Saturday, December 05, 2015

Committing Acts of Heresy

This past week I spent an hour downtown ringing this bell for the local Salvation Army annual Christmas season fund-raising.

A few years ago some people I respect posted some comments about the Salvation Army and what some people have seen as anti-LGBTQ positions. I saw a couple like this already this season. They say find a different group to give to- don't support the discriminatory Salvation Army.

Since I am a dedicated liberal and left-wing Christian who supports LGBTQ ideas and equality, I stopped for a moment. I pondered the post and ended up with the same opinion I have always held.

The Salvation Army is an organization that has done incredible works. I know of their caring and supportive work here in Rochester and many other places.

  • Are there people in the Salvation Army who have acted irresponsibly in some settings? Probably. 
  • Is this a more conservative Christian organization? Yes. 
  • Do I agree with their whole theology? Probably not. 
  • Does that matter at this point? I don't think so.
It's not that I don't believe in the "idea" of boycotts; I am not sure that we can often refrain from organizations that we may disagree with.  Yes, I have shopped at Hobby Lobby. No, I have not eaten at Chick-Fil-A because I don't like the food. Yes, I bought lettuce in  the 70s. I most likely bought products owned or made by Dow Chemicals in the 60s. It is hard to be pure in one's theology and actions, the world is way to complicated for that.

So, yes, as a committed liberal I am committing heresy. But as I rang the bell and people put their contributions in the bucket, I remembered these good acts of God that the SA does- food, dental and health care, addiction treatment, housing. I was then reminded as I was writing this from a post on Facebook from author Paulo Coehlo:
The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.
The overwhelming "example" of the Salvation Army, their actions day-in and day-out are changing the world.

(Plus, I wondered, how many of those who advocated boycotting SA did actually give to other organizations? Just wondering. I hope they did.)

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