Martin Luther would be rolling over in his grave if he wasn't already in heaven laughing with St. Peter about all those Catholics who missed the boat. At least that's what I was raised to believe as a Baptist Preacher's Kid (BPK). See BPKs, and all Baptists in general were taught that God passed Catholics over when he anointed ML to nail his 95 points on the door and declare God's wrath on the evil Catholic empire.
One of the practices that cut the Catholics out of heaven? Indulgences. Indulgences are a release from punishment for sin, which could be purchased by the right payment (read greasing someone's palm). Usually it meant time out from purgatory. Nothing pissed Martin off more than buying your way out of time in purgatory. Or God, for that matter, because all of us Baptists knew indulgences got the Catholics cut off from Jesus' gravy train.
Until Roe v. Wade.
Once Roe v. Wade was passed, God forgave the Catholics all their sins and now they're back on board with Jesus. But they better watch out, because Pope Francis, who I thought was a pretty cool guy, may be about to rock the gravy boat. A couple of weeks ago he announced he will be swapping indulgences for tweets.
That's a pretty gutsy move. After all, it's only been about thirty years since the Catholics have been allowed to cuddle up with Baptists again. He's taking a big chance. Or maybe not. In the grand scheme of things it sounds like Baptists are probably willing to give up purgatory for unborn babies.
And his heart's in the right place. Pope Francis seems to be looking for ways to make the church more attractive to former Catholics. The church has gotten a pretty bad rap what with birth control and priests with wandering hands. And Baptists have to admit they've wandered off the reservation themselves. Starbucks and HDTV in the sanctuary? Rock and roll revivals without the rock and roll? I could live with Jesus meets the Stones, but their version sounds like really loud renditions of the Carpenters.
So as long as we're looking for creative indulgences, I have a few suggestions for the Pope. The How about indulgences for:
- Forward the Pope's tweets for double indulgence points
- Poke the Pope on Facebook
- Post pics of you and your favorite Pope on Instagram (Photoshopping acceptable)
- Pin your favorite Pope quotes
- Have a hangout party with your friends to watch videos of Pope Frances online
- Propagate Pope videos on YouTube
I'm sure you noticed, the medium seems to be the message. In this case social media is the Jesus message and the Pope wants you to spread it. God with God. Indulgently.