Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fifth Anniversary

Cambridge Welcoming Ministries is turning five!!

This week we will celebrate our fifth anniversary as a mission of the New England Annual Conference as we honor our Reconciling Saints for this year. Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto from the Pacific School of Religion will be our guest preacher.

This year our congregation is proud to honor those who helped found the ministry five years ago including, Ray Morang, a lay person at Grace UMC in Lynn who at the age of 88 years old changed his mind about sexuality. Ray often says that he used to be a "bigot," in his prejudice against gay and lesbian people, but through the ministry of his home health aide, Leslie, God broke open his heart. After this conversion moment, Ray stood on the floor of annual conference and spoke in support of the creation Cambridge Welcoming Ministries. His voice made all the difference in the voting.

We will also honor five congregations who have been instrumental in our success over the years including:
  • Grace UMC - the congregation who offered us a home
  • Lexington UMC - a congregation who offered us institutional and financial support
  • United Parish of Auburndale - a congregation who continues to partner with us in our ministry
  • Sudbury UMC - a congregation who works with us in solidarity through their prayers, presence, gifts and service
  • College Ave. UMC - the congregation who continues to offer us hospitality and a home
Join us for this special service on Sunday, September 30th at 5 PM at College Ave. UMC located at 14 Chapel Street in Davis Square in Somerville.

A reception will follow, catered by Gargoyles.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Is There No Balm? Jeremiah 8:18ff

This summer as I have traveled from annual conference to annual conference leading workshops on storytelling, I have described to folks what makes a good story. I explain there are good stories and bad stories and we all know the difference. Right? Good stories I explain, have a structure, a moral and always end in hope. Good stories, good Christian stories, always end in the good news of Jesus Christ.

It is one of those parts of the training with which people naturally resonate. We like inspirational, hopeful stories of triumph despite challenges and loss. These are the stories we want to hear, the movies we want to watch, the books we want to read.

Yet, each time as I move from explaining the characteristics of a good story, to the actual practice of telling our own stories, someone always asks, “But, what if my story doesn’t end in hope? What if there is no good news after all?”

This is a serious question.

The people who attend these trainings are Reconciling United Methodists in some of the most conservative areas of our Methodist connexion…Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia. The reality of much of their ecclesial life is bleak to say the least. When I ask them what it means to be a fully inclusive church they stare blankly back at me. They don’t know because they have never experienced it. They can’t even imagine it.

How do we tell good stories when it seems there is no hope in sight?

Beyond our own experience in local churches that exclude and discriminate based on sexual orientation, we look around the world in which we live and see what seems like an endless array of sorrow and suffering for which there is no good news in sight. Hurricane Felix sweeps through the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and devastates already fragile indigenous communities. Three white students hang nooses on a tree and receive a two day suspension, while a black teen faces 14 years in prison for a school yard fist fight. Young men and women are sent to serve their country only to come home in body bags. Millions struggle under the weight of chronic illness and debilitating degenerative disease that slowly drains the life from them. Precious children die at an early age, some caught in the global AIDS crisis, others simply lost for lack of nourishment.

In our own lives we too witness suffering and loss that leaves us bereft seemingly without hope. Sometimes our losses come suddenly and without warning, discrete tragedies that make no sense. Other times we are struck by the endless stream of chronic suffering around the world.

It becomes hard to tell a good story in the context of so much suffering, so much pain, so much despair. And, we like the Israelites, cannot raise our head in song or story in the midst of our suffering… “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept…How can we sing the songs of God?”

Contemporary health and wealth gospels do us a disservice when they try to convince us that “All things work for good for those who love our God.” We are told to “buck up,” “trust Jesus,” “give it to God,” and “obey God’s will.” Stories of God’s purported need of our loved ones in heaven or God’s intention for us to learn a lesson through pain are supposed to make our suffering and loss better. This type of theology tries in vain to comfort us with the idea that “we’ll understand this in the by and by.” Remember, “Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die.” These pat answers, while always offered as sincere consolation, are not only naïve, but offensive and insensitive to the realities of our lives, which at time seem broken beyond repair.

