The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

May 19, 2009

Disagreements in Church

If only we in the church, in the midst of our disagreements, could learn from the deep wisdom of a true leader:

In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you’ve been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse.

But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds. (President Barack Obama Commencement Speech Notre Dame University, May 17, 2009)
President Obama describes the church to which I want to belong.

Let us stay together each holding our faith boldly and with deep conviction. Let us declare with all the passion we can muster those things we believe to be most true about life, God and what it means to be human.

But let us also admit we do not know everything. There are so many mysteries in life we cannot begin to unravel. God’s wisdom is absolute; ours is always partial and imperfect. We need one another to move more closely to the greater wisdom that is God’s.

True wisdom will never be found along the arrogant road of self-righteousness. The truly wise will be humble and open, always willing to admit they may be wrong and their understanding is incomplete.

Most important of all, let us try less to convince with words and more with actions. Show me; don’t tell me what you believe. It is the quality of your life, the kindness, gentleness and compassion you demonstrate that will finally convince me of your knowledge of God.

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