After my epiphany several weeks ago I have been pondering the message of Christianity and my life as a Christian.
There are many who wish to make the enduring message of Christianity complicated by reading in their own biases and the biases of centuries of theological thought into Christianity meaning. They wish religion to be glory for all whom think and believe as they do, and damnation for all those outside the mainstream of their thought. If you want an image of what I speak of think of the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live.
It seems to me, and I do not claim any theological training or deep understanding, that the essential message of Christianity can be summarized is the following statement, which I learnt from The Book of Common Prayer.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37‑40
We mortals cannot and should not be the judge of our fellow man or women, as to whether they saints or sinners. We must accept them, as we accept ourselves as children of God.
We are all or have been guilty of this. We have commented that so and so is not properly dress to attend church—I too have thought and stated as such. How can he be a Christian, why as a teenager and a young man he bedded every available women in town. How dare her to believe her kind are permitted in the house of god. My God how disrespectful, why she is barefoot and wearing no bra. How can they be here in church why they are gay.
All of these and some even worse have been uttered by Christians, who have spent way too much time searching for this passage or another to justify their dislike, their biases.
I must confess, to Almighty God, that I too have been guilty of these judgments.
In recent years I have come to realize it is not for us mortals to judge, but that judgment alone is reserved God. For those who accept God, who accept Jesus, who acknowledge our manifold sins and wickedness we have taken the first step in eternal life after death. But we do not know, not does any mortal know whom God chooses to join him and his son.
I also believe being pious alone does not guarantee eternal life; rather we must live a life in which we love God and our neighbor. Our neighbor regardless of whether we approve of their dress, or deportment, whether they share our beliefs, or their lifestyle; each is a Child of God and deserves our love.
This may sound simplistic, but we do not need to make religion overly complicated. Jesus gave us an easy example to follow; he offered simple guidance on how to live our lives. The choice is shall we live our life according to the simple guidance of Christ or rather shall we live through the prism of biases. In the end the choice is ours, but if we follow the example of Jesus we will follow the correct path.