What God Expects

A few notes on theology and history: the Catholic church has a long history of failing to separate church and state, while separating its orthodoxy from its parishioners’ felt faith. It amends the language of its worship rites, but seldom its broader vision of mercy and salvation and its own list of requirements for church connection beyond the Old Testament 10.

My own influences include Peter J. Gomes, professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School, and Howard Thurman, a Morehouse graduate, Florida-born, the grandson of a slave; an ordained Baptist preacher who became deeply engaged as a Quaker mystic, a mentor to Dr. King and others as the first major religious appointment of an African-American at a major college, Dean of the Chapel at Boston University. Dr. King had one of his books in his brief case when he was killed.

Thurman focused on the choices of the living journey rather than the questions of salvation as a function of faith and belief judged in an afterlife. He framed and explored the creative, critical process rather than proscribing a proper means of adoration. Simply put, Thurman’s faith was basing on knowing what we term good and evil will not have the “last word about the meaning of life or the nature of existence,” reminding believers that “God expects us to not only to choose our actions but our reactions.”

When the stone was turned, those women found not dread, but joy. That, and the evidence of a few facts, was all Thurman needed to know.

Comment: (Cape Cod) Peter Gomes was the president my high school class in 1961. He was already inspirational. What an exceptional human being.

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