of The Book, and he is not in it, certainly not in a victorious place.
God is calling us to stand up for what is truth, and to speak against injustice, even if it hurts peoples' feelings. We Christians must stand together against evil, particularly evil that masks itself as tolerance of lies and deceit.
So, in the midst of this dire situation, and it is far more dire than we believe, or want to believe, some great good is occurring. For example, Pope Benedict is on a mission to make the Body of Christ one again, inviting people of good will, to come home, to strengthen the Body as One. A serious problem that prevents Christians from making a united response to the evils that surround us and confound us is our fragmentation. Our message of truth gets watered down, since we all have different versions, not of the core principals, but on other very serious matters.
No Christian should be silent on Life, and its sanctity from conception to natural death. It is natural law, and clearly ordained by God. How can one be for Christ, and be pro-choice, for example? "What you do to the least of these little children, you do also to Me."
God loves each and every one of us just as we are, but He is not prepared to leave us that way. He wants the very best for us, and it is up to us to go out and find His best, and then claim it for ourselves, and employ it in His Glorious Name.
Which brings me to the quiet American and Canadian Catholic Family. Pope John XXIII saw ahead and so he brought new life into the Church with Vatican 2. As he said from his death bed: “The moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead". He invited the Holy Spirit, who had never left, to take an active part in the formation of the current Church, and to transform the hearts and minds of Catholics and other people of good will.
Catholics and all Christians are invited to let the Holy Spirit come alive in them, to walk in the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been available to Christians since the beginning, and for those Christians, particularly Catholic Christians who have received Confirmation of the Holy Spirit to seek release of those gifts that God has for them, and which are particularly necessary in this time and place.
So, dear readers, I believe, and am not alone in that belief, that unless we wake up to what is happening around us, we are in for worse times, and the Christian Family will face extinction, out of apathy.
Come out, dear readers, and walk in the Joy and Truth of God's Holy Spirit. You only need to invite God to give you His Spirit to guide you; to guide you to other believers who share that Spirit, to guide you to places where you can make a difference in your faith in Him, to guide you to the Cross of His Salvation.
Rumours of the death of Christianity and the Christian Family, its primary unit, in North America are premature, because there is a remnant of believers who are called to reinvigorate the faith, and when you are called by Him, who does not want to lose one of you, then you must heed His Voice.
I will be writing more soon on Life In The Spirit of God, and will share with you God's most exciting and exhilarating call on each and every one of our lives.