How we treat our critics is the clearest indication of our theology. From “If God is Love.”
Last Saturday two friends and I went to the Women’s March in Concord, NH. It was glorious, inspiring and heartwarming to see so many women, as well as men and children, with messages on signs as diverse as the people. Many issues, yet, one hope.
At one point, I noticed several women standing quietly with their signs on the outskirts of the crowd close to the street. From their signage, one saying ‘Pray to End Abortion,’ one could infer they were evangelical social conservatives. It gave me pause to see them there. Then, I knew clearly what I needed to do. Simply, welcome them.
So, I approached, extended my hand, smiled and introduced myself. “I’m Rev. Stephanie Rutt. I’m an interfaith minister and just wanted to say I’m glad you came today. I feel it is so important that women with all different points of view can stand together.”
The first woman remained silent but looked at me with what seemed a mix of surprise, slight suspicion and even a bit of fear. The next one I approached seemed genuinely glad and open. She smiled and I instantly felt we could have gone for a cup of tea. The last woman seemed slightly preoccupied with her cell phone but was courteous. Hummmmmm, I thought. Just like us. As the morning went on, I imagined how good it would have been if one of the speakers had acknowledged and welcomed them. If not, I thought, what’s the point?
I am not naïve. I am fully aware that, given the opportunity, many on the religious right would institute a theocracy based on their religious beliefs instead of supporting a democracy encouraging the freedom of expression of all religions. Yet, if we hunker down on our side of the line and portray them as the enemy, how is progress toward a one America, indeed a one humanity, ever to be made? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that someone has to be willing to stop the cycle of hate – and there is plenty of hate, prejudice and fear on both sides.
And so, I extended my hand, and heart, to my evangelical sisters with the prayer that, in doing so, we might just open some possibility of finding, together, that which we have in common – a fierce, passionate, uncompromising love for God.
And, for me, I’d let God take it from there.
8 responses to “If Not, What’s the Point?”
Thank you Rev. Stephanie. I believe that we have been given this time in history to do just as you say here, to reach out our hand in love and to connect. Thank you so much for being this example.
Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation!
You are always teaching us Love and Peace Dear Stephanie
It is how we go together…as we are all children of the one God…
Hopefully we can all learn to listen to each other and agree to disagree on some issues, while still finding peace together.
Well said!! The issue is not that we agree for that’s not going to happen. The issue is can we find unity beyond beliefs so that we can stand together in peace. It reminds me of the Peace March in Ireland in 1976 when Catholic and Protestant mothers took to the street to help end the violence…peace became a greater goal than issues of religious theology…
Hi, friends in spirit,
Like Rev. Stephanie, I too am an Interfaith Minister. When I attended Saturday’s Women’s March in Austin, I wore my clergy attire. During the march down Congress Avenue, the sign held by one demonstrator standing on the sidewalk led me to talk with her, very much the way Rev. Stephanie was drawn to talk to the women she describes in her post. The Austin woman’s sign said, “Keep Your Religion out of My Decision.” I started by saying that clergy, like everyone else, have a variety of opinions on a variety of issues and topics. After talking for a few minutes, we ended up asking a friend of hers to take a picture of us holding the sign together. (The crowd walking by at the time literally roared their appreciation of what they were seeing.)
It’s a pleasure to share this story with you because it’s another example that bears witness to Rev. Stephanie’s wisdom. Thank you, Rev. Stephanie.
I LOVE this story!!! Thank you so much for sharing it here! I find myself roaring with appreciation as well just imaging it…