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On condemning straights who don't live up to our expectations



I can't speak for others, but I took 28 years to come to understand and
accept God's love for me.  Should I be surprised that my straight friends,
with far less compelling reasons to counterstate their education, might
need time?

I am as weary as anyone I know of having to engage in the conversations
with yet one more miseducated person, and I would love to be able to wave
my fairy wand and say, as some would have me say, Enough already!  End the
toxic discussion! But Jesus did not give a time certain at which I am no
longer asked to take up my cross and follow.  Nor does 'Enough already'
have much efficacy with those whose hearts God wants to use our witness to
help change.  My fairy wand broke long ago, but my compassion is alive and
well.

While we may be worn out with the enterprise of engaging our enemies,
there have never been so many enemies poised to be our friends if we will
just love them enough patiently, patiently to engage them with our
stories.  For example, look at the swath of new support at
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/gallery/pastoral.jpg -- a map of the
bishops who signed the pastoral to lesbigays after Lambeth -- support in
my native South that would have been unthinkable before Lambeth.  Every
week I get open, vulnerable private email from deputies in those dioceses,
places where I was a pariah even quite recently.

God is doing a mighty work, not with thunder and lightning, not even with
huge electoral victories at General Convention, but the way God always
works, one heart at a time.

The rhetoric of judgment and condemnation is the rhetoric we've been
enduring for generation after generation.  It hasn't worked on us; how
dare we use it on others?  If instead we respond to hate and rejection
with love and forgiveness, people are startled, for almost no one does
that.  Even our enemies begin to wonder, how did you do that?  Some even
begin to guess that we have been with Jesus.  But if we jump to condemn,
we'd be more at home with the Phelps family at General Convention.

Most people change in stages.  Even St. Paul had the decency not to go
near those whom he had persecuted for two whole years after he encountered
Jesus on the way to Damascus.

Our job is to plant seeds, not to reap the harvest.  It is important to
love our enemies now, unconditionally, even as God loves us.  If you stay
at this and are lucky to live as long as God has blessed me, you'll find
that today's enemies are tomorrow's friends.  It makes the transition much
easier if you have been treating them that way in advance.

Love, faithfully, Lutibelle/Louie

Louie Crew, Chair, Diocese of Newark Deputation to GC2000
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Pages

               There are 31 days left until General Convention.




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