Some years ago, a friend of us here at PubTheo sent along along the above quote from martyred Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero. At the time it got filed away as a possible future topic, but ultimately was lost in the Indiana Jones-style warehouse that is the head of your faithful discussion leader. We’re fixing that this week.
The quote from Romero continues, turning the spotlight beyond the church and the gospel and on to those who hear and preach the word. “Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone, that’s the way many would like preaching to be. Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed, so as not to have conflicts and difficulties, do not light up the world they live in.”
Writing at her website, The Raceless Gospel, author and activist Starlette Thomas makes the point that most Christians don’t talk like this anymore: “We are neither hot nor cold but rather lukewarm in our convictions (The Revelation 3.16). We don’t hold fast to any truth for fear that we might offend and appear to be out of touch or out of date. Unfortunately, the Church is no longer made up of social misfits and outcasts but those who seek to fit in at any cost, always wanting to be apart of the in crowd. There are more Judases in our pews than Jeremiahs today. We are more self- interested than God- centered, more politically aligned than theologically grounded.”
Let’s start with the words of Archbishop Romero. Is he right? Should the church be in the business of provoking “crisis,” and what do you think Romero meant by that? Crisis for whom and or what sort? Are we open to being unsettled by the word of God? Or do we really prefer “very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone”? And do you think our preachers know this and thus give the people what they want?
And what do you make of Thomas’ comments? Are there more Judases than Jeremiahs in the pews these days? Are we lukewarm in our convictions, more self-interested than God-centered?
Finally, to round out the evening, we’re bringing back a discussion prompt from one of our very first gatherings a decade ago. I think it fits quite well with the above. Consider this: Are our present joys inextricably a consequence of past suffering and atrocity? Is our material comfort possible because others live in poverty? If your answer to either of these is “yes,” then what ought we do?
We will take all this on in our conversation tomorrow evening, Tuesday Oct. 3, beginning at 7pm at Casa Real in downtown Oxford. Join us for the discussion.