Yesterday I had interactions with two different church leaders who inspired me. These weren't direct interactions, one was a reading in the National Geographic magazine, a form of hearsay, and the other was in conversation about a church leader, another form of hearsay. The article was about the pope Francis and other was about a local minister. One inspired me to copycat, the other inspired how not to behave.
The subtitle of the article was "As Francis make his first US visit, his emphasis on serving the poor over enforcing doctrine has inspired joy and anxiety in Roman Catholics." I was inspired with joy. The oral conversation, on the other hand, included paraphrases to the effect, "that's the way it's supposed to be." There is more to the "supposed to be" phrase; there is a long complete history of "you can't do this" and "you have to do this."
I'm not Catholic. I got the impression from my parents that I shouldn't talk to "them" and certainly not marry one. I'm grown some since then and have set aside some of my childish ways. Members of our family has married Catholics and they are an inspiration to me. Still I have no reason, Catholics do have a lot of ritualistic procedures, to become a Catholic. As you may have inferred from an earlier blog writing, I'm not certain I want any title or label, other than servant of God. I can however still be inspired by one as Catholic as the pope.
Friends become friends for a number of reasons; something in common is one possible reason. Someone you feel comfortable with, is another. For whatever reason we have the friends we have, we choose our friends. We don't choose our family, we're born into that. Perhaps in a similar way we choose our church, the one we attend on Sunday and work for throughout the week. Just as I and my ideas and attitude have changed over the years so can churches change, and so if one chooses a church because you have something in common, one might un-choose a church because you have less in common.
But after un-choosing, what does one choose in its place? I don't come with the answers. I have not thought through all situations carefully or thoroughly. But I will continue to seek the answers; I do embrace the title "seeker." What I do know, and this is what I will pursue, that I can and will pray that those you inspire me to not do what they do will themselves be inspired to love others and God above setting the rules and flowing doctrines.