"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Here, too, is the church....

Sherri said...

I keep seeing that study headlined 'Less-educated & poor abandon religion.' Seems like to me it should be 'Religion abandons less-educated & poor.'
I am NOT picking on Sherri to repeat her comment here; but I just heard about this, and while I'm probably no fan of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's theology, this sounds like a very good thing to me:

Forty Texas prison inmates make up the state's first class of seminarians studying to become ministers under a new program operating totally behind prison walls.

The inmates all are serving lengthy sentences at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Darrington Unit in Brazoria County south of Houston. They're beginning Monday four years of training leading to a bachelor's degree in Biblical studies and eventual assignment to other Texas prisons where they'll minister to the spiritual needs of fellow inmates.

The nondenominational program is modeled after a similar project in Louisiana that's credited with reducing inmate violence by 70 percent since beginning in 1995.
Certainly better than abandoning the uneducated and poor, eh?


Anonymous Sherri said...

I don't feel picked on at all. I'm glad to hear about the program. I agree that there are some things happening at higher levels in our churches to help the least of these our brothers. But I think we're happier to go build a house for Habitat for Humanity than to welcome the people who live in that house into our congregation.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

But I think we're happier to go build a house for Habitat for Humanity than to welcome the people who live in that house into our congregation.

I think we certainly are; and that continually is our shame. We fear the poor, and I don't think it's just because we're afraid poverty is contagious.

I think it is because the poor really do seem like foreigners to us. Foucault describes a medieval ritual for expelling the leper from the church (and so the community), one that is done reverently and treating the leper as a blessing, not a curse on the community. I'm always struck by it because my Protestantism has taught me the poor are to be pitied or shunned or even cursed, but never to be considered as a blessing on the community, or even deserving of kind treatment as they are expelled (the reasons for expelling a leper and a beggar being obviously different ones, but most Protestant churches I know would treat them the same, and not with much care).

So, sadly, it runs deep.

3:32 PM  

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