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Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Double Dippin'"

'Double Dippin' you AX? (ax=ask in some circles) Yes, I double dip. As often as possible, actually. It has nothing to do with Jerry Seinfeld's neurosis about biting a chip and or cracker, then after it has touched your mouth, putting the same chip back in the dip thus infecting the source. So that is not a habit I employ in social settings. If I am at home, by myself, I dip anyway I want---early and often!

The Double Dippin I am talking about has to do with where I seek to worship & fellowship with other believers. I am a Roman Catholic, baptized as an infant, raised in the faith, sacramentalized through & through. (Emphasis on MENTAL in the sacramental!) I was blessed with a Catholic education from 1st-8th grade. I know my faith & all the catechesis, I believe in Jesus & worship him as my Savior. I truly believe He is present in the Eucharist which is available no where else in the universe except in our Catholic Church where the consecrated elements become the body blood, soul & divinity of Jesus Christ. I read my bible daily & seek to understand & apply all that is available in His Holy Word. So in John 6 where Jesus reveals Himself as the Bread of Life, I believe every single word of that through & through! Just as St. Paul was a Jew's Jew, you could say I am a Catholic's Catholic. Which by the way is nothing to be so proud of....(It's NOT your religion that saves ya, dummy!)

I go to mass every weekend at different churches depending on my schedule. I am a member of the Church of the Nativity on James Island but since I am rather nomadic in my habits, I would say I am a 'Roamin' Catholic'. There is a sweetness in the reverence of mass. Kneeling during the consecration is an act of humility & helps me realize the utter truth of the scripture that "every knee shall bow & every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord".

Now I also fellowship with a nearby church that is an outreach of the Assemblies of God. Back in around 2006 or so, they were preparing a storefront in a shopping center near us & my kids rode up on their bikes & began to help them. They were greeted & welcomed warmly by Pastor Steve & the folks there. We began to attend their Wednesday night Family nights. My kids enjoyed it & I appreciated the community & good solid biblical teachings. So Coastal Harvest is a community of believers that I consider my faith family as well. They are genuine followers of Christ. I have invited numerous people to attend their because their is a casual acceptance that seems elusive in Catholic Churches.

I have also led numbers of people to our Catholic faith as well. I have sponsored folks who wanted to enter the RCIA process as part of their faith journey. RCIA, you ax? Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is a program that educates, informs & inspires adults who would like to join the church. I think there is alot to be said for this, but the formality of it all is not everyone's cup of tea.

Church doesn't save people, church doesn't redeem or sanctify us. Only a relationship with Our Father which is based in Jesus Christ His son who was crucified, died, buried & resurrected for our sake will lead to everlasting life! Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the Lord, the Giver life. Come Holy Spirit!! Fill the hearts of the faithful!
 I have heard the term , "Church-ianity". It is the same spirit of the Pharisees that Jesus loathed so much. Legalism is a belief system that adhering to a set of rules & regulations & never breaking or bending them will sanctify us. No 'religion' can actually save us!! What hollow burden to carry! And what a sorry excuse & lame counterfeit for the joy of loving & serving the Holy Spirit of the Living God!! Reading His Word fills you with the love He lavishly adorns us with. This is how I remain as close to Him as I am able.

 I expect that this confounds a few folks. A "Born-Again, Spirit-filled Catholic" who reads the bible? A Pentecostal Catholic? Devout Jesus-lovin, devil-shovin, bible-thumpin, pew-jumpin,  bible-totin, scripture quotin Child of God!! What? YEAH, you got a problem with that???

Yup. I never fit in any molds anyway. "Don't fence me in" comes to mind.
Sundays I attend mass either before or after the worship at Coastal Harvest. I do not receive their monthly communion, but I deeply respect their methods. So, I pay my tithe at my parish, but give offerings & alms to the other sources of my spiritual food. I also attend an "Equipping the Saints" meeting occasionally that crosses all denominations & religious lines. It is truly Spirit-filled & powerful truth that is life-changing. It is NOT about a Church & rules or regulations. It IS about developing the ability to listen, see & hear the presence of God all around us ALL the time!! Now THAT is what Double Dippin means to me!!
***This I know!