Sunday, November 06, 2005

"That Is What We Are"

Recently a member of that troublesome online species known as a troll -- an antagonistic, disruptive other -- has been tormenting several of my fellow bloggers in the RevGalBlogPals webring. The troll is most unhappy with women in ministry, with the GLBT community, and I'm sure with a whole ain't-it-awful list of other perceived sinners pulled from the Big Book O' Fundamentalist Rants.

I've read some of this troll's posts, and one of his m.o.'s is to hint broadly that anyone who is displeasing to him is endangering his or her immortal soul. His posts are couched as passionate entreaties to turn from one's evil ways[cue the organ music] before it's too late.

Here's what I think of this rhetoric: I think, for at least some people, it is a weasel way of avoiding saying what they're really thinking -- not You may be going to hell, but simply Go to hell. As in: Cease to exist. You annoy me. I do not want to share my planet, or my God, with you, as long as you are who you are -- whether that's a female clergyperson, a gay person, a member of the wrong political party, a member of the wrong ethnicity, someone who crosses herself in the wrong direction or eats bread butter side down, or anything else. The go to hell people are people who simply cannot tolerate the thought of a Reign of God that is not made up only of those who look like them, who act like them, who think like them.

I thought about my friends, and the troll, this morning at church, as we heard the lessons of the day. I fooled you yesterday with my post on the Wise and Foolish Virgins -- we celebrated All Saints Sunday today, so we had a different set of readings, and the epistle was from the third chapter of John's first epistle. It begins:

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

That is what we are. The children of God. For anyone out there who has ever been told that s/he needs to be pushed off the Christianity bus, who has had his or her faith questioned or ridiculed or condemned by a Real Christian [tm]-- this word is for you today. As is Jesus' assurance, in our All Saints Gospel lesson:

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The freed, forgiven, called and empowered sisters and brothers of Christ and members of the household of God. That is what we are. Remember that, always.


LoieJ said...

Beautifully and lovingly written about a hard subject.

Our new woman pastor doesn't seem to be have the trolls circle her compound. Thank God for that.

Sheryl said...

Thanks for that, LC. I've been on the receiving end of that kind of stuff - it isn't easy.I often think about what the world would be like if we actually treated each other like children of God, It's a very nice fantasy.

Lorna said...

it ought not be a fantasy Sheryl.

LutheranChik this was a great and loving post. Thank you :)

Wash Lady said...

This is my favorite post of yours so far.
yes - lots of good points to this post.

LutheranChik said...

Thank you. I get really irritated when people pick on my friends. And I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of who we are in God's eyes; I'm in a book discussion now where the conversation has gotten around to the topic of "self-attack" -- that insidious "not good enough" voice whispering in our ears, leading us to despair if we're not careful.