Foley wrong on how to encourage Christian charity
December 08, 2013 12:00 AM | 1127 views | 3 3 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Re: Kevin Foley column, “Will Christian leaders follow example of new pope?” Friday’s MDJ

In the last several months, I have been reading and learning a lot about Pope Francis. I am encouraged to learn more about his beliefs and views. They indicate he is a sincere and humble follower of Christ.

I read Foley’s column and I am in complete agreement that, as Christians, we should hear the Pope’s reminder: “In all places and circumstances, Christians, with the help of their pastors, are called to hear the cry of the poor.” I am sure Marietta churches and pastors could be doing much more to help the poor.

Where I would disagree with Foley is how he goes about encouraging this help. I do not believe that criticizing others’ efforts (or lack thereof) is constructive. I have found that when I am told I should be doing more to help it always ends up in pride (when I do more with the wrong motives) or guilt (when I fall short). Only when my motives are pure and I am loving others because of the great love Christ has shown me (a huge sinner) do I exhibit love and am able to help others (including the poor).

It reminds me of a powerful quote from theologian Gerhard Forde: “Preaching a description (of what we OUGHT to be doing) is deadly and usually counterproductive. It is like yelling so loudly at our children to go to sleep that you only keep them awake. You have to learn to sing lullabies.”

I have observed this numerous times in my own backyard, here in Marietta. In my church, seeing congregation members spontaneously caring for each other with meals. At Marietta WorkMatters, learning and encouraging other business people. In my neighborhood, with neighbors spontaneously caring and loving for each other. In these examples some of those being helped are wealthy, some poor, some in between.

While I’m sure there is much more that can be done to help, as Mr. Foley correctly points out, I am encouraged to live in a community like Marietta where I often see examples of Christ’s love for us overflowing in many different ways.

Bryan Robinson

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Kevin Foley
December 08, 2013
Mr. Robinson, Thanks for your comments.

Pope Francis reminds Christians they can't have it both ways. They can't express their love for Christ but not follow his commands, especially when the opportunity to do something big with so little effort is presented. They can't take refuge in the charitable things they do and say they've done enough as you suggest.

Medicaid expansion would provide preventative and critical healthcare services to 650,000 poor Georgians - and lot of them, by the way, are Christians. Frankly it is shocking that Cobb and Georgia's big name Christian leaders remain silent on this.

d young
December 08, 2013
I am not a Catholic but I am amazed by this new Pope. As you said, he follows the teachings of Jesus by encouraging salvation and in that belief you will follow his teachings of love and compassion for the hungry, the sick and those in poverty and need. I can only hope other religious leaders will follow his example.
December 09, 2013
This pope has espoused anti-Capitalist ideas and is proving to be willing to let himself be politicized. Sign of the times. Sad.
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