Barely Human

On television, she sees a story about two gay women adopting a child together and becomes incensed.   It’s bad enough that those women are lost but now they will lead innocent children to hell.  With all her heart she believes this.

Before you judge her, I want you to know that she’s not a bad person.  She’s actually a nice woman who bakes cookies for the school bake sale and volunteers at the local food bank.  It’s just that she’s been taught that God detests homosexuality and gays are sinners.

She knows that she will go to heaven, but they – the gays – will go to hell if they do not repent.

That sense of distance, of difference, allows her to hate but she doesn’t even recognize what she feels as hatred.  In her mind it is righteous indignation that she feels.   She tells herself that her motivation is love.  She desires to see a sinner saved.   In reality, a separation has taken place in her heart and mind; gays are no longer kindred.  An us vs. them mentality has crept in.  The love she professes to feel isn’t really love at all, its hatred wearing a mask.

You might even find the same woman shouting, pumping an angry fist, or holding an ugly sign in a crowd of like-minded citizens.  If you asked her she would tell you that she believes in love and kindness.  That she is taking a moral stance.  That she loves the sinner but hates the sin.

***************

 

Across town, another woman angrily watches TV as election results roll in.  She is passionately liberal, believes in kindness, hates discrimination and intolerance.   As election tallies come in she realizes her side isn’t going to win.  She becomes  incensed. Those people are back in office; the ignorant, conservative, Christian haters and discriminators.  She can’t believe it.

On her way to volunteer at a homeless shelter she sees conservative political signs and Jesus stickers on cars and righteous anger wells up inside of her.  She flips her middle finger and sneers.   She doesn’t see herself as intolerant or hateful, not at all.   That’s the territory of fundamentalist Christians and conservatives.  She’s not like them.

In her mind there is a sharp divide between those she identifies as thinkers, those of her ilk, and those she identifies as the ignorant religious and selfish conservative.   She might even own that she hates them but she feels her hatred to be justified.  After all, those people are so hateful, so intolerant. In her mind, they are barely human.


*************

 

I’m not pointing fingers.   I’m using stereotypes to illustrate a point.  Hatred is so easy when we forget about our shared humanity.  When we see ourselves as belonging to a group called “us” set apart from a group called “them”.

Suddenly we’re hating and we don’t even know it.

Mother Theresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

I want to walk in the way of love and kindness.  I want to do better, be better.  But sometimes I forget how to love, just like you.  Remembering starts with recognizing our shared humanity.  That person you or I have a problem with – the person on welfare, the wealthy, the immigrant, the white man, the liberal, the conservative, the atheist or Christian…  they’re our kin.  

We need to love with intention.

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47 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rachel on November 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    thank you for that reminder my friend. I needed to hear it. You are amazing, and I love how thought provoking your posts are.

    Reply

  2. Beautifully written.
    Stirs memories of a visit to Florida, a friend abruptly turning off the t.v. as a soap showed a black man and a white woman. She didn’t want her impressionable, young granddaughter to believe interracial dating was acceptable.

    Reply

    • That’s exactly what I’m talking about and it hurts my heart. I’m sure your friend is a lovely person who thinks she is doing the right and loving thing for her granddaughter. :(

      Reply

  3. It’s funny – I just finished watching an episode of a show I don’t normally see – Ellen. This one had Portia di Rossi in it, who was telling her story about growing up trying to be accepted in the model community by binging and purging, and about hiding her sexuality, knowing full well that to reveal it would mean the public (and the media) would turn on her.

    In the midst of all the ugliness she went through, both self-inflicted and inflicted by often well-meaning but damaging people, I couldn’t help notice the pure beauty of her relationship with Ellen. They pretty much shone together, there on that set.

    I thought about that and, after reading your blog, wondered if it’s still possible for someone with long-held prejudices against gays to maintain their frowns, in the face of the simple beauty of shared closeness and love, as exhibited by those two wonderful women.

    It’s a rhetorical question I suppose. Still, I can’t help thinking that I’ll probably never know. I can only know myself. People in love really make an impression on me – that’s all I can say.

