I was recently feted with a family video of both me and my sister's First Communion in the Catholic Church. Outside of seeing the visual of us as 8 year-olds and my mother as a beaming 40 year-old, I was struck by something else. I watched as our parish priest talked with the principal of our school, while smoking a cigarette. It immediately brought back memories of being an altar boy and smelling the tobacco on his breath during mass. It also fueled thoughts of today.
How surreal would it be to see a priest yukking it up with a nun at a grade school while smoking a cigarette? It would be like watching an episode of "Mad Men", albeit set in a seminary. Nonetheless, our pastor, Father Ed, was a very pious and honorable man who commanded untold respect amongst my school-mates, as did the principal, who's name escapes me. They taught us the ways of the Catholic Church and, in so doing, taught us about life in our journey to Heaven.
A year after my first communion, John Kennedy was assassinated. I remember the principal getting on the PA and announcing the grim fact that our President had been shot. She implored all of us to pray for his recovery, not knowing that the attack had proved to be fatal.
Such was my experience, however influenced by my religious educators. What of Sasha and Malia, the children of our current President? How might their experiences differ from mine? What did they learn in Sunday School, assuming they went? Did Jeremiah Wright hand out apples and oranges on Three Kings Day, commemorating the end of Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas? Or did he provide mentoring on other remembrances, such as the emancipation of blacks?
I don't ever recall paying homage to an event of the last 500 years, outside of my experience with President Kennedy's death. My mentoring was rooted in The Bible and its relevance to the Catholic Church, not an event that occurred during our country's collective history. The lessons were bigger and targeted the human experience. We learned how to be better Christians within the context of our lives, praying for a better future.
How does one reconcile the beliefs of Christianity with a Jeremiah Wright or a Jim Wallis? How do we discern the difference between a charlatan and a true man of God? How do we decipher The Bible, when we're taught by those that would subjugate its meaning for political gain? What do we make of anyone that would put politics before the Word of God?
Religion should be a call to the providence of one's soul, not a call to arms. It should not require us to right a collective wrong, but to redirect our personal path to God and to our own salvation. In so doing, the errors of humanism are diminished and the demands of human intervention on life are relegated to a mere asterisk in history. God calls us to His midst, not to further a human cause.
Hat Tip: American Thinker