Put simply, the new head of the Roman Catholic Church is blowing everyone’s minds. He is saying and doing things that seem like fresh water in the midst of a desert. He is speaking and acting with compassion, honesty and generosity of spirit. His wisdom is grounded in love. My guess is that Pope Francis is going to bring a lot of people back to Rome.
This is fantastic. What’s more, if some ex-Romans find themselves leaving our churches to return, then God bless them on their way.
There is a story in the Gospel of Mark where a man who is not one of the 12 disciples is going around driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The disciples, of course, don’t like this, but Jesus basically shrugs his shoulders and says that if this man is doing God’s work in Jesus’ name, it can only be a good thing – even if this man is not following the same path as the disciples.
We are all in this together. We want people to know what it means to be loved by God. When a Christian leader drives people away from the church, all Christians are injured. When a Christian leader brings people into a deeper understanding of the grace of God, everyone wins.