the following post was originally written for The Marin Foundation blog at patheos.com and can be read here.
there’s credibility and power in proximity and relationship.
it is impossible to advance the message of reconciliation without being in proximity to and relationship with those who’ve been marginalized. proximity to and relationship with the marginalized instills in us an ability to see beyond the misinformation which has too often led to the dehumanization and lessening of those known as ‘the Other.’
it’s easy to speak out of a position of ignorance and intolerance when we’re dealing with unknown faces and unheard stories.
it becomes much more difficult – impossible, in fact – when we’re speaking of our friends.
just over a week ago, churches around the world celebrated the resurrection of jesus christ and new life as a result of the atonement offered through the cross. some churches held easter egg hunts for children, while others combined their newest technological advances with the talents of their congregation in a christian-ized cocktail of creativity to re-tell the story of christ’s victory over sin and death.
one such celebration ran into some slight technical difficulties, resulting in a fiery display. the fun starts around 1:24 – take a look ::
essentially, during the well rehearsed solo announcing the resurrection, pyrotechnics malfunctioned and the tomb of the recently risen messiah became a bit of a flaming death trap.
kicking open the ‘stone’ door, jesus busts out before churchfolk rush the stage with fire extinguishers to save the day. he lives.
meanwhile, the solo artist didn’t skip a beat – a true example of the old axiom ‘the show must go on.‘
as the supreme court continued its discussion on gay marriage for the second day in a row, again our facebook feeds filled with changed profile pictures and folks combating one another on the validity of such an action.
other folks used their status to decry the ‘unholy contempt being shown for God’s ways‘ (a literal quote) and more than a few posts were made with some political, religious or moral rant for or against homosexuality.
with some of my friends fighting for equality and others fighting to maintain the status quo – each convinced of the moral validity of their arguments – whether based on their interpretation of a religious text, personal ethics, some moral code or a conviction of civil rights and justice – the conversation seems to be causing more division than dialogue.
this morning and afternoon my twitter feed is filled with comments and speculations on the SCOTUS hearing this morning in which the justices held a Q & A with the representatives of the prop 8 case.
of particular interest was justice kennedy’s comment that it may be too early to vote on same-sex marriage as the conversation is taking the court into ‘uncharted waters.’
there was a great deal of speculation on the supreme court’s pending decision in june, and the blogosphere is almost assuredly to be inundated tomorrow and in the days to come with even more speculation than today, from both conservatives and activists for equality in marriage.
‘screaming girls’ was a recurring theme in newspapers around the country during elvis’s stage shows in 1956 and 1957. at nearly every stop on the country-wide tour, girls screamed so loudly that no one could even hear elvis sing. his gyrating hips and shaking leg brought people to a fever-pitch frenzy with hits like ‘jailhouse rock‘, ‘blue suede shoes‘ and ‘hound dog‘.
while today’s pop scene is inundated with fawning fans frenzied over the newest boy bands, justin bieber and taylor swift, during elvis’s reign as the ‘king of rock and roll‘ screaming sensationalism from star-gazers was an intriguing new phenomenon. folks seemed to entirely abandon all reason and screamed hysterically not only throughout the concert – but afterwards.
even after elvis and his band had departed the venue, fans regularly screamed for the king continuously, lingering in hopes of an encore – bringing public address announcers to coin the now infamous phrase, ‘Elvis has left the building!‘ in hopes of dispersing the hyper-excited crowds.
today’s post can be found at patheos.com – here’s an excerpt ::
unity does not demand uniformity.
‘The misnomer that we must agree in order for there to be healthy and sustainable relationship or peaceful and productive dialogue is simply foolish. There will always be different perspectives on homosexuality – in both culture and the church – and to demand a single, uniform voice on a topic as complex as human sexuality seems to me to be as counter-intuitive as it is unrealistic.
Yet I’m convinced this exposed cultural disconnect surrounding homosexuality is merely symptomatic of a broader overarching issue within our communities of faith – Groupishness. The exclusivity of ‘the Other’ has become an identifying factor in many of our churches, in direct opposition to the radical inclusivity of Christ. Drawing lines in the sand on secondary issues has become so crucial to our identity that we’re unfortunately now known more by what we’re against than what we’re for.’