Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Feathers: Everybody, Everybody

Little Feathers: Everybody, Everybody: Everybody needs grace today. Everyone who has been hurt, oppressed or simply ignored because of who they are. We all need grace today. Onc...

Everybody, Everybody

Everybody needs grace today. Everyone who has been hurt, oppressed or simply ignored because of who they are. We all need grace today.

Once I saw a t-shirt that listed everyone who is loved by God. I had no problem with the obvious ones. Of course God loves sinners (create in me a clean heart, oh God), of course God loves the ones who have been bullied by society (create in me a clean heart, oh God), of course God loves the ones who stand on the corner with a sign, who have become so desperate for one reason or another that they will debase themselves by begging. Of course God loves the addict, or the oblivious self-centered power monger. Then the troubling ones were listed. The ones I want to pretend don't fall under the grace of God. It said God loves the Nazi, the KKK, the bigot, the bully. Really? Those are children of God, too? Those who I consider to have fallen much further than anyone else? Well, (bad word), that is a hard pill to swallow.

Who needs grace from me today? The ones who are speaking out so loudly against the human rights of others? Shoot. I'd rather focus on giving grace to ones who agree with me. You mean, I might need to love like Jesus did, and put away my own judgmental nature? The very nature I fault Them with? You mean I'm no better than Them? Crap. That's as bad a word as I can make myself type in a blog. So it will have to do.

How do we allow each human the dignity of their own opinion? How do we give human rights to the ones wanting to keep them from others? Freedom of speech comes with a price. I guess one way is to choose to love and pray for all of the ones listed on that t-shirt. I'm pretty sure it covered humanity in its entirety. If we are called to love each other, that means I can't call people names, even in my heart. I can't pretent I'm better than those who disagree with me. And I have to realize that the loudest voices are most likely driven by fear of change, fear of losing what they believe is right and good.

If we boil down our biggest challenges as a society, at the bottom I believe we will find fear. A desperate attempt to control lawmaking, to keep it in line with what we personally believe benefits us. I have trouble giving the same slack to certain voices that I want for myself. I'm not talking about agreeing with them. I'm talking about not disrespecting them. I'm talking about not belittling them. Yet, if we are ever to grow up as a nation, we have to stop the high school tactics. I do have a choice not to listen, not to get enraged, not to knee-jerk-react. I haven't really accomplished that yet, though. Other people's snobbery drives me nuts. Which is snobbery of my own.

Everybody, everybody needs grace. I don't just mean forgiveness. I mean grace to live as they see fit, when it doesn't hurt someone else. That last phrase is the tricky part. Humility is that balancing act, the one that understands I am no better, and no worse than anyone else. That is easy to say when comparing myself to people who are different than me, but who pose no threat to me. I am not threatened by the LGBT community. I am threatened by the ones who would treat them as other than human. So for me to understand, in my soul, that I am no better than a Nazi, a KKK...that is the really hard part.

I was born lucky. Born into a loving family, a stable community, a beautiful place of plenty. That is not because I'm better than someone who had none of those things. It is because I am fortunate to have had an easy life. How can I attribute my circumstances to my own worth? I can't.

Everybody, everybody deserves to feel loved and accepted. It is my hope that I will grow more in grace to see the child of God in the ones who seem so wrong. I am an everybody. I am wrong about things I don't even realize. I misunderstand things, don't see the whole picture. I don't see the whole everybody, everybody. Would that I will, before I die. A lofty goal. For everybody.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Little Feathers: In the Dark

Little Feathers: In the Dark: We humans don't like mystery.  Maybe we like "a" mystery, because then we get to figure it out. What is more exciting than a s...

In the Dark

We humans don't like mystery.  Maybe we like "a" mystery, because then we get to figure it out. What is more exciting than a scientific discovery that explains something of the unknown? Or a medical breakthrough that will stop a disease forever?  But to admit we don't know, that we will just have to be content with not knowing- that is not our nature.
The big questions that have plagued us for eons still elude us. Why are we here? Why do people suffer? Where is the compassionate creator of the cosmos when children die in the rubble of an earthquake or families are washed away in flood waters. What is truth? What is beauty? What is the good life, and how do we live it? (Though often repeated, still pertinent to me.)
We have heard the postulations of philosophers and theosophers, theologians and scientists. And after all the words have been written and read, believed or discarded, we are left with a mystery. We are left with the darkness that sits on the part of our world that we can't explain.
I loved the sermon that Caroline Albert-Donovan preached last Sunday about Jesus waiting in the dark for Nicodemus. When I imagine how dark the night was in Jesus' time, how it was filled with dangers of all kinds, it is a very different night from our own that is lit by jillions of wattage in an attempt to roll back the darkness. But we have our own darkness of ignorance, every bit as frightening. The idea that someone who knows me waits in the dark to tell me the answers is very comforting.
Now that I am 61, I realize that my most common answer to questions is, "I don't know." And it is true. Some ideas that I have taken as truth for most of my life are showing wear and tear, complete with holes. Now that I am 61, I am very aware that an honest not-knowing trumps pat answers. I don't like it. I never like not knowing. Maybe that is part of my human desire to control the world around me. To admit ignorance is to cede control. But that is the funny part. I never was in control of the world around me to begin with.
So, I'm working on surrendering the need to appear as if I know it all. It should be a relief. Maybe it will be as I practice it more and more. Maybe I will come to love the dark. I should, because my three options are to pretend it isn't dark, to know it is dark and fear it, or to see it for the darkness it is and trust that I am not alone in it. To trust that, ultimately, all will be known, and all will be well. For now, I'm still working on sitting with it. In the dark.