Sunday, March 31, 2013

unexpected

two thousand years ago,
they expected a royal messiah,
but he came as a carpenter

two thousand years ago,
they expected him to judge sinners,
but he washed their feet

in Jerusalem
they expected a coronation,
but they attended a crucifixion

in the garden
they expected a beloved corpse,
but they found an empty tomb

right now
they expect condemnation
let us show compassion

right now
they expect self-righteousness
let us be humble

right now
they expect judgement
let us love

let us be unexpected


Christianity and the lifelong project of learning to live Christ-like selflessness in this worldly world are part of who I am. When other more vocal, more powerful, more well-organized Christians raise the banner of hate, it hurts me. They have taught the world to expect hate and intolerance from everyone who bears the name Christian, and that image of Christianity is just as false as the image of Islam that says all Muslims are terrorists.

I know that I'm not alone, and I think it's time more of us spoke up. Jesus defied expectations, so why don't we?

I'll go first:

Hi, I'm a United Methodist, and I don't care who you marry. I don't care which god(s) you believe in or if you believe there are no gods at all. My door is always open, and you're welcome at my table.

Your turn.



This has also been published on Spectrum Magazine's website here.







Thursday, March 21, 2013

love

It's been a rough week, friends. A disagreement with another person in the department has had me questioning how I fit in there. Disagreement isn't really the right word, but I can't find the one that is. I offered constructive criticism on a colleague's proposal for a group we are both part of, and she responded with a detailed catalog of all the reasons I was wrong. I can only guess that she perceived my suggestions as a challenge to her authority, because I feel like she pulled me down and stood on top of me to reassert herself.

By adding something to my colleague's proposal and furthering discussion that would benefit the group, I was participating in the kind of consensus building conversation we have operated with as long as I've been involved. My colleague, I now realize, just wanted us to accept or decline her proposal as is. While I didn't expect everyone to agree with me, I also didn't expect anyone to be offended by my having spoken.  It never occurred to me that my words would be perceived as aggression.

Aside from the bruises on my ego to be expected from having been dressed down publicly, this situation is eating at me because it has reminded me that too few people live the gospel of love. I'm feeling isolated in my desire to live in a world where we all treat each other with compassion and turn the other cheek. On top of that, I'm finding it difficult to feel compassion toward my colleague, and for that I feel petty.

The serendipity of the internet took me back to the Neighborhood this evening. God and Mr. Rogers love you just the way you are, God and Mr. Rogers love me just the way I am, God and Mr. Rogers love my colleague just the way she is. I can at least try.