The birthday of the church

pentec10Jerry Kellman is a plain, soft-spoken man in his sixties. He has been, and done, many things. Born in New York, he retains some of the accent, but he moved to Chicago many moons ago. Born Jewish, he converted to Catholicism, also many moons ago.

Kellman is a professional community organizer. He learned his trade at a school run by Saul Alinsky. He then mentored other community organizers, including Barack Obama. Kellman is also a professional lay minister. He earned his M.Div. from my alma mater, Loyola University Chicago.

On Pentecost weekend, Kellman talked at my parish. He said Pentecost is one of those days you know is important, but you don’t necessarily feel is important. It’s not Christmas or Easter.

One reason we’re told it’s important is because it’s “the birthday of the church.” But why give Pentecost the credit for that? From the scriptures and the historical record, we know that “Jesus communities” were in place during Jesus’ lifetime. Continue reading

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