I've been thinking on a couple of posts regarding Roger Ebert's death. I've thought of that, as I remember the Marc Barnes post on Andy Warhol, and much of the praise and adoration given to Christopher Hitchens on his passing. I remember this post I did when thinking about this rather Catholic phenomenon.
And my little jab I just threw out came back at me, and has given me a moment to reflect. What does it say if we believe that my righteous standing before God, or my worth as a Catholic, is only summed up in my views on gun control, or the economic budget, or our policies in the Middle East? Things I have little to no say in, and quite frankly, may or may not directly impact me anyway?
The idea that it's basically our politics that declares our righteousness - for that's the platform through which these issues are being debated - rather than how I get up and live my life on a daily basis has got to be a bad trend. And it might explain why every single time there is a study or a poll (for what those are worth), Catholics come in dead last where you want them to be first, and vice versa. Only in giving do Catholics rise head and shoulders above others. In virtually every other capacity, they lag behind.
If we've convinced ourselves that it's only in our opinions of some lofty geopolitical strategic policy that our holiness is demonstrated, rather than the lives we live, then I could imagine why those polls come out the way they do. Never mind the lousy witness. News to Catholics: party-boy Catholic wins few converts. Put that in the New Evangelization pipe and smoke it.
So what is this pure, good religion that should indicate where we our in our earthly pilgrimage? Is it really what we think about America's foreign policy or which party to reject in the next election? Is that what separates the sheep and the goats? Here's a couple clips from the good old Scriptures, still a decent source for guidance and practical teaching when it comes to figuring out what God might actually want from us. It helped me become Catholic. Perhaps it can help me become a good Catholic.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1.27
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12.1-2
Nope, nothing about my views on the Ryan budget or what we should do with Syria. A lot on what I should do in my day to day living as it relates to God and everyone else. Sure, right attitudes about war and the economy could easily fit in there. But just as easily could the way I act on a daily basis. It would seem to be all or nothing, not some and not the other. At least that's how I see it.