Re: secular activities of faiths

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Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 18:02:53 PST

In a message dated 2/2/01 7:16:50 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< So, it's impractical. But, there's more. It's *extremely* poor theology,
 because most faiths prohibit coerced conversion on the grounds that
 faith requires willingness.
the "theology" is getting clothes, food, and services to people who need it.
the government doesn't seem to be doing such a hot job. right now in one
florida district hundreds of children have been languishing in foster care on
average 4 years, without so much as a plan for placement. imagine - for many
of these kids that's half their lives, for some it's an entire life. the
state had set a deadline of one year to find homes - through relative care,
adoption, or therapeutic housing (for kids with "problems"). the state
finally awarded a contract to a private organization to place these kids.
the casework teh agency inherited from the state agency was a shambles. but
the private (jewish) organization is doing in a few months what the state
couldn't - or wouldn't - accomplish in forty-eight. does religion enter the
picture at all? not at all. stricter hiring practices and higher pay?

i read a recent fork post re "light" and "works" and it made me think about
my catholic upbringing. catholics come from a long tradition of works -
penance, dispensations, martyrdom. mother teresa removed maggots from the
(truly) untouchables in india. father damian risked leprosy in malokai.
they ministered to the physical needs of the "least of these" on the planet,
and the works themselves were the light.

fundamentalist christians come from a different place. they believe "by
faith shall ye be saved, not by works." while catholics believe christ's
suffering was an example to follow, that faith would allow his followers to
bear all things, fundamentalists believe christ, thru his suffering and
death, saved man from having to endure the same. simply put, fundamentalists
tend to translate literally, catholics allegorically. maybe that's why
you'll see on the 24-hour jesus network dr. crouch and his voluminously
wigged wife jan (these two make jim and tammy look like quakers) raising
money for christian tv networks in china. "the word of god" is just that -
the spoken word. preaching is where its at for fundamnentalists - spread the
word of salvation! preach but don't touch! to help for helping's sake, to
alleviate suffering without telling the story of salvation, is
counterproductive to them.

that's the tie between fundamentalists and the conservatives. there is an
underlying belief - nay, OVERT catechismic principle, that suffering is the
natural consequence of an undedicated life. the social problems of today are
the result of the ill-begotten faithless (read liberal) social programs of
thirty years ago; the right believes they engendered a class of dependents.

i typed right off track. what i meant to write was that there are
faith-based organizations that let their works shine, not their preaching.
they already run federal and state contracts. it would be cool if those
agencies, the tried and true ones (as i stated in the first post), could get
a little financial boost. what would be cooler is if the secular agencies
paid close attention to how the "religious" ones are getting the job done.


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