Whether Pope Francis is kissing a disfigured man with boils, washing the feet of a young muslim woman, driving his own car while refusing to live in the papal apartment, or simply denouncing excessive consumerism in typical ‘counter culture’ fashion, he has been doing some noteworthy things since assuming the papacy earlier this year. Even from an evangelical perspective, there are a lot of positive aspects to be gleaned from the change in tone at The Vatican.
However, as cheerleaders of The Pope have seemingly come out of the woodwork this year, it has not been to share how Jesus is working in their lives or how their personal Christian walk is going. On the contrary, most often it has been to rave about all the great things Pope Francis is doing.
While bumper stickers, yard signs and Facebook posts are liberties we cherish as free speech, none of these change hearts and minds when it comes to the cause or candidate we champion …personal relationships do.
The fall political season is in full force, and with each year seeming more polarizing than the last, this year is no exception. In pre-social media days, we only had bumper stickers and yard signs at our disposal to passive-aggressively show our allegiances. But to share our personal opinions or have a debate with someone we actually had to talk to the person- either face to face, by phone, or sit down and rant over email. Each of these options usually allowed for more reasoned outcomes because saying something to someone’s face takes a little more tact, picking up the phone was work, and by the time an email was written one would have had some time to cool off.
Enter social media into the mix…
As I looked over the layout and relatively empty shell of this new blog, I found myself reading the “About the Author” section. I began to impersonate the perspective of a curious web visitor wondering what bias I would have to endure to read some guy’s religious-dogma-influenced opinion on today’s current events. The cynic’s words rang in my head: “So he was a lifelong agnostic and then Jesus ‘radically’ changed his life? Here we go again, some born-again upstart thinking he has answers to all of life’s problems.”
First, having not grown up in church I neither affirmed nor denied existence of a “higher power” and actually leaned in the direction that one likely existed. However, since I never cracked open a Bible it would be a stretch to say I understood this higher power as the Christian God of the Bible.