Finding Bread

“I’m just a beggar, telling another beggar where to find bread.”

I first heard this saying from a priest who was running a college outreach program back in the 1980s, and it has never strayed far from my mind. I think it stayed with me because of the man who said. Father Steve was an easy going guy with a quick wit, a boyish face, and an inviting personality. He wasn’t much of papal dictates. He was more concerned about keeping people’s lights turned on, getting a four way stop on a dangerous corner, or making sure that bad grades, unexpected pregnancy, or some other one of life’s hiccups didn’t send kids to the top the clock tower to practice their swan dive. He lived in the real world and he lived a real religion. He didn’t do the hell-fire and brimstone sermons I was accustomed to from my youth. He said he was too busy doing work in this world to do God’s job, which was taking care of the next.

Father Steve has since gone on to where the good people go when their work is done, when they have finished their course.

He retired and moved to Florida.

But his words remain.

“I’m just a beggar, telling another beggar where to find bread.”

People of liberal religious faith would do well to remember the words of Father Steve, In our quest to be accepting and open-minded and non-judgmental, we keep to ourselves our religion, our place where we have found bread. We find disquieting, and for good reason, the practice of proselytizing, of trying to threaten or cajole a person away from their beliefs and into ours. So we do not speak of what we believe, what we find moral and why, what we find sustaining and uplifting. So we remain to most people suspicious and possibly cult-ish. Our religion can be seen as either a commune of hippies or possibly the Manson Family with a dash of Jim Jones. This is not a true picture, but If we refuse to even pick up the camera then how can we ever focus the shot?

Evangelizing is not proselytizing. Telling someone that the reason you are helping to build a habitat house is not just because you care about housing people, but also because the faith you have chosen demands you do for others is no sin. Answering questions asked of you in a forthright manner, wearing your church t-shirt when participating in civic life, Inviting a friend to Sunday service are all things you could and should do. If your faith has brought you joy, brought you peace, simple saying that is no vice. You take your sustenance from your faith, you have found your bread. Simply stating that the bread is there for those not filled somewhere else is not a bad thing

It could be a saving grace.

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