Saturday, April 13, 2013
Two recent events have been on my mind lately. In one of those events, I was a small part of a discussion of theology and beliefs with a group who, by most folks, would be labeled conservative evangelical Christians. It was a lively discussion about some of the contemporary issues facing the church. The other group would be labeled moderate or liberal by most folks. They were discussing some of the same issues. I know not to stereotype large groups by the actions of a smaller group. Nevertheless, I came away from these two discussion groups with the awareness that I felt more comfortable with the conservative group. I disagreed with their views on most of the contemporary issues with which they were discussing. What I liked about them and their discussions was the respect they demonstrated with those who held differing opinions. The more moderate or liberal group stated views with which I would personally agree. However, they were disrespectful of those who might disagree with them. The made fun of others, even calling some by name. I felt very uncomfortable with this group's spirit. In my opinion, their attitude was arrogant and disrespectful. I'm aware that arrogance and disrespect can easily be an attitude for any of us. I'm also aware that we may not be aware of such as attitude. Jesus talked about having a log in one's eye that needs to be taken care of before an effort is made to remove a splinter in somebody else's eye (Matthew 7:1-5).
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The most significant religious event I've seen in years was recently when Pope Francis held and kissed the handicapped child, Dominic. Perhaps I'm moved by this action because Judy and I are taking care of my brother, Bobby, who is developmentally handicapped. Bobby recently suffered an accident in which he broke both bones in his lower right leg. As his body was recovering from the fracture blisters so the Surgeon could do surgery, he suffered a seizure. The seizure threw him off his bed and broke his left arm. In my very prejudiced opinion, it is Dominic, Bobby and those like them who hold the message related to the future of the church. If the church is to have a relevant ministry in our culture, it will have to be and do something other than self-absorbed ministries, care of the Church's magnificent property and deliver carefully crafted sermons which are non-offensive. The handicapped among us may not be able to provide the financial means to support the church's ministries, maintain her wonderful facilities or understand her Sunday sermons. They do, however, know if they are loved and accepted, not tolerated, but wanted. They have a comprehension that lies deeper than mental understanding. Perhaps, it is the handicapped individuals among us who can teach us what it means to be a church. They have a crucial message to teach us. May more of us follow Pope Francis' leading. When Pope Francis stopped, held, hugged and kissed Dominic that looked more like what Jesus would do than all of the other things that happened in that grand, beautiful and carefully orchestrated religious procession.