I do not eat with MAGA morons. I do not eat with white supremacists, sexists, misogynists, chauvinists, racists, fascists, xenophobes, homophobes, evangelicals, or anti-Semites.
Trump does. I don’t.
I eat with respectable people.
Why do you eat with deplorable people—sinners and scum and such? the Pharisees asked Jesus.
He answered with a story. Well, actually three. (Luke 15.1—32)
A shepherd had 100 sheep. One got lost. The shepherd searched high and low until he found the missing one. He brought it home. The lot was restored, complete, whole. Everybody was happy.
A women had 10 coins. One got lost. She searched high low until she found the missing one. She returned it to its place. The lot was restored, complete, whole. Everybody was happy.
A father had two sons. One went missing, lost in debauchery. The father did not go searching. (A child is not a sheep or a coin.) The father could only wait, like so many other parents.
Every morning and evening the father searched the horizon.
Then one day the missing son came slouching homeward, beat, bedraggled, ashamed. His father ran and embraced him, bedecked him in finery, and threw a party. Everybody was happy—except for one person.
The father noticed his older son missing—the son who had remained home, working the fields faithfully and tirelessly. Unnoticed.
The father went searching for his missing son.
Please come in to the party, son. Your brother was lost, but now is found. Let’s rejoice!
But the son refused. He rebuked his father for showering extravagant, prodigious love on one son while neglecting the other.
It happens. A lot.
Parents, institutions, societies, and nations are flawed, fallible, and sinful. They favor some and neglect others. People get hurt, angry, resentful.
The father returned to the house but left the door open. And that’s where the story ends.
Why do you eat with deplorable people?
That’s why. To open a door.
It’s easy to carry a lost sheep home. It’s easy to put a lost coin back in a purse. But it’s not easy to bring angry people back into community, to make the broken whole.
People can’t be coerced.
But they can be loved.
Building a beloved community is hard work. It’s very hard and maybe impossible.
Sometimes all you can do is open a door and make room for one more at your table.
* * *
Such an important message! I have 2 high school buddies who became Trumpers. We communicate online. I don’t preach to them tho they like to say how awful Biden is. But I also don’t shut the door. (I’ve been tempted to).
If this country is ever going to heal, we have to allow the possibility.
We have folks in our church who are way out on the conservative end of the spectrum regarding diversity in all its many forms. Methodists are “addressing” lgbtq+ issues at this time. Not very well imho. i keep asking where is the all inclusive branch. There must be more than the new Global Methodist (conservative) and the existing United Methodists(I am not seeing a change in inclusion there save for some lip service). I am asking about a third all inclusive option…meanwhile in study groups, in church , in the community – we sit down with those who think women are the servants to men, are racist, sexist and homophobic. Who say “never in my church “ – we are hoping to make a change. I know how I will vote and if this little church remains as it is my feet will vote and i will move on. To a place or “community” where my beliefs and convictions are validated. I don’t have a lifetime left to look the other way. On another note my son and I are remembering a young man from Shepherdstown who found Advent too dark a time to continue on a couple years ago – we all miss him. Remember those around you who may not find Christmas a joyous time.
The story of the lost son has long captivated me. It intrigues me that the father, while his son was a distance from him, “saw him and was filled with compassion”—before the son’s rehearsed speech of sorrows and confession. The father opened his heart before the son opened his mouth. He saw beyond “the respectable” and instead perceived the lovable. The same held true for the angry son. It is a glowing example of unconditional love and understanding. Brene Brown remarked, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in.” That is the human challenge, difficult as it is—to go deeper, “move in” and be “filled with compassion”.
You get at the heart of the matter in a way we can easily see. And remember. Even if it is a really hard lesson to learn.
Very insightful message, thanks! Yes, let’s keep the door open!
The “open door” communicates intent to the ones who have not stepped through: “Enter; you are welcomed and loved.” YOU are loved, not necessarily your behavior that has been motivated by shame, fear, anger, and/or pain. If we all support “moving through” then we just might get to “moving in”, as Mr. Neumark and Ms. Brown so beautifully remind. Thank you. More bridges, not walls.
I too believe in leaving the door open. What we can’t expect is to see anyone from the other side of the aisle darkening the entrance. I heard a “moderate” Republican congressman interviewed this morning who obfuscated, deferred, ducked, bobbed, and weaved rather than distance himself from a former POTUS, who stated on Saturday, using his own bullhorn, that The Constitution should be tossed out along with the bath water to allow him too be illegitimately reinstated as president. And this was after persona non grata, sat down to dinner with an avowed white nationalist, and a Hitler admiring rapper. Yes, leave the door open, but realize that everyone who walks in may not be acceptable. Remember. “We maintain the right to refuse service.”
Thanks as always for your messages of love. Thanks for reminding me of the work I need to do in my own self. It is very hard for me to accept folks motivated by hate.
The thing I have trouble abiding is the defiance. I think it was probably Bakari Sellers a couple of days ago who said the difference between poor Black people and poor white people is that poor white people believe they don’t deserve to be there. Even during the Trump years something or somebody was preventing them from having the wealth that should rightfully be theirs in this white Christian nation. Some of us are stealing from them for “welfare” and also trying to change the country’s morals in order to further put them out of the mainstream. It is hard to feel charitable toward those who are so angry and disdainful and blameful and bigoted. One party in this country has distilled into a little rancid puddle of racism. There are fewer all the time identifying as Republican —-it is embarrassing, and they can’t honestly argue that economics or morality is their backbone anymore. It is racism. But even though I think things are moving in the right direction it is hard to counter the effect of Wyoming having the same number of senators as New York. The will of the majority on gender issues, abortion, minimum wage does not prevail.
Thank you…such an important reminder & concept. Keeping the door open – to the possibility of the power of LOVE & COMPASSION; LIGHT & REDEMPTION is really what this life seems to be all about. None of us is “done” yet – works in progress… we have the power to keep our hearts & minds open, still discerning the truth…& sometimes it is easy; sometimes so challenging. And when the lite shines – our open heart recognizes & can cherish the beauty & still know that the dark & ugly exist… choosing over & over to empower the beauty; trying to remember not to give away power to the ugly forces. Thanks again to everyone here… connecting.
Beautiful! Thank you!