Saturday, September 5, 2015

Monks and Common People

It was formerly thought, from the start of the organized church to the middle of the Protestant Reformation, that the excessively faithful should enter the ministry or monastic life.  The thought was that the common person was not morally strong enough to be good enough to live a moral/holy life.  But I do not agree with that assessment.  The further a person considers themselves from being able to be moral, the less they try to be moral.  If they assume morality is impossible, they never bother to try.  This is a false belief, and one that contributes to losing followers of the faith.

Monastery Graveyard in the Snow
I am not a moral perfectionist.  Perfection is not the standard we follow however.  We assume our flesh is sinful, which is why we require forgiveness.  We do have to aspire to a higher moral standard.  I believe that most people would suggest that the falling church attendance in the 1st World is due to the standards of morality that comes in conflict with the standards of morality that individual decision making creates.

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Saint Sebastian
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

The standard of being a Christian is to be a Saint.  That sounds difficult, but, we do not have a caste among the faithful, with uber faithful, faithful, and the sort of faithful.  We are all called to believe, act in faith, and be transformed.  So, while I am not perfect myself, and I am aware that I've made numerous mistakes, committed sins, I continue to move forward without feeling that I should stop being a Christian.  The standard of faith is to be in constant state of prayer/conversation with God, be in repentance for my sins, and to act in the faith that I have.  I do that.  I am not a monk.  I am not a living saint.  I am a knight of the almighty highest King.

Monk and Knights

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