Tag Archive: conservative


Guilty As Anyone

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”- Jesus

I’ve always loved this saying of Jesus. It is in his classic way of encouraging us to deal with our own crap before we sit on a high horse, judging another person. Jesus is a master at drawing moral equivalence. This is not something our western culture likes to examine. We have come very far at removing the logs in our own eyes, yet we still have work to do. I am afraid, at times, that my criticisms are seen as bashing the west, my culture, patriotism, Christianity, white folks, Republicans, conservatism, capitalism, etc. and that I don’t see the evil in the world such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Putin, Chinese authoritarianism, dictatorships, etc. What my criticisms are aimed at are the “tribe” in which I was born and belong as well as myself personally.

What if we truly focused on healing and wholeness first within ourselves, our families, our churches, our culture, our politics, our own systems before we judge the “other”? This isn’t very sexy and definitely doesn’t allow us to look down on the rest of the world.  I recognize that the world is systemically evil but what is sad is the inability to see it and thus make changes. In my tradition there is a Deceiver and his power is in lies and wickedness (root wicker= twisted truth). We often see evil as good.

When we attempt to judge self-righteously the “other”, we fall into exactly what Jesus is saying. Hypocrites without true standing and the only way of “peace” is through domination, power and the threat of violence. Could there be a better, more excellent way?

My friends, please remember my criticisms are also directed at myself. I am as complicit in the evil systems of this world as anyone. May we all humbly see the logs that rest in our own eyes and gently do the surgery to have them removed together.

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Okay….. I’m going to go there.

My spiritual journey got reinvigorated for me right about 14 years ago. Around that time I was a partying young construction worker who loved my beer, my smoke and having an opinion on pretty much everything (some things haven’t changed,huh :)). Every day I would pretty much  listen to christian and/or conservative radio. Unusual bedfellows I know.  Some things happened from this influence that I do not view as negative. #1 I began to see my need for more in this life. #2 My recognition of healthy lines for myself and society. #3 A desire and drive to own my journey.

I came from an environment that tried to instill such things in me but there was great inconsistency. So the lessons weren’t really learned at home.  Once I met and fell in love with Emily I really wanted to get “right” with God and start living “right”.  We started going to church and found folks that really helped us learn a lot.

Something I should mention is the main issues I learned from my christian radio where abortion, the “radical” gay agenda, saving “the family”, and getting people “saved”. Also, being christian and american were synonymous.

I began the journey of wanting to serve God and love him. Even asked Emily to move out before we married so God would “bless” our marriage. I still think it is better to wait to share everything till marriage but my motivation was mainly response driven. I thought my actions would increase God’s blessings rather than trusting that He loves and wants to bless me.

In church we learned a lot of religious stuff that claimed to not be religious. I learned a lot about who God is and who he says I am. I began a journey of trust and hope. Life happens. We experienced many health issues with Emily that stretched us. There was the thought “if we had enough faith, she’d be healed”. She experienced a remission and we all believed it to be legit miracle. This strengthened our journey for a while. Then a few years later her health issues returned. There are few answers in a situation like that. I chose to move forward in the journey and realize just maybe that God’s love, care and presence are not dependent on our actions. This was  a gradual shift of positions but one I am sure now that the Spirit wanted me to learn that God is still good despite circumstances.

Following that chapter I began learning more to trust in the love that God has for me and for all. I went through Breakthrough which really helped me connect my head and heart and soul with what Father had been showing me my whole life.  As this time was going forward all my certitude about things started to unravel.

Over the years up till now there are questions that the Spirit keeps placing on my heart and I still wrestle with today:

How much do I care for the “least of these”? i.e. social justice?

Does America’s interests matter to God above others?( That is one that has been hard for me.)

Does God love everyone? Even those I clearly do not?

Is all life sacred? Can there be a consistent ethic of life?

Is Jesus’ way just impractical in the “real” world?

As I began to wrestle with these things I felt challenged in my soul for my own feelings and thoughts in the past regarding HIV/AIDS so knowing Father had been awakening my heart, we decided to do the AIDS Walk Kansas City. It was an awesome experience. We raised a bit of money and found it good to experience people. The following year while raising money for the next walk I was talking to very successful “christian” co-worker, trying to hit him up for a few bucks. I believe the man was clueless. I told him my thoughts on how sad the church’s response had been to HIV/AIDS and the gay community in general, and this is what he said ” Yeah, I can give about $10, cause you know the majority are going to burn anyway” with a big smile as he said it. WTH! I was in shock and didn’t challenge it. Also, I never got the money.  This event with my co-worker was very pivotal for so many reasons. Such as; who are you to judge anyone?, there was no love, only arrogance on a subject that made him almost come across evil.

Faith, Hope and Love….The greatest of these is Love.

The Father cares far more about the heart. I am convinced that this is what Father wanted me to learn all along. It is interesting to me that the things of most value to me at the beginning of my journey had more to do with other people’s actions.  I don’t pretend to have answers. I have come to understand at this point that love is the lens I choose to look through. God is Love. I also have come to understand that I don’t need to protect people from God. By acting and living in love, I do not believe it is enabling people to “just do what they want”. I have my journey and they have theirs.

So, what I know I want is for Father, Son and Spirit to continue to shape my heart into who I was made to be.  All those years back I would’ve never thought I would come to the conclusions I am at now. My challenge to you is to give up your need to “be right” and allow your mind and heart to shift positions wherever Father leads you.

http://www.aidswalkkansascity.org

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