The Kingdom of Necessary Evils

I believe sometimes the greatest acts of healing or justice or rescue are the least noticeable. There can be drama, certainly, but it’s internal: a complex justification system built upon a lifetime of wounds, a backstory worthy of best-selling memoirs, a pressure cooker of cultural constraint and systematic injustice and gothic loneliness. And all that’s required to heal or make right or rescue is a word, and suddenly all the bygones and weight and pressure spring away. But without that word, there is no hope. Without that word, people like Levi don’t just wear a mask or put up a facade — they are entombed. I think compared to the rescue of Levi from his tax booth, lowering a paralytic through a hole in the roof is easy.

Let me explain, friends. Continue reading

We Are Professionals

I often hate the Apostle Peter. Hate would be too strong a word if I hated Peter as a person, but I don’t. The times I hate Peter, it’s for what he represents as key-holder of the Church, not for who he is as a bearded Galilean fisherman.

I hate Peter at the Transfiguration when he literally tries to put God in a box. I hate Peter when he tells Jesus to go back to school after the crucifixion is foretold. I hate Peter when he wants to sacrifice the present of the elderly for the future of the young. I hate all the acts of assertive cowardice Peter performs that the Church still performs today. But there are times when I can’t hate Peter without also hating myself, because I know I would commit the same sin, the same denial, the same systematic doubt institutionalized into dogma. For instance, I would stand with Peter in the boat and tell Jesus he doesn’t fully understand what we have to deal with, that this is harder than it looks. I would steady myself against the rocking of the boat and tell Jesus that we are professionals.

Let’s​ back up just a bit. Continue reading