I received a copy of Jesus, Pope Francis and a Protestant Walk Into a Bar, written by Paul Rock and Bill Tammeus, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. This book released this month. Italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
He’s trending right now. #PopeinUSA #popeinphilly #popeindc #pontifex But really, this isn’t a big surprise. #popefrancis has captured millions of hearts worldwide. I admit to being a bit smitten myself.
And I’m a Protestant.
I think what I admire most about this pope is his willingness to question the status quo. He seems (almost) human. Like you. Like me. A believer in Jesus Christ whose faith continues to grow and stretch his beliefs.
When I saw the book title, Jesus, Pope Francis and a Protestant Walk Into a Bar: Lessons for the Christian Church, I knew I was eager to see what the authors had to offer this ongoing conversation. Paul Rock is the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. Bill Tammeus is a former Faith section columnist for the Kansas CIty Star, a blogger and a magazine contributor.
Catholics versus Protestant. It manifests in a myriad of ways: Green or orange. Priests or pastors. Mass centered around the table, or worship services centered around the pulpit.
This book recognized our differences. There are many elements of the Catholic faith that seem mysterious. But I would imagine, to an outsider, many of our Protestant traditions would seem the same. We could all benefit from focusing more on our similarities.
We Protestants have discovered that some of our best church music and our best spiritual practices come from Catholics... The Catholic hymnal has included Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God” for decades now.
In this book, the authors examine how Pope Francis might help us overcome much of our dissension. Perhaps he can help us see, once and for all, that believers (not any one certain denomination) make up the family of God.
Taking us back to Scripture, the authors remind us of how radical Jesus’ teachings were in His day. I especially appreciated the portion on how to minister to those who are struggling. It gave a good breakdown of how Jesus handled some of his hardest conversations without causing shame or abandonment.
It’s a short book meant to be a conversation starter across denominational and interfaith lines. Maybe together we can all agree on this:
Our common mission is about relationship. It’s about helping women find their voice. It’s about giving people the freedom to determine their own futures. It’s about learning from our own mistakes and not continuing to do things that divide and cause resentment.
Welcome to America Pope Francis! Millions of us are (still) watching.