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October 10, 2011 / Mir Plemmons

National Coming Out Day – Come out in favor of Grace!

I’ve been tolerated, and I’ve been accepted, welcomed, embraced. Toleration isn’t nearly enough. I don’t much care what your gender identity or orientation is, as a person. If you really know me, you know. If you don’t, it’s not really germane. It only really matters to the one(s) sought, dated, confided in.

Let me talk about what does matter. Matters, in fact, more than any other axis I can think of: are you for Law or Grace? Do you live to condemn or companion?

I know Pagan people whose official religion doesn’t offer grace, but an all-you-do-comes-back-on-you-thrice hardnose doctrine. Yet they accept each other and almost any group – but Christians. It’s born of wounding, but it’s still a failure of grace I see in almost all else they do!

I know Muslims whose whole rule seems to be “That man is no muslim who does not want for his brother what he wants for himself.” I’ve seen such love and acceptance of so many people shining out of their eyes!

I could continue this list, but I think you get my point. At most decision moments we hit, we have to decide whether to close down or open up. We often get scared, and in our fears shut out another person or another’s thought.

I frame the choice in Christian terms, because it is the Christians in this nation (the USA) who are tearing apart over this issue. Faith or fear, grace or law, acceptance as Jesus did and taught, or the frigid, fearful exclusion of the group Jesus called whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones. Pharisees, using Law to hide from life.

All people, though, have to make these choices. All of us. It’s not a cultural, or a religious, thing. We often use culture and religion to avoid thinking about them, though – haven’t you?

The world isn’t actually scarier than it was 5, 20, 100 years ago. Media sells by using, and manufacturing, fear. Fear you’re not good enough, successful enough, patriotic enough, capitalist enough (and aren’t we told that patriotism = capitalism?).

I’ve been in a country this ruled by fear before. It was the USSR. At the time, I thought our country couldn’t get that bad – but the truth is, we’re very close. All we lack is pervasive secret police. Frankly, that’s our true tragedy. We have done this fear to ourselves, perpetuate it upon our children, and then from that fear lash out at the Other for ridiculous things.

The only cure for this is to counter the fear. Counter the exclusion, counter the ridiculous accusations, speak for not mere tolerance but acceptance. Speak for grace.

We must do this – there truly is a culture war, but pundits are confusing the people on what the real battle lines are. We are in a fight for the soul of this nation, yes. We are in a fight between grace and law, hope and fear, inclusion strengthening us with diversity and exclusion making us feel strong that we’re not “them.”

Be a voice for grace, I beg you. Come out for grace. Come out for acceptance, hope, love, faith, peace…

Come out, come out whomever you are – come out *to* something. Come out in favor of Grace!

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