Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tolerant Christianity: A Desperate Plea for Coexistence

Matt 22:36-38 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.

My friends, family, and aquaintences of whom I wished I knew heart bleeds tonight.  I was watching Casino Royale (great movie btw), and, while watching, I was reading and browsing various news and facebook feeds.  Now, before I share my tidbit of wisdom with you, I want to share something else.  A long time ago, about 10 years or so, a very good friend of mine laid her hands on my head to pray for me.  She saw me slaying a great large whale.  We mulled the image over, and we concluded that this whale represented a great blemish on our society.  A great stain on the cloth of our Church, and a great challenge for us to overcome.  And that I was the hunter of this whale.  The whale is a concept.  Not a body or organization or any kind of thing of that sort.  Its a way of thinking, a thought, an instinctive viewpoint of the world around us, that we must change.  

Matt 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Wow friends.  Such powerful and often times, underrated words.  We live in times when the issues of Gay, Lesbian, and other sexual identity issues are fresh on people's minds due to the coverage it gets.  I, myself see me as a reformer in Christianity, trying to bring light and meaning to others' lives through my own experiences.  One of the biggest gulfs in Christianity is how do we care for, treat, behave towards and work with those who are homosexual?  Now, we've all heard the addage, "Love the Sinner, hate the sin."  I really dislike this addage, because human weakness is part of our condition.  Whether your vice is drugs or lying or greed or selfishness, whatever it is, ultimately that is between you and God.  No other person (unless of course, you wrong someone directly as a result).  I know my call, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends and family.  I am a peacemaker.  This is my personal be-attitude, my call, my vision, my purpose in life.  I am a diplomat who seeks commoratery between opposing sides.  I believe that all people have something in common that can bring them together.  

When I read Matt 5:9, I immideately tear up and am deeply moved by the Holy Spirit to share and express myself on these terms and levels.  The badgering of several Christian denominations are that we, as Christians, cannot compromise with anyone for any reason.  Wrong friends, JUST wrong!  Here's why.  As institutions, we can compromise with others.  We cannot impress our views on others, just as we would not appreciate views being impressed on us.  Where compromise cannot happen, is in matters of the heart.  Morality, truth, justice, and other assorted similar characteristics that make us upstanding human beings.  We cannot claim to be Christ-like, then turn the other way when someone steals.  We cannot be Christ-like when we lust after another, to gratify ourselves.  We cannot be Christ-like and misrepresent matters and circumstances in a manipulative and clandestine manner to obscure the real truth.  

Here's the simple truth friends:  We, as Christians are peacemakers.  Bringing healing, love, and yes: tolerance to the world.  Our message spreads and grows when we accept others and serve.  Judge not lest ye be judged isn't there to slap your hand and say "Look in the mirror."  It's there because it's ineffective.  No person is going to listen to your dribble when you sit in judgment over them looking down.  Christ knew this about human beings, that we retreat from judgment and clam up in conflict.  Judgment causes conflict and hurts our ability to be messengers.  The message isn't just the words, its the actions in which we demonstrate through our daily lives.  

Suppose your friend is Muslim.  He asks you to join them on the final day of Rahmadan, the Muslim holy month.  It's  a time of feasting and celebration.  As a Christian, would you say no?  Would you decline such a warm and open invitation?  Christ ate with tax collectors, money lenders, and people of all sorts of social stygmata attached to them.  It is in the thick of things that we are the most used.  Go have a meal with them, learn, absorb, and educate yourself.  God blesses those who genuinely seek understanding about what is around them.  

Suppose I ask one of you to come out with me to a drag show.  Now, being that many people are intimidated by drag shows because of their social stygmata, many would very much decline more-than-likely.  And I understand.  It's hard to thrust yourself into an alien environment that is truly different and unusual.  But guess what.  When I went to my first drag show, I went to meet people.  The people who think like me in one respect, but also who don't think like me at all.  It is a powerful thing to go into an environment that is totally alien, engage someone in conversation, and share with them your experiences as a person, a human being.  You share your weaknesses, your strengths, your faith, your vision for the future, your opinions about the last performer and how he or she sucked or perhaps how amazing he or she was on that stage.  

Now, many of you are probably a little shyed away by this point, so, here's how you do it.  You go in to a new place, perhaps through a friend.  You talk, you laugh you MUST interact with someone on a personal level.  Get to know them, poke their brain, socialize.  Don't just spill the guts on the table.  Be genuine about their problems, their desires, their needs and show real concern or a desire to help if able.  

Now, to bring this all home.  Tonight's message is about togetherness, compassion, tolerance, and heart-felt unadulterated Christ-like love.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Commandments 5-10 all wrapped up into 5 words.  

I saw a picture on facebook linked by a friend of mine in Moscow, ID.  It was a picture of a man holding a sign apologizing for the church hurting individuals who were gay during the Chicago Gay Pride Parade.  The picture shows a man who was in the parade coming up to the man and embracing him in reconciliation.  The picture moved me so very deeply, and as I write this now, I am tearing and bordering on crying.  This is because I feel the pain that those that are like me feel.  The feelings of ostritization, rejection, abandonment, hatred, outright loathing and detesting.  All because, they have a built-in, physical, mentally wired desire to love members of the same sex.  Many Christian leaders say, it's demonic posession.  Some say it's the nurturing of the individual.  Some equate it to trama or abuse of some sort.  But regardless of what it is...that is besides the point entirely.  

I desprately plead to you, Sons and Daughters in Christ, to reach out fervently, and express your love to your fellow man.  The greatest in Christ are those who are the lowest on Earth, reducing themselves to levels of service without seeking reward or compensation or motive of any kind.  They serve, simply to serve, and for no other reason.    

I pray, that the Father pour out his spirit on anyone who reads this letter, and ignites a fire of passion and boldness, with a heart of forgiveness and empathy.  That God may bring reconcilation between Christians and those who are not.  That God instill a spirit of tolerance, service, and goodwill to anyone who needs it, that it be reflected in our daily lives, and that finally, God bless anyone and everyone who answers to call to be his peacemaker.  That the Holy Spirit guide his or her words and that it moves the heart of everyone concerned.  Father, you have called us to be fishers of men.  Father today, we ask you give us the means to fulfill this call in a manner that wholly, entirely, and truthfully reflects your love and compassion and mercy.  That extolls the values and promises of your Son Jesus Christ, and that glorifies your name in all manners.  I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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