What Pope Francis & a naked rockstar have in common

Pope Francis General Audience waves to baby girl

As a person who works in ministry, I’m very familiar with the concept of needing things. Do you know the cycle?

Need resources —> Need people to help acquire those resources —> Use those resources to help people —-> Need resources

In the Church and nonprofit world, we have capital campaigns, special collections at Mass, tithing, benefactors, sponsors, advertisers, grants, and the list goes on…and the needs continue.  Many ministries spend precious resources toward acquiring the resources necessary for their work. Is this the best way to acquire resources? Is it the only way?

Consider: Pope Francis’ words and witness have stressed the humble, human connection between two people. He pleaded with global leaders present at his Inauguration Mass:

tenderness…is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!

Amanda Palmer knows about that. She’s gone from paying her bills as a ‘living statue’ on the street, to rock goddess with a cult following. She firmly believes that her life as a ‘living statue’ made all the difference; she learned about connecting with fellow human beings. Amanda says:

When we really see each other, we want to help each other.

Are we doing enough of this in ministry? Are we being tender? Tenderness can frighten me. But vulnerability, humility, meekness — these are the crown jewels of Christ, and the virtues Pope Francis has been extolling for weeks (and the Church for millennia)! Are we listening?

Listen to Amanda’s story. Then, challenge yourself to ask: How much do I truly value personal connection and relationship? Does my ministry / apostolate / parish take our community (people-network) for granted? How can I improve those personal connections?

Let’s not be afraid of tenderness, closeness, and the human connection. If we got that right, I wonder whether we’d find ourselves lacking in resources.

P.S. Social and new media are not the magic wand with which we can answer the need for human connection. But they can be a start.


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