January 18, 2009

getting off the fence

Never in our nation's history has there been a more prominent time to choose. Our country was founded on Christian values and has been a culturally Christian place to be. From Christian holidays - such as Christmas and Easter - to even at one time allowing prayer in schools, Christ, even though indirectly, has been all around us.

But not any more.

We are no longer a nation with Christian ideals and a Christian culture. We can't fall back on our nation to be our identity when it comes to living out our lives as Christians. In a sense, however, this could be a good thing. Since we can't call ourselves Christians based on our environment, we must choose to be Christian by our own will.

There are many examples in our daily life where this rings true. Going to church, waiting to live together until you were married, the horror of abortion, and even the knowledge that contraception was harmful were all things widely accepted by the people in our country. It was easier to live a moral and God-centered life when our nation was moral and God-centered. But now that God has been thrown out of every public (and even sometimes private) arena, and that secular humanism and relativism dominate this country's way of thinking, we have come to a crossroads. The choice of following Christ and his moral law now falls on our laps as individuals. And if we don't consciously make that choice to follow Him, we will be lead further and further away.

I remember, right before my graduation from college, sitting in the car one time with my dad. We were talking about life and faith and how following Christ gets harder as you grow older. It becomes easier to slip away when the demands of a job and family life pull at you. I remember how I thought about the awesome Catholic community I had in college and how I knew in a few shorts months I would be without them. It was then I made a commitment to follow Christ no matter my surrounding or the circumstances I was in. Sitting here, almost 4 years later, I can say that it sure hasn't been easy, but following God has been a choice I have had to make over and over.

An important aspect in staying tied to Christ is having knowledge of your faith. For those that are Catholic, it means knowing what the Church teaches - especially on difficult or controversial topics. Children are more able to accept things on faith (one reason why Christ says we should be like them) but as we grow older we need answers. If we don't have answers to our faith when friends, media, and the culture challenge us we will not only not be able to answer them but we can't answer ourselves. And what comes after that? Falling away from the faith.

(On a side note, one thing I've noticed, as have many others, is that converts to the faith are more dedicated and faithful than those who grew up with it. They know what's on the other side and they made an educated choice to follow Christ and His teachings. They are truly an example to us all.)

It's time for us to get off the fence. If we don't consciously choose Christ, the pull of the culture will drag us down to the side that is against Him. This is a daily choice - one that comes with both difficulty and joy. It cannot be accomplished without prayer and accountability. So, before it's too late, let us all become educated and conscious about our faith.

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