KEEPING THE FAITH: Take it outside

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 09:56 AM.

One man answered, “Well, preacher, after you left, the neighborhood around us began to change. And we had a decision to make: Dig in, move away, or open our doors to our neighbors. Thanks to what you taught us, we opened our doors.” Kyle’s few years at that little church in the Texas pines as an inexperienced, didn’t-know-any-better-than-to-try seminarian had really made a difference in the lives of the community.

While there is often no room in our religious structures, churches, denominations, or in our hearts for those who are different than us — due to race, gender, nationality, legal status, sexuality or what have you — God has plenty of room in his house and in his heart for all of these, with a far-reaching, outrageous grace that can replace bigotries and prejudices with acceptance and hospitality.

This doesn’t mean we won’t have to fight fiercely for what is right — even fight the intolerance inside of us — ultimately, we are our own worst enemies. But fight we must. Not with clenched fists and angry words, taking up the weapons of the hateful. No, we fight with love, humility, grace, and justice. To contest otherwise is to be defeated before the fighting ever begins.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.



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