One day not long ago I was walking with a friend back from lunch. We randomly encountered her husband at a stop light and I got to witness a chance kiss, thanks to a light that didn’t change. Tonight I witnessed a wedding of one of my daughter’s best friends and the inevitable kiss that was entirely not random. I know these people and have great affection for these people..I am not really an optimist about humankind (why I really can’t be classified as a modern liberal), but acts of love give me hope (and in a subdued side-note, make me quite happy).
Veering off somewhat, but I will get back to the above…
I have heard talk all my life about how we are the greatest country that ever existed. I believe such talk is fatuous because no one has lived in every country that ever existed, and to iterate the obvious, not too many years ago the city in which I reside was ruled by apartheid, and a hundred years before that we considered black people sub-human and not eligible for that ‘all men are created equal’ business. But, I hasten to say – I will put our Declaration of Independence and Constitution against any document, written or unfurled by law, and I will never believe it’s a fair fight. The rule of law, which does exist in many countries, was the basis of this country’s independence, and enabled this country to survive lawmakers whose behavior was beyond any law devised by any country outside of dictatorships.
Veering back slightly to the original paragraph..
I was raised on religion. There was spirituality sprinkled in there (not literally..we were C of C full immersion), but the church I attended and the school I attended often got lost in the rules and missed the point. This is not intended to be an attack on either, but my bigger point is that religion is man-made artifice and spirituality is something else all together. Ask a recovered addict what rule about dancing or issue about music in church got them through the tunnel. Proof-text is the dance of pinwheels on angels, but attacking spirituality or Christianity (or any ‘brand’ of worship) based on the nonsensical hate-filled horror show that the religious side show has perpetrated on mankind is missing the mark. Just as stating that America’s ideology and basis for governance is invalid based on the fact that many of our forefathers/mothers were slave-owners or accepted slavery as the righteous way of life. The rule of law endures all things.
I’m a long way from where I was, but I will put up these words against any creed or religious teaching in the world:
Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked who is your neighbor, I will extrapolate and tell you that your neighbor may be a Muslim, an illegal immigrant. My neighbor may be Sarah Palin or a red-neck bigot. That guy over there has a neighbor who hasn’t bothered to learn English and my other neighbor might be the son of Jerry Falwell. I find it hard to like those neighbors, much less love them, but the radical rule of law that is espoused by Christianity is that all these people are my neighbors, (damn it!) and I need to treat them like I want to be treated.
Even better – and I’d like to see this piece of poetry go head to head with any heavyweight doctrine in the world:
Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous..it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things AND endures all things. Love never fails.
We fall short..we see that kiss…We see hope and we still get it wrong ever so often. But I want to live in a country where all men are created equal. Where life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is paramount. Where I am treated by people who don’t like me, the way I want to be treated. I want to live in that place where love will strip you to the marrow and lift you on the shoulders of giants.
Thanks to the people in love I have cited above..you know who you are..