Daily Thoughts, February 26, 2002
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Wearing religious armor, often made of religious zealotry and pragmatism, often reveals itself as being people hungry. You know people are wearing this by their need to consume people of all kinds in order to survive. Anyone who holds beliefs outside of the group is an appetizer. Those who oppose the group constitute at least one main course, sometimes one will need two. For dessert come the fellow believers that are just a little more liberal or not liberal enough. Only those who fit the exact pattern are allowed to wear the suit, and even some of them are a bit suspect!

I have yet to find a religion that has believers that do not fall into this camp. I have made a few visits myself and the scene is universal! Judgment, firm boundaries, and rules are the main colors of the day. Before one thinks that this only applies to religion, try organization politics. Corporate life is very similar. You seek to find the “good” guys and avoid the bad. “Good” of course is defined by those who hold similar views, regardless of their merit or impact on the people around them.

The opposite is equally as repelling. I faced an audience last week infected by the “we love you even though we think you are the arch enemy” syndrome. After much prodding from their boss, their true feelings began to emerge. Frustration replaced complacency. Intensity overran lethargy. Specifics flooded generalities.

God loves each person exactly the same. How you and I respond to them is very important. “Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people are equally abhorrent to God.” (Proverbs 17.15) Yet there is a difference between the act, belief, or behavior and the person hiding inside.

Life is not about grays dominating the landscape. It is about black and white playing itself out in living color. People make lots of mistakes, even the most disciplined and loyal. God provided for individual recreation and yet cannot stand to be in the same room as anything evil. The question is yours and mine.

February 25, 2002
February 27, 2002