Tag Archives: mercy

People are People

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the boxes we put ourselves in and the labels we put on those boxes. 

It’s somewhat amazing that in an era where we devote so much time to ensuring diversity in everything we do, that we actually end up driving people farther and farther away from one another.

My favorite incidence of this phenomenon this week is the idea that no white woman should have the audacity to wear hoop earrings. In case you didn’t know, those are apparently reserved for black women, and it’s wrong for white – or any other non-black woman I suppose – to appropriate black culture.

Huh?

If this is where we’ve come to in our culture wars, it should be clear that not one of us on this planet gets it. By sharing culture – music, art, fashion, food, and yes, even jewelry – we bring ourselves closer together and ultimately can find peace with one another.

Our love affair with technology often takes the blame for the social distance of the modern era. After all, it’s easier to say what we want to say (i.e., be insensitive to anyone and everyone) from behind a screen. There’s truth in that – I know I’m guilty of saying things online I’d never say to a person in the flesh. Who isn’t?

But self-separation really isn’t as new as the latest tablet or phone. We’ve been doing it forever really, so it makes sense to think people are farther apart than they’ve ever been. Society decides who they don’t like, and then they pounce. When we don’t know the type of person we’re attacking, it’s easier to stereotype and “normalize” ostracism. 

I’m pretty sure that now a days, no one really wants equality. Every “group,” be they women, religious, atheist, blacks, gays, trans, hillbillies, millennials, hipsters, liberals, conservatives, married, single, etc, etc, wants to claim some level of superiority over everyone else. Like it or not, equal DOES mean all lives matter. Even unborn ones, old ones, and dare I say it, Muslim ones.

I’ve become sensitive to this lately watching my husband maneuver through life. He is a middle-aged white man. With a beard, who likes coffee, and working outdoors. He goes to church, owns guns and trucks, and likes big dogs. He grew up on a farm and understands American laws at all levels. I guess you could say he’s the guy everyone wants to hate and blame these days.

But like anyone else living under any other label, there’s more. He works long hours at a job he’s good at, but, like so many, he is disrespected everyday. He struggles with his own health issues. He supports our family financially to the point of exhaustion. He’s all about “girl power,” being the biggest cheerleader our two tween daughters have, urging them to strive to be all they can be. He fights the system where he sees it failing people, especially kids. He provided extraordinary end-of-life care for both is his parents, and had been rock solid in love and support for a wife plagued with illness and depression.

Maybe he’s not so bad after all. Like a lot of other plain white bread guys I know, he’s working hard at life with absolutely no time to worry if someone is black or white or yellow or green or purple. Yeah, he’s worn and broken in spots – just like EVERY LAST ONE OF US. 

So it’s this simple : people come in all shapes, sizes, colors and conditions. We’re all here for a reason and we all count. People who do wrong should faces consequences – not because of their “type” but because they have somehow hurt another.  What we should be doing is encouraging one another to do right – in though, word and deed. Because in the end, we are all the same. 

Who would have thought that in our modern, enlightened world that we’d still have trouble understanding this?

Surprise! No Big Surprises

Well, he did it. Many were afraid he would not, but he did.

Today, with the much anticipated release of his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis confirmed the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion, same-sex marriage, contraception, pre-marital sex, and just about every other sex-related issue facing families.

It seems there may still be a tussle over divorced Catholics receiving the Eucharist at Mass, but that situation may be resolved by some changes to administration of the annulment process.

But there is a bigger picture to Amoris Laetitia it seems. Some would say it focuses on mercy to sinners, and with that, it could be a lessening of what is sinful and what isn’t.

From what I have seen and read so far, I see it to be about humanity. The Pope is not so much saying we should accept sin, or deem some sins to be less harmful. What he’s saying is that human beings are not perfect creatures. We are predestined to sin, like it or not, and when it comes to matters of family, those sins often lead to some odd and untraditional situations, i.e., single-parent families, abortion, child and spousal abuse, children being raised by grandparents, gender confusion in young children, and so on.

Francis stresses that ALL people are welcome within the Church. This is also stressed in the Chatechism – and it should not surprise anyone, especially not Catholics. We welcome homosexuals within the Church. Catholics do not believe same-sex marriage fits our definition of marriage. But just like someone who struggles with sins like fornication, gluttony or envy, those who face homosexuality are welcome to be active Church participants.

All people who are part of the Catholic Church face challenges when it comes to following Gods word. That goes for priests, nuns, bishops, etc. We all sin. God knows that we will and he allows us the prerogative to do so if we wish. What he does not allow is for us to decide something is not sinful because it’s become popular, or considered to be hard to resist.

What God offers us is forgiveness, if we are truly attempting to live as his children, and are truly sorry for our transgressions. Just as God can and will forgive sins like fornication, adultry, homosexual sex, divorce, abortion and abuse, we also must accept all sinners into the Church fold to allow them to repent and grow in Gods love. If God does not judge, nor should we, who are also imperfect by His design.

God welcomes all types of families into His Church. He realizes that in our imperfect world, miracles and goodness can rise from our mistakes and missteps – much the way children who grow into loving adults, can come from unusual relationships.

The Catholic Church has “rules” which have purpose and reason. As Francis has shown, no matter how much the secular world demands, they will not change. They are rooted in love. But we imperfect humans must take into account the reality of humanity in order for those rules to work in all lives.