    Reply

    • A long time ago I believed that being gay was a sinful choice. It’s what I was taught in church. My rebellious heart whispered no, but I didn’t allow myself to question, not then. Jump forward ten years and I simply couldn’t believe what I’d been taught. My intellect had joined my heart in rebellion.

      My husband and I were leading a bible study in our home at the time and one of the men in the group said he thought that AIDS was God’s judgment against gays. I blinked once and then again, opened my mouth and shut it. I finally found the courage to say that I could not believe in a God that would punish people for being as they made him to be. I explained that it simply didn’t make sense to me.

      He walked out.

      I sometimes wonder if he’s changed at all, if he’s seen that love comes in many forms. If I can change then he can too. I believe that love has the power to transform us.

      I know that wasn’t a direct line to what you said but it’s what came.

      Reply

      • Yours is (and always is) a free-form flow of thought. No need to be concerned about direct lines. I like very much what you said, and really really hope that that guy finds a place someday where he realizes the unspoken kinship between all of God’s creation; and not just perceived “chosen”.

        I mean, I know I was that guy once. And I’m no one special. Not really. So why not him as well?

        Reply

        • “…the unspoken kinship between all of God’s creation; and not just perceived “chosen””

          I love that. I think it’s the “chosen” aspect that bothers me so much, because it separates people completely, allows them to hate. Radical (fundamentalist) Islam is a perfect example. How could 911 happen? How could it? Because we’re less than human to them, infidels. :(

          I believe the truth is that we are all connected and the spirit of God runs through all of us.

          Reply

  4. Posted by Cuz on November 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    There gets to be a “shutdown” switch for new information. The other person only exists as the stereotype… The toxic patterns multiply when a “leader” becomes the voice of unquestioned authority. So many types of “fundamentalism”… religious, scientific, political.

    I think I heard that the Vatican decided that it was wrong about Galileo, 400 years later really helped him, didn’t it.

    Reply

    • Cuz – Your first sentence capture my attention and I stopped there for awhile and thought about the truth of it. There is a shutdown switch for new information. Yes. I was shutdown for a long time, conditioned to follow the voice of church authority without question. Still, I questioned. I asked questions that my leaders couldn’t answer. I was told to have faith, blind faith. I couldn’t.

      It took me about 25 years to completely free myself. People I had feared, Wiccans, atheists, Mormans – I could go on and on – suddenly became just people to me, not the enemy. I found that I had much in common with them. Our faiths were different, yes, but we weren’t afraid to question and listen. That happened for me when I first started blogging. :)

      For awhile, in reaction, I stigmatized Christians, painted them with a brush of blind conformity, abuse of authority, and lack of love. It didn’t take me long to realize I was wrong.

      Like you, fundamentalism of any kind scares me. It keeps us in the dark and helps us to hate, to forget that we are connected.

      Reply

  5. Katy, I love to come to your blogs. It is one place in this crazy world that I truly feel moved to THINK, to FEEL, and to CONNECT. I have found a kindred spirit in you, so I also feel moved to rejoice in the fact that it is a place where I can truly be ME. XO

    Reply

    • Angie –

      Thank you. What you said means the world to me, because it’s what I want more than anything – to connect with a diverse group of people, to learn what they think, feel, and believe in. I love it that people are willing to think and feel with me; I feel so blessed. And I love finding kindred spirits.

      Your words have encouraged me and given me courage. ♥

      Reply

  6. Posted by Ileene on November 4, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    there is that saying ” We are our brother’s keeper..” I know these woman and I love them with all my heart…they are..on their journey …I may arrive before them… But I’ll wait for them. ..

    Reply

    • Yes, we ARE our brother’s keeper. We absolutely are. I believe that our lives are meant to lead us to love. I keep my ‘brother’ by loving, by understanding that we are all on a journey, learning different things at different times in different ways. I’m thankful for those who have been patient with me. I think of my friend, Pastor Paul, for has waited for me for years and believed the best in me, always. His patience has taught me much about love.

      Wait for me, my friend, so I can learn to wait for others.

