Wednesday, November 28, 2012

God is Great

Today I heard a story on the radio about a recent battle.  It included a comment about someone involved saying, "God is great" as he eradicated his enemies.

My heart sank.

Because I do believe that God is great.

And I believe that God's greatness has nothing to do with hate, but with love...
nothing to do with war, but with peace...
nothing to do with me, but with us...
nothing to do with demonizing those who are different, but with valuing them.

It pains me each time I see people use God as an excuse, as a battering ram, as a weapon.

And let's not pretend that it only happens in other places, with other faiths, or with big battles.

As parents, as people who influence children in any role, it is our responsibility to make sure that's not what we do.  It is our responsibility to make sure that our children know the greatness of God's heart, of God's love, of God's compassion, of God's reach...not of our anger or bigotries or prejudices that we try to push off on the divine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Should We Worry About?

It is the day after election day.  President Barack Obama will be our president for another four years.

This morning on facebook I saw a friend's post.  It read, "I'm getting worried about our country."  Knowing this friend's political views, I'm guessing it was a response to President Obama's reelection and perhaps the Democratic Senate majority. 

But here's what I want to say...

Perhaps we shouldn't worry about who was elected, whether they were "our" candidate or not.

Perhaps what we should worry about is our lack of desire to work together with people who are different from us.

Perhaps what we should worry about is our tendency to villify those who hold different opinions than ours.

Perhaps what we should worry about is our attitude that if "our" candidates don't win the country is falling apart. 

Perhaps what we should worry about is what our children are learning from our behavior and what it means that we are raising them in a time when we refuse to choose other than to be polarized.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The "Favorite Child Principle"

This last month we've had a class at church on the three faiths of Abraham.  We've had the pleasure of having friends from the local Jewish and Muslim communities as well as a Christian history professor come speak.  I had the privilege last Sunday of presenting the final lesson talking about the importance of interfaith conversation. 

During that lesson I talked about what I've come to call the "Favorite Child Principle." 

I talk about it this way...

One day as my mother, sister, and I sat together mom started talking about something she had read.  It seems a woman had written letters to each of her four children that they were to receive when she died.  In each letter she told each child that he or she was her favorite.  She had also concluded by writing in each letter that the recipient should not tell his or her sibilings, after all their feelings would be hurt.  My mom ended this story by saying to us, "So when you get your letters, don't tell each other."  (You know we will!)

What does that have to do with the three faiths of Abraham, you might ask?  Well, the reality is that often we walk around acting as if we are the "favorite child."  As a Christian, I know Christians do this.  I am sure that there are Jews and Muslims who do as well.  But what if we came to recognize that we were each God's favorite? 

This would make a difference in our interfaith relationships.

This would make a difference in our political battles.  (Is anyone else ready for Nov. 6 to get here?!)

This would make a difference in our family life.

This would make a difference everywhere.

As parents we so often talk about how having child #2 (and 3 and 4 and more) only expanded our hearts to give more love.  In religious circles we talk about the same thing with God...God loving each of us as if there is only one of us.  And yet we often live in ways that are very contrary to these claims.

But what if...what if we would choose to honor the favorite-ness not only in ourselves, but in each other?  What if we didn't need to prove our favorite-ness?  What if instead we could affirm each others'?