For those of us who have grappled with grief and suffering, whether in the context of a sudden loss or a chronic condition, we know these easy answers and platitudes just don’t work.

Yet, while recent revisions of our Christian response to tragedy seem shallow and inadequate to address the suffering of the world, our faith tradition has a rich history in dealing with evil in the world. While modern day seekers may wish to find the answer to how a good God lets bad things happen, our ancient ancestors understood the response to tragedy was not explanation, but lament. In the face of great loss, sometimes all we can do is lament, bemoan to God and to our community our great losses. Our faith ancestors have shown us that to lament is to be faithful.

There are a host of biblical texts which witness to the reality of profound emotional and existential suffering in the lives of the faithful. The reading from Jeremiah this week sounds a lament for the community of Judah. “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Is there no cure for our suffering? Even the famed medicinal remedies of Gilead could not cure the dis-ease of the people living in the turbulent and dark last days of the independent kingdom of Judah.

This cry in the context of social and cultural loss summed up perhaps the people’s own lament for the devastating days in which they lived. Nothing it seemed could soothe the pain of a besieged and beleaguered community under constant threat of warfare and social collapse.

I cannot help but imagine that the threat of violence our Israelite ancestors lived with might be similar to that faced by the thousands living at the edge of the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Is there no balm in Gilead?” “Is there no balm for Baghdad?”

How do we tell our stories and sing our songs in the midst of a world besieged and beleaguered by tragedy and loss?

While well-meaning, many of our contemporary Christian responses to suffering end up painting God as an omnipotent, yet capricious supreme power who saves some while allowing others to perish. This answer quells our questions but leaves is with a faith in a terrifying and seemingly apathetic Divine. Rather than pat answers, perhaps, we like our faith forebearers are called back to the lessons of lament.

This week at a Methodist funeral for a father and son lost through a tragic and inexplicable murder-suicide, the pastor there, a friend and colleague of mine said this,

“There are no words, no simple platitude, no empty condolences that can make this better, nothing that can take away the pain we are feeling today. Along with the sorrow and shock and saddness come confusion and even anger. We want to know why and how this could happen, and that's something we'll never be able to know. We want someone to blame for this tragedy, someone to rage against, someone to take the brunt of our anger.

I stand before you with whatever authroity I can claim to tell you that there are no bad guys here today; there is no one to blame. The bad guy, the perpetrator of this terrible tragedy is nothing more or less than deep pain, a pain so severe that it claimed the lives of two victims, both of whom were and are loving and beloved men. And so, without a tangible outlet for that pain and grief and anger, we might be tempted to blame ourselves, to wonder if there was something we could have done to stop it, or to be angry with ourselves for no other reason than we have no where else for that anger to go.

But there is someplace else. There is someone else. Perhaps we're afraid to name it, to go there, to let ourselves be angry, because some might say it's wrong or sin or blasphemy. But there is only one person--one being--one entity I know of that can take the full force of our anger, the only one we can yell at, blame for things that have happened, scream ourselves hoarse with grief, and be assured that we will still be loved just as much, if not more. And that's God. We can take that pain, that anger, and yell at God. God can take it. God can and will still love us with that amazing, forgiving, unconditional love with that surround Ed and Eddie too.”

This is a what it means to lament: to cry out to God with our pain and our anger; to scream ourselves hoarse with grief that we might find relief.

The good news is not found in some Pollyanna interpretation of sorrow that magically turns it to joy, nor in a helpless acknowledgement of incomprehension at God’s omnipotent will. Rather, the good news comes that even in the midst of tremendous suffering and sorrow, God is present with us, no matter whether we can sense the Divine presence or not. God can take our anger and our sorrow because God has already experienced it in flesh.

What is interesting about the passage in Jeremiah that we read is that scholars disagree about who the speaker is in the passage. Is it Jeremiah? Or is it God in God’s self, lamenting the devastation and suffering of God’s own people? The choice of voice radically changes how we interpret the scripture. If God is the speaker, notions of an omniscient and omnipotent God who stands by idly while we suffer is shattered. Instead we have a picture of the divine who weeps with us, who suffers with us, who laments with us. Far from being unfaithful doubters, we join God in questioning and crying out at the chaos and ambiguity that is the very nature of human and created existence. God like us has no pat answers, only laments at the loss and devastation.

