Thursday, January 25, 2007

The other night we held our annual Coffee House for Life, the special supped-up January edition of our usual monthly coffee house. Have you heard of the six degrees of separation theory? If Sally knows John, that would be one degree of separation. If John also knows Anne, we would say that Sally knows Anne indirectly, through two degrees of separation. Well, the six degrees theory is that everyone in the world knows everyone else in the world within six degrees of separation. Well, after last night’s Coffee House for Life, I concluded that within the world of Catholicism, you can cut that to about three degrees: One of my roommates is friends through a lay organization with the younger sister of one of my classmates from UD, who, incidentally, is friends with my aunt, one of whose coworkers also showed up to the coffee house. The whole night was crazy stuff like that.

Well, that got me thinking about some reading I was doing last week in Fr. Louis J. Lekai’s The Cistercians: Ideals and Reality. I was surprised how often dying orders or congregations would simply amalgamate wholesale into other orders. When plagues or wars or persecutions left just a handful of religious cut off from the rest of their confreres they would look around, find the most like-minded order and join, en mass. Sometimes special exceptions would be made for these new members, allowing them to keep some of their old structures or practices, but often times they simply gave up their old life, recognizing that circumstances had moved beyond their control. No doubt their particular spiritualities exerted some subtle influence on their new order, but such influence was limited.

So what do these two situations have in common, our Quincy coffee house and the amalgamation of religious orders in centuries past? Well, lately I’ve heard from a number of Catholic young adults lamenting how no one’s around any more, how their Bible studies or fellowship groups or households no longer have the momentum or numbers they use to. While the Brookland neighborhood of Washington may have more Catholic young adults, I know for a fact that most cities in America have a plethora such folks. As often as not, the problem is not a lack of numbers but a lack of willingness to work together. I’ve heard countless folks complain about how so-and-so doesn’t lead worship right or the thus-and-such method of studying Scripture is bogus. Such complaints may be true so far as they go, but can involve attempting to have one’s cake while simultaneously eating it as well. At a certain level folks simply have to decide whether or not they’re on board and then make the best of it. The Coffee House for Life had some amazing music and good food and free coffee, but really… those were just excuses. Folks had a good time because, well, young adults are fun people. No one complained about the order of performances or the temperature of the coffee, not because these were perfect but because everyone realized, without having to think about it, that those things didn’t really matter. Perhaps we need the same attitude towards our Bible studies and fellowship time and worship sessions.

Just a little something to think about…

3 Comments:

  • This post got me thinking today about how odd and ironic some of my beliefs and attitudes are. I feel so strongly against judging others who don't conform to our Christian ideals... to welcoming outsiders... to accepting with open arms those who some Christians might turn away in disgust. Unfortunately, I think I'm better at talking about this than I am doing it but that's beside the point. Where the irony comes in is when I realize how much I judge other Christians and especially Catholics. It's seems like the more we have in common, the more likely I am to find faults in the way others live or pray or whatever. How did commonality ever become so divisive? When we no longer are willing to pray or worship or fellowship with others unless it is done exactly the way we would like, that is a bit worrisome. I think that we should not be afraid to challenge our brothers and sisters in faith and share with them our views, but we should not isolate ourselves from them when they disagree with us. There is much we can learn from each other and by uniting, we will be that much stronger and more effective as the body of Christ.
    "For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." Romans 12:4-5

    By Blogger Matt Linderman, at 10:55 AM, January 31, 2007  

  • This post got me thinking today about how odd and ironic some of my beliefs and attitudes are. I feel so strongly against judging others who don't conform to our Christian ideals... to welcoming outsiders... to accepting with open arms those who some Christians might turn away in disgust. Unfortunately, I think I'm better at talking about this than I am doing it but that's beside the point. Where the irony comes in is when I realize how much I judge other Christians and especially Catholics. It's seems like the more we have in common, the more likely I am to find faults in the way others live or pray or whatever. How did commonality ever become so divisive? When we no longer are willing to pray or worship or fellowship with others unless it is done exactly the way we would like, that is a bit worrisome. I think that we should not be afraid to challenge our brothers and sisters in faith and share with them our views, but we should not isolate ourselves from them when they disagree with us. There is much we can learn from each other and by uniting, we will be that much stronger and more effective as the body of Christ.
    "For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." Romans 12:4-5

    By Anonymous Matt, at 10:57 AM, January 31, 2007  

  • This post got me thinking today about how odd and ironic some of my beliefs and attitudes are. I feel so strongly against judging others who don't conform to our Christian ideals... to welcoming outsiders... to accepting with open arms those who some Christians might turn away in disgust. Unfortunately, I think I'm better at talking about this than I am at doing it but that's beside the point. Where the irony comes in is when I realize how much I judge other Christians, and especially Catholics. It's seems like the more we have in common, the more likely I am to find faults in the way others live or pray or whatever. How did commonality ever become so divisive? When we no longer are willing to pray or worship or fellowship with others unless it is done exactly the way we would like, that is a bit worrisome. I think that we should not be afraid to challenge our brothers and sisters in faith and share with them our views, but we should not isolate ourselves from them when they disagree with us. There is much we can learn from each other and by uniting, we will be that much stronger and more effective as the body of Christ.
    "For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." Romans 12:4-5

    By Anonymous Matt, at 11:00 AM, January 31, 2007  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home