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1.24.2007    |    "too fine to be perceptible"
David Pryce-Jones now has a blog at NRO. It is well worth the time. Today's entry concerns the just-departed Abbé Pierre, an acclaimed holy man of the Christian persuasion.

Perhaps he was holy, that is. As is sometimes the case, what you see isn't all of what you get. in Pierre's case, this is apparently the case. From Pryce-Jones:
Abbé Pierre who has just died at the age of 94 was perhaps a good, and even a saintly, man. Certainly he looked the part, a white-bearded sage, habitually wearing a comforting French beret and a dramatic black cape. He started Emmaus in 1949, a movement to provide shelter for the homeless, and now an organisation in some 30 countries. That is to his credit. Hearing of the death, Jacques Chirac called him, "an immense figure, a conscience, a man who personified goodness." And that’s quite enough to make anyone have second thoughts.
Beware of holy man wearing sackcloth and ashes, he could have written. So, why think that this Pierre fellow was anything other than a good and holy man? Just this:
...in 1996 he came out to endorse a book called "The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy." Its author was Roger Garaudy, a veteran Stalinist, who after the Soviet collapse converted to Islam (what else?), moved to Cairo, and became a Holocaust denier. Nobody who had ever saved Jews from Nazism could conceivably have come to the support of the disgusting Garaudy. But the Abbé did. Proud to claim fifty years of friendship with Garaudy, he compared the Holocaust to what the ancient Israelites had done, and referred to Zionism as an American-based worldwide plot.
Well, guilt by association, and, by their friends ye shall know them. God will judge Abbé Pierre. In the here and now, I've my doubts about anyone who is called "good and holy." Yes, that very much includes Mother Teresa and Gandhi, both of whom I suspect of being not quite as good as their publicity would have us believe. But Pryce-Jones nails it about Pierre:
Perhaps he was in his dotage. And perhaps in his case, as in so many in a century that smoothly converted morality into a branch of public relations, the distinction between a good man and a charlatan is too fine to be perceptible.
I suggest that this is a subtle way of saying that Abbé Pierre may not be very comfortable when he comes before the throne.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.