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  7. Sometimes I think we fear that by keeping an open mind we just might have that mind changed. And that is a scary thing to many people. We know this is good, this is bad, this is black and this is white. We miss the wonderful shades of grey and pink and blue and purple in between.

    I say “we” because I know I do it too, unintentionally, just as the examples you used but none-the-less i do do it.

    Thankfully I do it less and less.

    =)

    Reply

    • What a great response, Chickee! I remember when I was steeped in the church, a missionary, actually, and I would tell people who tried to counter my message that you don’t need to be open-minded when you know the truth, when you are RIGHT. Sometimes people would ask me why I expected them to have an open mind if I didn’t feel the need to. My answer? They were lost and without truth, needed to be “found.”

      I look back on that and wince, but I was a product of what I had been taught. It wasn’t fear on my part but fear on the part of those who did the teaching, going back 2,000 years or so. *wry smile*

      The willful blindness born from fear applies across the board to every aspect of life, not just the spiritual, but that’s the best example I can give from my own life.

      I, too, am in a process of becoming that’s leading me to see all those colors in between (you made me smile with that).

      Reply

  8. I totally agree with you Kate. The two women you described are really good portrayals of people that could be our neighbors and friends. It really makes you think …I mean, they both think that they are good people and that what they believe is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s pretty scary because it just about seems impossible that we ever could have true “Peace on earth”. But I know and believe in what the Bible says “That with God all things are possible”.

    Kate I want what you want,

    “I want to walk in the way of love and kindness. I want to do better, be better.”

    Maybe…we can start a movement that can start here and spread throughout the internet and out into the “real” world. A movement that puts forth that we are all humans and that we should all learn to Love , care and respect one another no matter what race,religion, or sex. I may be dreaming but…I’m officially starting the “LOVE OUR FELLOW HUMANS” Movement. I know that’s not the greatest name so if anyone has a better one I’m open to suggestions and I’m looking for members.

    Reply

    • Bruce – *grins* I’m not sure if I can articulate this well but I’m going to try. I used to blog on a much bigger scale, as you know. It was a time of learning for me, of flailing around a bit. There are choices I made that I’m not comfortable with, yet I cannot regret them because they were a part of my becoming. When I finally quit blogging, I meant to quit forever. I’d come to see blogging as a waste of time.

      I came back to it because I feel compelled to question with people, to find my way alongside others. Interacting with people on my blog has made me better. I have learned so much and experienced some significant paradigm shifts. I’ve seen it happen with other people too. That’s deeply meaningful and important to me. I will explore, question, and love to the best of my ability with whomever will walk beside me.

      I’m grateful for the folks who take the time to read and share their thoughts. I love the turn toward love that I feel and see around me. All that to say that I’m already a member of the movement. I think of the words of Gandhi who said that we need to BE the change we want to see. I embrace the truth of that wholeheartedly. It starts with you and me, with each of us individually.

      I think you have been a member of the movement you talk about for a long time, too. If you want to make it official on the scale of “pay it forward”, go for it! I don’t have any name suggestions yet but if anything comes to me, I’ll share it.

      For the record, I think you’re wonderful.

      Reply

  9. Another great post, Kate. And so true. I once participated in a workshop in South Africa about primary identity – the short version is that however we see ourselves, primarily, we will always view the world as “other than” or measure others according to that identity. So if my primary identity is my gender, or my faith, or my colour, everyone around me is either the same as, or different from, me. I guess if we all saw ourselves primarily as human, we would view the world in a more constructive, less judgmental light … maybe?
    Sunshine xx

    Reply

    • I would love to have attended that workshop. Part of my quest to live and love with intention involves stopping to remind myself, every time I feel that sense of identifying with a particular group of people, that I am first and foremost a human being and thus as part of every sub group on a fundamental level. It helps me to get past my prejudices. It helps me to be a more loving person. I think the answer to your question is an unequivocal YES. :)

      Reply

  10. Posted by Anonymous on November 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

    One of the things I struggle with is remembering that we are all at different stages on our spiritual paths. I want to criticize the exemplars you have crafted, but I won’t. They are where God has brought them, and they may be working on growth in another area. Perhaps a couple of years ago they would have sworn at the offending ideology and gone home to take out their frustration on their family. Who can say?

