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Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Soliders For Christ

Does anyone find this term offensive?

I was in the middle of teaching a class to Confirmation candidates and their sponsors, and I began talking about spiritual war and the battle we face as Christians, how being Confirmed will give the candidates the courage and strength to spread and defend that Faith. Suddenly this mom raised her hand.

"I have a problem with the phrase "Solider for Christ". That is such an emotionally charged word and brings up images of violence and war. Christ wasn't about war he was about peace. No where in scripture does it talk about this being a war. These are children for gosh's sakes-not soldiers!".

Well, my ears began to burn and I could feel my temperature rising. Do I back off or pursue the lesson? I knew that the lesson was good. I knew that the 10th graders-yes, these "children" are in 10th grade -needed to hear the truth about what is going on around us and equip them as best as I could.

Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit, because I did exactly that. I knew what was right, I knew what needed to happen. I just couldn't believe her ignorance or her insistance on how bad the term was.

I guess I'm also kvetching here as well. This woman works with the Art and Environment here and is very involved with Liturgy. However she has not liked a single thing since I got here. For example I send home a calandar and letter every other month to all of the 6t-12th grade. I want them all to know that they are invited, what is going on, that they have a place, and that I know their name. With bulk mailing, I end up spending less than $100 every other month-about $50.00 a month to reach all of the youth.

While personal phone calls and meeting them is so much more productive, I will never get to do that for 700 kids. At any rate you would have thought that I took money to go get my hair done the way she railed on me. And this is not a poor parish. What makes it immenesly more sad for me is her children now won't talk to me. I see them at our local grocery store all the time and I will always give them a cheerful hello and ask about their life. They could be laughing one moment, then see me and turn in the other direction. It's sad, not for me-because it's not about me-but for them because they have chosen not to come to events and get involved in the things I offer.

Gr. I was just so annoyed at her and because of our past conversations I knew I didn't have to let it sit to long with me, but it is frustrating to keep battling someone who will never like anything.

I will say Thanks Be To God for the great parents who DID happen to be in that room and spoke up in defense of the term. THEY understood what the point was: Our kids NEED to be prepared to go out and do battle! To recognize those lies from Satan and battle him! I had made a prayer card with the Armor of God from Col. 3:12-14 (which I just wanted to say "Oh, hey. Here is a scripture that talks about battle. In the New Testament even! But that woulda killed the whole "listening to the Holy Spirit" thing I was working on at the moment) on one side and the prayer to St Michael the Archangel on the other side.

Guess who didn't say it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you for sticking to your guns on this one. Some people might need a reminder that in the Mass when we reply to the invitation of the priest, echoing St. John, to "Behold the Lamb of God..." with "Lord, I am not worthy to recieve you, but only say the word and I shall be healed"...we are imitating the response of the Centurion to Christ. This is lost in the curent English translation of the Mass, but the Latin is "Domine, no sum dignus ut entres sub tectum meum..." or "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof..."

So at the moment of our act of faith at the Holy Mass, just prior to communion, the Church gives us the soldier's faith as the model to imitate.

Ben Naasko
Denver, CO

10:29 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

Ack--good for holding your temper on that. Whatever else Christianity might require, spiritual pacificism is not one of those things.

Needless to say, I do not find the term offensive. I find it inspiring. I wonder if the woman's ever read Ephesians 6:10-18:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication."

Then there's Charles Wesley, the finest hymn writer in the history of the English language, penned a marvellous composition called "Soldiers of Christ, Arise":

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/s/s245.html

The greatest tragedy is that your opponent cannot see the spiritual struggle at the very heart of Christianity--her kind of faith is no preparation for the repeated assaults and blandishments of the outside world. Keep praying.

1:07 PM  

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