The Independent Newsweekly
|Today's Take: NCR's daily Web column|
|Each weekday over the course of a week, a member of the NCR staff offers a commentary on one or more topics in the news. It's our way of introducing you to some of the people carrying out the NCR mission of faith and justice based journalism.|
|January 5, 2004||
Vol. 1, No. 176
The Gospel according to Fred Astaire
by Arthur Jones, NCR editor at large
Five days of me this week. Okay it's a new year. Let's build some excitement.
Jesus still walks the world pointing out what we need to worry about. God still loves us though we don't deserve it.
So waddya do? I know, you're busy. You/I might even be feeling old (older? Less young? Whatever).
We follow the Gospel according to Fred Astaire.
Once again we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. That's what the New Year is about.
If it's another year that means we're that much more tired. But look at it another way. It means we're another year closer to being dead -- and if that doesn't galvanize us not much can.
It's another year to speak up and speak out. Another year to tell the young and not so young what matters, to explain what social and personal values and responsibilities are.
Flipping over the past decade, for every Clinton peccadillo we have to explain what good behavior is. For every Enron rip-off, what fiduciary responsibility is. In the face of the clerical sex abuse scandal and the disgraceful corruption of some bishops in hiding it and who should be in jail, we have to plainly state that the church is wrong and can be wrong again.
But these things really are just playing against a decade of breaking news.
What we're called on as Christians to truly tackle is the devastating trends.
Think of this as the new Dark Ages for a moment. The popular myth, and quite a good one, is that throughout the Dark Ages -- that 950-year span from around 450 A.D. to the end of the 11th century -- little bands of brave monks kept a vision of God, and the Word, alive until such times as the Holy Spirit burst open afresh.
Today we're those monks.
The vision is ours to carry -- through what we do and what we say.
The Word is ours to live by -- which is how we govern what we do and what we say.
The world's a mess. We have to say that, too. And find others to say it with.
There's nothing unique about the way ahead. The way ahead is where it's always been. In finding decent, like-minded people in community -- in the Eucharistic community and in the general community -- and working for improvement.
In finding and challenging like-minded younger people. In not being blindly bound to how we did it, or saw it -- hearing their version of how we might be.
And if we're men, in making sure we're listening to women.
Arthur's Daily Ditty
Arthur Jones' e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2003 The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 115
E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111
TEL: 1-816-531-0538 FAX: 1-816-968-2280