Sunday, February 10, 2008

...from the apprentice years of the Little Monk... 03/22/07

I. You are always on call

(when the little monk didn’t want to be inconvenienced)

Such a simple phrase, so much meaning! While most of society hasn't taken the vows of the Little Monk, and have not voluntarily said they would always be on call, I think that it still applies- we are always on call, there's always someone who will see your actions or hear your words, always someone who's life you will impact whether or not that was your intention, just as there is someone who will do or say something without even thinking about the repercussions it might have in your life.

Everyone that I do and don’t meet has an impact on my life, who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. They might not know that their very presence- or lack of- helps to shape my being.

Who has shaped you? Who have you shaped?

II. Better to pray for others than to judge them

(When the little monk’s nerves were being tested)

As important as it is to understand what you're doing, I think it's also important to understand the why and the how of it, and be genuine in these answers. The college experience comes to mind, for me. I went to a private, religious school, and there were numerous faith-based groups on campus, some of them very vocal and boisterous about preaching their beliefs to the student body, at any expense. This caused a lot of controversy on campus, especially when one of the groups began to pray for the souls of students outside of their dorm rooms because they "lived in sin".

Let's take a look-

WHAT: praying (publicly forcing others to be exposed to their beliefs)
WHY: because it went against what their religion preached (the students felt it was their job to judge the "sinner's" soul and save it)
HOW: passively protesting (and alienating the students who did not choose a lifestyle that fit their "rules")

These students felt they were being good Christians, showing everyone that they were strong and secure in their beliefs, hoping to bring more people to their belief system.

To someone questioning their faith, their beliefs, how did these "prayerful students" witness to the community? They alienated those who were different, they passed judgment without understanding, and they flat-out hurt a lot of people. As an outsider, why would you want to be involved with that kind of community? They let their need to make a statement tarnish their intent. As it is, they created more of a rift between the communities, students felt the need to either keep their “self” a secret or to come back strong and choose sides, resulting in very hurtful and hateful events.

People, protestors, pastors- they all say “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

I say “love the sinner, accept the sin” because it’s not our place to judge. Hate is a strong word, and if the “sin” is just as much a part of the person as their left arm, how can you separate that?

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