“It was as if each person was a priest, and they were all healing one another. The God-talk was honest and experience-based, not “belief”-based. There was no hesitancy for each person to describe their history of failure and recovery–or death and resurrection, if you prefer Christian vocabulary. . . . The entrance requirement for an A.A. meeting is not worthiness, but unworthiness, not capacity, but deep need–just as it should be.”
A good friend sent me those penetrating thoughts from Fr. Richard Rohr. Because of the depth of my friend’s character and his thoughtful mien, I knew Rohr’s words were worthy a second and third read. I knew I’d need a refill of java before proceeding. I knew I’d sat working long enough the pot had turned itself off.
Yes. That’s an appropriate spot for a projected, barely-suppressed sigh.
Mm. That’s better. Where were we? Oh, yes. . . “It was as if each person was a priest, and they were all healing one another.”
‘Kay, now wait. I don’t know where that place is, but I don’t live there. Each day I see countless episodes of self-interest and -importance, personal aggrandizement, and me-first-itis. On wheels, on foot, on the court, in court, on the trade floor, on Ritalin or Zantac, priesthood of regular folks is as alien a thought as a mahi-mahi on a tricycle.
For you and I to engage in healing each other, we must first stop playing Zorro and Harlequin. Yeah. Masks off.
No, it’s not easy. It makes us vulnerable to each other and we don’t do vulnerable. Burned too often we’ve been. We hide our unease by being overtly or covertly critical of those around us.
- “Look at that junkyard queen they’re driving.”
- “Seriously? Is that what you wear to church?”
- “You’d think he could afford a haircut, for crying out loud.”
- “You go to med school? Your writing’s awful!”
Think about it for a minute, though. The old prophet said something about the ruthless vanishing and mockers disappearing (Isaiah 29:20). Jesus personally pointed out the old “speck vs. plank” deal (Matthew 7:3). And Paul, of all people, talked about how we should “restore gently” anyone falling behind where God wants us (Galatians 6:1-2), and got pretty finicky about those who are conceited and indulge in “envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions” and the like (1 Timothy 6:4).
The point: that junkyard queen doesn’t look like much, but it runs and gets them where they need to go; PLUS we’ve driven a few in our day, too. What they’re wearing is the best they own, and they’re showing God how much they love Him by keeping their clothes clean and wearing their best to worship; PLUS we’ve done our share of shopping at St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill, too. . .
You get it, right? So. Scroll up and read Fr. Rohr’s stuff again. Then think about how that applies to where you live.
Yeah. It’s worth a “Hmm. . .”
© D. Dean Boone, January 2016