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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rights are love in action

I remember a friend of mine musing decades ago that there is no such thing as a human "right." Such an idea at the time was a bit counter-cultural, but as we have moved through the years more and more people are seeing it his way. We still have to fight for our right, as the song says, but few people have much energy for those fights unless it is their own right that is being disturbed...

Here in Omaha a few months ago they passed a ordinance in the city that one cannot be fired from a job simply because you are gay or lesbian. People opposed this. Apparently being gay or lesbian around here is a fireable offense. But I wonder what the chances are of Omaha ever extending to gays and lesbians any rights? That is, say, a right to a job, or a spousal (partner) employment benefit? A right to healthcare, housing, and education? Well, it seems, we have to argue for rights first...let's begin!

A right is a way to show God's love this side of heaven. Extending someone a right (say to employment benefits for non-married partners or even marriage itself) is a way to show someone you love them. If I let someone who is not like me do something that I do, I am admitting there are other people who do things I do. Other people NOT like me. So I extend someone a "right" not because they deserve it, but rather because I love what I do (or have, as in the case of marriage.) In other words, the stuff that I value, the relationships I cherish, the freedoms I have, the delusions I cannot live without are valuable only when they can be shared with others who are not like me. That is what love is.

Love is valuable--in a Christian sense--because God shared it with those of us who are not like God. Few of us aspire to ominpotence or omniscience, and the main reason is because God hasn't shared that with us. Have you ever known someone omnipotent? Probably not, and it's hard to have heroes that you've never seen or known. But you probably know someone who's loved...and been loved...

And chances are that love came about because someone granted it to someone else...your grandparents, your friends, even your sister...in other words they gave you a right...they gave you love. A right is God's love in action this side of heaven.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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