Friday, October 3, 2008

Water Cooler--Part 2

(continued from previous post)

And therefore, I view the world, the problems, the solutions and the whys and hows, through the lens of my faith. My Christian faith. It was not always so for me. I did not become a Christian until I was 30. After I'd tried life the other way (without Christ).

Since then, my faith has defined my politics. Not in a blind and intolerant way. But in a, "Yes, this all makes perfect sense to me" way. I changed in one instant. Truly. The truth of Jesus resonates to my core. It is absolute truth for me.

And many fine men and women, of all colors and creeds, ethnicities and nationalities can agree on many good things: the horror of war, the need to develop clean water supplies in developing nations, the eradication of disease, a preference and hope for peace. But the manner in which we filter, process and respond to life's blessings and tragedies is vastly different.

Do I believe that I am right and 'they' (all others) are wrong? Maybe. Which issue are we discussing? Is it an issue that has legal or moral ramifications? Civil? Criminal? What are the consequences of agreeing to disagree? Eternal? Fleeting?

Ultimately, some things matter very little and some are of the utmost importance. For me, my faith in Christ Jesus separates out the issues of absolute truth from others.
One example of this follows.

Human life, in all forms, is precious, created by God and begins at conception. Translation: I no longer support abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, selective pregnancy reduction, fetal stem cell research, etc. I just can't. Example of my thought process: It is not that I don't sometimes wish the judgment of 'death' upon child rapists and murders, but I have personally witnessed enough changed lives of inmates, that I cannot determine to know the length of a man's days. People can and do change. How am I to know each person's heart condition? I will happily leave that decision to God Himself.

Now, comes the trickier part. Since I have already acknowledged that I do not personally condone, say abortion, would I impose my beliefs on others by legal means? Would I overturn Roe v. Wade, if I could? Agonizing decision. I know all the arguments for legalized abortion, because I used to *firmly* believe that no-one other than the woman herself, had the right to exert any form of control over her body.

But again, I have known many woman who are permanently scarred (emotionally) by decisions made to terminate pregnancies. I have known many woman who have been made mothers by woman who have selflessly made the decision to relinquish their babies to an infertile couples. And since I believe that God creates all life and determines the number of days for each one, I (personally) would overturn Roe v. Wade, if I could (not likely to happen, folks, so no need to send me any hateful comments---I'll just delete 'em. Discussion-type questions, however, are welcome).

So, does that make me intolerant and hateful and judgmental? Ummm...yeah no. I don't think so. Personally, in my journey with Christ, I consider myself most closely identifiable as Mary Magdelene. I am the woman caught in adultery. I am formerly full of demons. I am the woman who wept at Jesus feet. I am broken, but redeemed.

I do not judge, for I am well aware of who I am, what I have done, where I have been. And I have love and compassion and interest in and for, all people, all beliefs, all sins, all lifestyles, all choices. Just like Jesus. And I completley understand that others have different ideas of right and wrong. Just like Jesus.

No-one is helped by judgment and intolerance. Jesus surrounded himself with common people, not rock stars. People that were untouchable. Forgotten. Outcast. Lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, the lame, mute, and children. The least, the last, the lost. And His examples of and teachings of *kindness* led/leads to conversions and repentence (which means 'to turn' from; it does not mean alot of self-flagellation and/or finger pointing and blame-gaming).

God's personal revelation of *kindness* to me led to my conversion; all alone, on a couch, in a tiny Iowa town. It RADICALLY changed my life. It is my pleasure to continue to His work, His to extend His kindness and acceptance to all.

Another day, perhaps, I will post about what His kindness looks like (is it all inclusive? what about that pesky issue of 'sin'?) and why I believe as I do. Or maybe I've already written about that? (this is where that nice system of 'tags' would be helpful, huh?).

Ahhhh...well. Enough for now. As I said, sincere quesitons are welcome. Hate? Not so much. Comment away.

For now, I am off to enjoy a perfect Iowa day with people I love.
Maybe I'll see you at the apple orchard?

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