Re-reading verse 22 in this light suggests that the people's wound is God's heart wounded. God identifies so closely with the people that their wound is the Divine wound. For us as Christians this should sound familiar. Isn’t this a facet of our incarnational theology that tells us Jesus is the Divine poured out into human flesh to dwell in and among humanity, as one of us?

God suffers not because suffering is somehow salvific. No, God suffers, simply because we suffer. Our existence is so intimately connected to that of the Divine that God cannot but help suffer with us as we walk through the many varied, valleys of the shadow of death.

How do we tell our stories when it seems there is no hope? We tell them to God and know that in our pain, God is there, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt. God can take it and bear it with us.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Just as the pslamist cried out, so also did Jesus, and so also do we. Yet, we have the confidence of children of the Divine to know that just as God did not forsake the psalmist nor Jesus, neither will God forsake us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Hymnal Survey

Take a few moments to let your voice count in the process of writing a new hymnal. The General Board of Discipleship is administering a denomination wide survey on the most and least favorite hymns in our two current hymnals.

This new survey is already attracting attention from certain caucus organizations bent on manipulating the results through suggesting particular hymns for removal. A post on Methoblog revealed that Good News and IRD are already mounting a campaign to get rid of hymns like Mothering God, I am Your Mother and Womb of Life. For a more indepth article on this topic, see the post at Street Prophets by Cross and Flame.

You can participate in the survey at:

Stories of Loss and Hope

Sunday's post was an excerpt from my weekly sermon which arose from listening to the stories of mothers who lost children in the war in Iraq. The stories I used primarily came from two sources: National Public Radio archives and Military Families Speak Out. While these sites relate only the tales of families from the United States, they represent a sample of a larger global loss, both in the US and Iraq. I encourage you to read more and learn about the true cost of this war.

Below, are more stories I related on Sunday.


“Anyone who goes through the nightmare of losing a child knows that everyday brings a challenge. You have good days, and not so good days. On the not so good days, all I can do is cry. Sometimes I try to write to help others. There are no books out there to help deal with the loss of your child in war, you know. I do other things too. I garden, I walk. I have a few supportive friends, but basically I cry and spend a lot of time alone. Nick is my only son.”

Debbie Newhouse’s voice is dull and flat as she recounts life after her son’s death over two years ago while serving in Iraq for the United States military. This interview aired Thursday on NPR’s Here and Now as part of a series the program is running focusing on mothers who lost children in the war.

There is something about Debbie’s voice, her tone, her grief, her utter sorrow that catches my attention. Listening to a story about the war is nothing new. It seems that every news hour begins with a daily death. Thoughts of grief and loss are also not new. As a pastor, I accompany families through all kinds of loss, standing vigil at the caskets of beloved ones aged 8 to 88. Yet, there is something inconsolable in Debbie’s melancholic interview that grabs my attention and suddenly, it seems for the first time, I see the true horrors of war, not at the macro level of systems and institutions, but at the micro level of lives lost and families torn asunder. We pray for them every week, but listening to Debbie’s voice, I finally understand why we have been praying.

Debbie is not alone. As of Thursday, 3,742 United States military personnel have lost their lives in Iraq, not counting those who died in hospitals outside the country or returned home maimed both physically and mentally…not to mention the thousands of Iraqis who have died both military and civilians.

The stories these mothers tell is all the same. Life changes forever the day they learn their child has died.

Elaine Johnson remembers “I saw the soldier standing on my door with a notebook in his hand and he asked me if I was Sherwood Baker’s mother and then I knew why he was here. What was so ironic was that I watched the crash before I left the house that day. Without knowing, I saw it on the news. I was praying for these soldiers families and without knowing was praying for my own.”

