Monthly Archives: May 2013

If Jesus Showed Up in a Skirt Would You Recognize Him?

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Get your eyes off of my clothes and onto my heart! We are not the sum of our tattoos, pants, skirts, what’s under them nor any of our physical parts- We are the sum of what’s in our hearts;  And that- you can’t see…

I recently had a conversation with a very wise woman who is standing by a family member who many would describe as an outcast. She is embracing the person and loving them despite what anyone thinks and others harsh judgments and she may be the persons only friend right now as most others have turned their backs on the person.

She was troubled by how quickly people forget their own serious issues and struggles. How they pardon who they want to pardon, forget the mistakes and off beat decisions of their own, but turn and judge the next for the similar decisions and sometimes even judge people under the excuse of righteousness. She said that so many people who say that they know Jesus, would not recognize him if he showed up in a skirt-

That statement was profound to me. And while many would think it blasphemy to imply that Jesus would dress in the attire of a woman, I found it profoundly like the quiet character of the Christ that I have come to know.

I can totally see the creator of the world, turning himself into a human man, dressing himself as a woman and walking into the church or the homes of the church leaders to identify their reactions. He- as the all-knowing God would have already known how they were going to react, but he would want their true selves to be revealed to them as well. And sometimes we don’t even know what’s truly in our hearts until we are in a peculiar situation.

For example- many would say that they do not discriminate based on color nor religion, nor sexual orientation but the real opinion of others of a different color or religion or orientation will be exposed when your child brings that person home and tells you that they are going to marry them. That’s when every bias you may have ever had will come out. And hopefully there are none, but you surely will find out in that moment.

I can imagine Jesus turning himself into whatever bias we may have and showing up at our door as it and asking will we let him in to eat at our table and be a part of our regular lives and will we treat him kindly and see his beautiful heart?

I like that show where the boss of a corporation dresses in disguise to go in to work side by side with his employees. While he is there he determines what improvements need to be made on their behalf, he listens to what they are saying and rewards the ones who were earnest and honest workers. At the end of the show, he pulls his fake mustache and wig off (or whatever the disguise is) and tells his employees that he is the CEO, or owner (or HNIC LOL!) of the company- and he is always someone so high up in the corporation that the workers usually have never seen him up close and personal enough to recognize him. I am sure after he reveals who he is everyone goes back and takes full inventory of everything they said in his presence that week. It never seems that he was there to chastise misbehaving employees, but rather to find noteworthy ones and reward them, but imagine how the rude ones would have behaved had they known that they were working elbow to elbow with the bosses boss! Imagine if they had mistreated the boss because they didn’t like the pink suit that the producers of the show put him in, imagined if they shunned him for having on a long wig, or imagine if they decided to send him in as a woman and some could tell that it was a man and avoided or God forbid ridiculed him? No matter how outrageous his disguise may have been , I am quite sure that the boss would have been appalled and maybe even hurt to see how he was treated when people had no idea who he was and the flip in their behavior if they only knew who was under those clothes. How superficial it would be for anyone to have treated him any different than they would have if they knew that he was the boss.

What I see here, is that one never knows who another is underneath the costume of their skin.

It would have been the most honorable employees and the ones that we cheered for the most who were able to ignore what he looked like and were able to treat him as if he were another respectable employee, just as they would want to be treated.

That seems to always be the bottom line. Put yourself in someone’s shoes and decide how you would want to be treated.

Love is not judgmental based on anything- Not based on color, not based on religion, not based on sexual orientation, not based on smell, sight, taste nor touch. None of our physical senses should determine how we treat someone.

“Close your eyes and open your heart” Jennifer Hicks

This is one of my favorite quotes.

So what if Jesus showed up at your door in a skirt? Would you be so busy relying on your eyes that you’d miss his heart? Do you know how to love people and treat them the same no matter what they look like?

Too fat, too skinny, too pretty, too gaudy, too loud, too quiet, too gay- Let’s just call the whole thing off!

Get your eyes off of my clothes and onto my heart! We are not the sum of our tattoos, pants, skirts, what’s under them nor any of our physical parts- We are the sum of what’s in our hearts;  And that- you can’t see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is a Co-opportunity

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Recently my husband and I were house hunting and came across a home that was in a co-opportunity community. We took a look at the home and talked to the owners who told us that their community was a co-op community established by Quakers in the 40s so that people of all religions and backgrounds could live together on a homestead free from discrimination and in a neighborly environment where they helped one another sustain their land. Sounded awesome until they said that the land was owned by the entire community collectively and that the families owned the houses but not the land that their home was on which could be leased for 99 years and renewed.

This was so that the community as a whole had collective control over one another and over who could move in. In addition they voted to decide if any prospective person or family could move in and the prospective family had to first meet every neighbor in the community, after which time the neighbors would join together and vote the family in or out. If voted in- the family then had an opportunity to put an offer on a home; if voted out- they did not have that opportunity and could not move into the community.  I keep forgetting this part- but they also wanted a LOT of financial information to make sure that whoever moved in could afford the home so that the home would not be foreclosed on and ever owned by the bank.  They wanted strict control over who owned what and that I found very curious as well.

