Monday, May 7, 2012

Judging Judgmental People

It started when I posted a link to this op-ed piece on my online political discussion group's wall and quoted from it:

"He was pointing out that it's easy to reconcile pro-gay sentiment and Christianity by just doing what Christians are already doing when it comes to shellfish and slavery, which is preferring their own moral judgment over the Bible."

As it turns out, I should have added a comment of my own after the quote stating that I'd agree with the author if she rephrased her remark to say, "He was pointing out that it's easy to reconcile pro-gay sentiment and Christianity by just doing what many Christians are already doing..."

Many Christians.  Not all Christians.  It's not fair to lump people together.  We must be specific in our arguments lest we might trample upon the Jesus-sandals clad toes of our Christian friends.  A couple friends of mine in the disscussion group felt like I was attacking them.  My worst fear in life is hurting someone's feelings, and yet I was born with this gigantic mouth and a brain full of opinions. 

I have to make amends.  Here goes.

I'm sorry if I've hurt anyone's feelings. When I posted that article I thought it would spark debate like our other debates. I didn't intend to have others feel like it was a personal attack. I think because I am irreligious I forget how deeply personal faith is for some people, and for my forgetfulness and thoughtlessness I am sorry.  Now, since you are a Christian, forgive me! 

My sister Jenny is a born-again Christian. She believes that the Bible is the true Word of God. I believe the Bible is not the true Word of God. I believe it is simply words from human beings who believed they were receiving the word of God.  On my more cynical days, I believe it is simply words from human beings who wanted an easy way to control and manipulate the masses.

Despite our differences, I love my sister dearly. She is one of the kindest people on the planet. She visits people in nursing homes who have no family or friends. She goes on missions trips to help poor people. She leads a women’s group and hosts seminars focusing on ways to help raise the self-esteem of young women in our culture.

Jenny acts in these kindly ways because she is a Christian. She believes it is her duty to care for others because Jesus commands her to do so. She wants to share the Good News with others because her life has been transformed by her faith.

We grew up in a highly dysfunctional family. Who doesn’t, right?  My siblings and I have struggled throughout our lives with depression, anxiety, addiction.  Jenny found solace in her faith. She's had a shitty biological father and an even shittier step-father, but she has a strong, loving relationship with her heavenly Father.

I am happy for her. I’m glad she’s found comfort and strength in her religious faith. As long as she doesn’t condemn me for living my own life the way that is best for me. As long as she follows the instruction to not judge lest she be judged.  Which she's actually better at following than I am.

When I criticize Christians who judge others I am not criticizing all Christians. I am criticizing judgmental people. Judgmental people who have been instructed to love their neighbors. I understand there are many Christians who love all people. Like my sister. Like my friends.

And just because I criticize others does not mean I think I am perfect. As my mother likes to tease, I’m one of the most judgmental people about judgmental people she’s ever known.   

I think we’re all trying to get through this messy life the best we can. Some of us find comfort by looking to God. I find comfort by looking within myself. That doesn’t mean I’m a sinner. It just means I’m introspective. Not better, not worse. Just a different approach to figuring out life, death, and the meaning of it all. 

I also find comfort in our children.  Our future.  It is our duty as parents, Christian parents and non-Christian parents, to teach our children to love each other.  Here are some awesome Christian kids proselytizing love

I think I'll see if Katie wants to make a card for them too. "The goal, according to Judson Church, is to let the children of Berean Baptist know that 'there are those of us in this world who believe God loves everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that there is no such thing as 'dispensation' when it comes to physical violence against any child.'"

Churches wishing to participate in "Cards Of Hope" can send them to:

The Children of Berean Baptist Church Sunday School
Berean Baptist Church
517 Glensford Drive
Fayetteville, North Carolina 28314