Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21st 2011, My Response to Harold Camping

Growing up in the 1960’s there were clear defined lines in our American culture.  One of the defined lines was the neighborhood and Parish you lived within.

I was raised in an Irish, Catholic, Democrat home and neighborhood.   I was unaware of anything outside of my very small world which consisted of my Parish and my neighborhood. 
What do I mean by Parish?  A portion of a diocese under the authority of a priest legitimately appointed to secure the helps of religion for the faithful dwelling therein. › Catholic Encyclopedia    My hometown had many Parishes and those Parishes were also defined by particular ethnic group/groups. 

I grew up in the same Parish my Father’s Family grew up in when they settled in my hometown from Ireland.  My little brother even had the same Kindergarten Nun that my Father when he attended Kindergarten just to give you an idea of how deep this Parish mindset was.
I was Catholic; I breathed, ate and slept my Catholicism.  I had many questions that nobody would or could answer.  I was taught that if a Catholic even visited a Protestant Church it was a very bad sin.

Meanwhile my little brother had questions of his own and decided to study Greek, Latin and Spanish.  He studied Greek and Latin so he could further study the scriptures and Spanish to communicate to the friends he made along the way not in our “Parish”.  My little brother quietly discussed his findings with me and continually rocked my Catholic world with his discoveries.

I continued to carry on trying to be the best Catholic I could be.  I had major screw ups along the way and was quite the “regular” at Saturday Confession.  My brother, sister and I would walk to confession on Saturday afternoons discussing all the “bad things” we needed to confess and sometimes chanting curse words just to get them out of our system before we said our confession and did our penance.  We wanted to make sure that we had all our venial and mortal sins tallied up correctly and the cursing was just to make sure we relieved any badness that still might be present since cursing was not really part of our regular vocabulary.

Fear of dying while not in a “State of Grace”  (see  Paragraph 1862  CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH  SECOND EDITION  )  was a recurring nightmare of mine,  The End of the World “Doomsday” that always played out of me running from one locked church door to another to give my last confession to attain  my “State of Grace” so I would be guaranteed a place in heaven .

 My ongoing question to myself was would  I ever be in a ”State of Grace” longer  than the time  it took me to say my Penance and walk home .  Maybe I should just really guarantee my entrance into heaven by becoming a nun and really shore up my eternal home.  Surely the nuns were always in a “State of Grace”.   That was the answer for my recurring Doomsday Nightmare.  I would become a nun and always be a stone’s throw away from the confessional.

My last 30 years have been a journey of discovery and a long way from the little girl who was looking for an Eternal guarantee by becoming a nun.

I have not had the Doomsday nightmare since I became a Christian almost 30 years ago.  I no longer fear that I need to run to a confessional to guarantee my place in heaven.     I simply get on my knees and confess to my Savior.  This is freeing for me and many others that have come from a similar background and have discovered the freedom this presents.  With this freedom comes very serious responsibility to show Christ through our words, actions and our general way of life... 

I am free to ask for forgiveness and be forgiven.  I am not free to do as I please and act recklessly then just say a quick I am sorry.  I have studied the Bible and believe The Holy Bible is the Inspired and Infallible Word of God

Since the Bible is my anchor and my roadmap to life then what Harold Camping is quoted as saying is quite upsetting to me as a practicing Christian.

I am deeply troubled that Christians as a whole are being depicted as they are because of Harold Camping and the noise he is making again.

Yesterday I was commuting to NYC to join my husband for a Met/Yankee Subway Series Game.  I sat on the bus looking around at all the different people immersed in their little iPod, blackberry and iphone worlds seemingly quite unaffected that this could be their last full day on earth.   I likened it to myself as a child and had been immersed in my Irish, Catholic, Democrat Parish years ago unaware of other’s worlds.   I felt sad to myself and asked myself have I done all I can to show Christ’s love to all I have encountered.  Have I been living as “if” this could be my last day on earth?

I walked to the 7 train under Port Authority and heard a thunderous Man’s Voice booming, echoing through the underground tunnel.  No it was not God but a man screaming Bible verses condemning people and shaming them to turn away from their sinful ways quite aggressively with a huge Bible opened.   I was disgusted that this man did not realize that he was turning off so many passerbies to maybe their only encounter with “a Christian”.  I heard the whispers and utterances of the throngs of people muttering “crazy Christian, lunatic Christian, cult like” etc.    Many I was rubbing shoulders with seeming to group all Christians in one crazy group.  This was the result of one chance encounter. 

I have seen the news and the images of the buses, the people who have given up their jobs, sold their possessions to hand out tracks and make sure they spread the word of the end of the world.  My heart goes out to them.  They are earnest in their endeavor and for that they have my respect. 

I do not agree with Harold Camping and his follower’s interpretation of the Bible nor their approach.

  I feel being lukewarm and apathetic is also detrimental hence why I am writing this post.

