life experience

Pieces of Righteous Indignation

This story comes to us by Word & Way

The story is told of a Caucasian woman who, after boarding a flight from South Africa to England, realized her seatmate was a dark-skinned African man. She was not pleased with this arrangement and expressed her displeasure to a flight attendant.

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The woman said that she was willing to pay for a first-class seat so she did not have to sit next to this African man. The flight attendant walked to the first-class cabin and had a brief discussion with the crew. A few minutes later she returned. She leaned over and said to the African man, “I’m sorry to have to do this. I need to make a seating change. If you follow me, we have a place for you in first class.”

Most of us would likely be embarrassed if this type of incident occurred on a flight that we were on. We would feel sorry for the man for the way the woman was treating him. We would also likely feel a sense of vindication for the man as he reclined back and began to enjoy the benefits of sitting in first class while the woman remained in coach.

We would feel anger, and maybe even sorrow, towards the woman for her outdated thinking about someone of a different ethnicity than hers. We might even voice our displeasure with her. I imagine that most of us would also feel a sense of righteous indignation towards the woman.

Righteous indignation is typically anger and contempt towards someone combined with the feeling that it is our right to feel that anger in the first place. Righteous indignation would be the correct response towards the woman, wouldn’t it? Are any of us willing to think about the fact that sometimes we may exhibit the same mindset, qualities and actions as the woman from the story?

We may not ask for a different seat on an airplane flight. Instead, we move to a different line in the grocery store because we don’t like the kind of person that was in front of us. Or we may say “No, I’ll wait for another elevator car to come” because we don’t want to ride with a person like that. We may not do it because of a person’s race. Instead, we do it because a person doesn’t fit our standards. Or the person looked poor. Or the person just didn’t look like they were worthy of being among us.

In the book of Jonah, the prophet experiences a bout of righteous indignation after the people of Nineveh repent and God spares them. Jonah believes that his indignation is justified. Nineveh was home to the sworn enemies of Jonah’s people. They should not have been given the opportunity to repent in the first place. Jonah’s mind is stuck on the idea that maybe, just maybe, God will not accept their act of contrition and wipe them out. When God does show mercy to them, Jonah is furious.

An indignant attitude is not only a problem for Jonah. It’s a problem we face in the 21st century. We live in a country that says if you are not on our side or do not believe exactly as I believe, you are not only my enemy, but I hope that something goes wrong in your life.

Fortunately, this is not God’s mode of operation with us. God is patient, even with those of us who are not members of the redeemed. That is just the way God is. God’s love does not end with us. It may be more visible to us through the relationship we have with God, but it does not begin or end with us. God wants — no, God implores — us, like Jonah, to reach out to others and to show love to them as well.

God sends us into people’s lives to reinforce that love and to be an example for them to see and follow. This is what Jonah couldn’t bring himself to accept or understand. I pray that we will be more faithful to this shared opportunity.

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Amazing Grace

Have you ever noticed when a phrase or word pops into your mind one day and stays for “awhile”?  I’ve had this experience with “Amazing Grace” the past few months.  I have a bracelet, the first line of the song is engraved all the way around.  The song has been played at a recent funeral and I’ve heard the modern version almost every day on the radio Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone

I don’t know what to make of it; except it’s God sending a message about His love, or it’s like when you get a yellow car, having never seen yellow cars on the road, and now you see one every day!  But I think I’ll go with the former!  Our Father has “amazing” timing!

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Uncategorized

Hypocrisy

“No Religion” is the third largest religious group following Christians and Muslims.

The “unaffiliated category” covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.

Hypocrisy is keeping a lot of people away from the Christian church for a myriad of reasons.  I am in no way an expert and due to chemotherapy I have a terrible memory, having memorized scripture as a child, I cannot bring one to memory.  I’m not the person to have a conversation with regarding the history of Christianity, which IS one of the reasons many turn away.

But hypocrisy seems to be a big player in these decisions to not follow a particular faith.

Believing one thing, acting like or saying something different.  Or vice versa.

Part of my spiritual journey was learning whether or  not I could stand on the foundation of my faith.  Did I believe what I felt and said I believed?  It turns out I do, and I do.

Having been through ovarian cancer, a gigantic tumor removed and chemotherapy received; I feel I have been healed by faith.  I love this little sentence so much, I’m having it tattooed on my wrist.

Granted, there are a lot of reasons for not being involved in a church; but my advice to you — is keep going, trying new faiths, churches, go with a friend, etc.  I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran.  I’m now an Episcopalian with ties to the Catholic church and socialization with my UU’er friends (Unitarian Universalist).

For me, I need to be spiritually fed, believe in my spiritual leaders and advisers, feel I could bring ANY friend of mine to the church and learn more about the magnificence of God!

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holidays

Eastertide

To be honest, I had never heard of “Eastertide” until today, and as a new-to-the-Episcopalian-faith, I wanted to make sure I was understanding it correctly.  It seems to be a beautiful time of celebration. It is based in Christianity & Judaism and although I attend a “certain” church, I do not believe that Christ put his “stamp of approval” on a particular religion.

Eastertide:  Another term for Easter season, the Great Fifty Days. As used in English-speaking churches, “tide” is an old word meaning a festival and its season. For the church, this is, in fact, still Easter. Easter is not meant to be just one sunny Sunday, marked by a hearty meal and pastel hues, but it is, rather, a full season of feasting. Each one of the “Great 50 Days of Easter” ought to be marked and celebrated as Easter. We are called during this season to find some way, every day, to celebrate and feast. We celebrate this great and joyful fact for a full 50 days, because learning what it means to live in the light of the resurrection takes practice.  It takes us 40 days of Lent to really learn that we cannot save ourselves or our world, and it takes 50 days of Easter for us to be gripped and transformed by the fact that God can.

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