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As some accuse me of basically losing my faith or how I like to say, “palling around with sinners” I say this to you. I am not losing my faith, but growing in my faith. How do we grow without questioning?
If there is no dialogue among the various faiths how we are to best represent our beliefs? I can talk to a Christian all day about Christ, but what does that accomplish other than a strengthening our common beliefs.
Now the problem as I see among Christians is that we are too often working towards spiritual segregation. The Bible doesn’t separate people, but bring them together by offering an understanding. It’s not about what you are, but who you are.
We must work together to eradicate the notions of our identities into our beliefs whether it be race, political ideology, culture or gender from our churches, synagogues and temples. Regardless if you believe in Heaven, Hell or none of the above we’re all here together. Once we stop trying to be the one and come together as one just perhaps transformation or to borrow another phrase familiar to some, a renewing of the mind may occur.
I credit the article and position taken by Bishop John Shelby Spong when he said in Intolerance and the Christian Right, “Perhaps most objectionable is the Christian right’s belief that the only way to serve God and achieve “salvation” is by accepting their views. In their thinking Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Agnostics, Atheists and others are lost souls -at best who need to be converted -at worst, who are condemned.”
I would like to add to the list, Gay/Lesbian and Liberals. I have recently been accused of taking this same position and dismissed when questioning their misunderstanding of the message I strive to offer. In my efforts to act on the words of Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, “The only way we’re going to move conversations forward is with meaningful and honest dialogue.” A church of cowards can or will save no one.
Those who are committed in their opposition to unity or who persist in the sowing of discord I ask you to seriously consider what you are doing and promoting. As I repeat this question yet again I’ve found another meaning within it.
What are you doing for others?
When you condemn those who do not believe what you believe, think about essentially what you are promoting in the name of Jesus?
When you figuratively beat people over the head with the Bible or any other holy text, quilting them into what you believe. Think about what you are promoting in the name of Jesus.
I’m not saying none of you do good works or are not sincere in your beliefs, but don’t be so blind in your faith. What you do in the name of Jesus, Ali or whomever you esteem on high is the example the world sees. All Christians are not intolerant, all Muslims are not extremist, and all Atheists are not inherently evil. Faith is always demonstrated by the deeds that follows what we say we believe. What are you demonstrating what you believe?
Stop pretending to be something if you’re not willing to practice it. Lent is over, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay true to what you’ve given up.
How often do we do what we want to do instead of what we know we should be doing?References & Inspirations NPR: All Things Considered – 04/02/09 “God to Man: Get Over Yourself” Sullivan County, TN – Bishop John Shelby Spong “Intolerance and the Christian Right”