A wide spot in my imagination.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Day-After Saints

Poor St. Salvator of Horta.  His feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints is March 18, the day after St. Patrick's Day.  No rivers turned green for Salvator, no drunken revelers.  No shamrocks in our lapels or leprechauns.  In honor of Salvator, people just go back to work and nurse their hangovers.

I don't think Salvator would expect much, though.  He was known for his asceticism, humility and simplicity.  No snake-whispering for him.  He was a cook and a porter.  Later, he became the official beggar for the Franciscans in his town.  What a horrible job.

Not only does Salvator have to follow Patrick on the saints calendar, he doesn't even get his own day.  No, March 8 is the feast day for both St. Salvator of Horta and St. Cyril of Jerusalem.  St. Cyril was know for teaching catechumens, which means was he was stuck teaching confirmation class.  Later he was berated for selling off church property to support poor people. Then he was exiled.  Seems like Irish eyes weren't smiling for Cyril either.

So, God bless St. Salvator of Horta and St. Cyril of Jerusalem and all the other overlooked saints who beg for money or teach confirmation, who cook the meals and carry the bags.

God bless all the second-runners-up, the also-rans and the didn't-quite-make-its.   God bless the losers, the overlooked and the next-day saints.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Facebook, the Death Penalty and Stereotypes

The "Texas Observer" is a hard-charging, left-leaning newspaper from my native Lone Star State.  Last week, they published a fine article about the "hidden progressive Christian community of Texas."  Granted, there are lots of conservative Christians in Texas, but the article's feigned surprise at finding some liberal Christians in Texas rubbed me the wrong way.

That's a common refrain, though: Christians are mean, narrow-minded, hate-filled.  And when you throw in a Southern accent, it just gets worse.

Today, I stumbled across some data that defies those stereotypes.

The House of Delegates in the State of Maryland, where I now live, voted to abolish the death penalty.  I think that is very good news.  There are some who would consider that a very liberal political move.

About an hour ago, I posted a link about that death penalty vote on my Facebook page.  In the past hour, 24 people have liked my Facebook post.

Of those 24 people, 18 of them have Texas ties.  And all of them have deep roots in the South -- everyone of them was born in the South or has lived for decades below the Mason-Dixon line.

Of those 24 people, all of them are, or have been, very active in local congregations.

Of those 24 people, at least 13 of them have seminary training and/or work in church settings of some sort.

Granted this is no scientific poll.  And my sample pool is limited.  They're all liberal Christians, mainly from the South, because those are the kind of people I hang with, even in cyberspace.

But, for anyone out there who clings to the stereotype of Christians as bigoted, vengeful, reactionary conservatives, today the State of Maryland and my Facebook page remind you:  "That ain't always the case ya'll."  Can I get an Amen?