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Re: Discouraging rant from family member
Behind your family member's [anti-religious] rant might there enough
truth to merit some respect, even if we both choose to disagree with
I have sympathy for my academic colleagues who sometimes criticize
religion and wonder 'how Louie can be just a nice guy, even a thinker, and
still take the church seriously.' Without ranting at all, they can point
to substantive evidence of the church's mischief, not just in the past
(with our notorious abuses during the Crusades; with our underwriting of
slavery for several centuries....) but in the present as well, where the
church itself has often obstructed some of its most credible
spokespersons, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. vs. Rt. Rev. Charles
Carpenter and Rt. Rev. George Murray, bishops of Alabama who were
addressees of his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Any knowledgeable
Christian knows that the church's record has occasionally been
abominable. The bible indicates that has been true for the entire history
of faith communities. I often want to concede many of the points that the
church's critics make, and I prefer to counter their conclusions less by
an argument and more by the way that I live my life.
Most lesbigay persons have long ago given up on the church, and with good
reason, in that the church has been one of the major instruments of our
oppression. Many have suffered cruel rejection by the most religious
members of their families.
When my lesbigay friends rail at me for being a Christian, I try to be
patient with them for a much more important reason: I have often seen them
manifest the face of Jesus even without knowing it. I have seen young men
boogy into the night and then go to clean vomit from the floors of AIDS
Jesus said, "Others I have who are not of this fold; them I love also."
Micah did not say that the Lord requires of us to say the right creed or
be members of the right congregation, only that we do justice, love mercy,
and walk humbly. By those standards, I know many self-proclaimed atheists
who are living more faithfully than I manage to do. "Not everyone who
cries to me 'Lord, lord' will enter God's realm, but the one who does the
will of my father."
May God give us the ability to love the world as much as God does.