Thomas Luter

Good Priest, Bad Priest

Ron saw his priest as a good one, one who all day - almost everyday - devoted most of his ministry to reaching out to others as an answer to his calling. He noted that his priest received and responded to countless requests from those whose fingers scanned the yellow pages for churches that can be sure to give them the assistance that they wanted.  It was well known in the Community of the Needy that "Mr. Billy" was a ‘easy’ priest who almost always came through with gifts of Christian charity.  Fr. Billy was good at building teams at their small church and built a strong team of disciples who believed that there is no higher calling than the one of helping those in need. They were on the streets on Saturday mornings, at the Soup kitchen on Wednesdays evenings and making sandwiches on Sundays. They felt good.

Fr. Billy was a sweet man without a doubt but Ron wondered about Father’s ministry.  He wondered who was going to feed the parish family's spiritual hunger. He began to notice that his parish was in a state of spiritual atrophy and began to wonder whether his brother for whom Mr. Billy bought a bus ticket to Baltimore was maybe more worthy than his own spiritual family who needed a ticket to holiness. 

So it was curious that when Ron wrote Father that he no longer felt that his church provided him the spiritual food that his soul was crying for and told him that he would be seeking another place of worship, that Father spent no effort to talk to him to ask him about his needs (as he does with the scores of cold-callers he gets every month.) He didn't ask "why?"  He didn't try to find out if Ron was having a spiritual crisis. Neither he, nor anyone else in the parish, reached out to Ron's heart in any way. 

Ron began to think that there was no reason to go to Church at all if the main  emphasis was “ministry” because, he reasoned, that you don't have to be a Christian to pack care packages or make sandwiches for the street people. Acts of charity do not make you a Christian. If they did then atheists would be Christians.  He also reasoned that you can give to the people in Uganda without the hassle and politics of parish life. 

So poor Ron left Christianity all-together  because it was God he was seeking. Last seen, he was visiting a mosque. And poor Mr. Billy will forever bear the yoke of responsibility for losing yet another Christian soul.  

The mark of true Christianity is that it exists to make people Godly. The mark of false Christianity is that it doesn't.  Once God-like then you will give generously for the right reason.