Tuesday, July 22, 2008


To be a man or woman of faith means that belief in God has something to do with the kind of person that you are, not simply what you do. It is not an external activity like skiing or baking, it is part of your essence like being male or female. This in turn effects how you see the world and how you react to it.

For example, if a person understands faith as something he does rather than who he is, he might be more inclined to pick and choose from the things that Christians do rather than buy they whole enchilada and “go native” as it were. “Church” then becomes like joining the last gym at which I was a member. There was a basic membership. From there you could get extras such as entrance to the executive dressing rooms where there was a sauna and whirlpool. You could get towel service. You cold have appointments with a masseuse. But even if you did not do all of those things you were still a member of the club. You were in. You picked what you wanted and what you wanted to sacrifice for.

Such a person then might say, “I am Christian, but I do not believe that it should interfere with politics or the bedroom. I am an adult. I can decide what is good for me. I love this woman and having relations with her is my way of expressing my affection for her. Who is the Church to tell me to do otherwise?”

Now, if a person sees faith as something as intimately tied to who he is like being male, he is far less likely to be a cafeteria Catholic. Even if he have other predilections, opting out of being a man is not in the cards save through complicated and expensive illusion. The same should be said of the man or woman of faith. He would say, “I am Christian and that is the lens through which I see life and therefore effects even my politics and what I do behind closed doors. It is like being a gentleman. If I am pleasant in public but rude in private, I am not a gentleman but a rude person who has moments of acting like a gentleman. So if I love this woman, it is more important for me to say no to carnal relations even if I really want to have them because it will be more important for me to see the one I supposedly love get into heaven than it would be for me to demand this action of her for my benefit. We love each other more in saying, “No,” (even though it may not feel like it) than in giving in to what I want.

God and His commandments to love are the very air we breath and must influence every aspect of our lives or our faith is inane. As the devil said in the C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, “A moderate religion is as good as no religion at all – and much more amusing.”

Here is a poem that gets the same point across using being a gentleman as its theme:


To look at him
a person would see
a man with gentlemanly grace:
the finest of clothes
and goodness knows
a very distinguished face.

He’d sport with the men
and bow to the ladies
with an aristocratic air.
He’d mount a horse
and jump a course
yet never muss his hair.

Of worldly things
he’d quite a grasp
and could converse on every topic;
of Church, state, and sport
and news of all sort,
but would never, ever gossip.

But late at night
once out of sight
his own true nature arose:
He’d burp a lot
and scratch his butt
and pick buggers out of nose.

Too lazy to clean
he’d watch T.V. all day
and he often peed in his sink.
And week old Spam
in an open can
began to horribly stink.

Why does he lead
this two fold life
which to us appears so queer?
The role he would play
was for public display;
his gentlemanly way: A veneer!


Anonymous said...


Indeed, a veneer doesn't cut it, and least of all in today's world. Paul said, "To live is Christ.." To live compassion, patience, mercy and peace is to live Christ. If we aren't living Christ, our entire life is but a facade, not just our faith.


Lillian Marie said...

Great post! Just started reading the Screwtape letters (recommendation from a friend of mine) - very enlightening.

(Post is very appropriate to the readings today as well)
Thank you!

Unknown said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

LOL, wonderful post.

OH for more solid mahogany and less veneer, where both Christians and gentlemen (and ladies too) are concerned!