MisterOJ

Christian Discussion II: We are an Advent people

158 posts in this topic

The old thread was locked, and while it hadn't really been particularly busy lately, I still think it's nice to have one on the board for those that want to use it.

A similar disclaimer to the other thread: This isn't a thread for debate about belief. There have been plenty of those and there will continue to be. This is a thread to discuss Christianity (or other faiths), post inspiring or interesting links, ask for prayer, or shares the joys in your life. Non-believers are completely welcome to post, but we ask that any questions be sincere and not a pretense to start a debate.

That said, at my church this year, we've been doing something new (for us) during Advent. As part of the Presbyterian service, at some point (usually after the sermon) the congregation always reads aloud a profession of faith. At our church, it is usually the Apostles' Creed, although sometimes (usually on Communion Sundays) we will use the Nicene Creed. But, during this Advent season, we have been using this instead:

We are an Advent people, a people of hope.

For us, Advent is a time of waiting, and so we wait.

We wait for the coming of the One who is the fulfillment of God’s promise, the fulfillment of hope, the declaration that we have been redeemed.

Even so, we are not a naïve people.

We know that the world in which we live will continue to be filled with pain and sorrow.

We know that hatred and violence will continue to exist. We know that death and separation will continue to be a part of our lives.

But because we are an Advent people, we know that none of these things will win in the end.

The Holy One is coming, to make holy once again all that was, is, and ever will be.

And in our waiting and our hoping, we work and worship, pray and play, in all things hoping that peace, love and joy will reign in our lives and in our world, now and forever.

Amen.

I think those are beautiful words. I'm glad we're using them because they really speak to my soul during this time of waiting.

Edited by MisterOJ

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That is good news. I'm a little surprised (although maybe I shouldn't be) at how progressive the American Catholics are. 

I think those numbers are all very interesting, especially the individual numbers for the Protestant denominations. Maybe it's just because of my geographic location, but I feel like the Southern Baptist Convention is the bell cow of the Evangelical wing. Once that number gets above 50 percent (and I believe it will happen in the next decade or so) that is when we will start to see real change among American Christians.

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Why are you surprised about American Catholics? We take what the Church says more like suggestions than actual rules.  

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Why are you surprised about American Catholics? We take what the Church says more like suggestions than actual rules.  

It's probably just because of the American Catholics I know. My wife is from a Catholic family and all her relatives are super conservative. Plus, the Catholic churches here in my little corner of Kentucky are all affiliated with the Fathers of Mercy, which is an ultra conservative order.

And, I'm not that surprised that they are over 50 percent or whatever in that poll. It's just that they are even higher overall than Mainline Protestant denominations, many (most?) of which have already sanctioned same sex marriage.

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It's probably just because of the American Catholics I know. My wife is from a Catholic family and all her relatives are super conservative. Plus, the Catholic churches here in my little corner of Kentucky are all affiliated with the Fathers of Mercy, which is an ultra conservative order.

And, I'm not that surprised that they are over 50 percent or whatever in that poll. It's just that they are even higher overall than Mainline Protestant denominations, many (most?) of which have already sanctioned same sex marriage.

I didn't realize there were any Catholics at in all in Kentucky. How the people of the Catholic Church feel and what the Church does jive most of the time. The Church is going to do what the Church is going to do regardless of how we feel about certain issues. I can't honestly see the Church ever sanctioning same sex unions honestly but individual Catholics often don't care as these numbers show. I imagine it is the same for Mainline Protestants.

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AMP,

There are plenty of Roman Catholics here in South Carolina.  I was one growing up.  There are at least five Roman Catholic churches in the Columnia SC area.

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South Carolina makes sense though because a lot of Irish disembarked in Charleston. So I can see them spreading out a little bit in the state.  

A missionary posted in Arkansas came to speak at my church recently and told us how people would come from hundreds of miles away to have their children baptized based on a rumor that a Catholic priest had set up shop. And that when he moved to town the local pastor called him and asked if he was a Christian because he heard Catholics weren't. I never thought there were swaths of the country where Catholics didn't exist.  

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There are Catholics in every state. In Kentucky, the towns and cities along the Ohio River in particular attracted their own share of Irish Catholic immigrants back in the 19th century. Remember that the Irish Catholic family that includes Rosemary and George Clooney was from Kentucky. The Trappist monastery where the famous Catholic author Thomas Merton was a monk is located near Bardstown, Kentucky.

And remember that the icon of Southern culture, Scarlett O'Hara, was a Roman Catholic, fitting the maternal ancestry of her creator, Margaret Mitchell.

Outside of southern Louisiana, Catholics are a distinct minority in the South, but they do exist in most places.

Edited by Ormond

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Well, I thought I would post here again, to say another thank you for the advice in the last thread. My grandmother's funeral was today (it seems a long time, at least to me, but there were delays caused by the Christmas period) and was not so bad/strange as I was expecting. The church service lasted around 1 1/2 hours and then we had a short 10 minute service by the graveside, where we lowered the coffin and sprinkled holy water into the grave, and then dropped in a rose each (this service was just close family). 

