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.