Last week a pal of mind wondered, "How can anyone believe that Jerry Falwell is in Heaven and Gandhi is in hell?"
It's an interesting question, and one that could potentially spark a calm, rational conversation between people of varying beliefs. Or ignite the flames of passionate opinions and, probably, religious diatribe.
My reply to this friend was, "I don't know much about Gandhi, but I did know Dr. Falwell personally, and I know he's in Heaven."
I know this because I know what Dr. Falwell believed. I know in Whom Dr. Falwell believed. Because I believe the same.
Me, Beckie, and Kelley--on our alma mater's seal, 2003. We rule.
Now, I'm not one to write a controversial, pot stirring post. (The mere mention of Dr. Falwell's name seemingly causes people to squirm.)
It's why I don't write about health care reform.
Or being a stay-at-home mother versus a work-outside-the-home mom.
Breast fed or bottle.
Pro Life versus abortion rights.
Red states and blue states.
Gun control advocate or staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment rights.
Attachment parenting or Ferberizing.
Coke or Diet Coke.
Hank Williams Sr. versus Hank, Jr.
Natural nails or acrylic tips.
Target and Wal-Mart.
SPF 45 versus the tanning bed.
Lost or...well...any other television program out there.
The truth of the matter is I know very little about Gandhi. So I'm not one to pronounce that he is "in hell." Oh sure, I'm aware of those in our world who are filled with a piousness to rival the Pope's. Those super holy types who love nothing better than to sit around all day, pointing fingers, placing blame, and declaring, "Well if anyone's in hell, it's _______________."
Here's the deal.
My belief system is firmly rooted in God. Not God, "whomever you deem that to be," as it is politely worded in certain circles. Uh-uh. I believe in God and His Son, Jesus.
Respectfully I ask that you do not call me a Bible thumper. (The Bible I'm currently using is on my BlackBerry. Like I'd thump that modern marvel. Please.) I'm not "religious." I'm not holier-than-thou. In the same vein, I am not some intolerant, ignorant, small-minded, backwoods conservative who can't see the forest for the trees.
I don't have all the answers. And let's be honest here...I don't have many answers, period. Here's what I can attest:
"I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day."--2 Timothy 1:12
Simply stated--I know in Whom I believe and what these beliefs entail. I also know that God "has my back," and is protecting me forevermore.
Do I have strong opinions on controversial subjects? Yes. As I told my friend who pondered about Dr. Falwell and Gandhi, I do have my views. And I don't apologize for these beliefs I hold deeply within my heart, because to do so would be to go directly against my God.
Do I love and embrace those with a different set of morals, worldviews, standards, political and religious beliefs? Absolutely. Because to do so means that I'm fulfilling precisely what Jesus asked of me..."Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31)
I'm not perfect. I've never claimed to be. My feelings are very easily hurt. My tongue has a life of its own. I whine and complain more often than I care to admit. And sometimes I cry to God, "Seriously? Are these people FOR SERIOUS? Will You do something about these people?!?"
Then He gently reminds me, "Child of mine, I love 'these people' just as much as I love you."
And that, my friends, is the only answer I have.
Just thought y'all might need to know where I'm coming from. It's not all about me. Oh, I usually try to keep it centered upon me, me, me. But it's not.
P.S. Thanks, Jordan, for sparking this conversation. You know I think so highly of you...and your intelligence...and your love of Twilight. Dude, did I just out you? xoxo