From the perspective of an "outsider" (by which I simply mean irreligious) it was interesting, and difficult at times (as family, we were in the front pew, and so it was rather obvious we didn't know when to stand/sit like others in the church, and it would have been obvious to the Father that we didn't know the hymns, or when to say something after he had finished speaking (I can't think of a better way to describe that right now. He would finish a passage and then the congregation would say something together. I imagine the Catholics in this thread can tell me a better way to describe that)). I found what I would call the 'ritual' side of the service very nice, and I was comforted by it - the incense, holy water, the bible, shroud and cross on the coffin, the wind and bread for those who wished it etc. I have to confess to not really hearing what was read from the bible, as I took that time to reflect on my own memories of her. That was something I felt sadly lacking in this service compared to the only other funeral I attended - it lacked the personal element. Though perhaps that was just the way my dad and his brothers organised it (I don't think they were in any state to say anything throughout). 

The hymns were comforting too, I would say. There were quite a few, though I only recall Jerusalem and I Watch the Sunrise (which was her favourite hymn, and it touched me quite deeply hearing it). 

There were a lot of people present, because she has lived in the area all of her life (she was 89) and was an active member of the community, the church, the Women's Institute and so on. In total there were upwards of 250 people showed up, which was in int self very touching. 

The funeral as a whole, this marking of her death, has helped me I think. I found this also with my grandfather, but it wasn't until today that I could really accept she had gone. Now I can, and I take comfort in knowing that regardless of my own religious views, she had the service she would have wanted and died in relative peace and comfort.

Anyway, I just want to offer my thanks again to those who helped in the last thread, it eased my mind a little before today. And I needed somewhere to share the experience of the day, and this seemed the most appropriate place to me. 

Thanks again. 

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This column about how taking the Bible too literally may turn you into an atheist was in one of the newspapers here recently. 

I think it is pretty spot on, especially for me. As a kid, I grew up in a church that took the Bible way too literally, and it caused a lot of soul searching for me in the early part of my adult life. It wasn't until I stopped taking the Bible extremely literally that my own faith started to really flourish.

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Mr. OJ, thanks for sharing the thoughtful link.

I was brought up in a secular household, but as a young man things changed.  I was successful in every aspect of life I could imagine, I had a wonderful family, my career was taking off, and anything I wanted, I felt like I had.  Or would have right around the corner.

Then I had a conversation with the father of a woman I was dating, and he pointed out that one thing I didn't have, was the Lord.  I had never even been to church, but I tagged along with their family.  I remember it so clearly, hearing the Gospel for the first time.  I was so surprised.  I thought the Bible was just a dusty old rulebook.  But I realized, that day, that it was the Word of God, the Word of a benevolvent and loving God who created everything. 

I realized that everything I had enjoyed about life was because of Him.  I cannot express the feelings of joy and relief that followed.

Thanks for letting me share and God bless!

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8 minutes ago, TheMightyKC said:

Mr. OJ, thanks for sharing the thoughtful link.

I was brought up in a secular household, but as a young man things changed.  I was successful in every aspect of life I could imagine, I had a wonderful family, my career was taking off, and anything I wanted, I felt like I had.  Or would have right around the corner.

Then I had a conversation with the father of a woman I was dating, and he pointed out that one thing I didn't have, was the Lord.  I had never even been to church, but I tagged along with their family.  I remember it so clearly, hearing the Gospel for the first time.  I was so surprised.  I thought the Bible was just a dusty old rulebook.  But I realized, that day, that it was the Word of God, the Word of a benevolvent and loving God who created everything. 

I realized that everything I had enjoyed about life was because of Him.  I cannot express the feelings of joy and relief that followed.

Thanks for letting me share and God bless!

Out of curiosity... how long ago was it that you found your faith?

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17 minutes ago, MisterOJ said:

Out of curiosity... how long ago was it that you found your faith?

About 30 years ago.

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1 minute ago, TheMightyKC said:

About 30 years ago.

Oh. That's quite a long time. I was thinking your answer was going to be much less than that.

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On 12/26/2015 at 10:12 AM, Ormond said:

 

Outside of southern Louisiana, Catholics are a distinct minority in the South, but they do exist in most places.

This is one of the reasons Southern, La is such a great place.  We are currently throwing a giant party to lead up to Lent.

On 12/29/2015 at 3:05 PM, HelenaExMachina said:

 

Anyway, I just want to offer my thanks again to those who helped in the last thread, it eased my mind a little before today. And I needed somewhere to share the experience of the day, and this seemed the most appropriate place to me. 

Thanks again. 

Helena, I'm glad you got some advise here.  I'm a Roman Catholic and have brought plenty of people to Mass.  They are often uncomfortable with being unfamiliar to the ritual.  If it was impersonal, you're right, that was probably due to the organizers.

 I am very glad that you found the ritual comforting.  Daily Mass is about half an hour.  I found my faith by attending in the mornings before work.  Honestly, the Catholic Church was the only pretty building in the town I was in.  It eased my homesickness enormously.  

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