Fear is at the center of our lives – and living in fear is a terrible way to live. Fear drives international policy-making. Fear drives discussions of budgeting priorities. Fear drives marketing and politics and the priorities of time and money in local households. What if we weren’t afraid?
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I want to tell you about the best three hours I’ve spent lately.
Mary, who has walked the grounds at 3900 Park Road since there’s been a church on that corner, suddenly found herself dying, alone. I can’t bear that thought. So on Tuesday, I sat. Most of the time she didn’t even know I was there. I’m pretty sure that didn’t even matter.
But something has changed. I believe this. I believe that we are about to engage in a critically important, and extremely difficult, national conversation about the racial injustices inherent in our society. I am not afraid of the conversation that is coming. And it is coming – and all churches need to be involved in it. It’s too important, and the integrity of our faith will require it.
Participation in a healthy faith community connects us with a greater good – the greatest good – and that is God’s care for all living beings. There must be some truth to the old adage about there being “no atheists in foxholes.” When life’s toughest issues come our way, most people, in one way or another, begin to reflect on what would have to be called “spiritual” things. A good Church helps us engage that conversation throughout life.
We face a basic choice in how we live our lives: will we live out of humility and grace and be fundamentally welcoming, accepting, open to all, or will our fundamental disposition be one of judgment, exclusion, alienation?
I don’t need to understand you to accept you. I can only hope you will offer me the same grace.
“Extending protections” is not about understanding the transgender person. I cannot claim that understanding – just as I do not understand being a woman, or being poor, or being black. That lack of understanding, though, does not lead me to assume the right to discriminate. And those protections do not depend on my approval or agreement with your life choices – my personal approval, my party’s approval, my church’s approval – because our nation declared independence for ALL.