Beyond False Dichotomies
I feel like I’m constantly negotiating false dichotomies. Thankfully the “communion of saints” can come to the rescue. One of my new heroes in the past five years is Dorothy Day, who I didn’t know much about in my Mississippi days. I’ve been learning about Day from my friend Margie Pfeil, who taught at our Duke summer institute. (Speaking of false dichotomies, Margie–who teaches at Notre Dame and lives in a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality in South Bend–is that rare breed of faithful practitioner and theologian.) Day was no bleeding heart liberal. In Jason Byasee’s wonderful new interview Margie says Day believed that “we Christians tend to foist upon the state things that we need to take responsibility for at the personal level and as Christian communities.” What Day envisioned was something like the work of today’s Bethel New Life in Chicago under Mary Nelson. Yet more important for Day than “the works of mercy” was the gift and work of worship. For Day, daily Eucharist and worship “was the culmination of everything else. It didn’t merely have instrumental value. She didn’t go to Mass to work more effectively. It was to go deeper.” Margie describes how Day also managed to be both organic and daring and remain faithful to the authority of the church. Day inspires me amid the many false dichotomies I feel pushed into.