Monday, June 08, 2015

Why do we care?

Caitlyn Jenner is all over the news.
Articles. Interviews. Magazines. Radio broadcasts.
Criticism. Sarcasm. Insult. Derision. Condemnation.

Why do we care?
Why do we, especially those of us who call ourselves followers and lovers of Christ,
engage in these gossip-fests?
Why do we try to "educate" ourselves by reading and sharing links to websites that vilify those we don't understand or with whom we disagree?

Where is the grace and mercy?
Where is the love and acceptance?
What happened to the wisdom of that old song and the Scripture that say -
"They will know we are Christians by our love"?

Why do we care so much about Caitlyn Jenner's story but have been curiously silent about the missing girls in Nigeria? Or the thousands of children who arrived in our country from Central America last year seeking asylum from gang violence and sexual trafficking? Or the internally displaced peoples in nearly every country on this globe? What about the victims of our misguided wars and other military actions? Why don't we care as much about them or their fate? Why didn't we post links to stories about them? Or educate ourselves about what was happening to them and why?

I hear other voices. "But the Bible says..."
"But we cannot tolerate..."
"But if we allow and accept and tolerate, then our nation... then our families... then our neighborhoods..."
"But if all we talk about is love and grace and hope, then they won't understand the judgment and the demands of God." (This last one makes me shake my head the most because I cannot say that I've ever encountered anyone who has spoken about hearing too much about the love of God or the grace of God or the hope of eternal life and salvation. Certainly I don't know anyone who has every experienced too much love or grace or hope. But maybe I run in the wrong circles.)

When I hear those voices, those concerns, I too come up with statements that start with "but" -
But God...
But grace...
But mercy...
But love...

Imagine this - imagine if we loved people and let ourselves be loved as we are.
Imagine if we welcomed people and accepted words of welcome from others.
Imagine if we extended grace and allowed ourselves to receive grace.
Imagine if we touched people gently and tenderly.
Imagine if we allowed ourselves to be touched.
Imagine if we fed people and ate with them.
Imagine if we housed people and lived with them.

Imagine if the only people we got angry at, if the only ones condemned were those who refused to love and welcome and feed and visit and walk alongside others and listen and receive the poor, the needy, the wounded, the blind, the desperate, and the dying - which mostly likely includes all of us, each of us.

Imagine if we received and included all the people Jesus received and included.
The liars, the deniers, the zealots, the doubters, the ones who work for the corrupt government, the ones who have no jobs at all, the rebels, the adulterers, the lepers, the outsiders, the insiders,
the misunderstood, the mistaken, the mistreated,
the least, the last, and the lost.
Imagine if we rejected and excluded all the people Jesus rejected and excluded.
Imagine that.

Do we care enough to love Caitlyn Jenner and President Obama and Former President George W Bush and John Boehner and Hilary Clinton and Former President Bill Clinton and megachurch ministers and Buddhist monks and corrupt politicians and the drunk driver who kills both children and the homeless man outside the office tower and the death row inmate and the neighbor about to lose her home and the executive about to buy it and knock it down to build a mansion? Dare we figure out how we can love the whole dingdang lot of us? All of us? Do I? Can I? Dare I love that much? Is that kind of radically inclusive love even possible?

Do we care enough to leave the judgment to the only one who knows the truth about who we really are and what we have done? Do I? Will I?

Deep sigh.
Deeper questions.

Lord, please have mercy on us.
And help us to have mercy on each other.

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