Monday, December 21, 2015

Getting Beyond Turtle and Chameleon Christians - by KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ

The conference focused on coping strategies — what Christians can do in response to persecution. And perhaps most important for American reflection, as one of the most important holy days on the calendar approaches, is that, as Glendon puts it, “Coping strategies can backfire.”
She explains: “The strategies developed by our Catholic immigrant ancestors in the U.S. are now actually obstacles to a robust defense of religious freedom at home and are probably contributing to our silence about persecution abroad. I call these strategies the turtle and chameleon strategies. The turtles kept their faith inside their shells; the chameleons adapted to fit into the new environment. In material terms, that worked pretty well for our parents and grandparents as they tried to make their way in the new world. But for many, what began as a coping strategy became a way of life — and not the way of life to which we are called as Christians. What happened to salt, light, and leaven?”
This is the first Christmas in years when one of the most famous churches in America, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, will celebrate Midnight Mass without scaffolding. St. Patrick’s stands as a testimony to what was important to early Catholic immigrants to New York: to have a place to pray, to have a place, period. St. Patrick’s stands as a reminder for Catholics of who they are and what their ancestors were most grateful for: their God, their hope.
Helen Berhane and other Christians faced with the choice of whether or not to recant remind us that gratitude for the eternal may just be what we should be focused on this Christmas. It might just work toward making the rest make sense, and making us be better.

True love. That’s the witness that will change the world. That’s the Christmas story.

Read more at: