Well I have been glaring at my computer now for almost an hour. I checked Facebook until I was tired of reading…I am still trying to decide how the Lord wants me to write about obedience. I should, after all, write on obedience, as that was the last in my series “For Those I left Behind”. The problem is my life keeps getting in the way of this article! As I have read the entire internet trying not to write this, I will therefore warn all, this is likely to get personal, so if it is cold intellectualism you were looking for….. why have you ever read my blog?
I mean this as a witness, not a “look what I did”. I am certain before I reach the end, I will show some good traits of mine as well as some bad ones.
Obedience is something that stems from trust. Trust and faith go hand in hand. Trust is something that each person has to conjure, faith is a gift from God. Faith is an anchor, one that will hold even the largest ship in the worst storm. Faith is absolute. Faith is the pearl of great price, it is the coin we clean the house to find. Once found, we cannot bury it, we must share it, thus building the wealth of the kingdom of God by adding souls to the mansion prepared for us in heaven.
Modern society trusts no one. How many calls have you received which promise you riches, or of late, arrest if you do not go buy two untraceable cash cards and give them the codes on the reverse sides? I have fallen for a Direct TV scam, they even used Direct TV’s number, caller ID the whole nine yards. My Dad sadly fell for the “sheriff” calling to inform him of his pending arrest if he did not get the untraceable cards. We trust no one. A modern-day victory for the devil.
Faith is absolute, but those confidence men, like the ones trying to play a con over your cell phone, have since Christ’s crucifixion tried to produce and sell a false faith. I remember that moment when I figured out, I was not dealing with Direct TV, one minute elated at the deal I was getting, the next minute wondering how I would tell my wife that one month after quitting my job, I had given away $350.00 to con men. I also remember the day I figured out the faith I had been taught since my birth was false. I sat at my desk in Wichita Falls staring at the 39 articles, the Catechism in the BCP (Book of Common Prayer TEC), and the brand-new Anglican Catechism, all denying the Sacramental Economy that I knew was the center of the true faith. What to do? Stay or leave? Here was my “stay or leave” list.
- Convert the Anglican Church to Catholicism!
- There are other Anglo-Catholics, band together and make the third arm of the Church Catholic truly Catholic.
- OK, too bold, be quiet, earn a living, then retire. Sounds like something the Vichy French would have reasoned, but who would be left to teach Anglicans true Catholicism?
- Leave 20 years of experience.
- Leave the only profession I have ever felt right doing.
- Leave the comfort of a great career.
- Leave the paycheck.
Looking at that very sobering list, I made the choice to stay. God had other plans.
I did not have the trust I needed, so God set up a very real method of showing me what turning my back on the faith looks like. God would not give up on me. He would not leave me to have my peaceful walk in heresy, He kept after me. Here is what I found, finally.
- We are all confidence men, selling “our” faith as wares, insisting, sometimes violently, that it is truth.
- Nobody can be trusted.
- We are listless, empty, adrift.
- Demands obedience.
- Demands all you have, and all you will be.
- Leaves you in strange places, totally dependent on God.
Obedience, really, is easy. We say yes to ourselves every day. I am obedient to a fault to my hunger. So many wars fought, not a one could begin without obedience. We pass out obedience like it was candy at Halloween! Why is it so hard to be obedient to the faith? Because you do so alone, it is a personal decision. I quit Architecture all those years ago (1996). Friends and family (other than my wife and kids) were friendly, but not supportive, alone with my family I went to seminary, alone I went into debt. I paid off the final part of that debt late October 2017, almost to the day I walked out of my duties at my last pastoral position. Alone I walked out, again to nothing. Leaving all my employable skills behind, once again I followed God into the unknown.
Alone. But not really. Faith instructs us clearly that God is always with us. Obedience to the faith forces us to look to God and trust He will not leave us in the pit. How can you know a miracle if you never put yourself in the place to receive one? I am not advocating jumping off the proverbial career cliff just to yell to the Lord “catch me”. But what I am advocating is to first learn the faith; make it make sense to you! The faith is simple, if your teacher/pastor/Catechist makes it difficult and confusing, find another teacher! God wants us all obedient to the faith, why would He make that faith impossible to learn unless your IQ was 170? Learn the faith, then look around you. Does your church make sense? Is it saving souls and helping the needy in real ways? Is growing? It is hard to be honest, but we must. Here is what I found.
- Centered on all 7 sacraments.
- Anxious to teach the faith, in simple terms.
- Helps the poor and needy.
- Its catechism makes sense, it works!
Are there areas that need reforming in the Church? Absolutely, but the faith is the anchor that holds all ships even in the worst storm.
We have to trust in something, we must have faith in something, we must be obedient to something. Don’t just lazily give your obedience to a con man. Make the change, walk out into the unknown, you will not do so alone. God will test you, He will stretch your belief. But in the end, you will know God better than when you began the journey.