An open letter to my Emmaus brothers.
How does our self-professed Christian faith differ from being a UN diplomat? The spiritual veil is much more easily pierced than diplomatic immunity. Waving a Christian card when personal behavior runs contrary to what the card should represent, damages both. In the news this week we see the negative ramifications of having a football player with Ray Lewis’ background be the person most vocal about his Christian faith at the Super Bowl. The point is that if your current actions don’t match your Christian beliefs, only self-promotion is served by such a public advocacy.
In my case, I had a financial dispute with a fellow Emmaus brother which ended with an unpaid debt. The feelings it evoked had predictable stages; anger, disappointment, wishing it would go away. But since very little in my Emmaus walk has benefited from wishing something away, I choose this path. This path is not about recovering monies which I have now written off. This path is meant to take the dispute out of the realm of a personal dispute and address the elephant in the Emmaus meeting room. How are we expected to behave within the Emmamus community when serious disputes arise among Emmaus brothers at the same Parish?
There are certain basic rules which any Emmaus brother would instantly acknowledge:
- Emmaus Meetings are not to be used to discuss personal disputes
- Emmaus Retreats are sacred
- Confidentiality is sacred
Confidentiality pertains to what is said in meetings and Retreats. I do not believe that the principle of confidentiality applies to ongoing unethical behavior outside of Emmaus [for example in business] especially if that behavior has never been the subject of a sharing or discussion within Emmaus. My argument here is that the principle of confidentiality is damaged more by those who seek to hide behind it inappropriately than those who would point out the unethical behavior.
Who is to supposed to determine when or how to point out ongoing unethical or inappropriate behavior? Each of us following his or her own conscious. The facts and our personal integrity as deemed by our peers can sort out the rest over time, without ever using Emmaus meetings or Retreats to make our case. All the while respecting and adhering to the principle of confidentiality.
I deem that right and just.