Doris Kent recalls vividly receiving the news, “At 6:30 in the morning the doorbell rang and my husband ran down to answer it. It was very, very quiet, this silence. He came back up and said it is two army officers and I started crying right then and there, started screaming at the top of my lungs because I knew they were there to tell me Jonathan was killed.” Michelle DeFord, reflecting on her own son's loss this past Mother's Day wrote this:

“I remember the way that it felt the first time they were placed in my arms and the first time I unwrapped the blankets and explored their tiny fingers and counted their toes. You marvel at their tiny eyebrows, the shape of their eyes and the color of their hair. Those memories are engraved on your heart for eternity.

At that moment you feel so much love for them that you know without a doubt you would give your life for theirs should it be required. It is one of the greatest privileges of life to watch them grow and become the people that you knew they could be. This is the natural order of life.

I now have the memory of the last time I held my eldest child. We were standing in line at the Airport. I can still feel his arms around me and his chin resting on my head. My eyes were full of tears and he tried to comfort me by saying he would call every chance he got. I tried desperately not to cry, I didn’t want him to feel sad. David already had enough on his plate. He was headed for Iraq. He chuckled and said, “Come on Mom, there are 130 thousand guys over there what are the odds?”

I also now remember September the 25th, 2004. The day that 3 soldiers came to my door to inform me of David’s death. As a mother your children’s life should be remembered by the date they were born…not the date that they left your world.”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Becoming Compassionate Christs

"As Jesus approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke and he said to her, ‘Do not go on weeping.’ Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And Jesus said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” - Luke 7: 11-15


I know I have read this passage before whether in seminary or as part of the lectionary or some bible study or another, but it never stood out to me until this week as I read it while listening to the stories of mothers who lost their children in the war in Iraq. Perhaps, I never had the right context to understand it.

This passage comes at the end of a series of events Luke narrates as the first part of Jesus' ministry. It is stuck right in the middle of an action packed sequence of healings and miracles. Jesus is off and running, no time to be spared. Everywhere large crowds follow, incessantly demanding healing and help. Usually, it is the townsfolk who bring to Jesus’ attention someone in need…whether it was the centurion who came for help for his partner, or a father for his daughter, or a leper or paralytic who cried out for their own healing. But here, no one brings the young man or the widow to Jesus. Rather, the funeral procession passes, and Jesus’ heart simply breaks.

Now a good biblical scholar will highlight the historical and textual significance of the passage. The text tells us the woman has lost her only son. The word there for "only" is monogenes, the word used by the earliest Christian creeds to describe Jesus--the "only begotton Child of God." This highlights and frames the loss in a way that must have made the earliest hearers of this story shudder with knowing…the "only begotten one" dead. You can sense the parallels.

But the women’s sorrowful situation is further emphasized when the text explains she was a widow. Widows were infamously poor and vulnerable and this one has lost the one last person who can care for her, her son.

At a literal level, this is an absolute miracle, an exercise of divine power. The crowd responds with awe at the wondrous and powerful deeds of this Jesus. Contemporary scholarship, on the other hand, tells us the story is symbolic, mere metaphor and urges us to make sense of the unfathomable by seeing it as a mere literary device.

Either way, tales of magical resuscitations are problematic in a world of suffering and death. I wonder how painful this story is to all the women who have lost their children. Why not their child? Why not bring them back to life?

Something is seriously missing if we imagine that our faith depends on such short-cuts to human suffering. Give it to God and if you are faithful enough, God will heal your child. This simplistic faith in an omnipotent, yet capricious god, is naïve, if not offensive in the face of real human need and those struggling in it.

The problem with these interpretations is where they choose to place the miracle moment. Both interpretations, whether literal or symbolic, focus the miracle on the act of raising the dead to life. But resurrection is what this whole business is about, isn’t it? Resurrection should not be unexpected, after all we know the end of this story.

What is unique about this particular passage is the emphasis on Jesus’ own heart breaking. The Greek words are vivid: Jesus poured out his inner viscera upon her. The word here is from splanchna, which most often is translated “to have compassion” or “to have mercy.” Yet, the real meaning is much stronger, much more physical. It describes that gut wrenching response of empathy we have when we see another in pain. Jesus was deeply moved, shaken up. Jesus’ gut, his heart, his very soul was rent at this woman’s plight.

