I had to laugh when I saw the small article in the most recent issue of the Christian Century (January 25, 2012) detailing a brawl that erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian clergy in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ. Then I had to wince---what a witness of the Christian faith to the world--a brawl at the birthplace of the Prince of Peace by those who claim to be followers of his.
"It was a trivial problem that ... occurs every year," said al-Tamimi. Makes one wonder whether or not the police keep December 28th circled on their Day Planners and plan accordingly.
As I read the little article I couldn't help but to imagine this whole brawl between the two groups of "holy men" being played out as a skit on Monty Python or Saturday Night Live. You got to admit that it has potential . . . but, at the same time, is this the sort of witness the followers of the Prince of Peace want to portray to the rest of the world? Makes one wince. I imagine that Jesus would not be too pleased---he would probably wince too.
It is good to know that after more than than two thousand years we Christians of differing varieties have quit fighting over the "big" stuff to focus on the more important stuff . . . stuff like, touching one another or stepping over an imaginary line! Seems a little childish doesn't it? Like two little kids fighting over one touching the other. Jesus doesn't just wince, he weeps. It is so pathetic we, the faithful, have to laugh . . . then we can cry.