I was a little astonished by the overwhelmingly positive and peaceful response to yesterday’s post. I credit that to the working of the Holy Spirit, because when I work alone, I tend to be a lot rougher around the edges. I say this with a lot of humility and embarrassment, that I’ve been cruel and capricious with my words in the past, which – even with the conviction of speaking what is true and good – must always, always be spoken with love.
That is not my native tongue.
I am quick tempered, choleric, enraged by injustice and allergic to inefficiency. Ask my poor children, who live with the most autocratic Lego policeman of a mother you could ever imagine. I don’t like taking the time to make the relational connections necessary to have the harder conversations – I like to jump to the punchline and deliver the logical conclusion like a grenade.
Which is a really, really ineffective way to evangelize, it turns out. Who wants to be exploded upon, turns out?
At any rate, for the sake of full disclosure, I wanted to acknowledge that I have been a cruel Christian at times, too insecure in my own position and too angry at the evils the culture is perpetuating on my sisters in particular. I’ve spoken rashly and used the wrong words. But I beg you to look past those mistakes, if you are willing to, and see the deepest desire of my heart, which is that each of us know and love Christ.
In the sea of positive comments and thoughtful critiques, one in particular stood out to me, and I paraphrase: “I left the church. thanks for reminding me why. You are not my sister.”
Which is not true.
No matter how deeply rooted your belief that a woman should be free to choose to abort her child, no matter how divergent our political ideologies, there will never be a moment when we are not sisters.
Take it from a woman who has 4 of the good ol’ fashioned flesh-and-blood variety, but difference of opinion or even radically-divergent worldviews do not the bonds of sisterhood dissolve.
Particularly when we are united – indelibly, inalterably, inextricably – by the bond of baptism in Christ.
It is so essential that we recognize ourselves in the hearts and faces of “the other” who we oppose. Opposition needn’t mean hate. It needn’t mean rejection and vitriol and violence. It can be hard and it can be messy and of course, disagreement is often painful and our interactions potentially pain-filled…but you will never stop being my sister.
If you kill your unborn baby, you will still be my sister.
If you stand on the highest podium in the land and pledge your allegiance to the warped ideology of modern feminism, pledging hand-over-heart fealty to Planned Parenthood, you will still be my sister.
If you can’t stand the sound of my voice, can’t stomach the words on this page, can’t reconcile the notion that a woman who stands opposed to your worldview can still acknowledge your human dignity, you will still be my sister.
Disagreement needn’t make us enemies. I want to invite you to wholeheartedly consider the possibility that even in profound disagreement and anger, we needn’t be that.
I do not hate women who see the world differently than I do. (Or men, either, for that matter.) That’s kind of the entire crux of Christianity, I think.
And if you are away from the Church, or have never stopped to give it a second look after lapsing in your Mass attendance after college, I beg you to reconsider. There are flawed sinners in the pews every Sunday. None of us are doing it perfectly. But we all hunger for Jesus. And He meets us there in the Eucharist, undeserving and imperfect though we are.
I want to invite you to consider the possibility that He is inviting you there, too. And that He has something to say about your life, about the plans for that life, and about the unique mission He has entrusted to you alone.
Even if we can never come to terms with our differences and even if you never make that trek home, know that you will never be my enemy.