Thursday, March 22, 2012

What About Now?

Bet you didn't know that in my youth the elders of the church I attended were sure I was going to be the next priest to come from our parish? I was an altar boy. Head altar boy thank you. I was a lecter. I was the president of my youth organisation. I mowed the church lawn and shoveled the sidewalks. I went on retreats. I was lucky to have nothing but good, decent men of the cloth that I came in contact with. Idk. A lot of people thought I was on the fast track to priesthood.

There were some things that changed all of that. Nothing horrible. Just life.

You know, life. Girls. A job. A paycheck. There was all of that but, there was something else too.

A book.

I was reading a catechism book one night. A book a priest had given to all of us high school students. It was the first of it's ilk I had seen that was an actual thick book and not a thin volume full of pastelly pictures and simple words. This was a book that actually discussed the church and church history. And it bothered me. A lot of things bothered me about church all along actually. Mostly how people professed one thing while living another

But it was the way this book talked about the Catholic church that really opened my eyes in a different way. It was the unapologetic way it discussed some of the history of the church.



Recognize that number?

Here's a hint. It's a date in history. A fairly important date. Not a very good hint huh? OK, how about this one? It involves Pope Urban II. There, that's a dead give away.  I know some of you history buffs probably don't need any hints but, how about one more hint for the infidels? Ooo. Did ya catch that? Infidels?

Any guesses yet? Give up? It was the start of the Crusades. It gets kinda complicated after that. I guess it was the first successful Crusade. Yeah. I guess there were two others started but never really got off the ground. I think. It's been a while. There were a total of nine Crusades. That doesn't include the Recoquista waged to reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors or a dozen or more sort of sub-Crusades

Well, like or not we're going to continue the history bit for just a bit longer.

Anybody know any of the accepted reasons for all these mini wars?

There were a bunch as far as I remember. Like, it was a something to keep the bored kings and knights in Europe out of trouble at home. It was to claim Jerusalem back from the Muslims for Christendom. To help Constantinople reclaim land lost to the Muslims. Of course there's the whole wealthy Italian nobles trying to gain control of the Mediterranean Sea.

There are of course plenty of examples of the church putting its fingers in pies where they didn't really belong. I know that's putting it way too nicely. But a bunch of pieces of all those pies clicked into place for me just then and it put a bad taste in my mouth.

The church didn't seem to be acting very Christian mostly. Not very Christ like.

I've lived a lot of life since then. Not much of it inside the walls of a church.

The thing I thought about then and still wonder about now is, what about love? Why wasn't the church actively promoting love? I always figure that all of that history stuff was a long time ago. That was then.

But, what about now? Does your faith, or, do your beliefs preclude you from loving your neighbor? I bet not. I bet we're all a little more grown up than that now. I bet if you looked deep enough into what ever faith you follow, or belief system you practice, or whatever, the base line - that nugget of truth buried beneath the rhetoric - has something to do with respecting others. With taking care of those around you. With love. I don't really know that for sure of course, but I bet.

It's late. I'm outta here.

I'm pullin' for ya.