Thursday, June 10, 2004

Wow, people read these things!

Call it an epiphany. I'm glad to see that folks are making their way past my spot in blogdom. :) Blogging is such a great concept.

My life has been a blur the last few days, much to do and so little time. But it is all good.

I've come across two folks who are blogging about their journeys into ministry in the United Methodist Church: The Faithful Skeptic, and The Student Pastor. That is awesome, to be allowed "in on" such a interesting and important journey. I wish them both the best.

Got a call last night from a fellow in a Bible study group I'd recently joined. Nice older gentleman, who is very concerned about my well-being and interest in the church. No matter how many missteps you might have in the Church, one really dedicated and obviously caring soul can really make your day (or week even). Isn't that great?! I'm sure no one asked him to call, and he isn't doing that as part of an official "ministry." I wonder how many of us inadvertently brighten someone's day or bring them just a step closer to Christ without even knowing it?

I'm running on empty at the moment... more later.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Who has time to squabble?

So I'm thinking about all of the issues that are tearing at the fabric of the Church (Christendom, not any particular church).

And my next thought is, I don't really have a bead on many of these issues-- most notably the issue of homosexuality that many large Christian groups are confronting. (The issue has clearly been the news quite a bit, and I've recently read posts on this topic by IreneQ and A Religious Liberal Blog, and others...) While I don't have a bead on it, I do know that I've had discussions with gay and lesbian individuals who are truly torn about reconciling their selves with their religion. I know that this is an issue that causes them great pain. I haven't talked to one who thought their sexuality was a matter of choice-- none could remember a time when they felt any other way about sexual matters. Many have experienced some pretty horrific depths as they tried to deal with the issue.

And what have we done in response? Who are the "least of these"? If I had a nickel for every person I've heard say "you can hate the sin, but love the sinner" I'd be rich. And frankly, in most cases I suspect it just isn't true. I'm not buying it, but that's between those individuals and their God. At some point, Christ will be divying us up into the sheep and the goats, eh? The LEAST OF THESE. Think about it. He didn't say to tolerate them, he said to LOVE THEM. That means that when they are plunged into depression about their sexuality (or more to the point, society's reaction to it), we should care. When they feel shut out of the church, we should care. We need to listen to their concerns. And love them.

I've heard many gay and lesbian individuals say they've experienced more hate, more prejudice and more discrimination at the hands of "Christians" than just about any other group. If there's shame to be felt in any of this, THAT should cause us to feel shame.

Maybe there's a caveat in the Bible that I'm not aware of-- "Love thy neighbor, unless thy neighbor is homosexual (or in any other way makes you feel uncomfortable). In that case, screw 'em." Hey, if you can't bring yourself to call them your "neighbors," how about "enemies"? (I think He covered that one too.)

Here's another thought. While, to the best of my knowledge, Christ spent roughly zero minutes on earth preaching about homosexuality, he did spend an ENORMOUS amount of time speaking quite specifically about loving others, compassion for the sick, and the sinners among us, and the poor. He spoke endlessly in terms that leave virtually no room for interpretation about how we should lead our lives and interact with each other.

I don't know about you, but I don't have my ducks in a row on that one. There are still many folks I'm struggling to love, and as far as I know the world is still full of the downtrodden and poor.

Why don't we get on with the work God has placed before us, and let Him make the difficult calls? I don't personally feel I've been put here as a Christian to be judge and jury for ANYONE. Yes, I am here to spread the Gospel. And as it says at the top of the page, I'll use words if necessary. But everyone should know we are Christians by our actions-- by the way we demonstrate acceptance, love and compassion for each other. Not just people who think like us. Everyone.

Sure FEELS better to judge others, to point out the flaws of others. But we won't be judged based on what OTHERS do, but based on what WE do. Talk about a difficult path and narrow gate, huh? Like I said, who has time to squabble?