Since it's Halloween season....
...which, by the way, used to be just Halloween, but now, since the decorations go on sale in August, the houses are decorated by Oct. 1st and the parties started last weekend, we can safely call Halloween a season....
...I thought it might be okay to quote someone who would cause your hair to stand on end. Proof that no matter what our differences, we can find some sort of common ground. I read an essay the other day by Penn Jillette, the bombastic magician and atheist, and found myself in total agreement with his premise, if not his conclusions. I'll stand by with a blow dryer and a brush to help you look normal again after you read it. I don't think it will make you feel happy.
So now I'm really confused. If Jesuit's, Dominican's and Franciscan's all have the same basic believes of the Catholic Church, which is basically to lead us to a closer union with Jesus Christ. What is the difference of being Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, or Catholic, in leading us to a closer union to Jesus Christ? Oh, I forgot about the Pope.
First of all, the various religious orders do not have the same "basic beliefs" of the Catholic Church, they have ALL of the beliefs of the Catholic Church, or they are not an order, they are suppressed or ex-communicated.
So, yes, we can start with the Pope. That's not a little thing. Jesus put someone in charge, so for His followers to not believe that there's someone in charge because Martin Luther and King Henry the VIII didn't like that idea is a big problem.
But the various Christian denominations have a lot of other deal breakers going for them, important things like what they believe about the Holy Trinity, whether or not Jesus'
Presence in the Eucharist is real or symbolic, works vs. faith (which, as far as I can tell, totally confuses everyone, especially the 'faith only' crowd). The list is unbelievably long.
So long, that I can tell you I once met a former preacher who told me about his life in the tents. He was a tent preacher and he was from a family of tent preachers. He was a believer, too, not one of these phony Margo Gortner money grabbers. He told me about a huge donnybrook between two Christian sects in the same town. One believed that you should always dip the bread in the wine and the other believed that you should have them separately. There was a huge fight that left all sides not on speaking terms. I guess a bunch of them were comprised of those people who don't want the food on their plates to touch.
Let me tell you the rest of his story, too, as it is pertinent to our discussion today. He traveled the country preaching in tents for most of his life until one day he arrived in Florida. He was admonished by the Christians there for allowing black people into the tent and when he scoffed at this ridiculous notion, his tent was burned to the ground. He quit preaching and applied his skills of persuasion to selling vacuum cleaners door to door. True story!
So you can see why Mr. Jillette's thoughts struck me as they did. It's why I wrote this, so long ago.