Change and Transformation

The Rt. Rev. Jim Mathes, Bishop of San Diego, writes on alcohol, distracted driving, and the future:

It is time to deeply consider our relationship to alcohol, not in some sort of prudish way, but in a way that strongly asserts moderation and confronts, out of love, behavior that is harmful. My confession to you is that I have been complicit in a culture that promotes alcohol consumption. We are going to reevaluate how, and if, we serve alcohol at diocesan events. In addition, I am going to look into ways that the clergy members of the diocese can practice health and well-being in their alcohol use, including intervening where there are problems.

… I suggest that our promise to respect the dignity of every human being requires that, when undertaking the great responsibility of moving a car at high speed, we give it our fullest attention. My confession is that I have done things while driving that are distracting to me and thus, dangerous. My amendment of life is to change this behavior. In particular, I need to reevaluate the way I talk on the phone while driving. There is no question that, while lawful, the whole exercise of making and executing phone calls is distracting. As your bishop, I should let voicemail do the work while driving and let driving be my singular work.

This reflection is open-ended for me. I hope it serves as an invitation for conversation within our clergy community, and our wider church community. The Maryland event should change us. Our relationship to Jesus as the one who comes to show us the way, the truth, and the life, is an invitation to change and transformation.

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