    The best we can do is seek the face of God in our lives and bless those that curse us.

    Reply

    • “They are where God has brought them, and they may be working on growth in another area.” <—I think you hit the nail on the head with that. I try to tilt my head, change my perspective, and see things from another point of view, and I try to really LISTEN to people.

      In the back of my mind I also remember the biblical picture of one person trying to remove a speck from the other person's eye, while all the while they have a flipping telephone pole sticking out of their own. *wry smile* I don't want to be like that.

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  11. Posted by Drew on November 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Oh, how I love this Katy! It is so true….

    Last night I saw this show called ‘Forensic Files’ and it was a bout a man whom bombed two churches. Well when they figured out who it was, it was a man who tried to join a church, he was a lost soul, a troubled man and wanted to be a member of this church and they rejected him. A member said they decided he was not someone they wanted to be a member of their congregation.

    Wow…. really?

    It is amazing how indignant people can be about someone like that and I am sure are even more so about his doing the bombing. The thing is, to me, is so often the most troubled in our society are turned into a violent dangerous member of our society because people that preach and teach love reject them. What kind of message does that send? You are not good enough? You are not worthy of love? We will never care enough to help you through your troubles?

    Anyway, it is all so strange to me. You know I agree with you. Love is love and we need to simply love.

    If we have requirements to give love, then we are not truly loving, we are loving based on a set of rules.

    I decided long ago not to give up on my damaged family. I felt that if I did, then there was a chance they would become a burden on society and basically I would be leaving it up to someone else to help them, and I so much dislike people walking away from those that need help expecting someone else to do it or otherwise not concerning themselves with what is going to become of this person.

    Again, as always, I love your thoughts and you! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)

    Reply

    • I read through your comment twice to make sure I was really hearing you. :) I like your heart, Drew, but I’m not sure I completely agree with you. People have to WANT to change before they’re willing to do the work of change. I used to work SO HARD to help people, love them through whatever was happening in their lives, but I eventually learned that I can’t work harder for another person than he or she is willing to work for him- or herself. And some lessons cannot be taught, they must be learned by experience.

      Sometimes people bask in their unhappiness. They don’t want help, they just want someone to commiserate. I won’t do that. Then there are sociopaths who cannot be helped no matter how much we love them.

      I remember watching an interview with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. He was with his father who was leaning into him, patting him on the back, touching his arm, and looking at him with such love, even as his son was flatly explaining how he’d lured men, eventually killed them, then stored them to eat them later. The dad appeared to love his son so much that he simply wasn’t processing the horror of what he was saying.

      Sometimes, to help people we have to be willing to walk away. When people learn that their hatred or bad behavior will not be tolerated and life gets lonely, often, they are motivated to change.

      But back to what you said about the church deciding they didn’t want a certain man as a member. There are some cases where I think that would be an okay judgment call. Now, if they were rejecting him simply because he was stinky or drank too much or swore or “lived in sin” that would be HORRIBLE, and I know it happens. People do need love and acceptance. On the same hand, going back to what I said before, people also need accountability and to face the consequences of their actions.

      I could go on and on here but I’ll stop myself. lol I love your thought provoking comment, Drew!

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      • You know Kate…I was trying to come up with a coherent response to this and I see that you have already covered it with this one response. So, I will just cheer madly and continue to read. :D

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      • Posted by Drew on November 10, 2010 at 12:55 am

        Katy I was writing a really long comment in reply to you. I had friends over, minimized my screen with my comment to you, their kids got on my computer and when I got back on it was gone. Crap….

        I think you heard me. I do feel heard. :)

        No doubt people can’t change unless they choose to, and do the work to accomplish it. I completely agree with you. I completely understand your working so hard to help people, I get that and I think you have probably worked harder than I ever have.

        I don’t work hard at it. I worked hard on me. I felt the best thing I could do was work my butt off on me, see what I could possibly do, see what was possible in my reality, then love them and be me. If they accept me and want to talk to me about stuff, I am here, but I am not going to push them to talk to me about something they are not ready to talk to me about.

