Connecting across borders: 2-24-12
February 24, 2012
When we think about the connections religious Americans have to entities and people abroad, perhaps our first thought is about the Vatican and its connection to the 65 million (or so) Catholics in the U.S.
Or we might think of the Church of England and its relationship to Episcopalians in the U.S. or of Mecca in Saudi Arabia as a pilgrimage destination for American Muslims or of Israel and its connections to American Jews.
There are, of course, many other international faith connections, and I was reminded of that reality the other day when I saw this plea from Greek Orthodox Archbishop Dimitrios of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
He was seeking help for the people of Greece as they suffer the sad results of their government having run amok in terms of its sovereign debt.
As the archbishop noted, "the suffering of innocents and the ordeal of common people cry out for urgent and substantive help. So many of our families have roots in Greece and many of us have relatives and friends who are now experiencing privation unknown in that country since the time of the harsh occupation of the Second World War."
Indeed, this is exactly what faith communities do -- they help out their members no matter where in the world they are. National borders, after all, are not divinely ordained. They are the result of political decisions, sometimes after wars. And when people are in need, such borders must be crossed in various ways.
These cross-border relationships (my own congregation has such relationships with Presbyterians in Guatemala and Pakistan, for instance) help to remind us of our commonalities as humans, as well as of our responsibilities to people with whom we share a heritage.
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UNPACKING THE CONTRACEPTIVE DEBATE
Garry Wills is nothing if not opinionated, which gets him as a Catholic into trouble now and then, but he's a compelling writer with great insights at times. So here's his take on all the to-do recently about contraception. This no doubt will make him some new friends. Or not.