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Are we known by what we are against or for?

Anne Rice, the popular author of a number of vampire books, made quite a stir when she converted to Christianity—and then created another stir by “unconverting.” At that time, Rice said she was leaving the church because Christians are “quarrelsome, hostile, and disputatious,” and because she refused “to be anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-Science, and anti-Democrat.”

Well…I refuse to be those things too! I don’t define my faith or establish my identity as a believer by the things I am against.

For me, being followers of Jesus Christ is all about what we are for. Being a follower of Jesus means trying to be and do what he told us to be and do. His teaching and example calls us to be loving, forgiving, and merciful. It calls us to demonstrate God’s love by caring for those in need; by lifting up the oppressed; by working for peace; by loving even our enemies—and by loving them, offering hope for reconciliation.

I admit there are plenty of angry, quarrelsome Christians around. They have learned that it is easier to draw crowds (and take in contributions!) by getting people mad, and trying to tear things down, and appealing to our baser instincts.

It is much harder to try to build something positive by holding out hope for a better way of treating each other. But that is exactly what Jesus did, and I believe that should be what following him today is all about.


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