Pope Francis is in “Good Trouble”

Pope Francis has rocked the planet again.  In a documentary titled, “Francesco,” Pope Francis said this about LGBTQ people: “They are children of God and have a right to a family. You can’t kick someone out of a family nor make their life miserable for this.  What we have to have is a civil union law; that way, they are legally covered.” 

Read his words again.  Let them soak in.

“They are children of God”

“…we have to have a civil union law…”

A few weeks earlier, Pope Francis told a group of parents of LGBTQ children that, “God loves your children as they are.  The Church loves your children as they are, because they are children of God.”

Don’t skim over those words.  “God loves your children as they are.”  

These words have the power to heal.  They have the power to stir up anger. 

Yes, the Pope has been praised and pilloried.

I’m on the praise side.  

Yes, his statement falls short of equal marriage, but it certainly throws open the door.  Others, like myself, have, after a long journey, walked through that door and have found on this side of it freedom, love, healing, and, yes, criticism.    

There are some who question whether Francis is a legit Pope.   There are some who have questioned whether I’m legit pastor – or who have concluded I’m a legit heretic.  

The critics point to the Bible and shout, “The Bible clearly says…”. But does it? Does it clearly say?  The so-called “gotcha” verses are often quoted with little understanding of their cultural, historical, grammatical meaning.  I know I don’t fully grasp their meaning.  Do you? 

For example, Paul’s words sound more like he’s referring to straight men using young boys for sex often in religious ceremonies.  He’s describing rape and abuse rather than loving, committed same-sex relationships.   

Well, Pope Francis has gotten himself into some “good trouble” which I hope will, in the words of John Lewis, “redeem the soul of America,” the church, and people around the globe.  

COVID and Dying Alone

A poster to be placed in Dad’s hospice room since COVID kept us out.

Dad died Sunday morning, October 11.

Alone.

I was not there.  My sisters were not there. 

We could not be there.  COVID-19 did not allow it.

On Wednesday, October 7, dad tested positive for COVID-19.  Yes, he was already dying.  That’s why he was in Hospice.  But COVID accelerated his death…and isolated his dying. 

Of all the pains of this pandemic – and there are many – dying alone has to be one of the most intense.  That dad was alone when he died haunts me.  

Oh, I know the Bible verses that assure us that “we are never alone,” but you get the point, don’t you?  I know without a doubt that God was there.  

But we weren’t.

I also know that the kind, competent, considerate nurse was at dad’s bedside minutes before he died, but she had to step out.  When she stepped out, dad slipped away.  I don’t blame the nurse.  Not one little bit.  Medical staff across the country have been heroic as they have served on the front line. They are angels of mercy holding the hands of the dying and spiritually placing those hands into the hands of other angels.   But they do not replace loved ones whom the dying need to be with, speak with, be with, one last time.  

And the loved ones need to be there one last time.

I don’t understand those who deny the severity and impact of the virus. I get a little mad about it.   Today, I just feel sad about it. 

 Where is the compassion toward and empathy for the dying and for the displaced living?  Are people unable or just unwilling to feel it? 

Our heath care workers get it. They have it. Compassion and empathy.

Thank you health care workers for not just caring for the body, but for the soul.