Acceptance and Courage

There are those books that you simply can’t put down until you get to the ending, Louise Penny’s novels, for instance. Then there are those books that are so meaty that you can only digest a few pages at a time.  Last evening I sat down with Bishop Curry.  If this black man can speak so eloquently about loving “the other ” after his experiences with prejudice and discrimination, surely I can be more accepting of those with whom I disagree. As he spoke of the tension over homosexuality that threatened to divide the Episcopalian Church when Bishop Robinson, a gay priest,  was called to be the head of all the American Episcopal churches, he said simply, “I had decided that people matter more than any principle.  They are the principle. “ I felt something fall into place as I have been torn on how to respond to the many differences threatening us today.  In Fact, it reminded me of a bumper sticker that said, “What is there about loving your enemy  you don’t understand?”

It’s no secret that I have been very critical of the evangelical and fundamentalist branches of the church.  Not only have I been on the receiving end of vicious attacks by those who felt threatened by women in ministry, but I have always felt that words have real meaning when actions back that up.  So, when he wrote, “evangelism is a word with a lot of baggage that to me simply means modeling Jesus’ love in our daily lives and finding opportunities as a church to share that love,” I silently agreed.  But when he wrote, “contempt is the belief that the person who disagrees with us isn’t just wrong, but worthless,” I had to say, “ouch.”  Once again, I am faced with my own character defects and the importance of accepting others rather than judging them.  Consequently, when he quotes Verna Dozier from her book The Dream of God, I felt reassured.  “We always see through a glass darkly, and that is what faith is about. I will live by the best I can discern today.  Tomorrow I may find I was wrong.  Since I do not live by being right, I am not destroyed by being wrong.”  

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So we come back to the Serenity Prayer.  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  this time empathized with his definition of courage.  “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway!”

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Barbara Stokes
Barbara Stokes
9 months ago

Joyce, ..Which of Bishop Curry’s books have you taken the quotes in this article from.? Their wisdom resonates with me. I’d enjoy reading more. I own a copy of “Love is the Way.” Gamache + Bishop Curry! Words of wisdom in both 🙂

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