What’s so good about going to church? One would like to believe that for the tens of millions of Catholics in this country who define themselves as “practicing” their faith, engaging the identity of church has been a positive and powerful experience.
Exploring the Word
Animal stories in the Bible have tremendous appeal. They are the first scripture stories to which we are introduced as children, in part because illustrators find them very enticing subjects.
Why are we human beings generally so uncomfortable in our own lives? Why is our existence such a poor fit, despite everything we do to make ourselves at home in this world?
What’s the main topic of the Bible? Pose this question, and you’ll get a variety of answers: sin, salvation, love, law, morality, or meaning. Few will suggest that the Bible is mostly about healing and wholeness. Yet some scripture scholars and not a few Christian doctors have made that argument persuasively.
One of my favorite teachings from the epistles is almost a throwaway line from Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not nag your children, lest they lose heart.” That’s the old ICEL translation from the breviary, anyway.
Discipleship requires a certain amount of flexibility. Actually, a better term would be acrobatics. I’m thinking of something along the lines of what the performance group Cirque du Soleil does. Discipleship is easier when you have no bones to break in the process.
Isn’t it great to be noticed, appreciated, and wanted? Don’t we all love to be included in the adventures unfolding around us? Even if we decline an invitation when it comes, we usually prefer to be asked.
How important are appearances in revealing someone’s true identity? We’re familiar with the story of the prince and the pauper, distinguishable only by the clothes they wore. Once the pauper was in regal attire, he learned to value himself as a person of significance. Once the prince was in rags, he learned how fragile and vulnerable human life can be.
The day for dismantling the Christmas tree was always the saddest day of winter vacation. Our spruce or pine, once a glorious symbol of the season, was gradually transfigured into a fire hazard as it dropped needles liberally on the carpet.
Most of us like to keep things simple. In life we draw up a plan and then step-by-step try to put it into action. Get an education, get a job, start a family, build up savings, then retire. It sounds so easy and straightforward, doesn’t it?