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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Negotiating Differences

"Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters about this question of (circumcision.)" Acts 15:2-3

While it is always uncomfortable to dissent from what seems like the ordinary wisdom of a culture or church, it is also necessary. Novels abound in every culture about people whose gifts challenge the prevailing experience and discipline of the community.

My name is Asher Lev recounts the story of a young Hasidic Jew whose passion for art leads him to museums where he becomes fascinated by depictions of the Crucifixion and nudes. When his own paintings of these same subjects are discovered by his very devout father, a deep family dispute about religion, piety and art simmers and explodes as Asher tries to be both an artist and an observant Jew.

The early church had many of these same conflicts which in a paradoxical way help us to move past seemingly important differences into the heart of the Gospel. The challenge to the early church about how to preserve the essence of the Law without imposing circumcision on gentle converts was divisive and tension filled, but a model for us in the 21st century. Debate about how best to live the Gospel will, in the long run, always serve us well.

Today, listen carefully to both side of an argument.

What do you think are the big issues for 21st century Catholics?

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