Archives For November 2014

gaysandxtians

When I was in high school, one of my good friends came out to me as gay. And because I was a Christian, I broke off all relationship with him. I did this because I believed this is what I was supposed to do. At least, that’s what I told myself then.

But the deeper truth is, I did it because I was afraid. I was afraid he wanted to have sex with me, and if he did, I didn’t know how to handle that. I was afraid his influence might corrupt me or draw me away from my faith. I was afraid of what my Christian friends would think of me if I kept hanging out with him. Despite how coldly and abruptly I broke off our friendship, he was never harsh with me, and never judged me for my decision. His last words to me? “Anytime you need anything, call me.”

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3rdworld

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ Mother Teresa

The old morality tales don’t work anymore. The world has got too big for them. And we, perhaps, have grown too small.

It used to be loving your neighbor was a relatively simple matter of noticing the need of the old widow two doors down, and doing what you might to meet it. Or seeing the mother overburdened by her children since her husband got taken by the war, and making the choice to take her in as a part of the family without really giving her any say in the matter.

To be a good neighbor is still all that (thank God), but it’s not just that anymore, because your neighbors are no longer just the people living on your street. Now, thanks to technology and social media, the whole world lives at your doorstep, which is to say billions of souls ~ the vast majority of them far poorer than you are (if you live in the West), many with no water, or toilets, or education, or meaningful opportunities to explore their potential as image bearers of God. It’s so overwhelming to try to take it all in that we invented a term to describe it:

Compassion Fatigue.

And yet, the world is here now, daily knocking on my television screen, buzzing on my phone every hour, and I cannot pretend any longer that the way I chose to live my comfortable life has no effect on how those souls on the other side of the world have to live theirs. Suddenly, I find compassion dangerous, because I know if I really let it take hold of me, it might completely unravel the life I have so carefully crafted for myself.

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