3 Stuart’s Reply

Stuart’s Reply: 4-12

Hi Rob.

I am glad you shared Julian’s story, and agree it was helpful to send it in a separate letter.

There are such powerful and mixed messages that are part of the Christian church. On the one hand, as individuals we learn of love and acceptance, with judgment left for God alone. On the other hand, as an institution we have values that are judgmental and exclusionary. Reminds me in ways of Niebuhr’s “Moral Man, Immoral Society,” though not a perfect fit.

It is great that you are becoming a “storyteller,” Rob. As you note, people need to be taken seriously, to feel listened to, to tell their story.

Thank you.  Hope you and your family have a great Easter!!

Stuart

 

Next blog post: 4 Georges Reply  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/317

3 Stuart’s Reply

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate and Fear

In this blog I have emphasized the Christian command to love.  I have noted the bad fruits of judgment, hate and fear of the GLBT community which Christian aggressors have tried to justify as God-approved, even God-directed.  Grief and loss, the bad fruits of judgment, hatred and fear, is expressed in many ways.

Picasso addressed such pain and loss in the context of the war in Guernica:

The painting may be accessed at my original source, http://www.artchive.com/artchive/P/picasso/guernica.jpg.html .  I also included it and discussed it in the context of violence in Tucson and Omaha in my post on a related site, The Bible Through Artists’ Eyes, which post you may find at https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/remembering-recent-victims-of-violence/ .

For an excellent and sensitive journalistic photo presentation by Time, which honors the victims, those who were killed, those who survived and the many who grieve, see http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2084743_2295860_last,00.htmlhttp://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2084743_2295860_last,00.html

I note that the Associated Press reported today, July 28, 2011, that the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, “called on his country to react by more tightly embracing, rather than abandoning, the culture of tolerance that Anders Behring Breifik said he was trying to destroy.”  Now that is a faith statement that is sure to bear good fruit.  That is what true forgiveness is about: a refusal to be bound by the wrongs, evils and fears of the past as proper governmental authorities hold Breifik accountable.

 

Next blog post: Rev. Gilbert H Caldwell Speaks for Inclusiveness                    https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/225

 

 

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate and Fear

“Fundamental” Problems

I am thinking of the awful fruits of the massacre of innocents in Norway by a Christian fundamentalist gunman.  How is this evil different from that of the Muslim extremists in the 9-11 atrocities?  How is it different from the attacks of the Christian fundamentalist and political right against the GLBT community?

At least in my lifetime, “Christian fundamentalism” has been used in reference to Christians who believe the Bible to be dictated by God to humans who wrote it into books that, by Divine guidance, came to compose the present Bible.  Being God-dictated, they believe the Bible to be literally true, both historically and scientifically.   Catholic fundamentalists may expand that dictation to include the Appocrapha and Mormon fundamentalists may expand it further to include the Book of Mormon.  Likewise, fundamentalist Muslims and Jews consider their scripture sacred and literally true as they read it.

“Fundamental” is perhaps an unfortunate choice of words.  I would consider that the word, fundamental, would describe my own view of the Bible, the “word of God,” and the “will of God.”  I seek to get to the core of the messages of the Bible, some of which might be a mix of history, reflection of the  writer or editors’ observations, inspiration, ignorance or even prejudice.

To my mind, the core of Jesus’ teaching that is fundamental to my Christian belief and practice is expressed in these statements which provide: 1)  a simple command: “Love God and your neighbor as yourself;” 2)  A measure by which you can recognize the validity of actions on the claim of faith: “By their fruits you will know them.”  3) how we show our love of Jesus: “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me;”    and lastly, 4) the present and eternal reward: “The kingdom of Heaven is at hand . . . enter into your reward.”

I will accept the current use of “fundamentalism.”  Jimmy Carter addressed it and its consequences across various religions when asked by Trista Tippet on National Public Radio’s Speaking of Faith why so much violence in the post Cold War era has a religious dimension.  He responded:

I think it’s because of fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is a characteristic of dominant males who, first of all, subjugate women and derogate women’s rights. Secondly, an aspect of their fundamentalism is that they assume that they have a rare or unique relationship with God Almighty, whatever god they define, and their beliefs, therefore, are ordained by God. And since their beliefs are God’s beliefs, they are infallible. They cannot make a mistake or acknowledge a mistake. Anyone who disagrees with them, by definition, is wrong because ‘the disagreement is with me and with God.’ And being wrong, you are inferior and, in extreme cases, you are considered to be subhuman. And so that’s where violence erupts and condemnation erupts and value of a human life within a person who disagrees with you has little or no value. And that’s where the violence comes out, and that’s where the unnecessary war comes out, and that’s where what we define as terrorism comes out.

I think of the fear and hateful language and acts by American “Fundamentalist Christians” against the GLBT community.  That isn’t so different, other than in lethal scope, than the horror and pain inflicted by that Christian fundamentalist in Norway.

 

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate, and Fearhttps://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/211

“Fundamental” Problems