Monday, January 19, 2015

Noticing Things

 What is the difference between this FB quote and Luke 18:11?

"I really, really love my church. In our time, we see the negative side of religion so often (and yes, a lot of it is really awful) that it might be easy to miss the positive side. I have absolutely no doubt that, FOR ME, practicing my faith with my church family (who both support and challenge me) makes me a better citizen of the world, and helps me turn my faith into action--action which is (I hope) not just for the benefit of me and my family, but for everyone."

What kind of churches seem to prompt this response?

In which churches would this be an unusual response?


Sam L. said...

I have no idea what Hugh means by his post. None; zero, zilch, zip, nada. I shrank it, I expanded it, and it remained unintelligible to me. Could be me, could be him being obscure. Help me here, Hugh!

As for the difference between what AVI printed and what the Pharisee said, the first one is a member of the church, flawed both like and unlike the others, and credits the others for helping him become a better person.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, it is helped somewhat by him saying "aren't we wonderful" rather than "aren't I wonderful," but I still don't like it.

james said...

Not only are the gentiles inferior, but so are all the rest of the "really awful" religious folks, who don't believe our way and do things our way.
In this particular presentation the focus is on collective action and being a "better person," but the same dynamic appears in the "single-church" denominations when the focus is on complete orthodoxy.

Texan99 said...

I don't have quite the same reaction. I can imagine a cheerful, healthy church that inspires people to live up to higher standards, and it might make noises a lot like this.

Yes, I'm always skeptical of the "don't focus on the negative" gushing, which can mean no more than happy-face denial in the mouths of empty-headed people. But maybe because I tend to have a sour outlook and don't always rouse myself to good deeds without a good example from others, I respond well to the idea of a church community that might guard me from these two evils. Certainly I've never had much use for the unrelieved "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" approach. If there weren't a lot of joy to go along with the bad news of original sin, I doubt I could give my heart to God. Jesus could be stern, but He wasn't gloomy.

I do understand the tremendous temptation inherent in too much self-congratulatory talk about what nice people we all are here in this nice congregation, not like those other people.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Better world citizen" grated on me. I then back-read what the earlier phrases probably meant.

I clicked through and Suspicions Confirmed. I may just have a hypersensitivity along certain lines.

Texan99 said...

Yes, the chances are good that their idea of a "better world citizen" would make me break out in hives.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Well, that's the lesson for me, then. I saw it so clearly when it was someone likely to disagree with me. But it's less apparent when that piece isn't in place.

Grim said...

One of the good things about the Catholic Church is that you're aware of how many people within the Church don't agree with you. Even if you get a harmonious little church with a priest who's on board with your ideology -- as is not that uncommon -- you're aware of being in communion with people who really do not.

Reconciling yourself to that, to the degree that people do so, is probably healthy in the way you're concerned about.