Just human…

My dad was one of the leaders of our church as I was growing up. That had its positives–and also its negatives. The big plus was that it allowed me to see them as human beings first…leaders secondly.

One of the challenges I’ve found as I’ve grown older is that it is too easy to put people on pedestals because of their position (whatever it might be). Then when they do something that is “just” human, they fall off the pedal and we allow that to cause us to lose our faith.

Yes, those who are in leadership positions should–hopefully and ideally–live out their beliefs more effectively. But they are also human beings…flawed human beings.

Does that mean we should excuse everything they do? No…not at all.

But it does mean that we need to understand that they are not perfect–and give them the grace of forgiveness that we desire for ourselves.

I’ve been thinking about this recently as my faith tradition is struggling with issues of sexuality and being a worldwide church. I work at my church’s headquarters as well, and that’s also made me think of the topic that’s the title of this post.

Unfortunately, some who have worked at headquarters–and some others who are struggling with this particular issue (as well as some who have struggled with previous issues)–have allowed the humanity of our leaders to cause them to lose faith. It’s not because of a “huge” sin (as they might perceive it). Rather, it’s the little things–the times when someone is not as kind as we think they should have been…times when someone has lost their temper…times when someone’s interpretation of scripture clashes with our own and we wonder how a “godly” leader could think that way…times when we see someone in a situation we think is “not fitting” for a leader…in other words, times when they are human.

As followers of Christ–which is my faith tradition–I am called to live out my understanding to the best of my ability. So are my leaders. I know I’m not perfect; how often have I excused my own behavior by saying something like “Well, I’m just human!” So why is it so difficult for me (us?) to allow others to be “just human”?

That’s where we all are…struggling to understand who we are–and whose we are–and what kind of society we are being called to create. We’re human…and so, despite our best efforts, we are going to fail sometimes. But we only fail completely if we don’t get up, brush ourselves off, and continue working together. After all, we’re all “just human”!

One thought on “Just human…

  1. Thank you so much for your statement. No one can stand the microscope. That is why Jesus relieved us of the weight of law and told us to be very, very careful of judging others. The law of love is a much more understanding and forgiving law. Treating others as we want to be treated or as Jesus sees them–sinless if we are with Him–is the essence of Christianity. But gay or straight is not the real issue. The issue is whose church will we become? The church of Jesus and Paul–neither Jew nor Gentile, bond or free in Romans and male and female added to Galatians.
    So who are those the Community of Christ in the United States needs to include in larger numbers so that we have oneness in Christ–rich and poor, blacks, Hispanics, the physically and mentally handicapped, addicts and convicts, immigrants, the aged and the children, and, oh yes, those with various sexual orientations? What gifts and blessings do we miss because most of our churches are so white, so middle class and so similar? What will it take for the face of the church here to change? And these different people must have equal access to full involvement in the life and decision–making of the church. I started 40 years ago asking for youth to have equal representation at World Conference. The issue is much greater. It involves all who are marginalized by us and those we don’t even think to invite. Finally, I believe the question is framed incorrectly: If we are all equal in Christ (neither Jew nor Gentile, etc.), then all members have the right to be ordained to priesthood if they are called and all membes who want to have their relationship solemnized as marriage have that right as well. The only question is, Will we create a class of second class “saints” by denying these rights of membership to some? I do not admire those that did this to African American saints.
    Again. Thanks for writing. Hope this helps some. David

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