I just came in from my morning walk.
My devotions led me to this.
Time gets by.
Over two decades ago I read a book called “Resident Aliens.”
I’d have to read it again to give you a full review but one teaching stands out this morning.
It has to do with catechism class.
What a dreadful thing it was.
You went and learned the answers.
If you could memorize enough you then got “confirmed.”
As I look back the confirmation was about knowing the answers.
As I grew older I became aware that knowing the answers was, or frequently was, a deadly thing.
It led to some harsh judgment and some strong exclusion and to some - get this - truly corrupted renderings of the tender ways of Jesus.
The authors (Stanley Hauerwas and, I forget the other) proposed an alternative.
Instead of learning the answers to the questions we follow practitioners of the Way.
We identify the good and gentle and kind and generous and tender folks that are always in our midst and we do what they do.
To this day I am suspicious of “curriculum.”
But I take notice of the couple who delivers meals over and over and over again to whomever they hear about who may be hungry or hurting.
I take notice of the person who makes phone calls to check on their friends and family who are suffering from isolation.
There is a special something going on in those who come through with encouragement and quiet support.
Speaking a reconciling word for justice and living the persistently peaceful joy that is our birthright is an attractive thing.
I note with admiration the children with their lemonade stands and fish frying and pancake dinners to send food and faith to hurting people.
When a church turns to help whenever they can and however they may in whatever circumstance arises I find a church that is real to me.
Those good folks get my vote over catechism class.
My vote is the only one I have.
But now you know.
I see you Resident Aliens who are living in a strange time and for you I give thanks.
As our Friend and I were setting about another week of Walking he Way we got to talking about those strange qualities of the people living their faith. He smiled at me the way he does and said…
“Tell your friends Someone else is watching them too.”