Sure, why not?

(no mainpage, please)

This picture is kind of ironic. Because I'm agnostic and ended up sitting right next to a priest celebrating his 25 years of priestliness. What you can't see in the picture is about 400 Catholics all gathered around to celebrate and honor what this man has meant to them. But they didn't make it in to the picture*.

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In addition to being a priest, Fr. Jim is the administrator of the Catholic highschool in our local diocese. He's also a close friend and spiritual guide for my sister-in-law's family, godfather to my neice, etc.

Around my SIL's dinner table, I've had multiple conversations and debates with Fr. Jim about issues like the role of women in the church, school uniforms, Pope ("Who am I to judge?") Francis, and on and on. We listen to each other. And respect our differences. And over the course of time, we've become friends.

Personally, I derive no comfort from religion. Beyond that I find the way people often use religion to justify the unjust to be abhorrent. And I do not look forward to an afterlife in heaven. But, if I were to die tomorrow, I have faith that Fr. Jim would ease the suffering of my family. That's all the heaven I need. And that's a pretty good measure of a true friend.

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So while it's important, and even fun sometimes, to focus on the things that divide us; I like this picture because it symbolizes what unites us.

*(Neither did the beer he was drinking, which, as a raised Lutheran, I find completely hysterical that these Catholics are drinking beer and wine at 1:00pm on a Sunday. Shit, you couldn't even *buy* beer on a Sunday when I was in highschool, let alone drink one in a highschool with a priest(!). So when I blather on about the "things that unite us", I'd be remiss if I didn't emphasize that one of those is drinkin' beer on a Sunday afternoon).