Words only when necessary

St. Francis is supposed to have said, “Preach the Gospel everyday and only use words when necessary.” At work today a couple of co-workers were having a discussion over who was “saved” and who wasn’t based on their particular doctrinal understanding. One is a Roman Catholic and the other a Baptist. The Baptist person was insisting that if a person hadn’t accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour in a public profession of faith then this other person was going to hell. Of course the Roman Catholic person was repelled by this thought since this is counter to all that Catholics profess. It’s a foolish argument and only God really knows the answer if there is one. Their both darn fine co-workers and I was only listening and chuckling until the Baptist person made some remark about homosexuals being condemned because of their sexual orientation.

At that point I asked this person where in the four gospels Jesus said anything about homosexuality. The person began to quote from Deuteronomy and I said, “wait a minute, I said Jesus, not the Old Testament.” There was a flurry of comments back and forth. I asked this person if they were observing the dietary laws in Deuteronomy and they looked at me astounded. I don’t think that was part of any Bible study they had been in. I’m not sure anything was accomplished by the exchange of ideas because religious debate causes such discord that people can’t have religious debates without rancor.

Isn’t it amazing that religion which is supposed to bind us to each other really can drive wedges between us? Do you really think that Jesus came to start another religion or do you think that he came to show us how to live in relationship with each other. Do you think he came to condemn homosexuals and the folks who live outside our comfort zone or did he come to bring us together? Shalom!

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2 Replies to “Words only when necessary”

  1. Fr. Dwinell, a wonderful priest here in Maine, makes the comment that if you were to ask the average person on the street about the Bible, they would probably respond that the Bible contains a set of codes, instructions, and rules that people follow. His point is that so few would recognize that the Bible is the story of God’s infinite love for his people.

    He says it waaaay better than I can paraphrase, but his words are marvelous. It is so unfortunate that we have taken the good news of the Gospel, and reduced to a list of rules and regulations.

  2. Hi Don,

    I used to spend a lot of time doing apologetics. I came to realize that in most cases, it only increases hatred, rancor, and bitterness. It was a real eye-opener. In my heart, I think I’d much rather see what people have in common. I’d rather heal.

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