One of the things I have always enjoyed doing is going into classrooms to teach the kids. While I was the assistant down in Vancouver I had a regular gig in the 8th grade classroom every Friday teaching religion, at least I was supposed to teach religion—all too often it turned into comedy hour with Fr. Joseph. It started to occur to me, and I’m sure that any teacher out there can validate this, that often kids would just nod and agree with pretty much anything I said, because they figured “whatever he says must be true because he is the teacher.” This is even more so true in the case with Priests because clearly they must know way more than anyone else because they wear that funny outfit.
I picked up on this “whatever he says must be true because he is the teacher” thing they had going on and so one day I threw it out there that Noah started the world’s first hotdog stand. I sort of let it hang out there with the old “I don’t remember the story so well, that’s right isn’t it?” Wouldn’t you believe not only did I get the whole class, all 44 of them, to agree that it was true, but I even had a few get into an argument about who had learned it first. One guy claimed he learned it in Sunday school when he was four, and the other that his mother had taught him this when he was two. I was a little disappointed I had to break it to them that this whole hot dog stand story might not exactly be true.
Funny story aside I give you all this because sometimes we aren’t any better than those kids. We assume that just because someone claims to be an authority in something that what they are telling us is true. While it would be great if this were actually true, it always isn’t. We need to be critical thinkers and use the common sense God gave us. It is through the use of this reasoning ability that God gave us that we come to understand real truth. Jesus is the fullness of truth, but we have to use our reasoning ability to see how He is reflected in each situation.
I would say that we, as a culture, are far too ready to gobble up whatever it is that the so called “authorities” on the issues tell us. This is interesting in itself because I’m pretty sure a lot of “Boomers” spent the greater part of their youth telling the rest of the world that authority can’t be trusted, maybe that was just until they found an authority they liked then it was OK. You may laugh at me and say that I’m just being silly about the whole thing, but I had a pretty convincing argument, complete with Biblical citations that Noah actually did have the hot dog stand.
All I’m saying is that we should use our minds to their full capacity and follow up to make sure something really is true before we get on the bandwagon just because our political party or some recent study says it is. My Grandpa, the one I told you about last weekend, got my little mind thinking when I was about five. He used to go on and on about how everything from fashion to medical science went around in circles, and I have seen at least three times in my own life chocolate go from bad for you, to good, and back again. Just remember to use our sense before you jump into someone else’s boat.
Prayers Always, Fr Joseph Altenhofen