CLINTON, NEW JERSEY – Thanks for the well thought out rebuttals to my recent post, Another Little Christian Mystery.
There you have it – the optimists or visionaries versus the pessimists or realists. I’m afraid I waffle somewhere in the middle, according to my mood. My daughter Kirstie and queen of my heart Patrushka (this is like being back home debating at the family dinner table) plus our Arizona correspondent the.chronicler present the reality that there are major, well-funded Christian humanitarian organizations who are out there hitting it – doing what Jesus told us to do. The Canadian dynamic duo Paula and Spoke affirm why I wrote this piece in the first place – when I go to church (and I must have worshiped in a dozen churches in my travels the last couple years) I see nada going on. No shred of awareness of the path set out for us towards the wretched of this earth beyond praying for a neighbor’s sick aunt – not that I recommend no compassion on sick aunts.
Feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked – these words of Jesus aren’t that hard to understand. He wasn’t just making conversation.
Not to put too fine a point on it, here’s a reminder link to the Sheep and Goats story, from Matthew 25.
As for the rest, whether you parade around your church wearing white surplices and swinging incense and holding the cross up with trumpets playing, or whether you get slain in the spirit for the umpteenth groovy time, and rat-a-tat-tat in the tongues of angels till the cows come home, or whether you clap your hands to the praise music precisely on the offbeat and smile that big smile to show you really have the Spirit, or whether you recite the liturgy exactly the same as it has been recited since Martin Luther’s time – Jesus doesn’t give a rat’s ass.
Did I actually say that?
Hmmm, what about the part – I hear you already – what about the part where Jesus says you should take the speck out of your own eye before you start meddling in other people’s eyes? Or the part where he says don’t go around judging people because in the exact way you judge them, God will judge you!
Grump grump. Put in my place again. By my own family who aren’t even here.
Okay, here’s another tack. I read somewhere that one third of the human population professes to follow Jesus.
That’s a lot of people, folks. Don’t you think that if we all just got down to it we could clean up this mess in a generation or two? (Ignoring the sorry human heart always putting itself first for a moment.) We could hold a big summit meeting. “Okay, you guys take care of completing the Great Commission. You guys work on feeding the hungry. We’ll take healing the sick. You old pigs can blog about it.” And then all two billion of us get to work.
Instead we snipe at each other’s worship styles and pray for old Aunt Judy (a good thing) and then go eat waffles at Ed’s Pancake House. Exactly as Paula and Spoke say. Or else we wait for the next time someone gets married or baptized because that’s the only time we ever meet as a group of Christians (the European model).
I just feel there’s this mighty gap between what is and what should be. The gap affronts me. I can’t ignore it. I finally got so uncomfortable with that gap that I decided to become a talking pig. But, as you can see, it hasn’t totally worked out.