Sunday, August 20, 2006

When Evil Is Perpetrated in the Name of God...

It seems at times that the world is an overwhelming place. On a global scale, it is a violent and unpredictable chunk of life, spinning and going no where. That is how it looks on the outside, and if you were to choose any one place on this planet, some kind of evil is happening there. It could be something as innocuous as white-collar crime, or something as horrendous as genocide. I think that the worse reason for any of it is that often the evil is perpetrated in the name of God, whatever He/She/It is called by the myriads of peoples roaming the earth.

I tell you, God gets a very bad rap when this happens. For humanity to do something in the name of a benevolent and merciful God especially. It is my view that the Crusades were just as heinous as the Holocaust, and that's just one example among many where murder or torture is committed in the name of God. I don't care what you call your God. Allah, El Shaddai, Jesus, Shiva, Buddha...The name doesn't matter. What does matter is the willfulness of the creature--human beings--to commit their evil will in a good God's name. They think that somehow this justifies their actions. Not.

I am not much of a philosopher so don't hit me up for some ontological argument. I like to keep concepts simple. Ok, so here is a simple concept.

The ten diocese and various churches within certain dioceses that can't get a grip on reality enough to know that they are wrong about The Episcopal Church, are perpetrating a willful, controlling evil on the rest of the Church, or at least they are trying hard to do so. The Episcopal majority however sees things more clearly and has a firm grip on reality. Why? Because they are living the Gospel, the very message of Christ crucified and risen again, for all humanity. They make no exceptions; God's grace through Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation and acceptance into His open arms.

Jesus does not give a Continental if you are gay, straight, liberal, conservative, stupid or smart, ideologically blind or spiritually perceptive. If you have accepted Christ into your life, it's a done deal. Christ fulfilled the Law thereby making it perfect and that perfection is evident in the grace He has bestowed upon us all, once for all. End of discussion. Nope, not a peep, because He is the end all, the be all of propitiation for sin...He is THE propitiation...period.

A lot has happened since the turning point in 2003 at General Convention, when the Church finally recognized that all of us are created equal and all are equally loved by God. The Spirit moved men and women to a decision then, and they were led by the Spirit gain in 2006 to another turning point in our Church by the election of Bishop Katharine to be our next Presiding Bishop. God has worked in the lives of women for centuries, since the beginning of time itself. Actually, since before time as we know it when They created us in Their image. And it was very good.

The good that is done in the name of God anywhere is almost always overshadowed by the evil in the world. Yet even out of evil, good can happen. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, I know. But we also have to remember that nothing is impossible for God...nothing. Early on when I began this blog I mentioned something similar in phrase. And I also quoted the part of the verse "nothing is impossible for God" and I said this is so, not because Scripture tells us so, but because the word "nothing" is not in God's vocabulary. I am always assured and encouraged when I read a plaque that my grandmother gave to my mother before I was born. It is a verse that I always come back to even in the darkest moments of my life:

"And we know that all things work together for good, to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". Romans 8:28

To know that all things--even the very worst things we know or imagine--will work out for good is a hard thing to believe when we see what goes on around us from moment to moment, in our own communities or in the greater world.

No one will ever truly understand why a father would commit murder-suicide with his eleven year old son, causing the rippling grief into two families, just to make a statement to his ex-wife. Nor will we understand why a nutjob, alleged man of Allah, would plot to kidnap two Israeli soldiers and get more than he bargained for and, in the process, cause the misery of innocents on both sides for his own selfish political gain.

It will never make any logical sense for these two scenarios or any of the other thousands of incidences that play out ever moment of every day all over the world. But to blame God for the actions of self-promoting, power-hungry people...well, that's plain stupid and wrong. We who know that God is not to blame, well we just have to show the rest of the world what God is really like by our lives and our words, our actions and our thoughts. We are the examples, we are the representatives of the true, living, life-giving God, and it's our job to be His/Her ambassadors for good. But perhaps more than that, we need to show the world Christ, the real, the merciful the pure, unblemished, the all accepting Son of God and display His grace to all.

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