Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Simul Iustus Et Peccator

Fellow Traveler and I are standing in our narthex this past Sunday, at a register where we have been invited to list the names of the departed saints in our own lives, for reading aloud during the Sundays in November.

FT has listed some names, including those of my parents. (No jokes about my character issues earning them sainthood.) Now it's my turn.

Then I add a few more: My maternal grandparents. My friends Bill and Rozie, from my sojourn up north.

Later on that day the thought occurs to me that I had cherrypicked through my mental inventory of the dead, leaving out family members who'd been less than stellar examples of ideal Christian behavior; who'd been physically and emotionally abusive to spouses, children and other family members; who'd been rabid bigots; who'd done some bad stuff to other people in the course of their time on this mortal coil.

Who do I think I am, sorting saints from sinners? Isn't that exactly the same thing I criticize in holier-than-thou hyper-Christians? How are the people on my "bad" list any worse than I am, at my worst? How are the people on my "good" list any better? And how would I know, anyway? Who am I to presume to plumb the depths of people's hearts and souls and motivations?

Maybe that Romans Bible study is working.

1 comment:

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Interesting isn't it when we smack ourselves in the head with our own "isms" or whatever you want to call that. Well, better than blurting this in public and someone else smacking us with that. Or maybe we Lutherans don't call each other out on stuff.

Probably the Spirit at work in the smacking.