Isn’t The Gulf a sunny place?
Why did an event over 50 years old walk up and tap my shoulder a few days ago? I mean, what could I say to a fervent “Christian” who judged and condemned me? And right in front of my dad, (as well as, I suppose, the heavenly Father). The correct answer, in my case, as a teenager, was not much.
My judge was a minister of a particular narrow and fundamentalist position. My dad, a cleric of broad mind; an encouraging and enlightened person. With my doom pronounced, there was a seldom seen glimmer of anger in dad’s eyes.
At least it was a sunny day
We were in the lounge in our family cottage on the Isle of Arran during the school holidays. I walked in, and having been introduced, became involved in a conversation about religion. My father allowed and, indeed, encouraged me to read widely on matters of faith and spirituality. His view was I should enquire and choose. This led to a discussion around the similarities between good, saintly people irrespective of their religious stamp.
I argued how to me, a boy of 14 or 15 years, it did not seem sensible that fine, loving people would be condemned at a throne of judgement, because they weren’t Christians. I couldn’t understand, at the time, how following another faith, yet living an excellent life, full of good deeds, should lead to condemnation to hell by God. I don’t get it still.
The furnace awaits
The conversation rumbled on until, eventually, the man, dog-collar and all, stood up, raised his right hand towards me and said, ‘there is a gulf between us.’
I’ll never forget his words, nor his face which, far from showing compassion, bore a stiff mask of stern judgement. My sadness at losing the chance of a debate should not be underestimated. My dad ended my part in the conversation, and I went on with my teenage life.
The heat goes on
I wonder if that man’s judgement of me is akin to some of the major problems we have in our world today. People judging and condemning other people with little empathy and even less compassion. I don’t know how one might resolve our key differences in this crazy world, but I’m absolutely certain that an entrenched hard-line position isn’t where I’d like to start.
Mac Logan ©
I am not advocating or promoting any theology, doctrine or faith. I do believe in the essential goodness Christ. I do not disbelieve in any other faith.