I feel prickly. This morning (11/15) I engaged in an on-line conversation which started when I commented on one of those postit notes on FB. I found the postit offensive, especially from a Christian perspective. Since I knew the poster claimed a Christian allegiance, I dove in. Grrr…I got nowhere trying to reason, became too blunt, and finally walked away frustrated and irritable. I don’t like these feelings. I don’t like letting my irritation gee best of me. And, I really don’t like coming to the conclusion that nothing I can say will provide the person I’m talking to with that ah-ha experience which convinces him or her that the thread is truly offensive. On the other hand, I think the fact it is offensive is a no-brainer, especially to someone, anyone, who holds onto Christ as a role model. Yet here I sit, having just posted my Bullies VS Visionaries thread feeling less than hopeful, again.
I tried to ask myself why this mattered to me. The fact that most of the people who see this person’s posts already stand on the same side of the line didn’t help me feel better. In fact when I saw this individual had over 400 friends it made me feel worse. At one point I thought maybe I’ll just be defriended and thus put out of my misery. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I got an assurance that the poster loves me and then–crickets. I tried to distract myself with other work BUT the pricklies lingered. Even now, I want to break china or something just to express the ARRGGHHH!!! I’m feeling.
It has finally dawned on me that the assurance of love from the poster set me off more than the rest of the post. Those words don’t mean anything. When my Christian friends ignore my concern that the words they spew and the postits they repeat might actually cause others distress, might hurt their cause, might wound their God, when they justify their bigotry by evoking God’s name or some regurgitated interpretation of scripture, when they warn me about some dangerous slippery slope I’m on because I refuse to embrace their brand of truth, and follow it all up with those two little words: “Love you” I want to gag. I want to call them liars and false prophets, hypocrites and Pharisees. I want to plead with God, like I’m pleading right now, that He send down some divine wisdom, some super spiritual, undeniable, bigger than life, ah-ha of truth!
Mostly I want my fellow Christians to know that loving me, or at least claiming to, doesn’t take them off the hook when they don’t love others. And, assuring me that they really do love “others” while I watch them offend, damage, frighten, and repel them doesn’t actually count for anything. Just like wishing a starving man good health isn’t actually the same as sharing your meal with him, quoting scripture isn’t the same as walking it out. I want my fellow Christians to understand that words, even words as nice as “love you” ring hollow when accompanied by behavior, gestures, and additional words which exclude, slander, demean, and wage war. I want my fellow Christians to realize that even though they may feel good about themselves for being able to say “love you” even after I’ve angered and rebuked them, I am beginning to doubt the meaning of such love.
I want a lot, both for and from my fellow Christians, but since wanting something doesn’t make it happen and I don’t know any magic formula to guarantee we will ever learn to love the way Christ has loved us, I only have the following to offer. I promise anew every day to love God more and my neighbor better, knowing that God will not do what I can do, and what I cannot do, He has already accomplished.