“Beware of church leaders who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in churches, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
A stern statement indeed. Yet, as a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter states–the bishops are in last phase of their death gasp. Merton believed that they were intent on erecting tombstones over their own graves. We need to stop worrying about them and get on with being Christian without them. (http://ncronline.org/news/women-religious/essay-power-dying-hierarchy-illusion).
The author of Timothy tells us how to do just that. Preach the god news when convenient and inconvenient. As Francis of Assisi told us, “Preach the Gospel and use words only if necessary.”
Many leaders and their conservative followers would take Timothy’s injunction to justify their defense of THE TRUTH such as in the religious liberty campaign; however, Timothy is quick to remind us that they revert to myth which, when taken literally, becomes indefensible dogma.
Timothy and the Psalmist give us further insights. Sanctimonious paraders in Pradas cannot rip offfwidows, and orphans, and aliens. It is all about justice, maybe even Just Sex, and not pious dogma and practice. Listen to the Psalmist:
I will sing of your salvation. I will treat of the mighty works of the Lord; O GOD, I will tell of your singular justice. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
The Good News proclaims the singular justice of the Living One—the hungry are fed, the thirsty receive drink, the sick receive medical care, the youth and elders receive education, the homeless get housing, the imprisoned are visited, and immigrants are welcomed. Orthopraxy trumps orthodoxy!