Thursday, March 31, 2016

Words...and silence

Well, if you read any newspaper in the world, it would seem that you know all about the recent Wendy Bell Facebook (see? I told you) post and subsequent firing. If you live under a rock like me, check HERE. Yes, that's the Daily from the UK. Who knew?

So let's look to a Saint about this...

It is true that she spoke, largely, without charity. Sadly, the media culture is like that these days...all it takes is a few seconds to pretty much ruin your life...especially if you're in the public eye. It's likely she was so quickly squashed because it reflected on her employer. Whether it was true or not remains to be seen...only that people were offended and something had to be done. (I have to laugh every time I hear that because I remember a dear priest saying, "your taking offense offends me"). We live in interesting days, for sure.

So, it's good that I'm not in the public eye because, even on the most well-meaning day, I can say some pretty stupid things. I'm sure I had one too many car wrecks and my frontal lobe is damaged. Sometimes things pop out without a filter. I'm working on it. Today, instead of thinking some judgment (positive or negative) about the people I passed on my walk, I made statements of fact..."Wow, there are a lot of 20-somethings driving Lexi (what is the plural?) these days" or "That man is wearing a purple polka dotted bow tie!". If I stay with fact, I think I'm heading in the right direction. Perhaps one day I'll just walk by people, smile, and think nothing at all.

It's funny, though. It is about being charitable in our thoughts and words but some people pull it off better than others. Poor Wendy is probably wondering how something that sounded so right in her head could have gone so wrong. After all, aren't we still grieving a woman who, armed with the Truth of Christ, was known for not pulling punches?

She was bold and blunt and spoke the truth. After many years of suffering, Jesus called her home on Easter Sunday. I'm taking that as a pretty clear sign that He was happy with His faithful servant.

As I continued to walk, I started wondering about the people who say the right things in the right circles, what the people in front of them want to hear. There seems to be a trend of stand-up comedy fundraisers in the Christian arena these days. I was shocked when I started seeing this because, let's face it, comedy can often be less-than-Christian. One of the headliners at a recent show was this man...

Yes, he did say "all the guilt and shame, just no sex with the priest". It's all good, though, it would seem that in his "clean" version, he says "all the guilt and shame, just half the time at Mass."

So, how does this work? Is it OK to know that a person says something so blatantly inflammatory but, as long as it's not offending the people in the seats, no harm done?

Or how about the workers outside of the church I visited for my daily rosary? Before they noticed my presence, the f-bomb was flying fairly often (I hope they stopped when they noticed me, anyway, and not just because they moved onto a non-cuss-worthy topic). That's how construction folk are, right? We have to understand it and accept it. Right?

This was a confusing walk. How can one person lose their livelihood for saying something offensive but another is given wide berth strictly because of their occupation?

I'm not writing this with any great insight. I don't know. I do know that we all have a stranger living inside of us (Billy Joel softly whistles in the background) and, when we turn from the Truth that should rule our lives, that stranger gets the floor. It is so easy with social media ruling the day, to just blurt out what we're thinking at any given moment. Thankfully, we also have a God that is all good and filled with mercy on His servant who is so full of faults.

Perhaps a lesson in all of this is to show mercy, as we are shown Mercy. It is merciful to bear wrongs, like ignoring language that is less than appropriate and it is also merciful to point out beliefs that stray from the truth. We are called to live together and work to become saints. Wouldn't it be good if we could all just get started today (instead of waiting until Sunday)? If you're not a follower of Saint Faustina, listen to Billy...
Don't be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then
You've done it, why can't someone else?
You should know by now
You've been there yourself

Wishing you patience to bear wrongs, prudence to recognize the Truth, and fortitude to speak and live the Truth. We are blessed.

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