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

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's Easy to Say Anything

What is prayer but talking to God? But do you admit that sometimes it is easier to talk about talking with God than it is to actually talk to him? It is easier to tell others to talk with God than to talk with him ourselves? How easy it is to be a hypocrite.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners complete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Revised Standard Version

Preaching to others but failing to practice what one preaches. I suppose at times we are all guilty of it. And in today's modern world of fast communication it becomes nigh impossible for public figures to hide any of their hypocrisy. I confess mine, sometimes, because I need the reminders of my imperfections. I need the reminder that I am not a lesbian, so that when I speak (write) with my lesbian friends I am aware that seemingly nothing phrases to me may stir feelings of condescension, resentment, abandonment, judgment, or something else. The same is true when I speak with any woman, or Muslims, or Jews, or some other group to which I have not ever belonged.

I struggle with myself. Where I am in my life, and what I am before God. Where am I going, and why? Who am I really? Why is it that I, a man, should find myself so identifying with women who call themselves lesbians? Why do I ache more for their heartaches, their rejections, their obstacles, than those of others who are "more like me"? I don't understand it, but my caring is real. They are real.

And no two are the same. I think that can be the beautify of meeting new people, be they lesbian, Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Athiest, black, white, Australian, Egyptian, Iranian, or whatever. There are so many things which are common to all of us. We share a lot of the same fears and hurts, no matter where in this world we live, or what we look like, or how we make our way. And yet despite all of this commonality, no two of us are the same. When you think of all of the billions of people on this plant that's quite impressive. Far more than the snowflake theory. Even the hairs on our heads are numbered.

I don't read my Bible everyday. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget and then remember later, but still choose not to read it. Sometimes I do. Did read it this morning. Read in Luke about "rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar, and to God the things that are God's". Read about hypocrisy, too. Christ made frequent warnings about hypocrisy. Probably because it is so easy to fall into. It's almost like walking down an old country road. You really can't do it without getting dust on your feet.

When I was young and first walking life as a Christian I marved at the Apostle Paul. He he such a wonderful relationship with God. He knew so many things. But in growing older I think I have learned something about "praying without ceasing". What it means.

There is formal prayer, often done on the knees or in some other position demonstrating humility before God's majesty. Then there is desperate prayer, when time is of the essence and the heart is crying out for help. There is casual prayer, when the conversation with God is about everyday things. And then there is communal prayer. This is difficult to describe, but sometimes I feel it is what I have with God. It's just the awareness that he is there. There is no need to bow in reverence, or cry out for deliverance, or request this or that, or even talk at all. Just an awareness that he is there. Sometimes I don't talk to my spouse or son, but am comforted by the fact I know they are here. And when they speak to me I hear right off. (Usually.) I think that's praying without ceasing. Keeping God conscious in our thoughts.

Perhaps if we were to all work on doing that we would be less concerned with criticizing women who wish to marry a woman, or hating someone for raising taxes, cutting benefits, or calling God by a name we do not use. Perhaps, if we were to keep God's presence in our lives, we would find ourselves loving more people than we have ever loved before. We might not understand why we love these people, but we would most definitely be happier for it.

There are so many wonderful people to get to know. It's going to take an eternity just to make our introductions.

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