I saw this book title the other day and I thought how clever it is… how it must make people laugh and then want to pick it up… at least to see what it is about. Below I have included some of the front matter of this book in an effort to perk your interest in wanting to read more about these lessons for the Christian Church.
“Pope Francis has taken the world by storm, captivating Catholics, Protestants, and non-Christians alike. Sneaking out of the Vatican at night, washing the feet of inmates, and taking selfies with young fans is certainly unlike any religious leader we’ve seen in a while, and some of the religious establishment is uneasy about it. The revitalization Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church is not without precedent, however. Jesus had a similar effect in his day, drawing crowds with his humility, kindness, and wisdom–even as he drew the disapproval of established religious leaders. The things that have brought Francis such media attention are the same things that made Jesus so peculiar and attractive in his day.
Thoughtful examination of Jesus’ example and legacy, as well as an honest look at the similarities and differences between Catholic and Protestant faith, invites reflection on the heart of Christianity and how we relate to our fellow Christians. Readers will discover the power of heartfelt joy, radical love, and passion for justice to shake people out of religious complacency and into dynamic, contagious faith. Jesus, Pope Francis, and a Protestant Walk into a Bar looks at what is universal among Christians, what is unique to Catholics and Protestants, and how all Christians can practice understanding and cooperation across differences. Perfect for individual or group use, discussion questions are also included to encourage further thought and conversation.”
They are right when they suggest that the Pope is one of the more interesting religious leaders to come in a long time. Even, we Protestants are speaking of Pope Francis in uplifting and admirable ways. He is a different sort – not a religious politician but a man who lives the lifestyle of a humble servant with a truly Servant’s heart. I applaud this Pope for his refreshing and healing spirit.
I have always admired the Catholic Church and their missionary heart. Certainly, we don’t agree on theology, but we do agree that the Church is called to be the sanctuary that uplifts the human spirit and opens a portal for grace and healing to take place in all the dark places of the world.
When I first read this title I couldn’t help but think: “What is the punchline of that joke?” We’ve all heard the jokes about three men walking into a bar… told in many ways with many different punchlines. What if the punchline of this joke is… it isn’t a joke. They actually do walk into a bar. They sit together at this big round table. They have a drink together. They talk together. They invite a Jewish brother to come over and join them. Then they welcome a Muslim brother, a Buddhist, a Hindu, and many, many more. They even invite and welcome an atheist brother, an agnostic brother, and even a self-righteous brother.
The table is filled with representatives of all faiths, walks of life, all races and nations. To these people Jesus says: “Welcome my Brother. My prayer for us all is that we may be one.”
And so, should we…
Grace and Peace