New Pope / A New Outlook | Eastern North Carolina Now

    For many years those of us who know about church outlooks and activities have seen nothing new out of a Pope. The position is traced back to the Apostle Peter, of whom Jesus said, "Upon this rock I shall build my church. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

    Here is the new Pope excising a new kind of leadership not seen for centuries:

    Of all the things you might consider "Conservative," the Roman Catholic Church is probably the "most conservative." Through centuries of church existence the Pope is the "infallible leader." Whatever he says goes. Surrounding him is a majestic hierarchy and bureaucracy. Hierarchy means "top down." Bureaucracy means "red tape." It is a governance similar to a dictatorship, but with more complex features. The reason the Roman Catholic Church has existed this long is its ability to take in revolting groups and make them part of the system!

    They have all sorts of academic and complex names for the dissenters. Ultimately they find ways to include them so

    they send their money to Rome!!! The Vatican Bank is one of the most well-funded institutions of banking. The gold in the Vatican is real and startling to the eye. Michelangelo's paintings on the Sistine Chapel are awe-inspiring. Some years ago they were restored to their original brilliant colors dimmed by centuries of pollution and smoke. That incense is like my pipe, it will coat everything from teeth to walls and glasses, given enough time!

    When they restored the paintings they discovered the original artist loved nudity. More prude leaders had had the bare skin covered with all sorts of clothing and fig leaves to please their conservative tastes. They had a problem when trying to restore that which had been covered up for centuries, but if you were honest and true to the original, you had to deal with it!

    Lest us Baptists say, "The Roman Catholics are distorted and crazy with their stuff," I want to cite an example of the same with Baptists on drinking! Someone quipped that Methodists are different because they will speak to one another in the ABC store! Baptists will hide and cover their perceived "sin of drinking." Baptists are so righteous that they usually serve grape juice in the place of good communion wine made by a family in the church which was best known for their "recipe." Baptists are Conservative too!

    I have had the privilege of serving two historic Baptist churches. The second was the oldest church in Nash County at the little crossroad community of Hickory, about 10 miles north of Rocky Mount. They dated their existence to the early 1800's. The first was Noonday Baptist Church in Cobb County north of Atlanta and Marietta, a little south of Woodstock. Its founding date was 1833. Most old churches have lost their written minutes and history due to a fire at the Church Clerk's house. Noonday had theirs! The Georgia Archives had bound and laminated the old pages so I could view them and do a little research.

    Other old churches like Hartsville, SC, and Bishopville were in my history. Loris, SC, First Baptist was an old church from frontier days as well. All these churches prior to Prohibition had the same practice---real wine prepared by the best family in the church duly elected to provide it each month. It was a great honor to be the wine maker for the Baptist church. My personal experience of "Baptist" was T-totaling, alcohol-hating, total abstinence.

    Upon arriving at Loris I heard a knock on the door of our house Saturday morning. There stood Mr. Walpert who owned a small clothing store. In his hand was a bottle of white Manichevitz Kosher wine. He said, "I don't want to offend you, but I have always welcomed the new Baptist pastor with a gift of Kosher wine. If you are willing, I would like to share it with you." I welcomed him in and we had a nice conversation. "I already know about you." he said. "Your neighbor at Bishopville was Edgar Sindler and he told me you are a nice person who honors Jews. Edgar brings new clothes from NY to my store and asked me to remember him to you as well."

    My wife and I previously did not make wine a part of our menu. At wedding rehearsal events we toasted with our water because it would get back that "the Preacher drinks Champaign and who knows what else he does behind closed doors!" Gossip is a bad thing and passes quickly in small towns where you live in a glass house called the parsonage. From that day forward, we have enjoyed a good glass of wine without remorse or guilty conscience. After all, Paul wrote, "A little wine is good for the stomach." You just can't prove abstinence from the Bible, if you ever read it clearly.

    My mother does not buy it. She has sleeping problems at age 96 and takes her Valium to relax. I once approached her that a juice glass of good wine would relax with a certainty you could not rely on with a pill. She immediately let me know that NO WINE would ever pass her lips. She is a good SC Baptist-bred woman who even has a degree from the WMU School of Missions in Louisville, KY. That was the last time I mentioned it to her. You might say, "She is set in her ways and her mind is made up!"

    I tell you both stories of the new Pope and my experience with wine and old Baptist churches to make the point: Conserving is not always Conservation.

    The new Pope is getting back to the spirit of Christ over that of Church Heritage and History. He is citing an important point you might consider. What has "conserved thou shalt not drink" with Baptists is Prohibition rather than the Bible, itself!

    Is it not strange how the word, "Conservative" could be an excuse of "bringing back things that we thought were absolute." However, the reality is, "things change over the years."

    Our Supreme Court is supposed to use the original Constitution of the US in deciding any modern issue. It did not found this country on more than "Freedom to believe and live with an opportunity to rise to whatever level of society and success you might find and achieve."

    We could lose the ideals of the Constitution by appointing "Conservative Judges" to the bench! If they follow a current definition and ideology of Conservatism, it does not necessarily conserve anything but hate and wealth favoritism. That was what we supposedly left behind in the Old World of England and Europe!

    Now it's your turn to do some thinking about conserving!
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( November 18th, 2014 @ 8:02 pm )
Man, Stan---it got fixed quick = wish all problems were as easy to make right, bro!!!
( November 18th, 2014 @ 8:00 pm )
For some crazy reason the link in the article wants to come back to BCN. Let's try it this way and see what happens ~~~ bear with me and Stan, folks, "temporary network problems" as they say in TV-land!

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