My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Confessions of a Reformed Hypocrite

I wonder about myself. A lot. There is no doubt in my mind and heart that should most Christians see my life as it really is, in my home, every day, my thoughts and such, they would probably wonder if I even am a Christian.

Well, if being a Christian means thinking thoughts they say I should think, and doing things they say I should do, and not doing things they say I should avoid, then I'm not. Used to be. Kind of.

When I existed in my cloister of like-minded creatures it was easy to see everything and know everything. But I slipped and fell, and in so doing left that cloister and found myself in the real world, where real people live with real problems. People have real feelings. Their hurts are no less real than my own, and often are more so.

One of my very dearest friends (whom I have never met) was hurt recently. It's been a long time (to me) since I've heard from her. I'm fearing now that I will never hear from her again. That is such a lonely feeling, despite the fact I have other friends. It brings home the parable of the lost sheep and coin.

Matthew (chapter eighteen) New King James Version

[12] What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

[13] And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

My friend has not "gone astray". She's just gone. From me. But I have no doubt she continues to live an honorable and happy life with her family, as she did before. I just miss her.

These are the kinds of things I became exposed to when I left my cloister. I fell in love with people I used to think I should not fall in love with. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about love. Loving someone from the heart and not wishing to possess them. Only seeking their happiness and good will. I've met so many people like that. Most are women, yes. But that's just because I relate better to women. But there are men within my circle of influence.

Several of my friends happen to be lesbian, or bi-sexual. This, I know, would cause great consternation from my old cloister friends, who do not seek me out, by the way. Not since I fell. I suppose they always had their doubts about me anyway. I wonder about me, too.

But I can't bring myself to criticize gay people anymore. I've met too many now to return to what was. No longer do I view them as "those people", and talk about them as though they were characters from a novel and therefore had no feelings or spirits to concern. Now they're my people, because I call them friends. I don't know them well, but I know them. And when they cry because people stand in hatred against them and say they can't be married to the person they love, I find myself crying with them. I find myself wishing I were a lesbian so I could stand with them, arm in arm, and cry together that there is nothing wrong with love! I see their love for each other and I am ashamed of things I said a long time ago.

How can I, having spoken against real people, claim to be in God's blessing? I read from Luke this morning. It was the passage about the Pharisee and the publican. I read it and find myself wondering which man I really am.

Luke (chapter 18) Revised Standard Version

[9] He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:

[10] "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

[11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

[12] I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'

[13] But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

[14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

I know which man I should be, but am I really that man? Or am I deluding myself with false humility?

What I have found in going on-line and meeting all of these people, is that I care about them. I get to know them and they matter to me. And the more people matter to me the less I find I can speak judgment over things they might be doing. For one thing, I am seeing my life as far worse than anything I can accuse others of. And I don't want to accuse others of anything. Not anymore. They're my friends now, and I love my friends. I want to make their lives better. Not by telling them what to do and not do and how to live their lives. But instead by just accepting them for who they are today, and not worry about the rest. I just want to love them, and hope that that makes their lives better. At least a little.

And when I lose them, it hurts. It hurts so very bad. And it's lonely. Too many friends are silent. And one may be gone forever now.

"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Mark 15:34 (a portion) Revised Standard Version

The words of Jesus when he was rejected by God.

It's not too unlike that to lose a friend. The Cloister will call that blasphemy.

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