Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Practice radical acts of love

Episcopal Priest Pamela Dolan in the ST Louis Times Dispatch:
I wish it didn’t have to be said. I wish we weren’t in a place, as a country, where it actually feels necessary to say: I’m a Christian and I think hate is wrong. 
...during this long hot airless summer we followers of Jesus get more media coverage for opposing birth control, standing in line to eat greasy chicken sandwiches, and hand-slapping nuns than for any good we might do for our neighbors. I am quite sure that to those outside our traditions, we sound paranoid, small-minded and just plain hateful....
In a showdown between “us” and “them” there is plenty of suffering and persecution to go around. But anyone who thinks that it’s harder to be a Christian in America today than to be a Sikh or a Muslim or a Hindu or a pagan or even a Jew is simply not in touch with reality. Non-believers, agnostics, and atheists also come in for a pretty hard time, although that seems to be changing. But that’s not really the point.
The point is that the whole “us versus them” mentality, the ongoing religious persecution pity party by over-privileged first world Christians utterly misses the point.... 
... I’ve had enough, you’ve had enough, our children and our planet have certainly had enough.....
Fear is the single biggest enemy of love. But the Bible tells us over and over again: Be not afraid. 
So love God. Love your neighbor. Love the ones with a different skin color, love the ones who wear turbans, love the ignorant, the hurtful, and the mean, love the ones who talk funny, love the ones who shave their heads and scare the living daylights out of you. Real freedom comes from within. Nobody can take away your ability to love. Nobody. As the saying goes, just do it. It might be the most radical act of religious freedom anyone has ever practiced: love.
I too wish Christians would behave like Christians.  Wouldn't that be radical, indeed.

How can people who claim to be Christians, go on about taxes and welfare cheats and  freeloaders, with an operating philosophy that "it's mine and I'm keeping it"?  How can they ignore their responsibility for the least amongst us in the accumulation of more?  How can they forget that the "common good" means roads and bridges and education for all? How can they obsess about Islamic religious practices and despise atheists and forget all those admonishments to love strangers?  How can they ignore foundational values of a country founded on religious freedom, and force their beliefs on those who don't share them?


Leonardo Ricardo said...

For me, nothing new here. When I was a kid, a child, I realized secretly that something was wrong with the ¨Christian¨ picture...I became aware (probably because of Life magazine or something like it)that Black Americans in the South were being murdered, strung up, persecuted and discriminated against beyond my wildest imagination (which at the time was a Frankenstein movie)...I somehow knew that Southern Baptists were a nasty lot and Mormons were a White cult and there were people who hated and murdered millions of Jews (I was born in 1943) ...also, there is nothing new about being despised or bullied by Christians because one is ¨Gay¨ (even before one knows what Gay is in ones own life)! The whole mess of self-righteous behavior (and flat out lies) is now coming to the end of the road...the juction where truth overrides lies...there is NO PLACE left to hide...bigots at Church and beyond Church are cornered and are lashing out because the heat is on, the spotlights are on them (finally)...it´s their last stand and that would include ¨defenders¨ of fear/hate/lies such as the Pope, many Global South Bishops/followers, President Mugabe, Drexel Gomez, Jack Iker or even the Holymost Supreme Gay Lynchers in Iran...time=enlightenment is not on their side, naked hate/exposure is not a friend to those who cover their ill-deeds against others with lofty/twisted religious pontificating which incites by emphasizing difference and generates the last outposts of fear and HATE against one another--all one anothers! The ¨self righteous¨ will soon have to examine themselves, their true behavior and reality will strip away their false comforts of piety, prejudice and superstition...it´s a new world where ones personal responsibility/accountability is exposed on a daily basis...the old way of pampering and papering over REAL and vile behavior is being exposed...poco a poco. The herd is shifting and seeking greener pastures than dried up pretending at Church/beyond. For the liars, thieves and oppressors of others it´s going to be a bumpy internal sorting process--emotional stability is being challenged and people will need REAL help and understanding to find their way out from under false pride/other...this is something that the abused know something about...appreciating even small acts of kindness that comes our way...when the abusers of others are ready to admit their wrongs (before God and fellow human beings) we will have come to the loving oneanother place...it´s not far away.

Counterlight said...

I think Christianity these days is less about any particular ethic or spirituality than it is about tribal identity. I think that's what all fundamentalist movements ultimately boil down to, securing the boundaries between Us and Them. That's why, for all their religious rhetoric, fundamentalist movements are ultimately secular.