At some point I picked up the idea that wiser Christians ask fewer questions. That somehow they pick up “the answers” somewhere along the way. More mature Christians could always find The Answer in the Bible, no matter how remote the question might be. And, speaking of questions, that’s one thing real Christians wouldn’t have. Or at least, I wouldn’t know it if they did.
“You have to grow tougher skin, Carol,” my colleague told me when I invited him to lunch and asked for his advice on a church matter. I inhaled deeply. That was the same response I heard repeatedly for the first ten years of my pastorate. Whenever I got frustrated, well-meaning friends and colleagues would tell me that I needed to miraculously grow some sort of Teflon epidermis.
Recently I went to see the newly acquired 18th-century Neopolitan crèche at Chicago’s Art Institute. The giant crèche fills a 15’X15’ cabinet. It will be exhibited for only five weeks because the dozens of terra cotta figurines, each about five to eight inches tall, are dressed in handmade embroidered fabrics too fragile to be exposed to the air year-round.
I’ve always approached the slaughter of the innocents as a text that demands to be preached whether it’s in the lectionary year or not. Maybe that’s my privileged life talking there—that is, my life where all my children survived childhood without a serious threat. A life where weddings and baby showers are more frequent than funerals. A life where the stability of a home and regular meals were a given.