Monday, September 20, 2010
Living the Faith in Life: A Follow-up
Last night after our meeting, I was checking the news and clicked on the headline that most intrigued me, "For First Time in Months, President Obama Attends Church Publicly." Now, I initially checked this out because I thought every time a person attends Church it is a public matter...unless you're having a private service/Mass for your family or something. Unfortunately after reading the article, I still don't understand that point...except that "publicly" means the media was in the know about it, and anytime a Head of State does anything in public, there are tons of logistics involved. Here's the link to the article, it's pretty short:
I start off by saying that I make no political claims here, nor do I intend any disrespect to our President. I am happy he attended the church service and am simply trying to judge the article based upon my own experiences.
The very first paragraph struck me, as it said, "President Obama publicly attended church Sunday morning for the first time in nearly six months, and shortly after a major survey showed that only a third of Americans can correctly identify Obama's faith as Christian."
This seems profoundly backwards to me. If faith is a part of someone's life, it should be clear and probably not require a public trip to whichever church he or she attends. In other words, faith is meant to be lived! If President Obama is a Christian, I would hope that his words, actions and manner of leading our country, correspond directly to his beliefs. If he is Muslim, I would hope his words and actions correspond to the teachings in the Qur'an. I would hold the same attitude if he were Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist.
This article seems to be another example of how often we compartmentalize faith, our religion. If faith is a thing we do on the weekends, that is some way connected to our status, or something we do without thinking, we're missing the point. Faith is meant to be lived. Christianity is a relationship, that, if truly an encounter, changes our lives. Notice how Christianity doesn't call us to change 15% of our lives, or that Christ didn't say to his apostles, "Come follow me, on Sunday mornings from about 9:30-10:30am. Forget about following me the rest of the time."
This article on President Obama struck me as relating intensely to what we covered last night at our "Living the Faith in School" Youth Night. In hearing reflections on cheating, gossip, language and respecting teachers, I was again reminded in my own life of how often I forget about the relationship with Christ I am wrapped up in. I think the same held true for all of you. When you start to think about the small ways you fall to sin everyday, it's a wake up call. How do we live this life in such a way that your life is a unity? How do we live this life so that we don't have to broadcast that we attended Mass in order to convince others that you indeed follow Christ?
Most every situation that came up last night probably requires a different response. Coming up with a black and white answer about how to deal with struggles and temptations would be to reduce the human element involved in all of our encounters. As we deal with unique situations and unique people, we need a unique response. Christ provides the answer, like a good friend you seek out for advice in time of need. The closer we come to Christ in our relationships with him, the easier the seeking becomes...you move away from having to "go over to your friend's house" in order to get advice, to knowing in your heart what Christ is calling you to do in a given situation. He becomes a part of your whole being!
Now, this is easier said than done...and I don't think we fully got into the "How to do this" during our sharing last night. If any of you have any concrete insights about how to correctly handle the situations we discussed last night, please post some comments. If you have any thoughts about the CNN article, post those thought as well. Let's continue the discussion that began last night.