Saturday, August 11, 2012

Culture Clash (Day 661)

Some days I feel completely torn between cultures.  This is not an enjoyable sensation.

Here in Guatemala, you have the Catholics and the Evangelicals.  Beyond that, there isn't much of any note.  Some of the Evangelicals will say "Those Lutherans are just Catholics who don't want to be Catholics; they're just as bad."  Some of the Evangelicals will say, "At least those Lutherans aren't Catholic."  Because I'm a missionary who was sent by a Lutheran church and who works in a Lutheran school, I am typically considered Lutheran by anyone who doesn't bother to ask me.  If you do bother to ask me, I'll tell you that I'm a Christian, a disciple of Christ living each day trying to do as Christ would have me do (and some days failing COMPLETELY MISERABLY!).

I am officially Catholic by baptism and confirmation; however I have some issues with the Catholic church in America and therefore don't typically affiliate myself with them. (However, when in Rome, I can do as the Romans do.)  Here in Guatemala, the Catholic church--as a whole--is even less of something with which I would choose to affiliate myself with.  I don't dislike the Catholics, and I have no problem with them; I just have no desire to practice their Catholic beliefs personally.

Actually, I dislike organized religion in general.  The first believers met in the homes of people.  The Lord's Supper was literally a potluck dinner.  Due to the nature of the times and region, wine and bread were always a part of that.  There was no pastor which had attended years of seminary; there was simply a teacher.  The authority to speak came from God, not from some board or by some vote.  The purpose of these meetings was to gather together, to spend time with fellow believers.  For this reason, I have no problem associating with believers of any denomination, even including Jehovah's Witnesses which some will argue aren't Christians.  Personally, I'll leave "who's Christian" up to God to figure out.  I am not here to judge, just to spread the Good News of Jesus the Christ and to discuss that in detail with anyone who wants to hear about it.

My methods of creating personal bonds with these people are through English classes and massage therapy.  When a person knows another person well, they are more open to hearing what the other person has to say.  It's a matter of trust.  If I can trust you to teach me something or to help me heal, I am more likely to trust your teaching of the best healer in all of existence.

I was told last night by someone who is rather annoyed with me to define myself.  I told him that the Bible doesn't have Catholic and Evangelical.  He wasn't impressed.  I told him that I am a disciple of Christ, that there is no further definition needed.  My Bible is my handbook.  I refuse to be less, and I can be no more.

Another post coming within the next day or two.  Also, I'm going to start adding in my previous church newsletter articles; so you may need to read back some.