I love humanity -- it's just people I can't stand. -- Linus VanPelt
I don't know why I've suddenly fallen under a cloud of negativity -- I mean, people, in four days I will be in Florida, reaquainting my skin with sunlight, watching God's good gift of palm trees sway in the breeze and cavorting with princesses and giant mice -- but these days it seems I encounter a spiritual buzzkill everywhere I turn.
Including the latest issue of The Lutheran . There's the usual crabby letters-to-the-editor commentary, of course, and one chuckleheaded critique of incense in church as a "pagan" practice that made me laugh. But what really disturbed me was the reader feedback for this article , about the daughter of a synodical bishop who converted to Judaism and is now studying to become a Reform rabbi.
Now, I'd love to have a rabbi in my family; partly because I need all the help I can get, and partly because I frankly like the way that Jews do Torah and do questions of ethics. But I can't believe how many respondents to the Lutheran article think that the bishop's Jewish daughter is going to be drop-kicked into H-E-Double-Hockey-Stick, and that spotlighting this unique family in anything other than a negative manner is wrong.
I know that it is human to feel rejected when someone rejects something you love. I also know that denominational attrition is a sore subject in many Lutheran homes these days as younger generations "leave the reservation." And, more importantly, this story of one family's spiritual diversity begs the question, Why Christianity? But the seeming attitude of the negative respondents seems to be rooted in what amounts to Pascal's Wager -- that if Christianity is the One True Faith, then you'd better get with the program or else.
If that's the reason we follow the Christian path -- to keep the perceived divine gun to our heads from going off -- then we're a particularly pathetic tribe of human beings. And we'd better stop patting ourselves on the back for being the ones who know all about God's love and grace.