Two "religious" stories caught my eyes recently. The first deals with China and the Dali Lama. China recently passed a law regulating...I'm not making this up...where Buddhist monks can reincarnate. Buddhist monks must first receive official permission from the government before they reincarnate. The move is designed to allow China to pick the next Dali Lama. No word yet on how effective enforcement of the new law has been. The story can be found here:
You may be surprised to find that I personally support this regulation. I have always felt that reincarnation was far too "loosey-goosey". I propose that our government follow the bold initiative of our Chinese counterparts and regulate this practice. Think about the ramifications for our tax code alone. The death tax could be expanded to tax not just the individual when he/she dies but also when they are reincarnated.
The next story deals with Mother Teresa. Many of you may have read about her letters to her mentors that are being published in a book entitled, "Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the 'Saint of Calcutta." The letters chronicle the doubts she felt regarding her relationship with God. She writes things like:
"I have no Faith - I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart - & make me suffer untold agony,"
"Such deep longing for God and ... repulsed empty no faith no love no zeal. ... Heaven means nothing pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything."
She even wrote that her public personality was a "mask."
"What do I labour for? If there be no God - there can be no soul - if there is no Soul then Jesus You also are not true."
Many Roman Catholics argue that this struggle merely reflects her human side. Mother Teresa, like all people of faith, wrestled with what she truly believed.
I have always been uncomfortable with the Evangelical Church's relationship with Mother Teresa. Many have pointed to her works as clear evidence that she is a true believer. You may disagree with me, but here's how I interpret her letters: As profound as her works were, even she understood that there was something fundamentally missing in order for her to have a right relationship with God. I would argue that what was missing for her may have been faith in the person of Jesus Christ alone for her salvation. Of course I would argree that some doubt is possible for the believer. But what these letters seem to reveal is a profound level of doubt over decades. This is not normative for the believer.
Here's a link to the story: