Friday, March 02, 2007

Why can't Lent just be Lent?

On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, my parish church handed out copies of something called The Little Black Book: Six-Minute Meditations on the Passion according to Matthew. Great, I thought, I could really use some structure to my Lent, and started reading it regularly. Things went along well for a few days, and then I began noticing kind of a progressive-political angle creeping into some of the meditations, along with some curious slants on discussions of important topics. So I looked at the thing a bit more carefully, and found that, lo and behold, the texts are based on writings of the late bishop of Saginaw, Ken Untener.

I remembered vaguely that there had been some controversy about Bishop Untener, so I dug a little more, and found out about his links to Call to Action and left-wing politics, and the suspicions about programs at seminaries he was responsible for prior to his elevation to the episcopacy. I also found many compliments about the vigor of his preaching, his simplicity of life, and the positive impact he apparently had on many.

My point is not to rehash the controversies, or to decide whether he was a good man or not. I'm sure he had a mix of virtues and vices, strengths and weaknesses, insights and blind spots, just like the rest of us. I just have to say, however, that I am really, really tired of having left-leaning priests and bishops tucking political messages into their preaching and writing. And yes, it does seem to me that this is a particular failing of those of the leftist persuasion.

A little sadly, I've put The Little Black Book away, and am looking for something else to read. Something that just lets Lent be Lent.