Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Lesson from Galatians

There is a Limit to How Smart You Can Be, But No Limit to How Dumb You Can Be

Over at Father Tim Moyle's blog, Where the Rubber Hits the Road, he and I have been involved in an interesting dialogue with a lapsed Catholic, but bible believing Christian from British Columbia called Wayne or by his handle Small Town Guy.

One of the things that I learned today while listening to the Catholic Channel on XM radio, is that if you have been baptised into the Catholic Church, you remain a Catholic forever, no matter where you wander to.  Who knew!  Certainly not Wayne.

The dialogue has been contentious at times, at least in my opinion.  Wayne, for his part, has made claims that the Catholic Church believes this or believes that, based largely on the writings of such well known Catholic baiters as Loraine Boettner, and on his church's interpretation of scripture, or on his own interpretation of scripture.

Father Tim has remained calm through all the back and forth, which has happened on several postings, and usually has little to do with the particular topic of the post or cross link.  I too have remained a shining beacon in this storm tossed sea - NOT.  Fortunately, Father Tim excised some of my more acerbic comments, for which I am grateful.

But, this morning's Epistle reading from mass caught my attention, and seemed pertinent to the dialogue that has transpired.  It is from Paul's letter to the Galatians, and speaks about what life looks like when you are guided by the Spirit and what life looks like when you are guided by your own self indulgence. 
Gal 5:18-25
18 But when you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: sexual vice, impurity, and sensuality,
20 the worship of false gods and sorcery; antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements,
21 factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all such things. And about these, I tell you now as I have told you in the past, that people who behave in these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these.
24 All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires.
25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behaviour be guided by the Spirit.
In the midst of some of the obvious sins of self indulgence are a couple of gems, "antagonisms and rivalry" and then after jealousy, "bad temper and quarrels."  In Wayne's writings, I have detected antagonism and rivalry, at least it has looked like that to me.  But, for my part, I know that I have employed my own bad temper and have been quarrelsome with a number of my responses, with some antagonism thrown in for good measure.

Compare that with what Paul calls us to like "patience, kindness, goodness", and then after trustfulness, "gentleness and self control." 

I do find it very irksome when people claiming to be Christians, then claim that they have the inside track to Jesus, and particularly when they erroneously claim that the Church which Christ founded, which took on the name Roman Catholic Church in earlier days, is wrong in its dogma.

That does not warrant me being self indulgent in my own behaviour, and now having been reminded of the fruits of the Spirit, I intend to work harder to be patient, kind and good, and gentle and self controled.

1 comment:

Fr. Tim Moyle said...

Michael: Amen to that! An excellent reflection on today's reading. Thank you very much!

Fr. Tim