Posted in The Grip – August 2, 2012
I have tried my best to stay out of the Chick-fil-A debates over Mr. Cathy’s position on gay marriage via Facebook and other social networks. So far, I have been successful. Many have asked my opinion. Quite honestly, my opinion doesn’t matter. When people ask, “What do you think about that?” I simply respond, “I don’t.” But for what it’s worth, I will continue to eat at Chick-fil-A, because I like their food. I will also continue to buy Apple products (a company that supports gay marriage,) because I think the iPhone is the greatest phone ever. This is all irrelevant to me.
What is relevant to me is this scripture Mark 12:30-31: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
That is it. It’s important that we don’t forget the second part of this scripture. If it is equally important to the first, then that is a pretty big deal. We need to love people. Period. I recently read an excerpt from a church bulletin that pretty much sums up who our neighbor is. Kudos to “Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community” for embracing this scripture in such a bold way:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
There are times I am lovable. There are times I’m not. Don’t believe me? Ask those closest to me. But, I am thankful they still love me and accept me in both conditions. May we discover who our neighbor really is. And, may we all love them as much as we love ourselves.
No other commandment is greater than these.