Tonight's Controversy. The Real Debate...

Tonight is the great controversy. The debate. Just not the one you’re thinking of.

The presidential debate is significant enough. Let’s consider why. Many of us will be “plugged in” because it’s a drama over a balance of power. There are great implications. And we are in the driver’s seat. We’re given determinative power. For that we will be held accountable. We ought to be invested.

It moves me to consider how vested I am in the greatest drama over a balance of the greatest power.

How vested are we in the debate in our own souls and the soul of our marriages and families? Are there not great implications? Are we not in the driver’s seat? Given determinative power in the seeking? For which we will be held accountable?

Is it enough to merely call ourselves Catholic, indeed, even to “do” the Catholic “thing”?

Recently homecoming took place for Catholic high schools. Events such as these put the question of our real Catholicity on center stage. For whatever reason, during this week I was privy to culture among some parents and students: Where the F-word was used casually and common. Where many parents assumed their kids were going to have sex, or drink, and advised them… indeed, in some cases provided for them, accordingly.

This would be Judgment if I stood back in self-righteous indignation, not mindful of my own absolute imperfection, absolute dependency upon God… without awareness of my complicity in all this.

Yes, my complicity.

Beyond words and actions which come so easily, does my life give reason for others to believe in the REAL, relevant, transforming, life-giving, all-consuming power of Jesus Christ alive in our faith? Or merely paint a picture of “yada, yada”? No one needs yada, yada.

We readily acknowledge God as the source of all power, but what do our real-life commitments reveal about what we really believe? About whom or what is really our lord? Whom or what are we allowing to parent our children? In our homes, how do we spend our time? How do we speak to one another? What do we allow to be viewed and heard? More importantly, what vision and values do we model and place before our children?

One of the best indications of where we really stand is our calendar. What makes it to our calendar, worthy of commitment? What does it reveal about our priorities? About our real lord? What are these priorities really accomplishing for us of meaningful, enduring value?

Our Spirit-inspired, loving Shepherd, Pope Benedict, has been using his crosier (the shepherd’s staff) on many of us who, in spite of our external “look,” really are the lost one away from the 99: Our lives may exhibit all the formal commitment of faith, but under the hood— in the realm of our desires, translating to commitments, translating to the totality of our lives - are we really Catholics? (read his Jesus of Nazareth series)

I am so challenged… so moved… to bridge the great divide between what I profess and who I really am. I recognize my incompleteness, my imperfection, my failure. I recognize the implications for my marriage, family, community. I want to see these integrated. Whole. Holy.

This is a new moment.

For those of us who live in Erie, the ordination of our new bishop is an invitation to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Not just in some conceptual idea of “church”, but in our personal lives.

If we are to be the real deal Catholic Christians, faith must be more than external behavior compliance. More than memorized motions. More than a moment. More than filling pews. More than self-perpetuation. More than what’s easy. More than a cliche. More than a club. More than a culture. More than a job.

Ironically, many leave church because they intuitively know there's MORE... but are given little reason to believe leaders are conscious and MISSION MOTIVATED by the MORE... a MORE that has the capacity to command the totality of energy, talent, innovation, genius, resources of one's life.

If not, why bother?

An authentic encounter with the MORE impels one to give ALL. If that is not happening... if it does not define the totality of purpose... of every message, program and resource- if it does not ignite, unite and motivate every individual to give the best they have for that purpose, then we are merely spinning wheels... perpetuating a vision of Christ as dead man's bones.

Show me leaders (priests, parents, people) who are... who seek to be... ALL IN because they have encountered the real, relevant, defining, all-consuming, transforming power of Christ ... and we will see the Church... the world, FULLY ALIVE!

The heart is the encounter. If we authentically encounter Jesus Christ, TRULY encounter Him - we can not help but fall in love with Him and live for Him... see Him in who we are, who informs all we are to do.

And so we began Made2Worship. It’s not our innovative idea. It’s not about the worship, word and witness - but an encounter with Him. Jesus is on center stage. We need Him. He's REAL. He promised, “Upon this ROCK I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18). He wants to ROCK our lives, ROCK our families, ROCK this place.

Come join us tonight. 7pm. Confession begins at 6:30 p.m. (M2W is the first Wednesday of every month. Pray about marking your calendar.)