Doubt and Faith

This morning at our bible study I hit a crux of doubtand faith. We
somehow got into talking about forced busing in schools. Several people had been school teachers and deplored the effects on their teaching. We marveled how an attempt to do good had backfired. I used to call this, The Helping Hand Strikes Again. Then we got into discussing life as Christians. We had a reading about our saint of the day, Henri Perrin, who had founded the Worker Priest movement. He was a priest and evangelist among factory workers. I pointed out that I work at a Kroger, so in a way I am a worker priest. I am not out of the closet as a priest but if I were, how could I evangelize.I suggested we are all worker Christians and our primary call in lay ministry was there. But I wondered how that would work in systems that prevented us from being as Christian as we could be, living as Jesus had lived. One of the others volunteered that we just had to be nice to people and they would get the picture. this raised some doubt in me that others would actually get it about the sources of our behavior. I thought it was utopian.

But another larger doubt struck me. What would Dorothy Day or William Stringfellow have said about just being nice. What about people whose work caught them in the toils of the principalities and powers? Don’t the things that dehumanize and disempower us need to be rebuked and resisted. The term “factory hand” has always struck me. Only a hand, not a whole person. And what about the pursuit of profit at the cost of other humans’ needs. How does just being nice work with those systems?

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