Thursday, August 22, 2013


I'm listening to a series of lectures about St. Francis of Assisi.  One of the points being made is that the spread of early Christianity can be attributed in part to the witness of martyrs during the Roman persecution.  In the 12th and 13th centuries, when Francis was alive, how do Christians who are modeling their faith after the faith of the martyrs, live a faithful life in a time that is relatively safe for those of the Christians faith?  A time that was in fact a triumphal time for Christianity?

I thought about the rise and growth of Christianity in China -- an environment that is not safe for Christians.  And I thought about the comparatively limp health of Christianity in our country.

I think the question faced by those in St. Francis' time still applies today.  How do we build a vibrant faith, that draws other people to the truth of belief in Christ, in this culture?  We can't escape the question by bemoaning the state of the culture.  This is the place and time in which we live.  How do we live the Good News and tell the Good News in times such as this?  I certainly don't think we need to run off on Holy Crusades or become a self-denying hermit in the mountains, but how do we foster a lively faith?

Truthfully, I don't think its by blurring the line between church and state.  I don't think its by fighting for prayer in schools or the right to have a manger scene on the lawn of the court house.  I'm probably saying something unpopular by stating my belief that those kinds of things are distractions.  I think Christ calls us to love and service, and that's what we are to do.  Feed people.  Love people.  Care for people.  We witness for our faith by what we do.  Are we doing that?



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