I was clearly worked up in my last post. Those of you who know me know that I get that way from time to time (Daily if I listen to the news)….I realize though that in the post I used the words “god-awful” to describe the tea party, and that it was a little strong. I have no problem being truthful even if it is harsh, but I do not like to be mean. Truly I have no warm and fuzzy feelings towards the Tea Party. While they are a broad and in some ways diverse movement, I find many of them to hate-filled, uninformed, hypocritical in that they do not attack military spending just social spending (which I suppose is why they were not out in full force against Bush), unhealthily attached to their guns (something that simply disturbs me because I honestly hate guns for all the lives they take) and pretty racist. Any movement of people that is overwhelmingly white always sends off alarm bells in my head as I think of the great harms white people have committed in this country’s history, and of our worship of white culture still. All this said I know that the Tea Party is made up of people, most of whom I would probably enjoy having a cup of coffee with. As with most people, I think if we make the effort to get to know each other we will be able to find some common ground, maybe even friendship. As a Christian I know this because this is how we have no enemies…we love all people and therefore we end up liking many of them. I personally know a few Tea Partyer’s and even though my beliefs and values may differ sharply from them, I have to say they are some cool people.
Phil and I went with some friends to see Invictus at the Byrd last weekend and I was reminded yet again about the power and necessity of forgiveness. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison and came out willing to forgive those who put him in there, so that his country could be unified. This reminds me of my own need to love the PEOPLE who make up the Tea Party and forgive them for their hate-filled speech. As someone who cares deeply about social justice I am constantly amazed at how satan works in my life to make me just as intolerant of those who are intolerant towards others. Take Westboro Baptist church as an example. If you have not heard of them they are religious extremists who travel around the country with a message of hate (they are also known as the “god hates fags” church). They landed in Richmond this week. They came to protest in front of a Jewish community center, the Holocaust Museum, and a local high school with an active LGBTQ club. Thankfully our community was rightly outraged, and hundreds showed up to peacefully counterprotest (in fact over $10,000 was raised for these three organizations). As Phil and I read a story about the protests our first reaction was to respond to those from Westboro with the same spirit of hate that they display. We were instantly convicted though. Remembering to walk in the steps of our Rabbi, who always responded in the opposite spirit allowed my heart to open up to those people I do not even know. My heart was able to be broken for them, realizing how much they themselves need God’s love in their lives.
So the point… Where would I be without the Holy Spirit? Where would any of us be? I will probably always be a person who gets upset at injustice and those who perpetrate it. I will sometimes blog and call people “god-awful” and then later that night or perhaps a few days later I will begin to feel the Spirit speak. I will hear about how much God loves me, and that he/she thinks it is okay that I am not a Republican. Then I will hear God speak that he/she loves those in the Tea Party just as much as he/she loves me. That he/she loves Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Tea Partyer’s, Marxists, and Anarchists all the same. I’ll be reminded why when I went to peace marches under the Bush presidency I never felt comfortable chanting “f#%$ Bush” along with some of the crowd, because I knew in my heart that Bush (no matter how dreadful his decisions) was just as much in need of love as those in Iraq. I will be reminded that We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against prinicpatilites, and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12.
The real god-awful spirit is mightily at work in this world. He deceives us all. Thankfully I was saved by grace, and I will be saved by it again tomorrow morning when I wake up. Even harder than learning to accept this grace, is learning to extend it as freely as I received it. This grace requires lots of rethinking…I suppose it always will.