Friday, July 8, 2011

talk about it

today's Gospel


I heard a comment on the radio the other day by a well known figure in the Irish arts world that 'religion is a private matter' or words to that effect. What he said doesn't surprise me. It has become very much the 'PC' thing to do, to keep one's faith very quiet indeed. Weddings and funerals and school applications and census forms apart, it has become the 'done thing' not to talk about religion. In a way it rather the flip side of that line the Kevin Spacey character speaks in 'The Usual Suspects' - 'The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.'  CS Lewis said pretty much the same thing years earlier in The Screwtape Letters. And it seems to me that being all private and PC about religion is a good way of convincing people that it doesn't exist either.

It's a long way from the sentiments expressed by Jesus in today's Gospel reading. There he clearly expects that his followers will be very public about their faith ... whatever the cost. It seems a little sad that many today would rather be 'private' about their faith rather than risk the comparatively mild 'cost' of not being a perfectly PC person. I don't mean that we should all be getting in people's face about our faith 24-7-365, but we shouldn't hide it either. For example, I've lost track of the amount of times when I was trying to organise something for a weekend with a group and being told that it would have to fit in around some match on the telly ... why not be brave enough to say to your friends that any weekend plans will have to fit in around Sunday worship? Or people return from holidays and talk endlessly about what they did while they were away ... why shouldn't we, on return from a retreat or pilgrimage, do exactly the same?

Because here's the thing. If a relationship is important to us, we don't keep it private. And if our relationship with God is important to us, then we shouldn't keep it private either.

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