I don't really have much to say, except that I love Anna Tuckweiller. A lot. I went over to see her for breakfast this morning (which is a testament to my love, really, because she lives 20 miles and two tolls away), and left around 5:40 pm. She does this thing where we talk about each other's stresses lately and then she restores my faith in God and humanity. It's pretty nice. The side effect of all this though is that I now feel compelled to have lunch with David and apologize for walking all over his boundaries (or trying to, though he held the line pretty well in most circumstances) for the last three and a half years or so. I feel pretty bad about it. I have to admit though that some of the time there is a small part of me hoping that he will see my contrition and decide that maybe a relationship isn't such a bad idea after all. I feel that I should admit this in the interest of honesty and healthy self-sabotage.
We talked for a while about all of the arguing and disagreeing and selective interpreting that goes on within the church, and came, perhaps, to the wavering conclusion that when Jesus stated that he came not to abolish, but to fulfill the law, this fulfillment came in the teachings of love. I don't know, it's a confusing verse. But I have long been irritated by the fact (and evidently so has Anna) that people get ALL UPPITY about the, what, four? verses in the Bible that make reference to homosexuality, and skillfully ignore any and all verses that speak out against things like cheeseburgers, polyester, overeating, backtalk, and so on. Some people also spend a lot of time making cases against women acting as ministers (often, largely with verses taken from the writings of Paul), though there are also verses like
"Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free, but Christ is all and in all. As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as Christ has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." (Colossians 3:9-13)* Of course, a few sentences later he (Paul again) says, "Wives, be subject to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly." So maybe we should work with what Jesus said instead. I mean, I'm sure Paul was a great guy and everything--he was a disciple after all--but he was also a reformed Jew-murderer. Also, disciples were known to say things that irritated Jesus at times. So let's backtrack to the gospels.
Jesus says probably just as many things I don't want to hear as Paul does, such as "enter through the narrow gate, for the the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. The gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
But then, he also says "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
I am as guilty of selective reading, I suppose, as anyone else. Unfortunately this whole thing seems to be set up to require such an approach. Anyone who says otherwise is, in my opinion, blind, lying, or more poorly educated even than myself. But if I am going to have to either read selectively or give up faith, I much prefer to live a life of faith and of LOVE, above all. I choose to refuse to live out a faith of fear, though there is certainly still quavering in my life. I accept and act to the best of my ability "judge not, lest ye be judged" (Matt 7:1), and "Then Jesus cried aloud, 'Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears** my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save it.'" (John 12:44-47)
Lastly, I carry this around in my mind: Jesus was asked, "'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'"
*It continues in verses 14-15, "Above all, clothe yourselves in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful."
**Hears/accepts. That's key, as you'll see if you read the next verses: "The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me."
I think I reserve the (highly controversial) opinion though that Jesus, as a human, might have been the slightest bit fallible. I am not really sure about this, but it does seem as though he may have contradicted himself once or twice. Regardless, I don't really think my convictions about unconditional love are hurting anyone. It makes my life better. I will hold onto it.