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Posts Tagged ‘father damien’

Throughout the ages, there have been those who betrayed the church – like Judas, for which body of true believers didn’t have a few of their own? But there were also those whom the church betrayed. Paul, for example, was a classical case, of an outcast of the very early church – the one we deem the purest – who, because of his different way, doubtlessly his former hostility, never really was full accepted by the original early church in Jerusalem, in spite of the fact (or was it even because of it?) that he was the first to truly fulfill Jesus’ call and commandment to go into all the world (not just Judea and surroundings), preach the gospel to every creature (not just the Jews) and make disciples of all nations.

Of course, the list would become endless if we were to follow up throughout history and count those who were betrayed and forsaken by their own church for various reasons, because they wouldn’t fit in. Some, like Luther, simply started their own movement, outside of the confines of the old. Others, like Father Damien, the leper priest of Hawaii, lived with their fate (and their church) until they died – some martyrs at the hands of their own brothers and sisters, cursed in their lifetimes and declared saints post-mortum.

How is it that most of the true prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, David and even the Messiah Himself, had to suffer persecution, disdain and contempt from their own people, their own brethren?

It must be that popularity – in God’s eyes, even popularity among His own people, must really not be where it’s at. It must really be so, as Paul said, that “All who would live godly (piously) in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution,” and that, quite often, at the hands of their very own people.

Some had their temporary bouts and phases of popularity, but when the final crunch came, they were either thrown in dungeons, chased out of town, or crucified.

Amazingly, we observe this shocking lack of acceptance of genius not only in the field of religion, but in the arts as well, if you look at the lives of such great composers as Mozart or Haendel.

Haendel, as a German in England, got hell from the established church of his day for his attempts to put the gospel to music and make it accessible for the common people. He lived most of his life on the verge of poverty and had to go to Ireland for his works to be heard.

We all know that Mozart never lived to enjoy his popularity.

So, then, the price of real anointing seems to be that you hardly ever get to enjoy the credit for it in this life… Maybe that is what ensures that what you’ve got will also remain true anointing? Maybe it is to make sure that the credit goes to the One Who gives the anointing in the first place…

In any case, it seems – contrary to all we ever thought and wished to think – that popularity isn’t necessarily any proof for quality nor genuine talent or spirituality. It rather seems like the opposite.

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Trying to change the world is as tough a job as it ever was these days. Not so much because of the usual difficulties with the folks you’re trying to change, but sometimes, unfortunately, also due to the ones you’re trying to do it with… your friends and colleagues, “brothers in arms” who unfortunately don’t come across as very supportive at times, and make you wonder at times whose side they’re really on.

They may be sitting at the very top of the Committee for World Improvement, but they only wound up there due to some more or less fortunate circumstance (depending on whose view), and can often be quite jealous of the little folks at the grass roots who are really ‘doin’ it,’ and they’ll try all in their power to make sure that whatever is going to happen is going to happen over them, and not without their permission and approval, or they might even make it mighty difficult for you.

They don’t care so much about the common cause or the job getting done as they care about that it’s done their way, and that they get a big share of the glory in the accomplishment. “Remember, you couldn’t have done it without me!” Whereas the true believers don’t care who gets the glory, as long as the job gets done, the help arrives where and when it should, and the world is being changed – save the credits for later.

A classic example of this perpetual dilemma is seen in the movie “Molokai,” which tells the sad story of the catholic church’s betrayal of one of their own saints, “leper priest” Father Damien, whose greatest cross on earth to carry was not the burden of the leprosy around him he was trying to alleviate, nor even the leprosy in his own body he contracted consequently, but the lack of love, honor and true righteousness among his own brethren and superiors.

But it happens in every group, no matter ho “different” we were when we started out. Even the formerly persecuted, being so assured of the exclusive rightness of their cause can become blind to the possibility that they may actually become guilty of the same sin that was once committed against them, and so we see before us a history unfold of martyrs moving to the grandstands making new martyrs over and over and over again.

Yesterday’s Davids are today’s Sauls and may even become tomorrow’s Goliaths, waiting to collapse under their own weight, slain by an insignificant lad they would have never stopped to give the time of day.

What’s the only thing we learn from history? That we never learn anything from history. And never before has there been such a large amount of ignorant people thinking they knew so much as today.

What can we do about it? Give up? Fold in? Surrender to the Enemy? “Let the Devil take tomorrow,” as Kris Kristofferson sang? No way! Sometimes I’m tempted to feel like that, I freely admit, but although I don’t know much about the dude, I feel rather inclined to agree with John Paul Jones’ famous statement, “Surrender? Hell, no! We haven’t even yet begun to fight!”

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