How do you look? Faith as a public good.

Below is a brief reflection, initially posed on Facebook: 

‘Interesting; today I went to London, into the heart of the City, to meet a good friend for lunch. I wore my dog collar. On the way, by train from Milton Keynes (the New Jerusalem?) I was greeted by two ‘hello fathers,’ asked by an oldish man to help him get to Marble Arch tube, someone walked up to me and said ‘God be with you,’ (I don’t think he was taking the ….) and countless people looked at me and smiled, maybe just seeking an affirmative smile back from someone whose dress code indicated that they might just be interested in them. Oh, by the way the Pizza we shared was wonderful as was the conversation with my liberal Jewish friend. So all in all a great day.’

So my questions are these:

How do you look to the outsider? 

In a sense I have it easy, wearing a clerical shirt clearly identifies me as a Christian, at least in name. But, it also brings an awesome responsibility, for I must not to paraphrase from St. Benedict behave in such a way as to disgrace my collar. 

However, it strikes me that all Christians, lay and ordained, must fulfill our priestly duty and be clearly recognized as followers of Christ. Our faith is not simply a private matter, it is in fact a ‘public good.’ 


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