I can think of few religions that don’t highly value kindness, compassion, hospitality, and other words that boil down to: be a decent person.
Oh, true, the ancient religions didn’t always preclude the ideas of raping and pillaging those you conquered, but they were generally supposed to be nice to each other, which is not a great start, but it’s a start.
Today is, ostensibly, the birthday of Jesus, a man who legend tells us was nailed to a cross for saying “Why don’t we try being nice to each other for a change?” So what if scholars say he was probably born in the spring or summer, or that he was probably tried and convicted of political dissonance (fancy talk for trying to incite a riot on political grounds), and that there’s a curious lack of historical records that the Romans executed him? Jesus may have lived or not, may have done all that’s said in the Bible or not, and He may or may not be a fictional character meant to prove a point. Who cares, a good point is a good point (Matthew 22:36-40, KJV):
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
While I do hope we all got what we wished for, and I do hope we are all surrounded by those we love and about to enjoy a fine big meal, let us remember in our hearts and prayers that some are denied, still, their wish: to love as they love and to be left to do it in peace; to marry and tell the world that they love, and are committed in heart and soul to one another; and those in places like Russia and Uganda who can denied life or freedom just for who they love.
Two wonderful posts from Rachel Held Evans blog:
Content Warning: intense depictions of bullying, suicide
So someone shared this short film with me last week and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
The creative premise is a world in which homosexuality is the norm and heterosexual people are bullied and marginalized. I’m not sure the film even needs such a premise to be effective, (in fact, it may distract from the main point a bit…and I hate to think there are people who need it to be reversed in order to empathize), for what really moved me was its depiction of bullying, which is based on real reports from LGBT kids.
(continued @ http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/son-daughter-gay)
…Or divorce, or gossip, or slavery, or head coverings, or Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, or the “abomination” of eating shellfish and the hell-worthy sin of calling other people idiots.
Then we need a little context.
Then we need a little grace.
Then we need a little room to disagree.
I got to thinking about this after I was criticized last week for my post about loving gay kids unconditionally. Some folks were very upset that I had the audacity write an entire blog post about putting a stop to LGBT bullying without including a Bible-based condemnation of LGBT people, or at least a theological discussion around the issue of homosexuality and Scripture.
Bible verses were quoted. Open letters were written. End Times predictions were made. Pillows in my home were thrown record distances.
(continued at http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/literalist-gluttony)
Whether you follow Christ or Buddha, Muhammad or Isis, Brahma or Ahura Mazda, Aine or Freya … even if you only believe in the power of the human spirit, don’t forget that every now and then we ought to remember to send our thoughts and our hopes for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. The poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the persecuted … Sometimes, if we look around at what suffering others face, it might turn out that we’re better off than we believed.