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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Thursday, June 27 2002 

God-forsaken

The ultimate rejection has to be rejection by God. More correctly, I should say “the perception of rejection by God,” because biblical religion holds that God does not turn away anyone who diligently seeks Him (Hebrews 11:6), though many interpret circumstances in their lives as being God’s punishment for anything from their own shortcomings to sins committed by their forebears. The anecdote earlier in this series about Paul Tillich’s perception as a child that God rejected him through his earthly father’s rebuking rather than praising his child's-play interpretation of Christ’s birth, may be a prototypical example of the alienation many feel toward God.

The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches teach that their bishops and priests represent Jesus Christ in the services of the church and even in the personal lives of the faithful, where they are examples, counselors, and prayer intercessors. So the betrayals of trust by clergy that have been coming out in recent news reports must seem to the victims (and in a larger sense, any of the faithful may feel victimized) as betrayal by God himself. And from my evangelical Protestant background I can attest that even in that more democratized religious milieu many have taken the rejection of a minister or even the lay leadership of a congregation as rejection by God. An attitude of “I tried to give my talent to God, but He didn’t want it” because someone who was asked to receive or facilitate it lacked interest, is occasionally cited as a reason for rejecting the church, the faith, and/or God.

Some turn to God because they have nowhere else to turn, or because they're persuaded that He cannot, will not, turn them away. That may not be the best reason, but it's an entirely adequate one, when undertaken in good faith supported by faith-works (repentance, prayer, and alms). The promise of Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up,” may be applied to the sometimes failing fathers of ministry and the mother of institutional religion. To all who blame God or reject the church because of the sinners in it, remember the old aphorism: “If you're feeling far away from God these days, guess who moved.”

I think throughout life I've felt more alienation than acceptance in the churches I've chosen. Church isn't easy. Citizenship isn't easy. Even being a family is not easy. But running from the hardship rather than working to make it work better is cutting yourself off from your own roots or, as many a western Pennsylvania mom used to say, cutting off your nose to spite yourself.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

You may be a redneck if... (2002 edition, series)

You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Cool Whip on the side.
The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.
Your working TV sits on top of your nonworking TV.
You thought the Unibomber was a wrestler.
You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.

— Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

—Lily Tomlin

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