Kinship

Oct 14, 2019

Recently, I wrote about Father Gregory Boyle and his two books’[1] impact on my life. This week I want to write about his talk from August of this year in Charlotte.  Father Gregory’s point in all that he said was this: to judge is the opposite of kinship. Judgment separates, differentiates us from others, even condemns the other, reduces him or her to less than human. After all God created all human beings in His image.[2] He spoke their existence into being like the rest of creation. We are related to every other human being—all 7+billion of them– because we were all made in His image and share some 99.9% of our DNA,[3] no matter whether we are rich or poor, black or white or Hispanic or any other superficial differences among us. We are all made in God’s image. We are all kin to each other.

 

It is easy to see what condemnation makes of other human beings when we look at the centuries of slavery in our country, when black people were considered less than human by their white masters, where native populations were not considered equal to Europeans. And these judgments, of course, gave our white ancestors permission to treat them as less than human, too. They found justification in the Bible for slavery, too, so they felt they could beat and imprison and separate them from their families and enslave them. Or in the case of Native Americans, take their land from them, march them out west and declare war on them there.

 

Even today many of the white descendents of this slave-holding nation still want to treat blacks and people of other ethnicities as of less value than us white people. This is not God’s plan which is evident in our creation and in how Jesus treated people who were different or foreigners or outcasts of the society of His time. It’s evident in the 2000+ verses in the Bible which talk about helping the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner among us. Jesus was gracious, welcoming, asking what each person wanted, and then giving them the healing, the food they desired. He talked to women, even a Samaritan woman, an outcast of His day which was unheard of. He helped a Roman Centurion. Would we, would I go out of my way to approach such strangers today?

 

So what could this universal human kinship mean to us? That we are all equal before God; that, no matter who we are or what we have or where we live, we all belong to God and that there is a place for each of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, in the kingdom of God, both here on earth and in heaven. This is what Jesus preached. This is the message throughout the Bible.

 

When will we get the message and live this truth? When will we give up our narrow frame of reference, the lens through which we see life, in favor of what God is asking of us. What if every Christian in the world would treat everyone they meet equally? With love? Without judgment? What would that say to the world? Wouldn’t that bring the changes we long for to the way the world works?

 

Will you join me in declaring an end to separation, an end to judgment, an end to discrimination. From this day forward I/we are committed to loving every person on this earth no matter what. From this day forward we will be peace, joy, love and patience, we will be kind, good and gentle, we will be faithful and exercise self-control by setting aside our own needs in favor of helping others.[4] If we will send out this invitation on FB and Twitter and Instagram and all the other social media, if we invite our friends and fellow members of our churches, there could be a real turning of the tide of egotism and caring only for our own. And what a different place this earth would be!

 

Christians total 1/3 of the world’s population, 2.2 billion people.[5] If we shout out God’s love and show it to the world, it will be heard! Let’s do it now!

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Questions to ponder over the week: Do I treat people of different ethnicities/classes/races differently? Am I loving and supportive to some, but not to all? How judgmental am I of other people? Do I forget my own flaws and see only theirs? What would I need to change in me to embrace all of God’s people?

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Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who embrace all human beings, who pour out love to the whole world, not just to some people. May we be love in this world.

 

 

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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 10.15.19s is entitled, “Be still.”

 

 

 

[1] Father Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart and Barking at the Choir

[2] Genesis 1:27

[3]

www.genomenewsnetwork.org › resources › whats_a_genome › Chp4_1

 

 

[4] Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_population_growth

 

 

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