The verb is rare in the New Testament. Normally Jesus is said to "have mercy" on the crowds, but in Luke the only three usages of the verb splanchno—all refer to individual contexts. (William Long, exegesis of Luke 7:11-15) Here the focus seems not to be on that larger vision of peace and justice that will overturn the domination system and break through the institutions of oppression. Here, it is an individual act of compassion.

Sometimes in the midst of our struggles for larger causes, whether they be the grand scheme of bringing down systems of oppression or our more individual plans for our careers, our families, our futures, we forget to stop and care for those immediately around us. In our busyness of looking at the larger pictures of life, we forget to open ourselves to the plight of another in compassion and vulnerability.

When we take time to feel and act on our compassion, we nurture our own humanity and practice being Christ to the world. In each small act, whether a coin to a beggar, an embrace for a stranger, a kind word to a child, or rescue for a sidewalk stranded worm struggling against the rising sun, we become more fully human, closer to the divine image in which we were made. Each act of compassion molds us more and more into the likeness of Christ, the likeness of our human nature.

The thing we must remember is that the gospel is not an either/or kind of story. The call of God we meet in Jesus is not either institutional or individual. It is both/and all at the same time. This passage serves as a balance. It reminds us of the equally important call to address real human need. This, too, is indeed Jesus’ mission, our mission.

This blend of political activism and individual human compassion is embodied in the work of Military Families Speak Out, an organization of military families who relatives in the war in Iraq. In the midst of campaigning to end the war, they never once forget the call to individual acts of kindness, consolation and compassion. Georgia Stillwell has dedicated her life to this organization, spending her days ministering to families and vets the best she can.

She writes,

“A few days ago I was in South Dakota speaking with a Vietnam vet. We sat in a 24 hour McDonalds till the wee hours of the morning. Tears in both our eyes. He is still affected by the war. He talked of the toll he took on his Mother and I wept. He apologizes for how he treated all that cared for him. All I could do was hug him and tell him it’s not his fault. That I loved him. This complete stranger. He could not give me comfort for what lies ahead for my son.

Last week I welcomed a soldier home. He didn’t know me, I didn’t know him. But when I hugged him and reached in my pocket and gave him some of what little money I had, I said “My son served in Iraq.” And our eyes met. That same look of sadness was there that I have seen all over the country. That I have seen in my own son’s eyes.

I spoke with a Gold Star mother last night. Her marriage of 20 years disintegrated. She now lives alone. She stated to me what do you think I can live with, the loss of my son or the loss of my marriage.

I talk with other Mothers. One her son currently hospitalized for a suicide attempt. She cries. I can not hug her through the phone.

The war is taking a toll. It is claiming victims that have never even been in combat. Some say to me just take a break, get your life back on track. I reply I can’t. Another Mother is getting that dreaded knock on the door.”

Jesus calls us not only to the political bandwagons of activism, but also to the tiny small moments of holding hands, hugging strangers, and whispered comforts. William Loader reminds us, “In the midst of the complexity of human need is hope and the possibility of renewal and life. It is built on the foundation that all people are of value and none is to be dismissed or despised.”

It is the hope that in moments of allowing our hearts to break we become more fully human and christs to the world.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Jesus Qu(e)erying of the Table

We find Jesus this week seated at a table hosted by a leader of the Pharisees. We must note that Jesus is included at this meal in the home of a very important and well respected religious leader. Jesus is one of them. Far from our most beloved image of Jesus as an “outcast among outcasts,” here we see Jesus as a colleague of the Pharisees, the ones whom we so love to hate.

This new image messes with our easy portrayals of Jesus as the underdog champion of the marginalized and the Pharisees as the evil, legalistic oppressors. Seated at the table, both Jesus and the Pharisees are joined together by their common interest and value in living their lives under the guidance of the Torah. It is important to recognize the questions that arise in the context of the banquet are never whether or not the Torah should be followed, but rather how to set priorities in living a life guided by the Torah. (See William Loader's commentary)

Sometimes in religious conflicts our differences mask our commonalities. We too soon polarize ourselves into oppositional camps that hinder us from ever creating change, paralyzing us and inhibiting both sides from living lives informed and shaped by the Gospel.

