Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 19, 2004
Seek -- and find what has been stolen
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
The bad practice of a truth often takes that truth away from you.
Someone did take their church away.
Despite my own experience to the contrary, I have some sense of how that happens, both in terms of Church and in other areas of life. Simply put: Many is the man who fights the truth of social justice because of the social justice groups he's met; many is the woman who fights the truth of feminism because of the feminists she knows; many is the well-meaning man who fights against the value of theology because of the particular theologians he's read; and many is the woman who falsely asserts her moral freedom because of the moralists (professional or armchair) she's had to endure.
No doubt, we all struggle with this in one area or another. It's often impossible, existentially, to make allowances for the fact that, despite the goodness and sincerity in most everyone inside these groups, believers aren't the faith, churches aren't Christ, moralists aren't morality, social justice groups aren't social justice, feminists aren't feminism, conservatives aren't conservatism, liberals aren't liberalism, pro-life groups have no monopoly on life, just as pro-choice groups aren't always about choice.
This side of eternity, all truth incarnates itself with inadequate expression, self-interest, personal wound, historical conditioning, ideology and invincible ignorance. It's not easy not to be put off truth by the very persons seeking to bring it about - and the churches have no monopoly on compromise and double standards here.
What's the answer? If every concrete, enfleshment of Church, morality, truth, justice, politics, family, and aesthetics is flawed by inadequacy, dysfunction, infidelity, self-interest, ignorance, and abuse, does this give us the right to absent ourselves from commitment?
We have a choice. However that choice is not between what's perfect and what's bad. The choice is rather between involvement with the limping, stained, and compromised or no involvement at all.
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