This morning I saw yet another Facebook meme about Pope Francis. This time Pope Francis is going out in to the streets of Rome dressed as a common priest in black garb to feed the poor and otherwise serve folks in need. In a comment, someone noted the reality that for all his good deeds and all the good things he has said, the new pope has also said the Catholic Church will not be ordaining women nor changing its teaching on homosexuality. Fair enough point. However, and this is an important however, Francis is doing what needs to be done so that eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) the Catholic Church’ will be less misogynist and homophobic. Pope Francis seems to be doing his authentic best to reinforce for us the idea that being a Christian means doing what Jesus did, not repeatedly saying what Christianity teaches. Pope Francis is showing us that Do so is much more important than Say so.
This year on Thanksgiving, I give thanks today for many things, family and friends, the fact that I will eat, and for the joy of the gospel.
The Joy of the Gospel for me is this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
I didn’t watch one single play of the Red Sox World Series clinching victory over St. Louis and yet I was more deeply connected to the game, to the Sox, to the scene at Fenway, and to my friends and family than I have been during a Sox game in many years. I listened to the radio feed on the Internet while chatting away on various social media networks with friends and family. The web gave me the gift of feeling like I was sitting in the same room with dozens of people. I had a blast and felt incredibly grateful for my friends and family and, of course, for the Sox being the occasion of such connection.
The old atheist-theist divide that has plagued Unitarian Universalism for well over a hundred years now may have a new tool with which to build bridges both within and beyond our congregations – investigations into the paranormal. I know, I know, I can see and hear the humanists and skeptics shaking their heads, clicking away and possibly not even reading the rest. Wait. Don’t dismiss this out of hand, for the science, the hard science behind investigating these paranormal phenomenon just so happens to be telling us that something, we don’t know what, is probably going on and we’re going to need all of human learning, both science and theology, to figure it out and./or to figure out what it means for us.
It’s been a week and a half since Life on Fire 13 in Oak Ridge, TN. I am still not sure I know exactly what to say about it all, but I need to start so here we go. We gathered 50 people from around the eastern half of the country to talk and pray and reflect on missional living. We used the UNconference model and the weekend was mostly a long conversation broken into formal small group discussions, dinner conversation and hanging out conversation. It was just amazing.