This new image of Jesus seated as an equal among the Pharisees helps us to see Jesus as at once both an insider and an outsider. So often we ask ourselves, “What is the best way to create change? From the inside? Or the outside?” Jesus’ answer is clear….both.

As a revolutionary leader Jesus subverts the dominant discourse by using it against itself. Jesus takes examples from common culture and “queers” them, so to speak, to disrupt the hegemonic norm. You have to admire Jesus’ ability critique the dominant power structure while seated at the table of the most powerful.

What begins as a simple lesson in practical living turns to a stinging critique of the status quo.
Many traditional commentators on this passage will strive to point out Jesus’ reversal of social custom…both in the advice given to guests to seek a lowly spot in hopes of being asked to move up the social ladder and to hosts to invite the poor, outcast and marginalized. Here the commentators will be sure to point out the contrast between Jesus’ A-list and that of the Pharisees. Most quote a section of the Qumran, an ancient text of a Jewish Essene sect that outlines rules for communal living. They point out that while Jesus invites the marginalized, the Qumran prohibits their presence in the community.

“And let no person smitten with any human impurity whatever enter the Assembly of God. And every person smitten with these impurities, unfit to occupy a place in the midst of the Congregation, and every (person) smitten in his flesh, paralyzed in his feet or hands, lame or blind or deaf, or dumb or smitten in his flesh with a blemish visible to the eye, or any aged person that totters and is unable to stand firm in the midst of the Congregation: let these persons not enter."

Stressing the parallels between Jesus’ invitation list and the prohibitions of the community of Qumran, they will divide the dinner party into the stereotypical oppressive Pharisees and the gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

Yet, while there is merit in noticing the parallel, we would run the risk of falling into a tradition of anti-Semitic biblical interpretation if we were to only cite the Qumran text.

Are we to forget the myriad of warnings and proclamations that give a preferential option to the poor in the Hebrew Testament? Jesus’ instructions to favor the poor and outcast are nothing new.

The wisdom Jesus imparts about table manners alone is echoed in Proverbs 25: 6-7
“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, 'Come up here,' than to be put lower in the presence of a noble."
And again in Sirach 32: 1-2;
“If they make you master of the feast, do not exalt yourself; be among them as one of their number. Take care of them first and then sit down; when you have fulfilled all your duties, take your place, so that you may be merry along with them and receive a wreath for your excellent leadership.”
Not to mention the verses that speak about justice, equality, hospitality, mercy and kindness throughout the Hebrew Scriptures to all people, especially the marginalized.
“Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.” (Deut. 16:14)
“Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.” (Lev. 19:14)
“learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphan, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
“What does our God require of you but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
And these are just a few of the many verses in the Hebrew Testament that instruct such behavior for the Jewish community.

Rather than instructing the Pharisees in a new or different way, Jesus is calling them back to their very own tradition.

In our lust for a unique savior and a singular messiah, we too easily forget the tradition from which we came. This does not make Jesus any less radical. For remember, being radical means going back the root. Jesus is radical precisely because the gospel message is a radical re-call to the community’s historic teachings…teachings of justice, equality, mercy and love. While we understand there is a difference between Jewish and Christian traditions, we must also be aware of the common ground from which we both arise.

Now Jesus does not simply parrot back tradition socio-religious rules and rituals, rather he subverts and radicalizes them by presenting them in a context that reveals the community’s current hypocritical practices. By repeating these instructions at a meal where most likely guests had either ignored those traditional instructions for the sake of social advancement or had feigned humility in the service of self-interest, Jesus held a mirror up to the society, revealing the hypocrisy of both blatant self-seeking and false humility. Jesus pokes fun at the fashions of the day, holding it up to ridicules.

Jesus queers the table manners in a way that radicalizes the tradition of faith, calling the community back to its tradition and at the same time encouraging them to rise above the letter of the law.

So much of what we are called to do is exactly what Jesus did. When we sit at the table of the Pharisees of our own time, whether that be the Pharisees of the Church, corporations or country, our mission is to call them back to their own traditions.