Posted by: Renee | November 16, 2011

Love Your Neighbor

  As I’ve been getting ready for the Love Your Neighbor workshop happening this Saturday, I’ve begun thinking about who my neighbor is.  I go back to the Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan – the story he told when asked “who is my neighbor?” and I’m challenged with the notion that my neighbor is actually the person(s) whom I tend to avoid, dislike, or judge.  The workshop is geared to prepare us for interactions with people who tend to judge LGBTQ folks as unworthy of full inclusion in our churches.  Such interactions can seem futile at times because we often assume others won’t hear us out or be willing to change their mind or heart on the issues involved.  Such negative assumptions are a real enemy to the cause for justice, for by lowering our morale and dissuading us from engaging in sacred conversations, they refuse to let the Spirit work.  So, when I find myself worrying about whether we will make enough impact to change denominational policy, I plan to recite my new motto by Dorothy Day:  “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.”

Now, here’s the other side of the Spirit’s work as I see it – the part that works on my heart.  For my homophobic brothers and sisters don’t have a corner on the market of judgementalism,  I confess I’ve had plenty of practice at it myself.   I find it a little too easy to judge the people who I feel are judging me.  I’ve been saddened over the past few years to realize just how easily most people succumb to the “us and them” mentality – building walls between us with oversimplified generalizations and arrogant assumptions  – justifying our dislike and judgementalism of others.   Dorothy Day has something to say to that as well:  “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

by Renee Sappington

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