        One reason I love the blogging community is people show me through their blogs, what they are willing to talk to me about. I figure… that is cool. I am not going to tread on topics uncomfortable to you, and other people whom I read.

        I have tried to develop the skill of listening and letting people take our conversation to something they are interested in. I want their ears and mind to be open to what I have to say, so I figure, if they bring it up first then it is time to share with them on it.

        Something I really admire and appreciate about you is that you have a skill at being straight with people without coddling.

        I am not saying I don’t bring up topics ever, obviously I do have a lot to say about a lot of things. haha…

        Yes some do bask in their unhappiness and some do have mental diseases, no doubt. I have never been in that horrible of a situation so I can only speculate. Through my experience I have found that if I talk about love, and show love to people (that are bad people), they tend to back off themselves. As you said they want to commiserate with people that are miserable, as they are.

        I am not an attractive or enjoyable friend to be around.

        I imagine you have had much the same experience. I remember when you told me what’s what, I imagine you figured that this would be our last contact as so many have been before. I loved it though. I loved the honesty, the truthfulness, the willingness you had to reach out to me.

        I have tried over time to share with people my belief that I will let you down at some point, and when I do, please tell me. I am a humble man and not so proud as to reject someone that has a big heart, a passionate view of life, a contemplative mind, and so many other good qualities I could go on and on….. because they are upset with me. I am a big boy. I have pulled my pants on, and I can handle whatever anyone has to say.

        On the Dahmer thing, I am stunned at what you said as well. I believe in love, no matter what, until the end, but I also believe in consequences for ones actions and that people’s evil/bad/poor choices should be called out. I view that father as coddling his son, and I would not do that myself. I can see still loving him, but he would have caught my wrath.

        I totally understand what you mean about sometimes we need to walk away. I do not see any form of reality that includes some perfect way of seeing what the right thing to do is all the time. So, the way I view things is… we do the best we can.

        I know sometimes walking away is the right thing to do, even though it is brutally hard. My parents kicked my older brother out of the house at 17. He was on his own. He lived with some relatives and then lost his welcome there. There were three years that we had no idea where he was or even if he was alive. Eventually that became quite overwhelming to me.

        When he contacted me, finally, out of the blue. I made sure to stay on the phone with him as long as he was willing. Over the next several years my younger brother and I, worked to involve him in our lives. We found out that he was a cocaine dealer at that time. It scared the crap out of me.

        He was carrying guns. Eventually he confided in us that he had been abandoned three times by his friends because they thought he had died from an overdose.

        So, anyway, he is now married and father to his adopted children. A great man, that earns a meager living, but is so kind and caring. He is, also, trying to improve himself all the time now. It really warms my heart.

        When I look at society overall, though, in regard to the walking away thing, I wonder…. but wouldn’t isolation be a common theme with people that really become the most dangerous to themselves and the rest of us? It is not like we (as a society) are equipped, or even capable, of helping every person that is dangerous. That is a sad state of affairs, but is seemingly the reality we are confronted with.

        I have no delusions that I could necessarily stop any person like that from doing what they are going to do. I just concern myself with observable isolation and consider whether I can do anything about that. If I can’t, I can’t.

        I do not know the circumstances of the interaction the church members had with that sociopath, so I really can’t say either way. What I was trying to add to the conversation is that if I professed love, I would show him love. I really have never experienced anyone getting me in a conversation with them where I reject them like that. See, if I had a church, I would not have done that. I would have felt it more important that I talk to him, than the people in my church that are doing well.

        Which, they may have very well done, for all I know. I can also see, that if they did do that, at some point it can become so tiresome and feel like such a waste of time, that there really would not be any point in beating a dead horse, so to speak.

        And in the example I gave of my own brother, the isolation worked out. It did change him, we almost lost him, but thankfully we did not.

