Home > Bp. Breidenthal, DSO Events, Excerpts, Fisks, Theology > “Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, Pot” : Responses to Bp. Breidenthal’s Easter Sermon, (Part 1 of Many)

“Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, Pot” : Responses to Bp. Breidenthal’s Easter Sermon, (Part 1 of Many)

19 April 2010

This paragraph from Bp. Breidenthal’s Easter Sermon is one of many that sort of pops out at me:

“Finally, we know that we are called to mingle ourselves with others just as Jesus has mingled Himself with us. Jesus was criticized in his ministry, because He mingled with sinners and tax collectors. We are called to mingle to the homeless, and the drunk in Washington Square. We are called to mingle with people who we are perhaps nervous around in our office and workplace, in the school, even at church. And we are called on a larger scale to pursue inner city development that keeps us mixed.”

My thoughts about this paragraph are to some extent, petty;  and to some extent, not.  Allow me to give all of you some background, which will hopefully flesh out this initial objection… 

My wife and I are neither poor, nor rich.  We live slightly below our means with things like housing and cars.  We avoid parties where the topic du jour is how much wealth or salary so-and-so has going for them. 

Our neighborhood harbors neither crack dealers nor corporate executives, nor to my knowledge, anyone in middle-management.  Sex-offenders move in and out, since our block is too far away from several schools, to benefit from Ohio’s strict laws regarding where sexual offenders may set up residence.  Periodically, I will get updates from the sheriff, notifying me of sexual offenders who move into our neighborhood. 

It’s also full of houses that are older, and have been used as rentals.  Typically, families will move in and out.  The common denominator with many of the families seem to be one or more generational sins that haven’t let go of the family, leaving the family members mired in the effects of sin (e.g., alcohol abuse).  We see (and hear, as their arguments tend to be very loud and profane) the effects of these generational sins, not infrequently. 

Once every few years, we’ll have a shooting or an armed robbery somewhere nearby.  When my wife and I hear about it on the evening news (always after the fact), we’ll look at each other with a half-scared, half relieved look, and then forget about it the next day. 

Then too, we have a child in the neighborhood who is probably a victim of FAS, who has taken a liking to our own child.   Playtime .. never has been easy.  Not for my wife and I.  And certainly not for our child, either. 

And finally, there is the neighborhood Crazy-Lady.  I do not know her story, but I am certain that it is a sad one.  Since I was kind enough to politely listen to her ramblings one day while I was in the middle of doing something else, I was rewarded by her knocking on my door at 10 at night, unannounced.  Apparently, she wanted to borrow a cup of ice.  Scared the crap out of me.  But, we provided her with the ice, and she went on her way. 

That’s .. the kind of neighborhood I live in.  For the most part, it suites us, so we are not complaining.  Nor are we troubled that some of our friends live in nicer neighborhoods, and some in neighborhoods that are not as nice as ours. 

As you can see, we’re pretty phlegmatic about where we live. 

Up to a point. 

For you see, the clergyman who bloviates about “mingling” in the excerpted paragraph above, earns a higher salary than most of us, and lives in a neighborhood full of people who make higher salaries than most of us (see p. 101).  I know this through various internet features available to all of us, courtesy of the Information Age.  And yes, I agree that one of these features is both creepy in some situations, useful in others. 

..Let’s just say, people fortunate enough to live in Bp. Breidenthal’s neighborhood, don’t live there so that they can hob-knob (er, “mingle”) with the drunk on Washington Square, and leave it at that.  ;)

Now, I don’t care if people who make more money than most people in the Free World, live in nicer neighborhoods than I do.  But, when they presume to lecture The Rest of Us on the merits of “mingling” with drunks etc, when they themselves live in an upscale neighborhood .. Ah, I find it a bit hypocritical. 

Like I said, petty to an extent;  And to some extent, not. 

- Elder

  1. 19 April 2010 at 11:56 AM | #1

    Well, one of the Office lessons for today is from I Peter 5,

    “I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it -not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.”

    • Elder Oyster
      19 April 2010 at 10:08 PM | #2

      Very appropo. Thank you, Fr. Tim.
      - Elder

  2. Pearls Before Swine
    19 April 2010 at 4:37 PM | #3

    OK, for some reason I did read TB’s Easter letter. I’m really not sure I followed what he is trying to say and it’s not worth spending the time to try to figure it out. I will say (maybe in agreement?) that we need the Holy Spirit working through us to be able to even begin to give God the honor and praise he is due.

    So, based on what was in the Easter letter, can you discern why Tom thinks we should mingle? I suppose it can make us feel better about ourselves, and it gives us something to put on our resume to hand to Jesus at the Final Judgment.

    I also assume that by this: “On a larger scale we know this means not giving into the forces that divide us in our society. We know that as Christians, whatever our political party, whatever our approach to the common good, we are called to resist the dreadful polarization that paralyzes our common life.” Tom does not mean that we should resist the constant push of our society to tear apart our church by giving in to the pressures of our overly sexualized society. :-(

  3. Elder Oyster
    19 April 2010 at 9:26 PM | #4

    RE: “I will say (maybe in agreement?) that we need the Holy Spirit working through us to be able to even begin to give God the honor and praise he is due. ”

    I’m pretty sure that you and the bishop operate under very different Pneumatologies. ;)

    RE: “So, based on what was in the Easter letter, can you discern why Tom thinks we should mingle? ”

    Well, I think there’s a LOT going on underneath the surface. That’s why I’m going to take my time to fisk this as thoroughly as possible.

    For now, I’ll just say that I think he’s setting the bar to a height that is attractive to everyone, to get us all nodding our heads, ‘yes.’

    It’s a trick that real-estate agents will use sometimes, btw. ;)

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