Friday, January 8, 2010

Unity, Protestantism/Catholicism, And Some Commentary On St. Augustine


Recently, I've had a lot of free time on my hands. I've heard it said, "Free time is Satan's playground." Well, whoever said it, they were more right than they know. It's so easy to dig yourself/fall into pits when you've got free time. To be blunt, you do really stupid, illogical things and make for hasty and not-thought-out decisions.
I've been reading a lot lately, and the one book I've tried to read some of every day is St. Augustine's "Confessions." Augustine was a brilliant man. His ideology, articulation, and beautiful illustrations of God's love are so profoundly stated they are cross-denominational. So many Catholics & Protestants have very intense feelings about the differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church (really, churches, as indeed, Protestants do have thousands of denominations). Regardless of the differences and conflict throughout history however, we are called as followers of Christ to be united as One in the body of Christ, in true community and fellowship.
The reason I bring this up is to not preach a sermon, nor to strive up feelings of controversy, but rather to make this point: God is bigger than denominations, ideas, our grudges, frustrations, and yes, believe it or not, any authority on earth. His providence and sovereignty supersedes our incessant tendency as humans to say because we ''know'' we're right, God favors ''us'' the most. But contrary to this ideology, God is God, humans are humans, and the only universal and eternal difference between any two people is whether or not they have accepted Christ in their heart.
So, back to St. Augustine, while he was indeed a Father in the early Catholic Church, His writings are so personal, transparent, and bluntly honest, anybody can read them and truly enter the innermost heart and struggles of a man who was after God's heart.
As I said, I brought up the Catholicism/Protestantism not bring up controversy, but to get across the point that God is God, and we are people, and it's petty to pass judgement on the writings of people who follow God because of their denomination as a Catholic or Protestant. I say this not to point the finger, but because I for so long refused to give any ear or thought to anything which had to do with Catholicism. But there are so many faithful Catholics and so many faithful Protestants -- BOTH faithful followers of Christ -- who have encountered Christ and love Jesus and have Jesus in their hearts. To ignore this fact is selfish, prude, and immature; casting judgement on truth and writings which God can speak to us through because we're too proud to do something uncomfortable -- put aside our stubbornness and truly heed to Paul's plea in Ephesians to be united in Christ.
I'll leave you with this writing of St. Augustine (which I was initially going write much earlier in this post ... I apologize for the vast ADD and jumping around this post has taken):

"You awaken us to delight in your praise;
for you made us for yourself, and our heart
is restless till it rests in thee."
-St. Augustine, "Confessions: The Glory of God"

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