Monday, April 20, 2009

Faithful or Fanatic?

Fanatic or Faithful?

Did anyone catch the story during the olympics about the "Dancing Priest" Cornelius "Neil" Horan? He is the odd looking guy dressed in a kilt who claims to be a catholic priest, that ran out on the track during a 2003 British Grand Prix and also ran out at distracted a runner during the marathon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens?

This guy still wears his priest collar, but was kicked out of the catholic church. He is so consumed with his beliefs, that He goes to extreme behaviors to get the message out. He has a big distaste for sports, because he believes that people worship sports and athletes more than they do God, which there is some truth in that, so that is why he used those events to try and get his message out. He also dances in the streets of London with signs proclaiming the end of the world is coming.

He goes to extremes for his beliefs, putting himself in harms way and really in many ways being eccentric, overboard, crazy, and fanatical in his appearance & methods. It's one thing to have strong convictions and beliefs, but where do we cross the line from being faithful to fanatical?
Most of the religious turmoil we have in the world is because people from many religions become fanatical about their beliefs to the point of protesting, blowing stuff up, and even killing people for their cause.

How do we as Christians stand up for our faith or remain faithful to God while still trying to stand up for what is right, share our faith, or show the world the truth.

I think we have to get back to basics. We have to go back to the Bible. We have to look at Jesus' example. He was radical, but not irrational. He was stood up to opposition, but with facts and truth not emotion or pride. He disagreed with people, but showed them the truth in love. In His ministry He wanted to show people how to seek God, find the truth, and change their attitude, but He didn't blow up buildings, protest, kill people, or draw negative attention to himself, God, or the church.

It's right for us to be against abortion, homosexuality, and other tough issues, but we defeat the message if we get so consumed with the issue, we forget the main thing, God. We must honor God, show His love to others, and be His light. We can't be His light if we take our cause or passion overboard to the extent of hurting others, or giving God or His church a bad name.
We are representing God and His kingdom, while on earth. My interpretation of scripture is God wants us to share the truth, but share it with conviction not abusively. Share it with love not hate. Share it with firmness, but not crudeness. There is a fine line between passion and obsession.

The dancing wannabe former priest guy might really believe in all the things he does, but I think He's doing more harm than good. I think people see him and it makes the church and God look bad. We forget we are God's messengers, the message we preach with our actions and attitude in our daily lives is what the outside world perceives of God and the church. The old saying is, "We are the only Jesus some people will ever see", which leaves the question, what are they seeing? Are they really seeing God for who He is and what He has to offer or are they seeing people who are hateful, judgemental, violent, arrogant, weird, or just plain crazy? We must not compromise the truth by fanatical behavior. We must be faithful to the message of God.

"Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth."
I Corinthians 13:6(NIV)

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