Unrealistic Expectations – I’m talking to all of us – the Liberals

The Pope is Catholic. He is going to be anti-abortion. Posting on FB, “I don’t know why he doesn’t just get with the times” or “Who does he think he is…God?” is ridiculous. He’s the Pope.

When someone identifies as, “I’m conservative in all ways,” chances are good that guy or gal is going to be vehemently anti- uh…- many things. I’m always glad to hear that because, well, then I know. I’m not disgusted or pissed off or anything. I just know. That’s how he/she sees him/herself. Period.

What shocks me is why we, I’m talking to the liberals, expect something different? For example, the Pope. We expect the Pope to be a flaming liberal overnight because…? I think he’s fairly transparent, right? Though he is, in my opinion, following the steps of Christ more than I’ve seen in any other Pope, is he going to be hosting a Global Dance Party in Support of Gay Adoption soon? Probably not. Am I expecting him to? Absolutely not. Though, I would LOVE that party. Moving on…

When did we forget “liberal” implies an “open mind” and why do we think we need to change someone who is being transparent? It’s not the transparent ones that need to change – it’s the hypocrites. The liars. These are the people that need a good whack with the truth ruler. With the transparent folks, you know the deal: you take the deal or you don’t. Me? I don’t take it.

Lately, the liberals are becoming like the conservatives and I think it’s due in large part to the 2-party system. We are set up  the moment we are indoctrinated into the “Republicans and Democrats” system to believe there is our way and the other team’s way. Because I’m liberal, it means my beliefs are always right. Wrong. Plenty of my conservative friends and family members have legitimate reasons (I’m not talking about the bats*** crazy ones) for defending certain extreme (in my opinion) beliefs. That’s fine by me because their beliefs have nothing to do with me, even when they affect me as a woman. There are plenty of people out there, in 2015, who believe I am no longer a “delicate flower” that needs to give my little woman’s brain a break from 1-3PM. That’s why my FB friends list looks still looks like a unicorn whizzed rainbows all over it.

Go with me here and this is only my experience (please don’t write me telling me that one time you knew a Swiss guy who voted only SVP).

Switzerland has roughly 28 parties. 28. There is a PARTY for Pirate Protection,  two Communist PARTIES, and a PARTY that wants to protect the little four-legged folks. The Swiss don’t have this American/British “there is only one way and it’s my way” due in large part to the spectrum. Growing up Swiss means you don’t have black and white. You have 28 versions of grey and every canton has an additional version of those 28 versions. The politicians, religious leaders, etc. are transparent and the Swiss find this normal and not worthy of their ire, even when they vehemently disagree with the viewpoint. If the Swiss don’t like the XYZ party’s initiative, they simply…don’t vote for them. In general, they don’t raise holy hell, they don’t post 80 things on FB (maybe 4 is the most I’ve seen from one guy on Twitter). They simply use their feet to show their disagreement.

In this privileged First World in which we live, it’s too bad. See, we set ourselves up when we limit our beliefs to this party (conservative) or that party (liberal). We will travel one road and anyone on another road is “wrong” or “infringing on my beliefs.” Is that true at times? Yes. What’s to do? Not sure…start a new road? Join someone else’s road? Don’t be Catholic. Don’t be Episcopal or don’t live in Dallas county. Don’t be FB friends with Joe the Plumber. Or…there are lots of options.

Think I’m being dismissive? Au contraire mon frère.

“Dallas” didn’t work for me. I didn’t need to change Dallas nor did I need Dallas to “evolve” to meet my expectations (think of how arrogant that sounds?). No, I needed to find a place that worked. For me. I moved across an ocean to find a place that felt better (most of the time) and where I fit a bit better (most of the time). It was not easy and I wish Dallas had been more in line with what I needed, who I was, etc. But, it wasn’t.

Dallas was transparent and I wasn’t buying it. So, I went somewhere else. And…God…it was the best (/hardest) path I’ve ever been on.

Politics and Church – what could go wrong? Not much. Just everything.

The worst threat to any denomination has always been “the church will fracture due to political maneuverings.” I find this a hollow fear.

A door may close. A program may be slashed. Real estate may be sold. As long as there is one creature that declares a loving God created and resides in his or her heart? The church is alive.

Oddly enough, the ones worried about the fracture are the same in political circles and religious ones – the liberals. The conservatives aren’t worrying about the fracture(s). They are too busy protecting their immediate needs.

Liberals worry about keeping families together and pointing faces toward the future. Conservative focus on defining their “version” of family and pointing fingers in faces.

Conservatives scream about how right and righteous they are. Liberals cower away from declaring themselves “right” or righteous.

Conservatives plot and liberals ponder. It’s always the same. In the end? Conservatives are nodding their heads and liberals are shaking theirs. It’s frustrating to watch.

