I rarely crack open a Bible these days; it seems that the older I get, the fuzzier my theology becomes. But there was a long period during which I read from that tome every. single. day. I memorized big chunks, which I used to feel self-righteous and eviscerate anyone who didn’t share my rather literal perspective. While there’s virtually no chapter-and-verse reciting I can do anymore, the pieces that do continue to float around in my brain concern Jesus’ compassion and his focus on serving those on the margins: the poor, the sick, the “sinners.” (You know, the 47%.)
So when I read this article from today’s New York Times, which explains that a fundamentalist evangelical organization is encouraging parents to keep their kids home from school on “Mix it Up at Lunch Day” on October 30th (designed to encourage kids to spend time with a peer they don’t normally interact with, to promote tolerance and diversity and combat bullying) because it “promotes the homosexual lifestyle”, the first images in my head were of Jesus: hanging out with the Samaritan woman at the well, talking Zaccheus out of his tree, healing the centurion’s servant with a word. Demonstrating his love for people, singling out those who society had labeled as “other” for whatever arbitrary and indefensible reason. This is one of the ways I strive to emulate him.
And while I fall short often and repeatedly, I’m grateful that I’m surrounded by top-flight folk who are better than me at this. Some of the best I know are David, Mark, Willow and Karen. I am regularly in awe of each of them as they demonstrate empathy and generosity, and continually see the best in everyone. They are some of the significant manifestations of God in my life.
My heart is heavy thinking about kids being kept at home on October 30th. All I can do is hope that God crosses their paths (and those of their parents) with people like these tremendous friends of mine. Everyone should be so blessed.