Nurture the Seeds
While I admire and respect the faith of Mr. Ybarra in his “Letter to America” [v27 i32], I cannot but help but to feel pained by his view of Christianity, God and country, as to me its underlying message is one of exclusiveness and, ironically, something other than “love.” When Mr. Ybarra states that “mankind will be judged by those laws and by the Word of God,” is this the Christian laws and the Christian idea of God or does this also apply to Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other spiritual groups laws and views of God? Mr. Ybarra seems to speak to Christianity being the only path to spirituality. A “my way or the highway” approach that excludes the spiritual beliefs of many buenos (including me), let alone the beliefs of more than 2/3 of the world’s population.
While I am no longer a practicing Christian, I am constantly reminded by both my neighbors and things I see in my community that there are many Christians who do not share Mr. Ybarra's exclusive views of Christianity and who embody what it means to be both Christian and loving. When the Christians in my life say “Love Thy Neighbor,” they truly mean all their neighbors, regardless of their neighbors’ thoughts on God. Every time I bike or drive by a certain Christian church, I silently commend their message proudly displayed on a sign composed of many house doors that are the colors of the rainbow welcoming the LGBTQ community and others with the message “God's doors are open to all.” The Christians I know are also unhinged from the conundrum of being both a “true believer” of Christianity and Christ and one that accepts the religious and spiritual beliefs of non-Christians. You can believe in what it says in the Bible and that “Jesus is the son of God” while also, for example, believing that someone else’s following of Mohammed and the Muslim idea of God are also valid. With more Christians like my neighbors, there is indeed hope for America and the world.
Perhaps Mr. Ybarra could benefit from trying to take a larger, more inclusive view of Christianity and reflect on his perspective of religion as it relates to the very diverse city and world in which we live. What he might find is that the love that he professes is now missing in America is just hard to see with blinders on. Its seeds are everywhere, they just need to be encouraged and nurtured.