I just finished a book written by Anne Perry titled “Shoulder the Sky.” It is a work of fiction which follows a family through their experiences in World War I.
I just finished a book written by Anne Perry titled “Shoulder the Sky.” It is a work of fiction which follows a family through their experiences in World War I. Although it is fiction, I have found many truths in its pages. Truths that are needed just as much today as they were many years ago.
One character describes how he is feeling about the horrors of war and questions his beliefs. He says this to a friend:
“I’ve never been sure what I really believe. I couldn’t bear the thought that it is all random and senseless, or that morality is only whatever our society makes it. And yet if I look at it closely, organized religion has so many contradictions in logic, absurdities that are met with “Oh, but that is a holy mystery,” as if that explains everything, except our own dishonesty to address what contradicts itself.”
“But far worse than that is the insistence on petty, enforceable rules to the exclusion of the kindness that is supposed to be the heart of all of them. If there is a God as the Christians conceive Him, there can be little room for blindness, hypocrisy, self-righteous judgment, cruelty or anything that causes unnecessary pain, and there can be no place at all for hatred. And religion seems to nurture so much of it.”
The first thing that came to mind when I read this was today’s white Christian Nationalism. These folks have decided that their concept of God is the only right one. They believe that they can tell everyone in our country how they should live, based on their own narrow-minded interpretation of scripture. They show no kindness and love for anyone except their own.
While picking and choosing petty, enforceable rules for everyone to follow, they have totally neglected God’s commandment to first love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and then to love your neighbor as yourself. They are demanding adherence to the letter of the law, not the spirit of it. For the spirit of the law and indeed the spirit of the entire scripture, is love.
I pray that in this new year, we will find ways to be truthful, nonjudgmental, kind, forgiving, inclusive and loving. These are the things religion should be nurturing.