Latest article for the Orange County Record
Humans in general are pretty predictable. We drive to work the same way, we go shopping at the same store, we drink our coffee at the same time in the morning, etc. However, it generally when things are out of the ordinary that people start to take notice.
A couple of weeks ago, “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” was met with Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts, rants and more than likely sermons all centered around the notion that a company can support anti-same sex marriage policy. Many people agreed with this and many people did not.
Like I mentioned in my previous article, the problem with this debate is that no one actually talked about the real issue, same sex marriage. People were marginalized and stereotyped based on prejudices. Throughout this entire ordeal I became aware that humanity indeed is quite callous and ego centric.
Only a few days after this outpouring of support for Chick-Fil-A, an armed man opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Six worshippers and the gunman lost their lives. It was a tragic and senseless event. However, while there were news reports, there wasn’t the outpouring that was seen with Chick-Fil-A. This, my friends, is quite disturbing.
When did we stop caring for people? Can you imagine the outcry if someone would have murdered people in a church in small town America? There would have been candle light vigils, facebook pictures of memorial, tweets of support and prayer and blog posts flooding the internet. What does it say about our country and even followers of Christ when more time and effort is spent on a chicken sandwich than on seven lives lost?
People sadly only care about what they believe affects them or threatens them. Because of this many people failed to have the one thing that Christ himself calls us to have, compassion. If we believe that all of humanity is created in the image of God, then our hearts should break over the loss of life, no matter their religion, belief system, sexual orientation or background. Christ’s compassion is given to all people, in all place and all times, not just to people who think like us, look like us, work like us or come from the same background as us. This goes against the gospel message. When did the gospel of love turn into the gospel of conditional love? Was God’s love given to us on conditions? No it was not. The love of God is given to all of humanity as a free gift.
As followers of Christ, we are to live our life in a way that reflects that divine, perfect and wonderful love. For followers of Christ we believe that this divine love was perfected in human form in the person of Jesus the Christ. As we journey throughout our lives we are constantly trying to find ways to show and give this love away to other, with no strings attached. Unfortunately, humans have yet again found a way to marginalize ‘the other.’ Too often in churches around the world, people are not met with open arms they are met with a list of ways they need to change before they are allowed to enter the congregation. While this may not be explicitly said, there is however, an undercurrent of moral superiority that takes place within the four walls of some church buildings.
How is it fair to have been given unconditional love but fail to give it in return?
We cannot claim that God’s love is for everyone and then try to put conditions on it. That is like saying to someone, “I will only love you fully if you do this for me.” By giving unconditional love we then are opening ourselves up to the possibilities of what God can do through us. We are able to see someone for who they are, who they were created to be.
I pray for comfort for the families of the seven who died in Wisconsin. The loss of innocent life is one of the worst things that can ever happen to a family or community. May the compassion of God rain down.