Saturday, February 26, 2011


One of the most common things I hear about Christians is that they are judgemental. I struggled for years to be as non-judgmental and accepting as I could in order to be able to says with pride that I am a Christian who loves and accepts everyone for who they are. The longer I spend in seminary (I suppose this is one of the dangers of spending half a decade in graduate school) the more I feel compelled to admit that I am becoming more judgmental and less accepting of others. Before you throw stones my way, let me qualify that by saying that my finger doesn't wag towards gay men or women, transgender individuals, people who have made the decision to end a pregnancy, people with tattoos, people with drug habits, or any of the other "traditional" finger-wagging judgments that Christians are famous for making. Instead, I find myself less and less able to accept people who believe that some people are more worthy of God's love than others. I find myself unwilling to take a "live and let live" attitude towards those who claim homosexuality is a disease or that the Church is closed to those who don't live their lives in quite the "right" way. I find myself recoiling in disgust when I hear a joke that is made at the expense of someone who has been marginalized and is oppressed in our society. I decided some time ago that I couldn't allow myself to reprsent a Christian Church that didn't participate in a fully open communion and didn't truly throw open the doors to the least and the lost. "Open Doors, Open Minds, Open Doors" is a pretty slogan but until everyone is welcomed for exactly who they are I believe it is vacuous at best.

I spent the last two days in the company of Sister Helen Prejean and met a man today who is a death-row survivor. Shit. The death penalty becomes another thread of intolerance in my psyche; I can't accept that any viewpoint that justifies the murder of a defenseless human being. Let me be clear, I recognize this prejudice as sin. I am a broken man and I pray constantly that I can find a way to love everyone I meet with the open acceptance that God demands of me. But I'm not there and I feel like I'm going to get farther and farther away from who I want to be before I begin to turn around. Part of me wonders if this is the kind of intolerance that the world needs; what kind of change can we create in the world if we don't sacrifice ourselves for what we believe is right even at the expense of personal sin. I can only ask for grace when I let you down.


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