From Michelle van Loon, on these words of Pope Francis:
I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures, because these need to get out…Don’t forget: make trouble….
Michelle’s commentary (or should I say midrash?):
The words of Pope Francis remind me that it is indeed kingdom work to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. This work is an equal-opportunity employer, as it has a role in the lives of those who are not yet in relationship with God as well as in reforming (always reforming!) we who comprise the Body of Christ.
What might the lifestyle and character of a healthy spiritual trouble-maker look like?
- Trouble-makers own their own spiritual growth, and do not rely on their church to be the primary place of spiritual formation in their lives.
- Trouble-makers do not wait to be asked by a pastor to use their spiritual gifts for the benefit of others in the Church. They aren’t especially concerned that the graces God gave them to give others may or may not fit on that congregational org chart on a wall in a church leader’s office. They do their level best to respect their leaders’ structures and authority, but they refuse to stop thinking for themselves or silencing the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Trouble-makers are willing to ask and answer hard questions.
- Trouble-makers may not always have perfect manners, but are motivated by love. Love keeps trouble-makers from becoming full-on jerks.
- Trouble-makers recognize that Jesus is not calling them to form self-protective, cozy cliques.
- Trouble-makers worship God, recognizing that adoration is the ultimate act of disruption.
- Trouble-makers ask the Holy Spirit to test their motives. They understand if they have a sense of entitlement or a rush toward self-justification about an issue, they’ve probably veered off course somewhere.
- Trouble-makers understand that transformation – their own and the Bride to whom they belong – always requires more courage than they currently possess. Dependence on God fuels their willingness to disrupt the stale status quo.