Musing: Miley Cyrus, Pope Francis, and the boxes we put them in

This video is illustrating to me an interesting point that I find my self sitting with today when I think about the many folks frustrated with Pope Francis' visit with Kentucky Clerk, Kim Davis. People, when we actually pay attention and see them, don't fit neatly into any of the boxes that we so easily find ourselves creating for them. Miley Cyrus, who self-admittedly does not care what people really think about her, will at any one point sing music people find repulsive, causing many folks to dismiss her talent. This video shows some texture to her singing ability that one cannot avoid: the kid has talent whether or not she can be offensive or vulgar.

Pope Francis lives a life of the gospel in embodied ways alongside what he says and preaches, and this makes him irresistible as a religious leader. But, Pope Francis clearly has his own convictions that a lot of people who adore him (including me, I admit) have a hard time accepting about him. I have read articles already from some folks whose opinions I respect that see Pope Francis' visit as an outrage. I see the familiar dismissive boxing-up of Pope Francis as just being another homophobic catholic. How many people do we dismiss in our lives because (and I will be the first to admit my own fault in this) of the one or two things we know about them that places them in one of our convenient boxes of social categories? While I find Pope Francis' convictions on LGBT rights troubling and difficult to reconcile, I cannot at the same time avoid the Christ-like life that he earnestly seeks to live.

Speaking of Christ, I am reminded of Jesus' encounter with the syro-phoenician woman at the well: Jesus was ready to dismiss her because of her nationality, but her persistence woke Jesus to see her in a new way, and because of that a child's life was saved. I can't assume something like this would happen to Pope Francis and my reference to that gospel story isn't meant to head in that direction; but I do think we should always be aware (and this is a sermon to myself) of when we categorize people instead of seeing them as fellow children of God.


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