Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Christians"

Yesterday on Facebook, a classmate of mine from the 1960's posted a link to an article about the late Elizabeth Edwards:  http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/12/08/why-elizabeth-edwards-left-god-out-of-her-last-goodbye/

I read it.  The gist of the article is that some “Christian” “thinkers” believe that Ms. Edwards final Facebook posting raised doubts about the legitimacy of her claimed Christian beliefs.  Her final statement wasn’t orthodox enough for these Inquisitors.

When I was a kid going to a Catholic elementary school, I was in love with the Christian heroes portrayed in a series of books in the School library about the lives of the saints.  Each week, I would check out a different biography.  Over a period of two or three years, I read every one of those books.

The saints portrayed in these books all were “doers” of the Word, not verbal preachers of it.  They looked at the Jesus of the Gospels and, as Jesus directed, they went out and lived Jesus’s teachings.  They fed the hungry, they clothed the naked, they healed the sick, and they buried the dead.  They didn’t write diatribes about idle welfare recipients, illegal aliens who spoke a different language, sexual minorities whose life was different from their own, or brave women who died with dignity and grace.  They embraced, included, and loved.

I’m not going to claim sainthood for Ms. Edwards.  She, however, came to the end of her life having endured six years of a brave fight with breast cancer, the earlier death of a teenage son, and the publicly–discussed infidelity of her husband.  She died having faced all these trials with grace, dignity, and love.  As Paul said about himself in one of his New Testament letters, she bore in her body the marks of Jesus’s passion and death.  She was a doer of the Word.

As far as I can tell, those “Christians” questioning her orthodoxy are, like the Pharisees Jesus blasted, “white–washed sepulchers,” trying to look godly on the outside while full of corruption, hate, and envy within.

I’m not a Christian any more, and I have to say that a part of me misses the challenge and support I found in the lives of the saints.  Today’s  “Christians” scare me; they don’t edify or inspire.

Ms. Edwards, though, does inspire, edify, and instruct.  May she rest in peace.

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