We asked was there ever a time when a person was voted out and on what basis and the reason generally was if the person seemed intolerant or frankly our interpretation was if the person seemed “racist”. They did not want anyone living around them who did not accept others based on religion, sexuality or ethnicity.

At first that sounded wonderful. They had a community center that everyone chipped in to maintain. Various families had chickens and shared the eggs; others had sheep and shared the wool. Thy met for dinner at the community center and watched out for one another’s children. They had a community organic garden.  It seemed like the perfect community except one bothersome thing- they bore the similar strange and sneaky scent of a cult, but not quite-

I wanted to deny this. It seemed dreamy to live in a place where racism was not tolerated and every family was encouraged to be who they were and included in community activities.

We even stopped at another home that had a SALE sign on the lawn and the woman kindly and freely let us in on the spot, showed us around and even called her neighbor to see if they were home to show us their home as well and the chain continued, we saw the next home and then they called the next neighbor to see if they were available to show us their home also. I was amazed at their selflessness. They were all trying to sell their homes yet seemed just as concerned for their neighbor to be able to sell theirs as well. I remember when we sold our first home- the annoyance I felt when my neighbor erected a for sale sign on their newly updated version of our home immediately across the street. I had a lack of faith and neighborly kindness then. I was more concerned with my fate than theirs and I was fearful that my home would not sell when I needed it to with competition across the street. Helping them sell their home was certainly not on my agenda.  Indeed both homes sold, but I struggled to wish the best for everyone during the process…

So then, I was amazed to see these people behaving the way I knew humans should toward one another. They were all very gracious, allowing us to see their homes impromptu and not showing even a hint of annoyance when we were not interested in their home for one reason or another, they even gave us a tour of the community center and we saw pictures of the community when the Quakers mapped out the land and the various celebrations and activities that everyone shared it- It was beautiful, but there kept being a sharp, pungent odor that crept past our noses that reminded us of the stinch of a cult.

Everyone explained how great it was to raise a family there, many of whom had raised their children there, but for some reason we just were not convinced that all was what was being told- and we may never know.

But here is what I do know. That there is a serious hypocrisy in a theory that says we want this to be an equal opportunity for all but “you;” that we are only intolerant to intolerance.  Personally, if the “you” is a racist or intolerant person I would prefer to not be subjected to such ignorance and hate myself, but is it not likewise ignorance and hate to exclude someone even on that basis?

I loathe racism, but not the racist. Is it not the hateful perspective that should not be tolerated and not the person? How can one combat hate by hating? In fact, not only is the same mindset being reproduced in a new package, but it is being reinforced- it is strengthening the idea of segregation. That if you do not believe in freedom the way that I do that you should be kept out.

It is not the healthy who need a doctor but those with an unhealthy mindset and sick perspective, but if those who are gracious and tolerant, discriminate against the intolerant, then we are in a segregated gridlock with no end in sight. Community is about accepting everyone! Maybe the intolerant man has a kind heart, maybe shyness or a conservative view point is mistaken for intolerance.  Maybe your neighborly freedom can help him heal.

In the end I decided that they have decided on the better way to live as a community- seemingly loving one another and putting the other person before themselves- who can fault them for that? And in fact they are an example to all of us in the way we should come together and care for one another- not just because we belong to the same church or are in the same circles, but because we as humans are all neighbors in a world community.

They are spot on with their perspective to embrace everyone despite religious perspectives, race or sexuality and that is admirable.

And I have determined that they absolutely do not have the characteristics of a cult- trying to brainwash anyone, getting everyone to follow one charismatic leader or follow a particularly strict dogma.

But they are so far in left field with knowing what true community love and acceptance looks like that it almost makes all of the aforementioned things false. Love doesn’t pick and choose who to let in or embrace into a community, it sees a need and desires to fulfill it in wisdom and grace and indiscriminately. Love does not show favoritism even toward people who have the seemingly correct perspective on it. Love is truly a co-opportunity experience allowing each one to be treated equally despite beliefs and or faults. Love sees the racist brother and asks what can I do for you equally as I can the one who accepts me. Love puts its feelings aside and reaches to help those who do not understand it. Love exposes itself in the times when people who are discriminated against and mistreated still show kindness and selflessness in the face of adversity. Love does not run from a challenge and hide itself so that its values can be protected; rather it faces a challenge head on, immerses itself despite opposition and conquers all by remaining who it is.

It’s easy to embrace reasonable, caring accepting people who think freely like you— even if the commonality is free thinking. But love embraces those who think completely the opposite of it and when it is rejected it keeps embracing. Love tolerates to the bitter end when all else gives way and fails- and if it didn’t, how would we know what true love is?