Authenticity


A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it’s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. — Jefferson Bethke

Rattled? Don’t worry. Jefferson Bethke is not against the church, but against false religion, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy.

If you are using my video to bash “the church” be careful. I was in no way intending to do that. My heart came from trying to highlight and expose legalism and hypocrisy. The Church is Jesus’ bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. … The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. … We are all under grace. Look to Him. – Jefferson Bethke

This is worth a share. Before you form an opinion in your mind, think. A criticism tells you more about the critic than it does about the one being criticised. Perception & opinions deal with perspective — where you stand and what angle you’re watching this video from — who you are, where you came from, your experiences in life, and as Fr. Solis likes to put it, your human anthropological disposition. All criticisms and opinions are different. What do your opinions tell you about yourself?

My thoughts? Though I don’t agree with everything he has said, I think it is important to genuinely share our personal journeys towards Christ, and him sharing his journey in faith and the message in this video caught my attention. Some time ago, I was going through an inner conflict: False religion. False people who use religion. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s put our hands together for the self-righteous! … We desperately need some authenticity in here, please?! This poem struck a chord in me. It rattled me up inside and stirred up some of the confusion and negative emotions I was feeling towards some so-called religious people in power. What this video exposed is the existence of the modern-day Pharisees. They should be exposed. These modern-day Pharisees are one of the many reasons that stomp spiritual growth of young eager Christians. I sometimes get discouraged when I see false people leading — it’s everywhere, lots of news on that in the daily papers, especially in the Philippines, and even locally in local churches and communities, one was present during my tito Jun’s funeral  — and it breaks my heart. I get so affected.

Which is why I am also glad that Fr. Claude Burns (aka Fr. Pontifex), spiritual director at Phatmass, and some others came back with this next video in reply which somewhat equalizes the tone. It is defending religion, what the Church is really supposed to stand for. It helps those who might misunderstand the message or intentions of the first video, and this highlights the good things about religion and the Church:

Now, I’ll end this little piece with a scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. This is one of the answers I received one Sunday morning in October — it’s what helped me in my spiritual struggles.

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi. As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. — Matthew 23:1-12

The priest who had delivered the homily on that day was humble enough to publicly reflect upon these verses. … He said, “These verses are very challenging to us religious. It forces us to have a deep examination of conscience.” Jefferson Bethke explains with his interview with CBS that our generation, today’s generation, seek authenticity. I will forever thank that priest for his homily, for being so open and honest about his intentions. How I wish we all could be that open, that honest, and that authentic.

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