And it’s painful to watch ugly, old politics come into the walls of sanctuaries. A sanctuary is no place for politics. So much can go wrong during that distraction.

Today’s sermon was a great sermon. Father Paul baptized me 35 years ago and those same big hands gave me communion today. Sure, they call him Bishop today, but I know that smile, those rosy cheeks, and those glittering eyes. He’s TOTALLY my Father Paul.

One thing he said today will stick with me for a long time. I’m paraphrasing the context, but wrote down the quote to be exact.

He talked to us about what exactly it means to receive baptism, confirmation, reception, etc. into the Christian body. He reminded us how important it is to take that grace we are given through the Great Thanksgiving and share it abundantly, unconditionally, and without regard to self. He said it was our duty to take that “into the troubled and broken world – a world that doesn’t have a chance without Him.”

I agree. That is exactly why the plots, schemes, fractures, tears, failures, exhausting and crippling disappointments have no place in God’s churches.

Love one another and within “love” should also be respect, treasure, adore, admire, listen to, comfort, embrace, accept. It’s the very least we can do with what we’ve been given. And we must. The world needs it and it “doesn’t have a chance without Him.”

Focus. The world doesn’t need you to define love. It needs you to show it.

Bishop Paul Lambert and I at Angry Dog (where we unabashedly said grace, by the way).
Bishop Paul Lambert and I at Angry Dog (where we unabashedly said grace, by the way)

157 days ago 273 girls were kidnapped

How easily we can forget.

The girls have not been returned, but we have returned to our normal lives. Their families march in protest every day.

There are things we can do. Show support by “like”ing this: https://www.facebook.com/bringbackourgirls

Continue to tweet, blog, and write about the inhumane treatment of these girls.

As the focus is turned to ISIS (as it certainly should be), let us not forget these girls are still missing thanks to Boko Haram. ISIS and Boko Haram are equal threats to this world.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is remember. The act of remembrance is not enough, but it will, at the very least, be a clear sign to the parents of these girls that we stand with them. That we have not forgotten and that we demand Boko Haram #bringourgirlsback

The Pilgrim and the Politician

A man begins a pilgrimage to Rome in Canterbury, England, and eventually arrives at the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard. As he walks, he carries 88 years of joy, sorrow, and a rather large backpack on his back.

Traveling from Bern to the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard is another man, who is also on a journey. As he makes his way, he carries the arrival of a new baby and the weight of his country’s future on his back.

Pilgrims walk for different reasons. Our pilgrim walked, but he did not know why. He only knew he was called to walk and was uninterested in “why.” Politicians attend events for a myriad of reasons. Our politician attended an event in late June because he knew he should be there. He didn’t pay much attention to “why.” Both men were answering a call.

Nationality separated them. Language separated them. Normal, everyday differences separated them.

Why did Brian walk? Why did Christophe attend that concert?

Perhaps one of the many reasons Brian walked and Christophe attended that concert could be this blog post and the mere fact that you are reading it.

It’s 2014 and we can be jaded and cynical. Most of us see politicians as untouchable and most of us do not pay any attention to pilgrims. A politician would never waste his time talking to a pilgrim and they certainly would not be at the same event because politicians go to fancy places and pilgrims do not.


There are still places in this world that transcend language, nationality, age, religious beliefs, socio-economic differences. There are still places that bring people together for a common purpose, known or yet unknown. There are still places where two men from completely different walks of life can be brought together to share things – ideas, music, Raclette. There are places where the sting of cynicism is made weak.

We have to treasure these places and nourish them. We must feed them with our time, with our resources, and with our very best intentions. We have to look at these places as true sanctuaries because that is what they are.

They are places where the shoes on your feet do not matter. They are places where the color of your hair, your skin, your coat…none of it matters. They are places where a pilgrim and a politician are both seen as exactly what they are:  God’s children – truly equal and worthy of unconditional love and acceptance.

We must give our best to these places and the people walking into them. Both are deserving of our adoration.

I could say many things about the pilgrim and the politician. They are two of the finest men I have met in a very long time. It is not the point. The point is much simpler than that.

There is a place on the border between Switzerland and Italy where a pilgrim and a politician sat together and shared an important life moment.

That place is the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard.

You should go there and give it your best. If you cannot go there, you can still give it your best.

Donate 5 dollars, 10 Euro, 20 CHF, or 100,000£. What is your best? Give that.

Hospice du Gd-St-Bernard – 1946 Bourg-St-Pierre – Suisse
Union de Banque Suisse – 1920 Martigny
IBAN        CH50 0026 4264 6946 8001 X
BIC          UBSWCHZH80A

If we don’t give these places our best, how can this happen?

The Pilgrim and the Politician
The Pilgrim and the Politician