I am always struck by how much of media is filled with things like the Kardashian baby watch, which celebrity couple broke up or hooked up, what you must wear, drive, eat, own, and on and on. But today I read three things that brought me great hope and had nothing to do with any of the noise we usually hear all day.
The first was a post by Jim Wallis on the Sojourners website called “10 Things THE CHURCH can’t do while following Jesus”. It’s a great reminder for all of us who are involved in organized religion of what we are supposed to be about. And it’s also a wake up call for us churchgoers to remind us of why so many people don’t like organized religion! Here’s the link:
The second thing was actually an interview with a celebrity. It was Dustin Hoffman speaking about the research he did to make the movie “Tootsie”. Mr. Hoffman told about his realization of what it was like to be a woman, and more particularly, an interesting, bright woman who did not fit the cultural image of beauty (because, let’s face it, “Tootsie” was not a physically beautiful woman!). He said his work playing that character helped him realize how many interesting, bright women in his life he had simply looked past because they did not fit his idea of beauty. Mr. Hoffman was moved to tears talking about how much he had missed in life because of that. It reminded me of Jesus’ call to all of us to love everyone — no exceptions. But think of the number of people we just look right through, never even notice. They are the invisible ones in our society — the poor, the marginalized, the addicted, the disabled, or maybe just someone who doesn’t fit into our social circle — anyone who does not fit our particular idea of who we should associate with. I wonder how much all of us have missed in life because we were not able to really see the other person? and I wonder, if we knew, if it would bring us to tears as well?
And the third article was a Huffington Post piece about Pope Francis and the alternative lifestyle has has adopted as pope — living outside the Vatican apartments in a much simpler hotel; eating breakfast each day with a community of priests; passing on the use of the papal summer retreat by the sea. When asked why he did all this, he said it was for his “psychiatric health”. I loved that! Pope Francis preaches often on the scandal of poverty. He says the world frets when the stock market dips, but cares nothing when a homeless person dies. There are many, many things on which this pope and I do not agree — too many to write about in a blog post. But on this, the care and dignity of the poor, we wholeheartedly agree. And that gives me a glimmer of hope for the kingdom.