mercredi, août 26, 2009

The trip that dare not call itself "junket"

This is where my son and I are going on Thursday to meet our new friend. I interviewed him for a story, and got the quotes right but his last named spelled wrong! He forgave me, and we're still going -- to the Capitol in Harrisburg where legislators have been holed up for more than a month (almost two) tried to agree on a budget. I rarely get to meet the person on the other end of the phone and happy for the chance to expose Mr C to the world of politics.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, public service agencies and nonprofits that need state/city funds lay off workers, borrow money, and tell staff they must work reduced hours. Yet the terror of raising any taxes, no matter how small the increase, paralyzes lawmakers who fear voters who believe that politicians are practically as untrustworthy as journalists -- and clergy.
Rural lawmakers blame city legislators, and vice versa -- but lack of nutritious food and homelessness and child abuse don't stop at the city borders. I wonder what we will hear, tomorrow, when we stroll the halls of our Capitol. I was wondering if perhaps Mr. C ought bring his chess set -- I'm sure that some of our lawmakers are masters.

lundi, août 24, 2009

Something nice to say, cont.

It seems to me that it's extraordinary intellectually lazy, as many mainline churches are doing, to open the doors and say -- all are welcome, whatever you have done and continue to do.

I'm not talking about sexuality here (although of course that's a component). As a friend pointed out to me, a whole sacramental tradition flies out the window. It's also much more possible for the newcomers, who are accepted without being challenged, to remake the church in their own image. I would guess that the liberals will eventually find themselves conservatives -- these new folks in our church want everyone to receive communion! And who is this Jesus? Don't we have the right to define Him for modern times?

Of course, that's what many prosperous evangelicals have done, on the right -- blessed affluence, created a thriving commercial "counterculture" and called themselves Christians. On the one side, a faith without standards. On the other a religion without sacrifice. Both ends of the stick are just wrong.

In church yesterday I heard the Gospel and thought: Jesus, you offend me. Or rather, you offend the Pharisee in me, who wants to create the rules herself. Jesus is as rude to those who think they've got it together now as He was 2000 plus years ago. But He didn't come to save us from making asses of ourselves, or to teach us politesse. Saving us from the consequences of our self justification took more than good manners. Thank you, Jesus, for continue to be a stumbling block to me -- looking up after I've fallen on my butt once again is another godgiven opportunity to say thank you for saving me from myself.