I've spent time in churches where they would preach against Islam, and really mock that faith. Or where they'd What are we to do with people who profess to be Christians and at the same time, are anti-Islam or anti-gay?
Well you can't take people where they don't want to go. So the really sad truth is, for some people, it just works for them where they are. It just works. And ... generally, without experiences either of great pain, or encounters with another who is so totally unlike, or travel -- some experience in which you are so totally yanked out of your particular world, we generally stay where we are in terms of consciousness and orientation and perspective. So, that to me is one of the great questions . .. Jesus uses this phrase in a lot of his parables: 'For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.' A friend and I have been doing a bunch of work on this: it's actually a statement about consciousness. It's almost like a couple thousand years ago, he's going, 'Ok some people are in certain places where they just can't hear it.' Their consciousness is in a particular place where unless they experience great pain or great difference or it no longer works for them and they MUST go searching for a new way to orient the world, they will continue to hold on to this. And the for me, the challenge then is to be loving to those folks. THAT is the really hard thing. In my demand for tolerance I easily slip into being the very kind of person ... 'You have to be more tolerant! I just can't tolerate you if you're like this!' And then going back to your question, maybe two questions ago, there are a number of us who are very interested in the Christian faith changing and being a different kind of presence in the world. And we're willing to give tremendous energy to this.
Well, what if when people said 'church,' the first thing they thought was, 'Church? that's an unquestionable force for good in our world. They feed people who are hungry, they tutor kids who need to learn how to read, when you've gone through great trauma they welcome you -- wherever you're at, they welcome you, end of discussion -- and it's a safe, free place where there is love. You can be who you are, you will be loved exactly as you are, you will hear really beautiful and inspiring truths.' You know, it's possible to change the adjectives. Often times it takes one person. You have a label for a whole group of people, and then you meet somebody who is not like that, and then you're like, 'Crap! now I gotta change -- now I can't just make that broad sweep.' ...There are a lot of fresh voices that are interested in a new sort of Christian faith. My wife and I started our church because we thought, 'There must be a better way to do this -- I cannot accept that this is it.'
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