I saw a little Twitter snark about Asa Hutchinson and NR cruises late last night. Oddly, one of the things I always found interesting was both the diversity on the cruises of years past and the opportunities for common ground. Cruises are not my speed, but oh my goodness what opportunities to get to know cruise staff who make the most tremendous sacrifices for their families. I’ll never forget a single mother named Gianna on the Queen Mary, who spends months away from her daughter — who was with her grandmother for the cruise months — so she could afford her schooling.
I’ve always been a bit timid around water, but what an encounter with the vastness and beauty of God’s creation. I always love opportunities to get to know our readers better. And with daily Mass on the ships, just about every cruise was a pilgrimage. I’ll never forget visiting Mary’s House in Ephesus with Kate and Jim O’Beirne and friends, where the Blessed Mother is believed to have lived with St. John after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Catholics praying and Muslims guarding. There was the pre-cruise time with Pope Benedict (helping cement my status as the Forrest Gump of conservatism, always bumping into news events without planning it) in Fatima, and our most recent cruise got me and other colleagues to the tombs of a number of underappreciated North American saints in Canada.
Anyway, when we are tempted to snark, maybe pause and realize there is more to the story. Also: For anyone tempted to dismiss NR as limited-government purists who in some way raised up Asa Hutchinson for something like this: Have you ever read Maddy Kearns? Run into Mitt Romney on an NR cruise? Followed Ramesh Ponnuru’s career?
We could all probably benefit from a little less snark (all around — who isn’t guilty of it at some point? And Twitter is a hot-temptation zone, for sure) and a lot more encouraging one another along the way — especially those of us who still understand some fundamentals about human life as creation and our stewardship responsibilities for creation. And particularly those of us who profess to be God’s Kingdom-minded people? Imagine an Easter season without snark!