In honor of the passing of Pope John Paul II (or how the Catholics are kicking our butts):
The amount of worldwide respect paid to the late pontiff I have found to be quite interesting. Though I might not totally agree with the Roman church’s view of the papacy in general, I none the less recognize him as a leader in the church. I find it intriguing that this person, who is leader of no country, and whose death was expected, has received more attention than perhaps anyone save for the untimely death of the queen of England or the current President of the United States would. I find this to be a wonderful sign of God’s kingdom in the world. The late John Paul II is being credited with being a major influence in the fall of communism in Poland and subsequently the rest of the eastern bloc. All of this again without having political influence (at least in a way) or violence.
Another way in which he showed God’s kingdom was the ways in which he honored those from all parts of the world. That’s at least one thing about the Catholics: they have leaders from many countries (and hence cultures and races). Many protestant churches now days don’t have any leadership beyond the walls of their building. (I have mixed feelings about this, as I think having accountability is good, as well as recognizing in a real way that the church is much bigger than our own fellowship. However, having a large structure of leadership can lead to things getting stuck in the status quo way of doing things.)