Fashionable distance

Following on from earlier this week I’m going to excerpt a bit more on Kierkegaard from Ronald F. Marshall, this time on Christian faith and practice:

“But [Kierkegaard] knew a Christian should not long for “an effeminate life, snobbishly aloof in aristocratic circles.” Christians should instead “insist on getting out into the streets, among men, where there is danger and opposition.” Christians must not want “to live cowardly and effeminately at a fashionable distance in select groups, guarded by illusion.” The Christian goal, after all, is to become “a thorn in the eye of the world.” To forswear this danger would be to turn the Christian into “a sissy swimmer, the kind who does not want to go out into the water, a society of such swimmers who on dry land make each other believe they are swimmers” when they are only make-believe ones.”

If the street is where we can talk to strangers and become friendly with our neighbors, it’s also the place to actually live out our lives. The street is where social, political, moral proclamations live or die.

And this vision of Christian “in the streets… where there is danger and opposition” is something that Pope Francis echoed in his first year: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.