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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Borders Of Infinity

It was surprising to hear, in an interview with a very prominent preacher, that he'd refused to speak at an interfaith service after 9/11. He was asked to conform to the intended spirit of the occasion, and refused - he felt that he was compelled to preach that being born again was the sole true faith.

And he was proud of himself.

It seems to me that this fellow needed to review the Gospels again. To wit - love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself...on these depend all the law and the prophets.

That's pretty uncompromising. Loving your neighbor as yourself does not include implying to a grieving crowd that those of their loved ones who died "unsaved" are now in hell. One may believe this, as this unnamed preacher obviously did. But having an opinion, even an opinion that defines the basis of one's faith, does not mean that it has to be aired whenever possible.

Especially not to take hope from the bereaved.

Indeed, his position is not necessarily as tenable as he thinks it is. In Matthew's Gospel, after the meeting with the rich young man and remarking that it woukld be easier for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle (the gate in Jerusalem's walls of that name) than for a rich man to enter Heaven, Simon Peter says in some despair, "Who then can be saved?"

With God all things are possible.

All things. ALL.

This includes God rushing to hear the inarticulate, desperate cries of an atheist to something as the walls began to buckle, on that sunny late-summer morning, and showing him a land undreamt-of, where only fears die.

It includes Him putting His Arms around a Muslim, facing to Mecca one last time, and carrying her away to Paradise.

And I hope that includes healing the hearts of the self-righteous, and showing them that His grace is defined and constrained only by its boundlessness.

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