“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
As a minister I tend to keep up on what other ministers are doing, I consider it not just part of the job but my duty. I have never been one to stay within the bounds of my own faith group either. I have always found it important to see how churches worldwide work, what their leaders do, and the effect the leadership has on the community around it.
This week Time magazine has named Pope Francis Time’s Man of the Year. I remember as a child watching the antics of Pope John Paul II who was called The Pope to the Protestants, I remember being given the gift of a rosary blessed by Benedict (who I haven’t heard really called anything), and my excitement concerning some statements of Pope Francis who is being referred to as The People’s Pope.
As stated above, Time has called him Man of the year! Jon Stuart hails him based on his economic principles, many Unitarian Universalists blog positively about him, and even one article in the satirical blog The Apocryphal Press stated that Pope Francis was actually applying to be a Unitarian Universalist Minister because “he is a very undisciplined person.”
Of course this pope has not changed his viewpoints, on many of the issues core to UU social justice work, like marriage equality, and equal rights for women in priesthood and health issues, but his focus on works and justice cannot be ignored. This pope has moved from the Vatican into a hostel, traded in his Mercedes- Benz for a Ford Focus, and pointed out that trickle down economics breed inequality. He has set an example for religious leaders all over the world, and not just religious leaders, but also those who belong to churches.
What can we learn from Francis? He has a lot of time left to make big mistakes and he even expects that he will, but can we learn from a man who is very adamant that he is not perfect? And will our differences of opinion over core issues stop us from growing because of his example?
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson is no stranger to social justice work. Within our walls meet local leaders in Women’s Rights, Marriage Equality, and Immigrant’s rights. We teach acceptance and work to empower the disenfranchised, and support human rights. But the question I am left with and the question I leave you with is this. As a church are we bruised, hurting, and dirty due to our work towards justice, or are we just clinging on for security?