Tag Archives: christianity

The Problem with Tolerance

28 Jan

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Driving to work a few months ago, I noticed a purple bumper sticker that I hadn’t seen before that stated “Tolerate: Believe In It.” It was similar to the “Coexist” bumper stickers I’ve seen numerous times. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was “emptiness.” Believe in IT? Huh?

Alright, alright. I know what people are getting at when they say “tolerance” – they mean acceptance. The first definition of tolerance, according to Merriam-Webster, is the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” While this sounds like a decent and respectful idea, and everyone certainly deserves respect, it falls short. Here’s why:

1. Tolerance does not seek truth.
First of all, tolerance sounds to me a lot like “relativism,” defined as “the belief that different things are true, right, etc., for different people or at different times.” (Thanks, again, Merriam-Webster.) This is a big reason why the concept of tolerance leaves me empty. It signifies that there is no real truth; that “tolerance” is supposed to be some supreme social ideal that we are to bow down to so no one’s feelings are hurt. Catholic speaker and author, Matthew Kelly states, “A world without truth is a world without joy or meaning.”

Whoa! That’s a pretty powerful and wise statement. You can’t have joy or meaning in this life without truth! It’s not possible! Truth is the key to a meaningful and joy-filled life. Tolerance is not the path to truth, and, therefore, does not lead to true joy and meaning. Clearly, relativism and tolerance is a dead-end street to seeking purpose in one’s life.

2. Tolerance is isolating.
Contrary to popular belief, tolerance does not build community. Tolerance is lazy and selfish. It doesn’t really have concern for others, it just wants everybody to get along. You stay where you are and I’ll stay here and we’ll just do our thing. Cool?

Tolerance is also defined by Merriam-Webster as “the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.” After reading that, how does tolerance still sound like something that makes a successful society? I tolerate an itchy sweater or a long wait at the doctor’s office, we shouldn’t have to tolerate people. Yes, personalities and ideals clash, but we are called to recognize the dignity in each person, no matter how hard it may be at times.

3. Tolerance is not love.
What’s missing from this tolerance picture, is LOVE! Love trumps tolerance – no contest. Let’s be real: Would you rather be tolerated or loved?

Love requires sacrifice, listening, care, respect, honesty. Love wants others to get to Heaven. Love puts others first and seeks truth. Love makes the impossible possible. Love does not have limits.

Many of us know the popular words in 1 Corinthians: 4-7 (NAB), but they are worth repeating here:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

One thing that love does not require, though, is that we agree with one another. Somehow this absurd lie has been perpetuated that to really love someone and want what’s best for them, you have to let them do whatever they want – and encourage it. To quote a recent tweet by Rick Warren, “It’s nonsense that you must agree with people to #love them. I often disagree with people I deeply love. I married one!”

And still, even while reading about the beauty of love, there are those who are fuming that I am dogging the false ideal of tolerance. How dare I have the gall to bring God, faith, and the Bible into this “debate”! But I say, how can I not, when the best this world can offer is tolerance, because the world denies God, and thus rejects love? There is no love without God. And this is precisely why there is a huge problem in our culture in this day and time. So many are settling for humanism over Christianity, this world over the next, relativism and tolerance over truth and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s stand united in truth. Let’s continue to grow in love and live by the golden rule. Let’s choose joy and live with purpose each day. Let’s build each other up and use the gifts God has given each of us. Let’s embrace God’s grace and shine His light!

A life without truth, joy, community, and love is… empty. And I have a problem with that.

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Discerning God’s will

29 May

Overall, I guess my blog deals with the question of God’s purpose for my life and my family.  Today at mass the readings dealt with this specific topic, so I think it is the perfect time to discuss this a little more…

Adam and I have been focused on God’s will a lot lately, especially in regards to his career path.  He is starting to make decisions based on using his musical talents to bring others closer to God.  Adam wants to be a positive artist who writes/sings about the real life day-to-day struggles that we all have as human beings and show that there is hope even when things may be tough.  So I was definitely thinking about this when 1 Peter 3: 15-18 was read today, which says, “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your  conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

I’m usually not one to throw Bible verses around, but I feel that this really shows where Adam and I are at right now.  In Adam’s case, he is finally aligning his “artist image” with his “real life image.”  I feel excited about what God has in store for us, knowing that we are trying to keep our priorities in check and we are striving to be better individuals.

One author who talks a lot about being “the best version of ourselves” is Matthew Kelly.  A book that he has written, The Rhythm of Life, is focused on this topic and encourages us to have dreams and discover our talents.  Adam is currently listening to it, since he is not much of a reader.  I’d been encouraging him to read it for the past couple years and finally I broke down and got the audiobook.  It’s all in God’s timing! Matthew Kelly is a great motivator! He also encourages parents to frequently ask their children, “What do you think God is calling you to do with your life?”  In his book, Building Better Families, he states that as a society, we often ask kids, “What do you want to do when you get older?”  Many of us grow up to be unhappy with what we are doing.  Maybe asking a different question will bring more fulfillment and purpose.

For more about Matthew Kelly, you can check out his website:  www.matthewkelly.org.

Good night!  This mommy needs her sleep!

Campground Tour Begins

27 May

Adam leaves tonight to go on the road for the first weekend of the summer.  He is part of the Nashville To You Campground Tour for the second year.  Adam will be playing guitar for a couple of female artists and will be playing some new original songs as well.   It will be quite an adjustment again, since Adam has been off the road for the past 6 months.  It will definitely be difficult for our 2 year old – maybe more so for her daddy!

For more information about concert dates, check out www.nashvilletoyou.com/Events.php.