My friends!!!! I love ’em. I really do. No, really, I DO!
But sometimes they drive me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m willing to accept that it’s partially my fault, because maybe I don’t talk about it enough, but damn it, I’M A CHRISTIAN! AND A DEMOCRAT!!! (Closer to socialist sometimes, closer to Republican others).
I FOLLOW JESUS. I READ THE BIBLE AND I’M NOT AN IDIOT ABOUT IT!!!
AND THERE ARE LOTS MORE LIKE ME!!!! We believe in a Jesus who acts like Gandhi or King only with a beard and sandals. Like Saint Francis before us, we love being silly and loving and playing all while following Jesus’ words. We believe in following Jesus’ words just like they matter. We don’t believe in making a buck off of them. In fact, in following Jesus, we’re not even sure we should own anything!
When there’s a war, we protest it because — and we don’t care who the President is — because we think Jesus is against killing people that God (Jesus, if you believe he’s God) created! War? Bad. Death? Bad. Or, to use more Christian language… War? Evil. Killing? Evil. Destroying Creation? Evil.
Some of us struggle with the whole abortion question, sure. It goes back to that whole “life is good, taking life is bad” thing. But, we also believe in Soul Freedom — the right and responsibility to have thoughts about things and choose our own destiny — prevents us from telling a woman that she can’t figure out what to do all on her own. We’re not her.
We’re not being nice. We have boundaries! There’s a difference. I may think with all my heart, “What are they doing?”, and I might even say “I disagree” with any number of things. But it’s not my life!!! I didn’t create the cells, fetus, or baby — whatever you think it is. Take it up with the One who created them, n0t me!
Long and short of it, God creates. Anything we do that “un-creates” is supposed to make the hair stand up on the back of our necks, the acid kick out in our stomachs, and our brains kick into gear. We have tortured souls and thoughtful brains and we don’t tell others because we don’t want to step on their thought process!
Racism? Sexism? Homophobia? They destroy people’s lives and souls. We’re against them. Again, God created Black folk, and Asians, and White folk, people all over the world. Anything that destroys “one of the least of these” (Jesus’ words) is wrong! So once we figure out that something is racist, sexist, homophobic, pro-slavery, pro-poverty, pro-oppression of any kind, we’re against it. We’re not supposed to be following the latest trends (Gays in the military? Nobody should be in the military!), we’re supposed to be seeing where our faith connects with the challenges of daily life — living out the life Jesus calls us to in the light of new information.
About the Bible: It’s not the literal inerrant word of God. It wasn’t written in English the first time. It’s a bunch of Middle-Eastern people telling stories of one time or another when somebody encountered God. Why they told those stories matters as much as the words themselves. When it’s Jesus talking, we listen, in case the note-taker got it right, but that Jesus guy says some pretty radical things!!! We hear those more than others do, but they are there and we know it and we do our best to adhere to them.
About evolution: We believe that life has value, that the point of the story is that God created everything and we’re supposed to help take care of everything. Seven days? Shmeven days! How long’s a day? Who are you asking? The Roman calendar had more days in a year than ours did. Were years longer? Were days? Things change. If a “day” is an eon or a stage in evolution, then, sure it’s seven days. Why not? Did woman come out of man’s rib? Count how many ribs women have.
Does the Bible say that women are supposed to help men and listen to them all the time. Yeah, in one place, but not in a “billion” others. Does the Bible support slavery? Well, it accepts that it exists. Does it think it’s a good idea? No. Did we figure that out until the 1800’s or so? No, but we learn. We learn new things and we try to figure out what they mean we should do. Do we get it right? Maybe, maybe not. But we believe that God gives us credit for listening and trying, and every once in awhile, when we’re WAY off-base, God sends somebody to tell us so.
OK, so here’s the real question: Why haven’t you heard of us? Why didn’t the press cover this rally or that protest? Why does Jim Bakker make better news than the head of our denominations? For the same reason that Jerry Springer shows get on TV at all. Our society likes short and simple quotes, violence, and laughing at people. If we don’t do that, we don’t get in the press. And we refuse to do that, so we don’t get covered.
But I’m one of THEM. And if, my friends, I don’t kill you at the dinner table because you had an abortion or like nature, or like to think about politics or science, it doesn’t mean I don’t think about those things. I do. I just don’t scream at you about it because I believe you have the right to do all of those things. I’m willing to discuss the issue like a rational person because I LIKE being a rational person. I struggle with MY faith all the time. I don’t struggle with YOUR faith all the time. I exist, and — of you actually know me — you’ll acknowledge that I (and all those other liberal Christians) do.
Peace, (I feel better now…)