This was intended as a comment on Stephen Hanchett’s blog, but it got to be too long. It was in response to his post on the Family Values Cult, in which he discusses the difference between Christ’s teaching of love and family compared to the modern interpretation. I think you will find it helpful to read that post first, before reading this. Also, reading the comments to that post may help, but aren’t necessary. Sorry for the long silence… A few quick points: First: The difficulty expressed here in loving an omnipresent, “ineffable” (not really) God is that it makes it hard to know what to love…. I find it easier to start with what God gave us: His Son, Jesus Christ. He came to us as a man, and I often fall back on this when I get a little overwhelmed. To define God as anything, from “All Love” to “The Creator”, tends to do one thing – limit God. He (again, not really He) is these things and much more. If anything, we can say that God is ONE. the perfect unity, indivisible and yet innumerable. Second (and this is the LONG bit): I find it interesting that the “love” part tends to address the negation of the practices of the “Right.” But I have yet to see discussions of our own failing to live into the model of loving even those who would do us harm. I, as some of you know, will be the first to wear the “guilty” T-shirt and sit in the front of the “Love” remedial 101 class – if there ever were one. I am dying to see any attempt by either side to begin to find common ground and turn our backs on the hatred and bickering that almost everyone in these types of conversations is guilty of. Case in point: I have a buddy who has made it his mission to get the local divinity school to start recognizing and acknowledging the damage done to the LGBT community by their basically agreeing to the exclusion of said community from serving as clergy openly. This is a horrible over-simplification of the issue at hand, but I don’t want to get bogged down with the details and it isn’t this side of the equation I am trying to address. What I am trying to address is that the two “sides”, the administration of the school, and the LGBT and affirming allies are really so entrenched that my friend has his work cut out. On one side, you have administrators of a basically Methodist tradition that have a Discipline (Guiding rules) that states that all are of sacred worth and worthy to be ministered to. Then it turns around and says that any “self avowed, practicing homosexual” cannot be ordained as a minister as this “lifestyle” is against “Christian teaching.” (they fail to mention what that teaching is, however.) This results in an administration that is either too caught up in its own laws or refusing to take the high ground and acknowledge that this stance is wrong and it does more harm than good. Now that’s one side….. Then on the other side you have LGBT folks in div school and in the general population so badly hurt and suffering from these types of rules that they would just as soon go talk to a tree than to turn their eyes to God. After all, why bother with an entity that doesn’t acknowledge who you feel you were created to be? So deep are these polarizations that the very thought of open dialog seems so remote to me to be almost hopeless. I have even suggested to my friend that perhaps it would be best to tell the LGBT’s that organized “christianity” does not follow true Christian teaching and that they should follow God together apart from the “church” and be the Body. Yet he has decided to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and so I will be here for him if he needs me. My point is this: we can all rant and rave about how unjust and crooked the other is; how they cheat, murder, steal, and spread hatred….(Dem’s are just as guilty in my book – I gave up looking at this as a Dem/Rep Lib/Cons thing quite some time ago. I am Christian, period) But hold on a sec, how much hate and such are we spreading. Take some time out to look at some of the posts from the viewpoint of that question. how much is out there about the corruption and sins of the people we at least at one time supported? There is plenty of it out there, are we willing to acknowledge it and move on? Sure, I will grant you that the Administration is totally not taking responsibility for their actions, but won’t God take care of that if we can’t? I will grant that there is certainly room to complain and also to bring what really appears to be the Truth to light. But what will we do in between reading and posting? I don’t have the answer for that, I am asking. If we are dealing with the end times, shouldn’t we be living into the “Love” part, too? I mean, if the End is inevitable, shouldn’t we be focusing on trying to make this a world of love and not hate? More like Heaven than Hell? How much anger and negativity are we feeding into the world? Isn’t that a bit of a trap? David Icke said that people on opposite sides of a conflict like to think that they are complete opposites. In this case as long as both sides fight and argue, I have a hard time making a distinction – I am, of course talking about the general population and not the war criminals and crooks, their judgement will come and yes, we need to call for justice. There are plenty of people out there who only support these guys “just because.” How far could we get with a little diplomacy? In this case, the serenity prayer says it all. We can change the hearts and minds of those who will listen, but we have to reach them. We can never hope to change the behavior of those in power, much less any one else. We may never be able to vote them out of office. What is God’s plan? I think only God really knows. What happens if we don’t like the answer do that question? We can either pray and ask for acceptance and understanding or be miserable for the rest of our lives. As far as “preaching” goes, speak the truth in love. A friend of mine had three guidelines to keep in mind before saying something. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t remember what they are right now, but I will ask her and get back to you. It is correct to help guide someone when they are in error. But always be prepared to be receptive of correction, too. None of us are without fault. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am far from getting the “Speaking the Truth in Love” thing down, but I am tired of being angry and I know that I can do more harm than good most of the time. I will be posting here more often, but the tone will change.

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