        Sigh… I love your thought process Katy, and I truly aspire to never treat anyone as though they are barely human…. well except for Dahmer that is…. I have told my brothers… do NOT expect me to coddle you if you EVER do anything even remotely like that kind of crap…. I will be sitting at the prosecutors table. Well we all feel the same way, so that is no concern. Thankfully…

        I can’t even imagine the horror of having someone you love be that person…. ugh….

        Reply

        • Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this, Drew. I actually thought I HAD responded but there’s nothing here so I guess I dreamed it.

          I absolutely agree with you about the church. Every church should seek to reach beyond it’s inner circle to the people on the fringes, to the people who wouldn’t dark darken their doorstep. Jesus didn’t hang out in church buildings doing church things. He walked around collecting all manner of people and loving them. When he saw people in need he never turned them away. It was the religious folks of the day who stood inside churches talking to the churched, only reaching out to point fingers and accuse, never to love. There were a few exceptions. Nicodemus for one. But for the most part, the church folks weren’t very good at loving. They were fabulous at judging.

          I hear your heart, Drew, and I want you to know that I believe in love, too. I took your point and went off on a tangent but I didn’t miss your point. *smiles*

          Reply

  12. Posted by Jay Sole on November 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I love how your mind works, Kate! A couple weeks ago I spent the weekend in Denver with my sister. She is very active within the gay community out there. On Friday night my running buddies, my sister and I, and her gay friends all went out to dinner together. We had an absolute blast, probably my favorite night of our trip. We spent an evening with her gay friends, and guess what happens over the course of an evening…you forget they are gay! They are just people, like you and me. “Shared humanity” as you stated. We didn’t even talk about “gay” issues, we just talked about life…jobs, recreation, hobbies, dreams and goals. After the night was over and we dropped her friends off at their home, one of my running friends asked my sister, “were they acting ‘less’ gay tonight, not wanting to offend us?” She said, “no, they were being themselves”.
    I think we, by “we” I mean Christians, tend to demonize too much….weather it be groups of people or political parties. We need to avoid that temptation, and instead be models of respect, love, and grace. The heart of God beats in every human being, may we remember that truth and learn to love each other, differences not withstanding.

    Reply

    • I loved reading about your night out with your sister. =D Your question about whether they were acting less gay for your benefit cracked me up!

      You are one of the most amazing Christian people I’ve ever known, Jay, and, as a former missionary, that’s really saying something; I’ve known a lot of people who wear the label “Christian.” For the longest time I had demonized Mormons. They were our enemy in a battle for souls. I truly believed that. :/

      I’ll take the truth of what you said about God’s heart beating inside of every human being and say that I believe the heart of God beats in all creation. We are intricately connected, tied to one another, and to the earth, woven through with God’s spirit.

      I’m going to check that thought before I run away with it and tell you a little story that’s a bit like yours.

      I was living in Australia when several friends came through, guys I knew when I lived on Oahu. There were four of them and one of me and we hung out a lot as a group in Hawaii. I always thought it was funny that such nice, great looking guys never had girlfriends, but I never asked why. I mean, I didn’t have a boyfriend and I wasn’t into dating, so I figured maybe they were in the same space as me.

      Anyway, we met up at a pub in Brisbane and I noticed a lot of people staring. At first I thought maybe they were staring because of our American accents. Then, I started really looking at my friends and the two extra guys they’d brought with them – a total of six beach boys – and it suddenly struck me that they were all a tiny bit effeminate. I think it was the contrast between them and the Australian men, men who wouldn’t touch a hair dryer with a ten-foot pole for fear of being labeled a “poof”, that made me see it. I mean, I was sitting with SIX guys with artfully applied mousse in their hair and they really stood out in that crowd.

      I never saw that they were gay before because I didn’t EXPECT them to be gay. It was at the tail end of the 80’s and there weren’t any gay Christians on planet earth, as far as I knew.

      I never said anything, but I saw them more clearly after that. They were Christian gay men in a Christian world that would never accept them for who they really were, so they were playing at being straight. It made me sad.

      I stayed in touch for two of them for years. I’ll never forget when they finally got up the nerve to tell me what I already knew. It was after they had come out and were subsequently asked to leave their church. They fully expected me to reject them too. I told them I already knew, had known since Australia.