My faith and walk with Christ is based on my belief that the Bible is the Inspired and Infallible Word of God.    Therefore if what Harold Camping has said came to pass today then my world would have been blown this day spiritually and physically.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to even write this post today.  I understand that many will continue to group all Christians together as deranged lunatics.   I pray that this Christian can give some insight to a “Christian”.    

I hope that more Christians will come forward and allow people to see them for their Christ like love and character rather than be depicted and sentenced to being negatively labeled and unapproachable.

Please allow me to share some thoughts from a website I came upon just today that has an overview that includes some Bible verses that I have come to learn in my Christian walk.

Jesus first expressed this idea that He would return “like a thief in the night” in the Olivet Discourse.  Four of His disciples came to Him on the Mount of Olives and asked, “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3). During His response Jesus described the signs that will take place before His return, providing a way for us to determine the general time of His return.

Repeatedly, Jesus told of the increasing deception that will come in the Last Days. He commanded us to watch and stay alert so we would not be deceived and get caught off guard.
Today many people are confused and deceived regarding the meaning of the expression “like a thief in the night.”  They mistakenly believe that Jesus will come “like a thief in the night” to the Church.  Meaning that the Church will not know the general time of Christ’s return.  However, this is totally incorrect. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul clearly tell us that the Church will know the general time of Christ’s return. Jesus said,

Believers will be aware of the general time of Christ’s return but unbelievers will be caught off guard when Jesus Christ returns to earth “like a thief in the night.”   Therefore, don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, many signs will occur before Jesus Christ returns to gather up His Church.

If  the coming of the Lord catches you by surprise, you will be treated as an unbeliever.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13)

Monday, May 16, 2011

In Answer to: Do You Think You’re A Good Parent?? How Do You Know?

I am a mommy of 3, ages 26, 24, 20.    There were and still are days that I ask myself “Do I think I am a good Parent and how do I know”?   These days my husband and I are reaping more fruit and seeing so much more come into fruition.

I started my Mommy career warning my oldest infant child and only daughter that I hoped she would survive because the plants sure did not!  She peered up at me from her receiving blanket with a knowing, trusting smile that later would reveal she trusted me even if I am a plant killer.  It is all about priorities I would later explain to her and my other 2 children as we trashed the unlucky plants month after month.

Parenthood is full of choices and priorities.  What most do not understand is that your priorities must never become your choices.    Let your choices be chosen based on the priorities you set.   What do I mean with this choice/priority talk?

While raising our children we always stressed to each of them that our number one priority for them was to lead them to be autonomous adults.  So based on that statement we proceeded with basing all decisions on that goal.

So our priority was established and the choices begun which were:  what kind of education, what kind of food would I feed them, should they watch TV and how frequently, what kind of discipline would we apply etc. etc. you get the drift?
The choices we made based on our number one priority could make a smash hit sitcom.  Our children love to sit around together and describe the insane woman that homeschooled them feeding them herbs and organic fruits and vegetables with a highlighted in Yellow TV schedule stuck on the Fridge and their little brother in time out for the 100th time in a day.  The laundry piled as high as the snow, chemistry projects were fizzling, art supplies were strewn as far as the eye could see and a mini cooking show was being produced by the amateur videographer standing about 3 foot tall. 
They also love to rehash how the three of them wrote and produced mini plays every week for the children they minded at the Women’s Bible study.   I say minded loosely since they themselves were 3, 7 and 9 years old and very in charge arriving each week with their overstuffed suitcases of costumes and props.   The ladies took up a collection each week to reward the 3 of them for their time.  This is the part when you know you have done something right, here it comes…....  

The 3 of them used their earnings to send an underprivileged kid to summer camp.  I still get choked up when I think of their shining bright eyes and smiles as they handed in their earnings.   They will also recant how strict we were in things other parents weren’t and vice versa.   We later explained that we tried not to set them up to fail because there were certain things not even the so called “best behaved children” could resist such as not having a party if your parents left you alone for an extended period of time without accountability, Not Leaving the house stocked with liquor in an unlocked liquor cabinet, oh just not leaving them unattended period even if they were 16. 

Parenthood is still full of choices and priorities even with them being older.

My priority as a mother of young adults is now to step aside and let them be adults with minimal input unless asked.

Failure is the tuition they need to pay for the success they will achieve.

These days my husband and I still make ourselves available to help advise, guide and just be the ear to listen.

I am happy to report that we have managed to achieve the number one goal of raising autonomous children/adults.

Our daughter is a model/actress.  She is getting married this year and we are pleased with her fiancĂ©  who makes her very happy.  Our Second child, oldest son graduated College, landed a great job and is contemplating his MBA from Columbia.  Our Youngest son is still attending College, builds computers, fixes computers and is presently writing an Iphone application.   All of them are very supportive of me and my business and help in any way they can.

Back to the initial question.  “Do I think I am a good Parent and how do I know”? 

Yes I think I am a good parent.  Have I made mistakes?  Absolutely but keeping my eye on the priority and not allowing the plethora of choices become the prioritiy has determined where we all are today and that is a family with great stories of insane parents.