Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bishop Gray will be at St. Philip's today to confirm and receive new members. One of my new friends from the Dream Group is being received, which makes me feel like I had a tiny part to play in her decision. I always look forward to the Bishop's visits and sermons. In yesterday's Clarion Ledger he had a column in the Religion Section that I liked, so I'm posting the whole thing here. It was another of those serendipitous blessings I received after spending time with my unhappy neighbor.

We are a people quick to make judgments about motives, character

The Right Rev. Duncan M. Gray III

Special to The Clarion-Ledger

Next week our long presidential campaign will be over. As this country, collectively more weary than the candidates themselves, passes that civic milestone, serious and prayerful thought should be given as to why we seem incapable of a serious and reasonable debate about any matter of substance.

Each of the candidates promised a different kind of campaign, and yet as the campaign's finish line appeared over the horizon the emotions, not the mind, became the target of ads and the demonization of one another became the norm.

I suspect that these campaigns are only reflecting what we know to be the case in so many parts of our own lives. We have become a people quick to make judgments about one another's motives, sanity or moral character when we disagree with an action taken or decision made.

It seems as though it is emotionally easier, if not morally less mature, to discount the other as unworthy than to have to address our disagreements as two imperfect human beings, each struggling to do our best with less than perfect truth at our disposal.

On my desk is an old Vermont saying: "Don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance, incompetence or stupidity."

It's a pretty good rule of thumb by which to negotiate difficult moments.

But better, I think, is the apostle Paul's words that though one day the fullness of all things shall be revealed, until that day we all "see through a glass darkly" (1 Cor. 13:12).

We all have imperfect knowledge and live with imperfect choices.

How much better would our common life be if we sought less to find the soil on the soul of the other and worked harder to discover the image of God in the one with whom we most passionately disagree.

Update: Here's the Dream Group, the Baby Episcopalian is front and center. Welcome, Yvonne! I hope you enjoy your new spiritual home and find it as nurturing as I have.

Photo by Bob Rall or Jim Carrington, not sure which one made this shot. They were both shooting at the same time.

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