      The last I heard from them they were bitterly anti-Christian. Actually, bitter is an understatement. That one label, gay, left them abandoned by their church and most of their Christian friends. It made the world a much harder place for them to live in. 20-years ago, to much of the world, they were barely human.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jay Sole on November 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm

        Oh Kate, that story was hilarious! I can picture you in the pub that day, with the proverbial light bulb going off over your head as the reality of the situation starts to sink in…funny! Of course, the end wasn’t funny at all, it is rather sad to say the least. Pharasaical , (probably spelled that wrong!), Christians. I think we’re a bit more tolerant now than we were in the 80s, but there is definetly much more work to do. My last church had an openly gay guy that sang in the worship band…that would have never happened in the 80s! Have you heard the story of Anne Rice, author of the Vampire chronicles. She became a Christian about 10 years ago, but this year she posted on facebook that she was abandoning Christianity. She posted that she refused to be anti-gay, anti-feminine, anti-birth control, anti-democrat, anti-science, and a bunch of other stuff. She said she still believes in Jesus, but cannot fit in with the hate mongering folk that make up the “religion” of Christianity…a religion He had no part in creating.
        I think she was pretty profound…I heard all this in a radio interview she gave.

        “I’ll take the truth of what you said about God’s heart beating inside of every human being and say that I believe the heart of God beats in all creation. We are intricately connected, tied to one another, and to the earth, woven through with God’s spirit.”……those are your words of course! I did the homework for you…..here is a Bible verse that backs up your intuition.
        “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”….Ephesians 4:6

        “You are a sacred creation of God. The divine breath is flowing through you, and it’s flowing through the person next to you and it’s flowing through the person next to them. You are on holy ground. There is a holiness to the people around us and how you treat them. Jesus said that whatever you do for them, you’ve done for him. May you come to see that God is here right now and with us all of the time. May you come to see that the ground you are standing on is holy. And as you slow down, may you become aware that it is in the ‘Yod’, ‘Heh’, ‘Vav’, ‘Heh’ that we live and we move and we breathe.” ~ Rob Bell
        ( the yod, heh, vav, heh refers to how the Hebrews pronounced Gods name, YHVH. Some theologians say these letters pronounced together are essentially the sound of breathing. The name of God = the sound of breathing. cool!) OK, class dismissed!

        Reply

        • It really was funny, Jay. It was absolutely a “light bulb” moment for me when I hit me that – duh – these guys I’d been hanging out with for well over a year were gay. It didn’t change the way I felt about them but it sure explained a lot. lol I look back at pictures of all of us together – I even have a picture taken that night – and it’s so obvious. Color me clueless.

          The response they received when they came out was to be expected in the early 90s. Society at large hadn’t come close to accepting gays except in places like San Fransisco. It was courageous of them to do it; I think the pain of denying who they really were simply became to much.

          But the truth is that I thought homosexuality was a sin back then. It’s what I had been taught in the church. I didn’t love them less or judge them for being gay, because I knew my own sins. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Doesn’t every Christian know this?

          For the record, I want to reiterate that I now firmly believe I was wrong about homosexuality being a sin. Romans 9:20 says, “…Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”

          Some will argue that homosexuality is a choice. I used to believe that, too, but I find it impossible to believe it anymore for myriad reasons.

          Moving on, I had not heard about Anne Rice. I resonate with her feeling but take no joy in it. It makes my heart hurt.

          Ah… Ephesians 4:6. Thank you for that, Jay. Reading it brought tears to my eyes.

          The quote from Rob Bell is beautiful. Where do I find Christians like that in this little country valley that I live in? I’m completely estranged from my Christian community but if being part of it demands that I deny my truth, and I think it does, then I cannot be a part of it.

          I recognize YHVH as one of God’s names, but I had no idea that they are the sound of breathing. That’s incredibly beautiful, Jay.

          Where do I find other people like you? :) I don’t want class to be dismissed. Talk and I will listen, my friend.

