Wherever you see religious leaders ego-basking in the spotlight you can be assured that this is not the real thing when it comes to Christianity. The Jesus Way is to choose:
- poverty over wealth (Jesus never says "Blessed are the rich," right?)
- powerlessness over power
- humble service over popularity
- quiet fruitfulness over loud acclaim (from Henri Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, 64)
Henri Nouwen writes: "Jesus consistently refuses the way of success, power, influence, and celebrity. Always, he chooses the way of weakness, powerlessness, compassion, and obscurity - the way of the poor..." (Ib.)
Jesus exercises a preferential option for the poor. He loves even the rich, but earthly riches mean nothing to Jesus except that their meaning lies in their idolatrous opposition to God.
Isn't all this "poverty talk" extreme? Well..., Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John are extreme. The love of God, exemplified in Jesus the Son, is extreme. The Real Jesus is downwardly mobile as he comes for the least of these (Matthew 25).
If, as Jesus said, the poor are blessed, then choose poverty, and begin to understand what this means. (I'm still learning...)