The Pope’s Visit to America

Sept.29I didn’t catch all the coverage last week about the pope’s visit to America, but I did keep up with the headlines.

It was amazing to see the interest of so many people – – even non-religious people – – in the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

Two of the emphases of his visit intrigued me.

First, I have been continually amazed about what he has said about climate change. I find this most interesting because of what he has not said. For whatever reason, the pope said almost nothing about the deaths of Christians in the middle east and the ongoing cleansing of Christianity from many nations of the world.

A climatologist from the University of Alabama in Huntsville noted  he would like to “give him some homework” about climate change. He noted that what Pope Francis and many world leaders want to do will impact even more the poorest of the poor and will widen the gap between wealthy and poor.

The professor also noted that if any of us wish to do something to help poor people we should seek clean drinking water. He said that we probably can’t affect the climate, but we can help give clean water to the poor people of the world.

Second, as the pope weighed in on economics, he seemed to oppose capitalism.

I don’t think any economic system is totally just – – capitalism certainly fits into that group. At the same time, it’s hard to find any system in world history that is better than what we have seen in America. Capitalism emphasizes free and open markets and seeks to give everyone a fair opportunity. Pope Francis’ understanding of capitalism may come from his South American roots which distorts free markets and discourages the under classes from participating.

I do agree with Pope Francis’ view of success. Success for an individual should not be judged by how much money you make but how you affect the lives of other people.

Could I give you another definition of success? It’s not money, or happiness, or having things. God’s goal for success is the holiness of his people.

Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) stated this powerfully: “We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness . . . . At all costs, a person must have a right relationship with God . . . . God has only one intended destiny for mankind – – holiness. His only goal is to produce saints.”

What is your goal? What is your definition of success?

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3 Comments


  1. Brad Soileau
    Sep 29, 2015

    Dr.Waylon,
    While I agree with you that the Pope is misguided on climate change and to some degree on capitalism and that those two issues if attacked wrongly will ultimately harm the poorest of countries and people, he spoke extensively and has many times before about radical Islam and the barbaric treatment of Christianity both here in the U.S. and abroad.
    Part of not hearing everything he said in the United States one could miss that part. It would be quite easy.
    So you or anyone else should not take this as defending the Pope or the Catholic church, the Catholic church is quite clear on homosexual marriage, abortion and will really never compromise those foundational principles of the church—many times the Pope is criticized for not speaking out more about certain topics of the aforementioned and yet he came here with a positive message for the most part, and didn’t want to bring that up so to keep it more uplifting.
    He tried to stay positive, yet very straighforward. He is not weighing in politically to either side of the aisle, but what speaks to his heart from Christ.
    He is emphasizing reaching out and serving the most poor and underprivileged and I guess we could all do more of that as Christians.

    Godspeed and God Bless you All,
    Brad


  2. Olivia
    Oct 04, 2015

    Having a large influence on your readers, I recommend that you read the Pope’s entire speech. He said so much more than this.


    • Waylon
      Oct 13, 2015

      Yes, he said many good things and over all made a good impression.Thanks for reminding us of this.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. — Psalm 51:12 (NIV)