Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Surprising words from a surprising source

Glenn T. Stanton, a self-professed member of the Religious Right, has some very good things to say about all of human experience being meaningful. He looks well beyond being pro-life in the anti-abortion sense to being pro-human and loving our neighbor and our enemy. He asks:
What if there were a movement dedicated to the question, What does it mean to be human?
Here are some excerpts from his thoughts:
We must become students of humanity. We must become humanists: people who are unreservedly committed to human life at its fullest, and people deeply pained by human life at its worst. Yes, someone from the Religious Right said we must become humanists...

The Incarnation is the center of the Christian story, summed up by Jacob Handl in the 16th century:
God has become human.He remained what he was, and what he was not, he became, suffering neither confusion nor division...

The Incarnation is a heavenly declaration that humanity—both flesh and spirit—matters. Humanity matters because what God creates, becomes, and is seeking to redeem cannot escape our fascination...

The Incarnation means there are no small lives. All of human experience is meaningful. And while the Incarnation may be a distinctly Christian doctrine, it is also the doctrine that commits us most completely to seeking the common good of our non-Christian neighbors. We serve a God who created our humanity, weeps at the fall of our humanity, became our humanity, and is redeeming our humanity...

It's worth reading the complete article all the way to the end where he gives a poignant illustration of incarnated grace. His thoughts echo a nagging question I've had about those who are committed to upholding the sanctity of life. Does the concern stop after the birth of the baby? It just makes sense to me to keep going. Can't we extend our care to the whole span of human life--and even beyond--to care for the environment and all that God created? (No wonder I have such trouble finding a candidate to vote for! Our political parties seem to favor one concern over the other.) I appreciate Stanton for "coming out" on this. His words are welcomed.
photo credits: Will Bragg and cicadas


Blogger Susan said...

Ugh. This is a tough one for me. My prayers lately have been "Please help me to love humans in the same way I love animals, plants, rocks, rivers, lakes, seas, stars ..."

I don't know what it is, but I have a hard time loving humans across the board. I can do it for any other living creature, including bugs and worms that I take great pains to save from untimely deaths around the house and sidewalk.

I've thought about it and I think I have this idea of non-human life as innocent and obedient to God's laws in all their actions. My husband disagrees and gives the behavior of our dogs (at rare times) as proof of "no innocence". I don't know - I think there is room for playfulness and survival in the scheme.

But, I just don't have enough patience with humans. Not all, just some. Not for any particular group, race, political party - just some that are cruel or whiners or who don't respect all of God's creations as a precious gift.

So, I don't know what to do about this except keep trying to understand, protect my energy and boundaries, and remember that God rains water and provides for everyone, no matter what their opinions or nature. He even does it for me!

3:47 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Susan, I love your honesty. It breaks through the stale air of pretense and is a gift within community! And we don't have to like all humans or agree with them, just have to love them. That is the test, isn't it? How to best love the difficult one while keeping the community safe and viable for everyone else.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I'm still looking for a way to "feel" it. I can theoretically love the toughies, but it's all in my head that way. The best I've been able to do is try to imagine them as children, or as God sees them, but whew! - it can be hard.

3:26 PM  

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