          Reply

          • Posted by Jay Sole on November 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm

            The notion that God’s name is the sound of breathing is beautiful, isn’t it.
            Kate there are many wonderful Christians out there that think as I do, but I have one advantage over you…I’m a mailman! I walk around all day listening to podcasts to pass the time away! I doubt you have 6+ hours a day to listen to music and messages! If you ever get a chance to download podcasts,( I don’t even know if you do that sort of thing), here are the names of some thinkers that you would enjoy: Brian McClaren, who wrote the controversial “A New Kind Of Christian”, the above quoted Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne…who, if you’re not careful, will have you sell all your belongings and live with the poor…well, actually I think you’ve already done that and got the t-shirt to prove it!, Drew Marshall, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, and you know Donald Miller and Tony Campolo. BTW…Tony Campolo puts a twist on the oft used saying, “love the sinner hate the sin”. Tony rephrases it this way…”love the sinner, hate your own sin”! You gotta love Campolo!
            OK, I feel like I’m trying to sell you stuff! I will stop! I love you, I love your spirit!

            Reply

            • It’s extraordinarily beautiful, yes. :) I don’t even know what a podcast is, lol, but I will look up the folks I don’t know and maybe find books in the library. I am already familiar with A New Kind of Christian. It was as inspiring for me as Blue Like Jazz and What’s So Amazing About Grace. I know there are some Christian “thinkers” out there – some brave folks who are leaning back to love. I just wish I could find them face-to-face, you know? I mean, I know some great Christian people face-to-face but not people I can talk to, because I don’t talk in platitudes and that’s about all they do. It makes me feel weary and lonely, Jay. That’s the truth of it.

              Yeah, we’ve sold everything and lived in the jungle and all that. No t-shirts though. lol They all fell apart in the equatorial sun, no joke. :0) Maybe we’re being led back there with the hard times we’re experiencing these days. It’s a scary thought. It’s one thing to CHOOSE to let everything go and another thing entirely to “lose” it, but that’s another story and one I’m not likely to tell in a blog or comments.

              I LOVE Campolo’s twist on “love the sinner…” I truly hate the old phrase, I just hate it. It’s right up there with “not perfect, just forgiven.” Don’t get me started. I just want people to be REAL, Jay. I feel desperate for it.

              Don’t stop, k? I need people like you in my life, even if you’re half a nation away. There are times when I miss the world I used to inhabit, bits and pieces of it anyway. You give me hope that some day, MAYBE… No, I’ll leave it there: you give me hope.

              Reply

              • Posted by Jay Sole on November 8, 2010 at 4:48 am

                Well, I’m glad I can be a little ray of hope! You are where God wants you in this season of life. If He ever calls you back within the four walls, I believe you’ll know. You can always take a field trip and visit every once in a blue moon though! ;)

                Reply

  13. Posted by Anje c on November 6, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Beautiful and true. How quickly we all Are to point fingers but we forget that as we point one finger out, four more point inward. We forget to apply those same standards of intolerance to our own behavior. Very well said Kate as usual!

    Reply

    • Thanks Anje. :) I love what you said about finger pointing. I truly believe, as Socrates said, that the unexamined life is not worth living. It may be easier to live without self-examination, but then how do we learn, and grow, and become better? It’s a rhetorical question, obviously.

      I think the sad truth is that many people do not wish to learn and grow. They believe they already know what’s true and they spend their lives trying to defend that truth. It’s appallingly apparent during election time.

      Reply

  14. Love it! That sums up so much, so well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  15. Posted by Calvin E. Ray on May 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I think of the scripture that ask why tell your brother about the spot in his eye and you behold not the beam in your own eye. I know what the Bible says about all lifestyles, it also say we are not to judge. I have several family members that are lesbian…….I love them dearly and would never judge them. They know how I think, they also know that I love them unconditionally, as Christ loves me. The overall theme here, I think, is the LOVE of all people! Hatred has no place in my life……I have enough to deal with right now without having to deal with that too! LOL!! As always, a Blog well wrote……I know I JUST read it……but I miss ya and this is my way of saying ‘Hello’ to a very dear friend!! ~Calvin

    Reply

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