Against Pity


Davey Henreckson has a great post on why Christians should avoid pity:

The liberal must “save” the poor from poverty. The conservative must keep the poor from indolence. Both pity the poor as something less desirable. Neither attempts to challenge the basic idea that the poor are ultimately disprivileged.

[...] True Christian charity, therefore, is something more than our common definition of pity. White guilt is pity. Condescension is pity. Even inaction might be pity, for some conservatives. And what pity obscures is the paradoxical realization that the poor are, by certain biblical definition, worthy of higher honor. They own something we do not. And the means by which we might participate in that honor with them is charity.

I would have used the word “disenfranchised” instead of “disprivileged”, but ultimately, Henreckson is arguing that empathy — specific Christian empathy — should replace pity. I agree.

Power and Obedience


As a body that looks powerful and acts powerfully, the Catholic Church seems to want your obedience. But it does not seem to demand it. (Unlike the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God that asks “authoritatively” for money in exchange for miracles and blessings.)

We owe obedience to God alone — which is really an obedience to our deepest, truest self. The Church carries on the work of Jesus Christ, whom we call the Son of God, because he has shown this to us.

Perhaps that is why, years ago, when I was younger, I had a distorted image of the Church. I saw it reverently at a distance. Now, I am no longer outside and I am part of the Church, that is, part of a community not an institution. The power of this diverse community comes from what binds their members together. This does not entail that such a community is powerful. In fact, following Jesus, it should reject such an influence and be solely at the service of humanity and the salvation it aspires to.