Saturday, May 30, 2009
I have been reading Heather King's book Redeemed, which the Boston Globe says (accurately, I think) that "this memoir deserves to be as popular as Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray, Love. It is a wonderful book of finding Christ and His Church in the midst of brokenness - in her case alcoholism.
Although Redeemed is not a book about politics - secular or church, King does have some wisdom for approaching the Church in its brokenness. In light of Michael P.'s recent postings on the Ryan Commission and the tragic situation in Ireland, I thought her words might resonate with some readers:
As for the Church, and all the other myriad complaints leveled against it: as much as I'd like to make it over a bit, I bascially understand that the one who really needs to be made over is me. ...
[I]f I'm really concerned about women or gays or any other minority being treated with love and respect, then I get to treat those people with love and respect myself, by doing all the hard,long inner work that treating any human being with love and respect inevitably entails. And in general that is exactly what the Church, more than any institution I know, urges and teaches: treat all human life with love and respect, from the moment of conception to the dying gasp of the most diminished old age. ...
Christ works in the individual human heart, and no institutional Church, whatever its strengths and defects, can ever change that. At the same time, he did establish a Church: proof positive that he was inviting his followers to participate in it. It's possibly the most thrilling moment in Scripture, the moment when Christ turns to Peter and says: ;On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.' (Matthew 16:18) Part of the thrill lies in the sheer poetic audacity of the statement. Part is the assurance that, all evidence to the contrary, in the end the underdog - the weak, the fallen, the feeble, the poor in spirit - will truimph. And part of the thrill is that - unbelievably - he built it on one of us. Christ ... entrusted his life's work to a simple fisherman who would betray him the night before he died, like we constantly do; raise himself up, just as we are capable of doing, and go on to be martyred himself, which people just like us have been called and risen to, day after imperfect day, ever since.