Jul. 28, 2016

Let's try this...

My Coast Guard nephew loaned me his book, “Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy: A conversation with Andrea Tornielli.” My nephew and I try not to talk about church or religion. We try, instead, to talk about God and spirituality. He shared the book with me asking for my opinion. I love it!

People seem surprised that I, a lifelong Baptist and temporary Methodist, am willing to read something written by members of the Catholic Church. Why?

While touring Israel, I had many side conversations with our tour guide. He is a devout Catholic. I found his historical knowledge and his spiritual outlook amazing. I feel, in many ways, that my soul had to travel to Israel, meet a Palestinian Christian, and witness life in the Middle East in order to understand America more clearly. In one of our conversations, I mentioned Catherine of Siena. I made a casual comment that if I were to adopt a Patron Saint, St. Catherine of Siena would be the one. He laughed and said, “A Baptist with a Patron Saint. I find that really interesting.”

At the risk of wearing out a term used often, I believe all truth is God’s truth. I believe nothing is good apart from Him. I believe Pope Francis, Andrea Tornielli, St. Catherine and our tour guide are good, Godly people. How can they become good, Godly people apart from a good God?

I think we focus entirely too much on religion and not enough on Truth. I’ve continually witnessed the underlying competition between congregations that discourages me. When I ran the largest Women’s Ministry in Deer Park, I would reach out to area churches inviting them to our Women’s Retreat. Very few attended saying they conduct their own “socials.” Really? That’s what a non-denominational gathering in a neutral location with a dynamic speaker and strong bible study time is called? A time for women to gather, find refreshment in the Spirit and one another falls under the title, “social?”

Whether we are talking about the United States or unity among God’s people, the outlook is bleak. I am not sure any of us – even God’s family – truly believes in unity. We are so busy drawing lines in the sand and condemning one another that we forgot none of us are perfect. All of us have flaws. And most of us have a long way to go before we can capture the mountain of full knowledge.

Do me one favor. Just for the fun of it. Call, text, write, email or Facebook message someone close to you that thinks totally opposite as you do and tell them, “I love you.” Please don’t add a “but” to the end of the sentence. Let’s just love one another as members of the human race. Mercy is a beautiful thing and helps create beautiful people.

If we want God’s family to grow, we need to act like a family and multiply – not divide.

*The artwork entitled, “Jesus, Keeper of my Heart,” is copyrighted by the artist; along with this blog site.