Monday, February 2, 2015

Do You Have a Relationship with the Church, or a Truce?

I heard an interesting comment the other day.

"50/50 is not a relationship; it is a truce." 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
It really hit home, because most of us are looking for a truce, whether it be in our marriages, our jobs, our
relationships with family and friends, or our relationship with the Church.

Anyone who is happily married or has children will tell you that love is not give and take; it's give. Any time I've looked for my 50% or tried to divvy things up to make them fair, I've wound up miserable or angry or both.

Keeping score doesn't work for anything other than sports. That doesn't mean be a doormat, but our definition of doormat has narrowed to the point where the minute the balance is tipped in the favor of someone else, we cry foul.

How, you ask, can I have a relationship with the Church?  It's an organization. Well, that kind of thinking is the start of the problem.

The Church is the Body of Christ. It is comprised of members, individuals, human beings. Your relationships with those human beings, from your fellow volunteers to the parish office staff to your priest to your bishop to Pope Francis define your relationship with the Church.

Are you a minimalist? You've filled out a parish registration, dutifully check the Catholic box on surveys, and regularly put money in your donation envelope. What more do they want? Well, does your spouse require more of you than to bring home the paycheck and acknowledge that he/she is part of the family? I would hope so!

Are you confrontational?  Are your conversations about the Church a criticism of everything you don't agree with or understand? Just a suggestion: Have you ever tried to understand the Church's position? I've found they are usually well thought-out positions with valid reasons behind them. Get a Catechism. It's a great resource.

Do you write your pastor with complaints about the music, the altar server's tennis shoes, or parish leaders?  Have you ever offered a (workable/kind) solution? Sometimes your solution won't be accepted even though it's obviously the most brilliant idea since American cheese. Realize that there are others who don't agree with you and let it go.

If you feel as if nobody ever says hello, have you ever introduced yourself? They may be shy, new to the parish, or feel they are respecting your privacy.  Conversely, do you know the names of any of your fellow parishioners? Or do you approach them at Mass the same way you'd approach fellow audience members at the theater? You're all there for the same show, but no talking!

Relationships take effort. Sometimes you may be the one who has to go more than halfway, but life is rarely never 50/50.

There can be great peace in tearing up your scorecard. 

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