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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 23, 2011

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 23, 2011 ********** We are a bit late coming out with the 2011-2012 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary for this
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 22, 2011
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 23, 2011

      **********
      We are a bit late coming out with the 2011-2012
      Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary for this year,
      for which we apologize. If you want to preorder,
      please use the order information for this year�s
      Calendar at http://tinyurl.com/LiturgCal. We will
      send you the material for Advent through Christmastide,
      up until Epiphany to tide you over until the full
      calendar is printed and bound and sent to you.

      Thank you!

      **********
      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Religious deception and bribery

      "While they were going, some of the guard went into
      the city and told the chief priests everything that
      had happened. After the priests had assembled with
      the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum
      of money to the soldiers, telling them, 'You must
      say, "His disciples came by night and stole him
      away while we were asleep." If this comes to the
      governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you
      out of trouble.' So they took the money and did as
      they were directed. And this story is still told
      among the Jews to this day."
      Matthew 28:11-15

      What is the price of truth? We are not told how
      much money the soldiers received, but it was a
      large sum. To the poorly paid soldiers, it probably
      represented a small fortune. The soldiers agreed to
      accept the money and lie about what actually happened
      at the tomb where Jesus had been buried. Certain
      religious authorities were now desperate in their
      attempts to silence the resurrection event. All
      conspired and agreed to perpetuate an intentional
      lie. All agreed to circulate the story among the
      Jewish people. Lies beget lies.

      What was the truth? Jesus had risen from the dead.
      Death had been conquered. God was moving in
      mysterious and powerful ways that disturbed
      religiously powerful men. They tried to cover
      the truth with money and deception. They tried
      to lie to the world.

      Over the years, I have worked with religious leaders
      representing many different faith traditions. Most
      are devout, sincere, God fearing, honest, and holy
      leaders. Yet our religious institutions are fallible.
      Sometimes the truth is subconsciously or deliberately
      silenced and hidden in order to maintain the status
      quo and please the financial donors. Such was my
      experience while studying evangelism during my Doctor
      of Ministry program. For an elective, I chose to
      attend one of the famous Billy Graham schools of
      evangelism. During that week of intense study, I
      was in conversation with a Graham employee about
      the possibility of teaching an inclusive gospel,
      which would welcome people of all sexual orientations.
      He totally discouraged any further conversation with
      the comment, "Our funders barely support our inclusion
      of women at this school of evangelism. We'd lose them
      in a minute if we supported your proposed workshop!"

      While religion can deepen our faith experiences, it
      can also corrupt us. God is bigger than all our
      combined religions. Religion can sometimes fail
      us in our search for truth. Well-intentioned
      people have used religion to inflict deep suffering
      on people who believe differently. They have
      demonized certain groups such as gays and lesbians,
      crusaded against those whom they call infidels and
      pagans, and burned books that offered different
      outlooks on life.

      Yet it must also be said that religious organizations
      have done much good as they have fed the hungry, cared
      for the destitute, provided for the orphan, and worked
      for improving conditions for the impoverished.

      Religious corruption is not new. It is good to
      question our religious authorities and our own
      motives thoroughly. Leaders and believers
      representing all world religions are vulnerable.
      Bribery, deception, and lies can affect all our
      cherished religious institutions and leaders.

      Perhaps it is enough to simply sit with the tension
      of these verses and consider where we are in the
      story. Perhaps we too, have been tempted to lie,
      deceive, bribe, and cover the truth somewhere in
      our lives. This is a wonderful opportunity for
      personal reflection and confession of sin. We need
      these moments of soul care. Each of us has an
      enormous capacity for self-deception.

      God, as I linger quietly in your loving presence,
      speak to me about truth and deception, honesty and
      bribery. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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