This quote from Dr. King keeps coming up in my timeline: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Honestly, this is a quote I adore, and have adored forever, because it is beautiful and succinct and *true*. But it is a quote I am beginning to hate. Because it is misunderstood and misused, and makes love feel so damn *easy*.
This is Jesus as #TheResistance, getting right up in the face of the Kingdom gatekeepers, defending the poor and the weak. This Jesus makes my little liberal heart swell. But then this other story drops in, casually and unwelcome, like a fart in an elevator.
The truth is, the Church has a long history of excluding undesirables, sometimes altogether, sometimes from leadership, and sometimes relegating them to second class status. People whose skin color is the wrong shade. People who are the wrong gender. People who love wrong. We are not nearly as evolved from these first century Jews as we'd like to think.
I love stories. Stories shape our lives. The stories we tell about ourselves define who we are. Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw met your mother? We were outside Dr. Munger's music theory class, first class of freshman year at West Chester. We were all so nervous and excited. Or -- well, at least I was nervous. But your mother seemed so confident. She was chatting up everybody and anybody -- you know how she does -- while we waited for Dr. Munger to get there, like this was nothing, like she belonged there. And I just fell in love with her on the spot. Of course, it didn't hurt that she was cute as a button...
Jesus's message to the power brokers of the day is pretty clearly that he is all outta bubblegum. He is here to announce that change is coming -- indeed, that it is here, that it is at hand -- that there is a new way of doing things, and it is going to disturb their conventions, it will not align with their agendas, and it will flip just about every apple carp of expectation they have ever built.
One frustrating thing about following this general conference from afar is the tendency to view people as issues. They are not. People are people. Treating them as debate points strips them of their humanity and robs the conversation of grace.