Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

My last few posts have been about the sad fact that many people are looking for scapegoats for our economic problems and natural disasters. Specifically the attacks on the poor, disabled, gays, and people of different faiths and ethnicities. A lot of this is coming from the Christian camp, proclaiming that God is punishing America for being too tolerant of others. I find this lynch-mob mentality very disturbing. So disturbing that I have engaged with many people online about this problem.

Please understand, I am well aware that not all Christians are like the ones I am describing. However I am concerned that these zealots seem to be gathering a following. They want a simple answer to a very complex problem. If America “gets right with God” then everything will be hunky-dory. An added factor is the near-hysteria of people believing that Armageddon is near.

Some may take comfort that they won’t have to endure another Obama term because the world will end this month anyway. Laughing out loud

If I ever thought that I could change their minds then I was sorely disillusioned. I read a quote once saying “You can never reason someone out of a belief that they were never reasoned into.”  Now I am not saying Christians are stupid. What I am saying is that there are many who buy into a fear-based faith rather than a love-based faith. A fear-based faith leads to a dead-end faith, where no one questions anything for fear of divine retribution.

If that were true than why would God give me a brain and a heart to discern the truth?

Anyway, talking with these people drove me absolutely batty and I lost control. I used many caps and exclamation points. And since I was being bombarded with slander and name calling I returned it in kind. Then finally I figured out that there was no way to win with bullies and so I left.

There was another reason I left. I felt extremely guilty. Why? Because I was sucked into hating the haters.  Hate doesn’t solve anything and I knew that, but I really did want to pound on those idiots!

My beef was essentially that they needed to be loving instead of staying stuck in their heads arguing about dogma. If they could see with their hearts then they would not condemn innocent people who are just trying the live their lives in peace.

All that may be true but I was saying this in exactly the wrong way and maybe to the wrong people.

Somehow I slipped into my “avenger” mode and I was going to fight tooth and nail to prove my point. One problem with that approach is that it doesn’t come from God. It comes from the EGO (Edging God Out). It was all about me getting the last word.

If I could draw I would make a cartoon of how I must look to others when I do that:

I have a baseball bat beating someone up and yelling “WHY_AREN’T_YOU_LOVING_ENOUGH!!!

Ugh, well you get the point.

There is a different way to approach these people. Remember that they live in fear so by responding with  hate only confirms their feelings of being threatened. Plus many like to believe that they are being persecuted for a divine cause.

The way things change is really by changing yourself and extending love to others, rather than hating them.

Jesus said to pray for your enemies and be kind to them.

Martin Luther King, Jr. preached love and instead of focusing on discord envisioned a time when there wouldn’t be a racial divide.

Mother Theresa was once asked if she would like to participate in a march against the war in Vietnam. She replied, “No, but if you have a march for peace I will be there.”

I am not perfect and certainly not at the level of enlightenment that these people were, but I pray that I can learn to respond with love rather than hate.

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