Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking for Truth Despite Stereotypes

Anyone who knows me knows that books are a passion of mine and that I often get more excited about a good book than-well-almost anything.

I'm reading one of those books right now. The title is Big Christianity: What's Right with the Religious Left. I recommend this book for Christians AND non-Christians alike.

For those of us who are not Christian, too often it is too easy for us to brush off an idea as ridiculous or unjust simply be virtue of it being a "Christian" idea. It is too easy for us to lump all Christians into a very narrow category, which really may only represent Fundamentalist Christianity. (Which, although loud and influential in politics due to the media's fear of them, giving them even more power through that fear-my statement, not the books.) It is too easy for us to say something like: "Christians are homophobic" or "Christians are against a woman's right to choose" or "Christians are close-minded" or "Christians take the bible so literally that there is no room for interpretation" or "feminists can't be Christians" or "Christians believe that anyone who is not 'saved' is going to hell." I have heard all of these statements and more as justification for wrighting off all of Christianity as hypocritical snd unreasonable in today's world. This book reminds us that Christianity is far bigger than those narrow statements.

I recommend this book to Christians- liberal and fundamentalist- to remind them that Jesus preached and acted against dogmatic blindness and championed reason and morality both as paths to just action and mindful living.

For such a small book (119 pages), it carries a Big message and a lot of thoughtfulness. I think I'll probably read it at least once more. This time, my own copy so I can highlight it and make notes in the margins instead of just notes in my head.

As a Unitarian Universatlist who has embraced Paganism as well as the teachings of Jesus, often it is hard for me not to criticize Christians- lumping them all into a pot of melting judgemental ideals. Nevermind that my best friend is working toward ordination as a Christian miniter and that most of my family are Christians. As a UU, I am dedicated to the ideals of diversity, justice, equiality, social involvement and personal mindfulness. In that spirit, I must include not just Pagan, Buddhist, Humanist, Hindu, Muslim, and Schientific ideas and ideals into my world of tolerance, but also Christian teachings. I must, as a UU, be open to learning TRUTH wherever it is found.