Growing up as a Catholic, I don’t recall ever questioning that Jesus was God and died for my sins on the cross; that by believing he had done so, I was guaranteed ever-lasting life in the kingdom of heaven after I died; or that so long as I went to church on Sundays and received communion – perhaps garnering a little food for thought during the sermon that in all honesty would usually be forgotten by the time I got back home – that I was being a good Catholic, though really just as a bonus to already having been saved through mere belief that Jesus was my lord and savior.
Being saved through mere belief as I had believed, I never really placed a great deal of importance on the manner in which I lived my life day-to-day and even moment-to-moment – how I treated others, my actions, words and choices (or lack thereof for that matter)… even my thoughts, desires and motivations behind my outward deeds. The truth is that it ultimately wasn’t all that important, nor was it anything I felt I really had control over due to the idea ingrained in me that we were all born in original sin and could never be free from that sin – only that we could hope to have our sins “covered” through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. There were the ten commandments, and I came to value things such as not stealing or using God’s name in vain – seeking to appease my god so as not to anger him or hurt his feelings – but how differently would my perspective have been if I had instead been taught the meaning and importance of such scriptures as, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36 KJV); or, “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5 NIV); and what about, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col 3:5 NIV)? These three scriptures in and of themselves seem to paint a decidedly different picture from the one I knew of perpetual redemption apart from our actions. Perhaps the following scripture, if truly considered and understood, would have given me pause and reason to reconsider the day-to-day manner in which I lived my life: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7 NIV). Had I been taught that with our every action, word, and even thought and desire, we are sowing that which will be returned to us when the subsequent and inevitable reaping occurs, perhaps I would have seen things differently. It would certainly have given new meaning to the Golden Rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
What if the truth was that as a result of the lack of attention placed on these and many other similar scriptures in the bible – as well as a general misunderstanding of the true purpose and meaning of the scriptures as a whole – that the teachings I came to accept as true were incomplete at best, and in many cases, nothing more than erroneous, man-made dogma? Is it possible that the vast majority of Christians and others today are in fact perfect examples of the mindset depicted in the scripture, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12 ESV) – completely unbeknownst to us? And perhaps even more alarming, what if there is truth to Jesus’ words that “If you would enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mat 19:17 ESV), or in his Sermon on the Mount that “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat 5:48 ESV). Does this not suggest that there may be a great deal more to the equation than the vast majority of us have considered?
The point is not to condemn Catholicism or Christianity, as with all mindsets and religions, they are from a certain perspective good and serve an important purpose for many people – a necessary aspect of the whole; nor am I suggesting that I wasn’t instilled with a basic (if only relative) sense of right and wrong in my early years. The point is rather that I never really questioned if there was something more than what I had been brought up to believe. It was simply a given that I was saved and would go to glory after passing from this world, regardless of my actions and how I chose to live my life – as so many other people have come to believe as well – and living our lives accordingly. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties when I began to question the basic assumptions that formed the foundation of my religion as I understood it, that after years of searching, ultimately led me to Jesus’/Yeshua’s original teachings of TheWay (one word to show division overcome) – forever changing my life.
With this blog, I hope to pass along some of the “unorthodox” knowledge and experiences I’ve gained as a result of the trials, tribulations, failures, victories and growth in my own pursuit of walking in TheWay – including how I’ve applied what I’ve learned as a husband, father and manager. It is my hope that through sharing some of what I’ve learned over the past several years, I can be of help to others.