The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catching Up With the World

It's been a while since I've posted anything on the blog. My only excuse is the busyness of life and, paradoxically, the need to step away occasionally from that very busyness. I have tried to force some holes into my schedule, to liberate myself from the unimportant but loud demands that I create or allow others to force on me. Quite simply, I need some daily leisure time just to think and relax and savor this wonderful gift of life. After all, being is good!

Part of this effort includes taking a different approach to the blog. Once this blog becomes a burden, it will have defeated it's very purpose, the celebration of life. If writing a few words and sharing some thoughts with others helps me to appreciate and deepen my understanding of our being, well then, I'll post those thoughts. But I will try to resist the tendency to feel obligated to make regular posts. I will simply post them as they come.

Today, for instance, I am saddened by the recent death of Charles Colson. Known by most for his role in the Watergate scandal as one of President Nixon's "hatchet men", a role which sent him to prison, Chuck Colson's later life of repentance and service to the "least" of God's children has been largely ignored by the mainstream media.

After his release from prison Colson could have accepted any number of high-paying positions, but chose instead to found Prison Fellowship, a ministry devoted to serving the men and women locked away in our dysfunctional "corrections" systems. An Evangelical Christian, Colson was often at odds with many of the Christian right because of his rejection of political power as a means to reform the nation's moral order. Colson considered political power illusory and relied instead on the gospel mandate calling on each Christian to see Jesus Christ in others. He personified the challenge of Hebrews 13:3 -- "Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body." Colson had indeed shared their imprisonment and was ever mindful of that fact.

In 1994 Colson, along with Fr. Richard John Newhaus and others, also formed Evangelicals and Catholics Together, an ecumenical organization of those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While those involved don't ignore their differences, they focus primarily on that which unites them. Here's an excerpt from their foundational document:

"As Evangelicals and Catholics, we pray that our unity in the love of Christ will become ever more evident as a sign to the world of God’s reconciling power. Our communal and ecclesial separations are deep and long standing. We acknowledge that we do not know the schedule nor do we know the way to the greater visible unity for which we hope. We do know that existing patterns of distrustful polemic and conflict are not the way. We do know that God who has brought us into communion with himself through Christ intends that we also be in communion with one another. We do know that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14) and as we are drawn closer to him-walking in that way, obeying that truth, living that life-we are drawn closer to one another."

As you might imagine, Colson's active involvement in this organization brought him into conflict with many fundamentalist Christians who apparently believe the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon and the pope is little more than an antichrist. But these criticisms didn't seem to bother him as he went about his ministry of helping others in Jesus' name.

I never met Chuck Colson, although years ago I owned a car -- a huge Ford station wagon -- that had once belonged to his mother. How's that for a connection?

We will miss him, a man who devoted his life to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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