Saints in the making

For well over a thousand years November 1, or All Saints Day, has been marked in red on the Christian calendar. The meaning behind the celebration speaks to our time, especially when distinguishing between saints and celebrities, and remembering Karl Barth's word about reading the Bible with the daily newspaper in hand. The latter tells of celebrities, the former offers saints.

We always have celebrities and heros/heroines with us. Too much with us sometimes, as the glare of publicity reveals more human frailties than media hype can cover up. I live in the Chicago area, where Michael Jordan has been rightly touted as the best at basketball on earth. But all the ruckus about the crumbling Bulls empire makes celebrity status a shaky business.

Celebrities distance themselves from us by their fame, whether it lasts 15 minutes or a lifetime. But saints share our common ground and open a place in the circle of forgiven sinners.


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