Saturday, March 14, 2015

The World is So Disappointed in Us

Any day on the internet can be depressing.  Throw religion into the mix and you're almost guaranteed to come away from the screen wanting to despair.  On a writing board, a person posted this question.  If I portray Christians as the villains, will I get sued?   It's a silly question.  No.  But the responses included cheers for revealing how hateful, oppressive, vindictive, hypocritical, prejudiced, judgmental and worldly Christians are.

One pointed out that rape's okay in the bible.  It's not, it's conveyed, it's told, but it's definitely on the "You Shall Not" list.   Yes. I went into it.  I should know better but I'd just read Public Catholic's post on being willing to speak out, on being willing to wear one's faith publicly, so, I launched in, knowing it would probably fall on deaf ears.  

Me:  As a Christian, I will however sigh that we give ourselves enough black eyes in reality by how we fail to live authentic lives for Christ, that we don't need to pile on with fictional ones.

It was an honest response.  People demurred that portraying Christians badly was in these days profitable, no one would get upset if you did this because they could site example after example of Christians behaving badly.  The person who didn't care for the idea of anyone being upset at Christians being the villains brought up the obligatory Christians rape, Crusades card.
The conversation didn't progress so I left.  But I mulled over the responses and what they revealed.

These days, whole swaths of people have abandoned the faith of their families in part because of poor foundation, and the plethora of poor examples of Christianity that come from history and poor practice and an even poorer understanding of history.

The world is angry at the Church and at Christians in particular.  You can almost hear the accusation in their litany of all the sins committed by the Church, by Christians, by countries in the name of Christianity, and all the sins of omission, all the failures to fully live out faith,

"You were supposed to be different!"  "You were supposed to be salt and light." But because in one way or another, throughout all of history, the witness of the martyrs and the saints sometimes gets dwarfed by all those then and now have refused to live out their faith, shaving a little here or a little there, all of it is tainted, with all of the wrongs, both real and imagined.  The world does not want to forgive us for failing to bring about a better world because it is not yet peopled with saints.

So I've resolved, if I see something that is deliberately ugly for ugliness sake, I will try to point up, rather than at, but I won't just "I'm going to pretend I didn't see that post" anymore because of Public Catholic's reminder and the reality of those souls who are posting angry thoughts.  They need our prayers and our witness more than anyone else.

The internet is something of a desert peopled with souls parched for love, for forgiveness, for gentleness, for kindness, mercy, belonging, joy, peace and laughter. They thirst, they are starving, the need something to eat.  Perhaps all we will do, by responding to such conversations, is shorten them, not allow the angry thoughts to go on being stroked and fueled and entertained.  Perhaps someone else will feel heartened because they are not alone, and perhaps until we spoke, they thought they were the only one who disagreed.

We won't know, and that's probably good for the ego, to not know until after death, if we touched a heart, moved a soul closer to God. But what a joyous discovery to anticipate, if only we stop being silent and unseen witnesses now.  

1 comment:

LarryD said...

Interesting you mentioned how the Internet is like a desert. I've been reading "We, The Ordinary People" by Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel, and she wrote this:

"A desert of people. We can plunge into the crowd as if plunging into the white desert sands.

"A crowded desert, a desert of love.

"The nakedness of real love.

"And we do not miss the countryside, or the friend who would understand what we have on our hearts, or the quiet hour in the corner of the church, of the favorite book left at home.

"The desert is where we become love's prey.

"Won't this love that dwells in us, that explodes in us, also transform us?

"Lord, Lord, let the thick skin that covers me not be a hindrance to you. Pass through it.

"My eyes, my hands, my mouth are yours.

"Missions to the deserts, unfailing missions, sure missions, missions in which we sow God in the midst of the world, certain that, somewhere, he will take root, for: "There where love is lacking, put love, and you will reap love.""

Doesn't that just make you say WOW!

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