Going back to God

“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God”– Lenny Bruce

I once saw a movie about Lenny Bruce’s life. I think it was done in the 1970’s. The movie starred Dustin Hoffman and Valerie Perrine. I know that Lenny Bruce is purported to have been an influence on one of my favorite comedians, George Carlin. I really like the quote above and it’s supposed to be one of Lenny’s. I often wonder if Jesus came to found another church or if there is something larger that has largely gone unnoticed. If there is something larger and I believe there is, what is it? What is there about churches that turn people off?

I think there is something very Franciscan in all of this. Jesus is reported to have said to Francis at San Damiano, “Francis, go and rebuild my church which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” If something like that happened to you, what would you do? Where would your focus be? Peace.

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lenny bruce, jesus, st. francis

5 Replies to “Going back to God”

  1. As I’ve written before, I have difficulty in the various organized paths available, and more often than not, find myself doing my praying outdoors. Or else in the kitchen as I cook dinner, or on the bus, as I see everyone around me, or…

    The problem I see with the organized paths is that while there are wonderful people in them, genuinely striving for lovingkindness, justice, peace, equality, etc., there are also people in most of them that want to act as my intermediary with God. Or want me to act as their intermdiary. I am interested in neither position. I believe God is there for us all, if only we will take that step of turning towards God.

  2. A historical comment on Francis is necessary here: Francis lived during a time in which many heretical groups began to emerge and challenge Church authority. Francis stands in stark contrast to these movements because he was absolutely dedicated to getting papal approval for his Order, under the protection of Cardinal Hugulino.
    For Francis, the Church needed to be rebuilt from WITHIN, under holy obedience to the Catholic Church.

  3. Francis did indeed remain loyal to Rome, but this reflection was not meant to challenge Vatican authority but only to reflect on the writing of Lenny Bruce and see the similarities if any that exist. There is something mystical in what Lenny Bruce is saying here and probably I should have left it at that. I was away from the church for over 30 years and I’m still not a doctrinaire Catholic and probably never will be. I’m attracted to the more mystical aspects of Catholic Christianity.

  4. I think what turns many off from church is the lack of relevence. Paul talked about the need to be a Greek to reach the Greeks, a Roman to the Romans, etc. I suspect he meant to be in the world, but not of the world. People need to see Christians as real people; Not supercillious saints, but people constantly in need of God’s grace and mercy. Church should be a hospital for the sick, a refuge and a place where one can minister and receive ministry. The world will judge Christians harsher than most, and rightfully so. We must be relevant to society. As Christ shines through us (and in spite of us), the world will be drawn to Him. Beautiful light, irresistable light, compelling light….and we get to be God’s ambassadors. How cool is that?

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