Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Love Em or Judge Em?

Recently a colleague told me about his encounter with a number of young men and women. He said these were remarkable folks, bright, responsible, and well-rounded. The kind of folks parents hope their kids grow up to be. All that they had in common was that they were gay, lesbian or a friend of someone who was gay or a lesbian. Oh, and that they had all experienced homophobia. What especially bothered me about this story is that many of them had been harassed in the name of religion.

Now I get that theology and dogma is not the product of individuals, you can’t just believe what you want and then say it is the church. I get that. I also know there is a distinction between theological responses and pastoral responses. Pastorally we are called upon to do one thing, love. You want to disagree with these folks than do so. However, that is not an excuse to not love or at least tolerate and certainly it is not an excuse to be cruel and judgmental.

I find myself wondering why ABOMINATION is always written in capital letters. I find myself wondering why it is written at all. Whenever I see that word on a placard I am pretty sure the holder is focusing on someone else.

I like St. Paul who said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief .“—I Tim. 1:15. Paul was talking about parent-killers, prostitutes and slave traders and still described himself, not them, as the chief sinner.

Jesus hung around with the folks who struggled in life, the folks who lived hard and didn’t look or smell nice. Francis sought out the lepers and Paul found a warm welcome not from the elite in Athens but by the less desirables of Corinth. So who are we to be judging? We are supposed to be caring.

The people who inspire me the most are the folks who get their hands dirty, who do the real work of finding Jesus in the trenches, not the burbs. Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer come to mind. And now I want to be very clear, I am not comparing GLBT folks with prostitutes. I am talking about people of faith who “faith” through acts of love instead of pointing fingers. I am thinking of my friends Jim and Judy in Thailand who have made it their life work to help get young girls out of prostitution. I am thinking of Emmaus Ministries in Chicago that works to aid male prostitutes. Not judging, just loving.

The problem with folks looking at someone else’s sin is they ignore their own. How can I know that your sin is greater than mine? Why would I spend time focusing on that instead of caring about you or at least caring about me?

Why would I even think that one aspect of an individual is the sum of the person? What does attraction tell me about charity, politics, responsibility, intelligence or anything else about a person?

Francis got it right, we are all brothers and sisters, all of us. So, how should we treat our brothers and sisters?

1 comment:

azul.3 said...

Carl- This is a great post, I appreciate your words and your naturally caring heart. They are both beautiful things and I am thankful to find them in world around me. I hope that we can help other people understand this point of view and show them all what loving the people around you really is.
Thanks again-
k