Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Advice from a Rabbi to an Errant Catholic

Recently my dad sent me an article written by Rabbi Marc Gellman, author of "The God Squad" column that appears in many newspapers. The lengthy question, written by a Catholic, could be paraphrased like this:

"I was alienated from the Catholic church, so I joined a tradition that taught some universal truths, but then became disillusioned with that, so I came back to the Catholic church, in hopes to promote some new ideas. I encouraged them not to blindly and completely accept all church doctrines, and that the religious education of the children—being too stuffy with religious study—should be improved. Are my suggestions 'really so ill-conceived'?" (The last few words are a direct quote.)
The questioner was disappointed that his thoughts received "a cold reception."

The rabbi graciously but firmly and convincingly wrote why "Cafeteria Catholicism" is a bad idea by any religious standard (and certainly by Catholic standards). With a few edits to replace Catholic doctrines with Baptist ones, it would be required reading for some of us!

At one point, the questioner stated that the study of the Bible was "boring." And this is where the rabbi shows exceptional wisdom, when he replied:
"If your experience with Bible study has been unfulfilling, find a new teacher, not a new book."
Brilliant advice! So many people complain about the Bible being "difficult" or "boring" or "dry," and yet they make no serious effort to locate someone who can help them to understand it!
In our day, with a multitude of Bible study "helps" out there, it might be tougher to merely sort through to find a good help, than to find one in the first place!

There is really no excuse for being unable to meditate, learn, and gain wisdom from the study of the Word. Every Christian, with the Holy Spirit indwelling him and aiding him, can do it.

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