Sunday, January 31, 2010

Merely Human Weaknesses

One of the challenges of life is navigating the physical and spiritual natures of reality. The Church is always living in both realities at the same time. And sometimes, the people who are more gifted at moving through the physical nature of things are not as gifted at the spiritual and vice-versa. When churches have to make decisions about money and property, things are complicated by normal communication problems, exigencies, fears, and all sorts of human weaknesses. So the challenge, the martyrdom really, is to maintain peace no matter what, even when you see believers lose it over something as apparently spiritually insignificant as money or property—and people will lose it: get angry, say things that are inappropriate, accuse, etc. Nevertheless, as in martyrdom, what witnesses the Life of Christ is the peace and utter trust in God even when things are not working out, when things are unfair, when people are (literally or metaphorically) killing you. Please try to keep this in mind.
Church politics are just like any other kind of politics. People feel strongly about their ideas; and if they are prone to anger or judging others or any other sort of weakness, it will come out when they are confronted by other people with different ideas that they feel just as strongly about. Bishop Joseph says that such things are “merely” human. What he means is that they are products of man’s fallen nature and shouldn’t shake us: the church is a hospital full of sick people. Should we be surprised if sick people behave as sick people? What is important is to separate what is merely human from what is divine. We so easily forget that Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” So when we see turmoil and politics with people acting as mere humans, we should not take it to heart, but “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” We must try our best not to get sucked in to the energy of upset people. Breathe deeply and slowly, pay attention to your heart (your peace in Christ) and as much as you can work to defuse people and problems before they explode. But even if they do explode (causing all sorts of additional and unnecessary damage), remember that God is God. Our life is in his hands no matter what.

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