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believe and/or follow?

Goodness! How difficult it is to believe in the sort of Messiah that Jesus of Nazareth represents!

To Believe that we win by losing our very selves!

To believe that love is everything.

To believe that power is a great danger, wealth slavery, comfortable life a misfortune.

It is not easy.

This is why you hear [people] in the street say, “If there was a God there would not be all this suffering.”

Two thousand years have gone, and there are still Christians whose doctrinal notions belong to those ancient days when the power and existence of God was revealed by displays of strength and the victory of armies. And especially by wealth and having more possessions.

The real secret had not then been received.

Nor is it received very easily even today.

Hence the blasphemy in general circulation denying the kingdom’s visibility, given the ordeal of suffering and death.

The old teaching that we, the Church, must be strong still feeds our determination to possess the land and dominate the work!

We must make ourselves felt. We must keep our enemies down. We must scowl. We must win, and to win we need money, money, money. And to have money we need banks, we need the means, and we need clever bankers. How can we do good without means, without money? Let’s have a big meeting, and then any opposition will be shamed into silence. Well, we must defend our rights, the rights of the Church. We must defeat our enemies.

Enemies, always enemies on the Church’s horizon! Yet Jesus has told us in no uncertain terms that we no longer have any enemies, since they are the same people we are supposed to love, and love specially.

Can it be that we have not understood?

Don’t we read the Gospel in our churches?

How long shall we wait before following the teaching of Jesus?

—From “Why Oh Lord” by Carlo Carretto

Sadly, the questions are legitimate. Don’t we all wish that filling pews on Sunday morning, writing our tithe checks, attending to our bibles, and wearing the cross, all satisfy the “follow me” of Jesus? There is so much emphasis on being a “believer,” and too little mention of followship, discipleship, and living the love of the Christ. Do we not see this — or do we just choose what is most comfortable to us now?

We should spend some time in self reflection, and not assume we’re in perfect flow with Him. If we’ve reached an ease of comfort with “following,” maybe we’re not. Jesus didn’t portray a lot of soothing imagery about what it looks like to follow Him. I think there are invasive elements in that kind of commitment. Everything gets touched and measured by that kind of “followship.” Is that why we’re hesitant? —MDP

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