Whenever I'm feeling bummed about what is -- or isn't -- going on within the RCC at this point in history, I do one or all of the following:
- review the history of the papacy. By now, I can almost lip sync sections of Upon This Rock: A History of the Papacy From Peter to John Paul II, eight hours of lectures by Thomas F. Madden. I'm currently reading William Manchester's, A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance. While it's not exclusively about the papacy, his commentary about the Avignon situation is a welcomed breath of fresh fetid air, as are sections about the de Medici and Borgia papacies. I'm sure I'll return to them again and again.
- pay more attention to other liturgical churches. This past week, for example, I've been following (via Twitter) some of what's happening during the Episcopal Church's triennial General Convention. I've been enjoying tweets from Episcopal clergy and lay leadership about the mixed blessing of participatory democracy. Church governance skirmishes among Lutherans also provide a comforting perspective.
- reread key passages in scripture. Depending on what's bugging/bumming me about the Church, I either go directly to Chapter 15 in Acts of the Apostles or Chapter 3 in St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. For the long view of human agency, I reread Genesis in its entirety. Sometimes twice.