Human, no less

Originally uploaded by David R Munson.
Out on a run, trying to keep up miles for the Zinkwazi March Challenge I was hit in the chest, the core of my being with a reality that I was unaware of until that moment. Like a flash, all the ways I fail miserably to love well, to love others, hit me as if a rock were thrown at me by a passing car. If it weren’t for the 2 miles from home I would likely have fallen to the ground and poured out my confession then and there. The irony that I was next to a catholic church didn’t pass me by.

“The New Humanity is about seeing people as God sees them… How you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the Creator. When a human being is mistreated, objectified, or neglected, when they are treated less than human, these actions are actions against God…they are fellow image bearers, they are just like us and when we love them we are loving God.”, says Bell. Sounds simple enough, maybe enough to read over it and miss the implications of this truth. Do you hear it?

It means when I box in the homosexual community that I just happen to live around as the “Gay world,” when the schizophrenic walking down the street is only an oddity instead of a suffering human, when I find myself having more in common with the drunk guys taking notes and ranking features on each gal walking by them, when I simply don’t listen to you as you tell me you’ve had enough with all the bullshit and pain in your life because I’m more concerned about what I am going to say next; it means then that not only do I not love the Creator well, I don’t see you, them, and eventually me as human. To not love you well, them and those others says a lot about how I think and see myself.

It was upon walking in my apartment covered in the stink and sweat of a 4 mile run that I just lost it, tears, knees, face buried in the ground lost it. This isn’t about whether there is a God and why the Christian-right hates the Left, and if Muslims are all Osamas – that all falls to the side when brought face-to-face with my humanity… before the very One who created me human. He didn’t make me a god and he didn’t make me a dog, whale, bird. Human. And part of being human is making sure I don’t try to make you any less so in my eyes.

Ever try that?

It’s harder than you think. It is much easier to box-in, label, give a race, gender, ethnicity than to consider that you are an individual with a story that is unlike any other ever will be and if I listened then I might become more human and so will you.

Now what was surprising to me is that after the tears had their run I got a very real sense that the lack of love-flow was nothing more than me holding back. God doesn’t question my devotion, doesn’t say, “yeah, you suck. But what do you expect from a sinner?” or any of that. He says, “The source is that you hold back and it’s killing you.” It takes a lot of work to damn an ocean and somehow in my bent-ness I was doing just that. Why?

Well, the simplest answer is fear. If I let that ocean have its way then I might just be taken places I don’t want to go, love people I’d rather not. It makes me asks myself, “Who do you most despise?” The honest answer is probably most of the people in this country that call themselves Christians. They can be the hardest for me to love because they tend to be just like me in their hypocrisy, arrogance, self-righteous indignation covered in Jesus kind of crap. And it’s easier to call them a “they” and lessen their humanity until I am face-to-face with him, or her and hear how they are afraid to ask hard questions, too.

To be a part of the New Humanity is to Love well. To do any less is to be less than human.

Now if I could just open up those flood-gates and let it flow….