An FB friend directed me this morning to the blog of Donald Miller, of Blue Like Jazz fame (I really enjoyed that book). He wrote about doctrine vs. love. "We commonly think that the Evil One wants us to teach bad theology," he writes, "and I suppose he does. But what he wants to do more is to have us teach right theology in a way that devalues human beings, insults and belittles them, and so sets them against the loving message of God."
I again am sent back to conversations with some of my fundamentalist, conservative Christian friends. Friends with whom I generally agree on doctrinal issues. But I am often so saddened by the condescension and contempt they seem to have toward the doctrinally unsound.
I almost wrote "those they disagree with" rather than "the doctrinally unsound" in that last sentence, but I changed my mind. I'm wearying a bit of the pussyfooting we do about such stuff. There are things that people believe which I think are just simply wrong. They aren't matters of interpretation or fuzzy, gray areas. Those are out there, too, but in some cases, people are just flat-out wrong.
However . . . their wrong-ness does not make them deserving of my scorn.
I have watched a wonderful thing happening in my eldest this year. One of my original concerns about homeschooling was the fact that she would be limited in the kinds of people she had significant contact with -- a good and a bad thing, actually. Nevertheless, that is no longer an issue now that she's attending public school. Her friendships run the gamut now. And I've been pleased at the results.
From what I can see, she's made wise decisions about those with whom she associates most closely. She has made friends with kids in all the various "groups" and seems to be accepted by them all. Her comments about what she sees happening in class around her show great insight into people and their social interactions and inner lives.
But what I'm most pleased about . . . she tells me about kids in her class who are not necessarily "good kids". Kids who curse, who don't follow the rules, who don't care about school, who get in trouble a lot. And she tells me what they're really like. He's witty, mom. She noticed I needed a pencil and offered me one. She's smart, she just doesn't understand why school is important. Nobody else noticed, but he was really sad, today -- I wonder why. I don't like what they do, mom, but I really like them.
She looks at them not with contempt, but with compassion. Like a man a couple millenia ago who was called a "friend of publicans and sinners" -- and called that by contemptuous, condescending Pharisees. I bet that man is as proud of my daughter as I am.