At annual conference in Arizona, a regional meeting of United Methodists, there was a resolution passed which implored our local churches to have a day of prayer and remembrance for the 26 transgendered persons killed last year in hate crimes. We debated. "What about victims of sex trafficking?" someone asked. "What about battered women?" another wanted to know. "What about desperately poor persons who cannot support their families working two jobs at minimum wage?" a third person said at the microphone. "What about homeless persons?" The parade to our microphone continued as debate raged on. It was a quest to discover what group was most worthy of our prayers on a special Sunday morning in November. It was a litmus test for tolerance. I have a way that we can put everything together and make a strong church statement. Let's designate a Sunday to "Hate the Haters!"
Karen and I served churches where there was one simple vision in the place. As a church, we would accept and tolerate everyone except..... persons who could not tolerate one or more groups of persons who were different than themselves. We were intolerant of intolerant persons. God loves everyone. Some persons make you feel uncomfortable. Get over it and make like the vision statement for our United Methodist Church. Open your hearts, your minds, and your doors! What would it be like if this were not just a saying but it actually became the way we live out our lives?
On January 18 we will celebrate "Human Relations Sunday." What would it be like if human relations Sunday, the acceptance and love of everyone just as they are, was celebrated every Sunday of the year? I would change the name to "Hate the Haters Sunday." I would pledge to never tolerate intolerance!
Confession time. What people or identifiable group or persons make you most uncomfortable? That must be your thorn in the flesh. That must be the seed of your intolerance. Jesus will never tolerate intolerance.