Open House Faces
A couple of month ago, after I wrote a post on the blog wondering why the values of Jesus Christ, who I have always admired, are so often invoked but so rarely followed or honored. I got an e-mail I will always remember from Greg, a Christian man living in South Carolina.
His e-mail had me briefly in tears, he said I should know that even though I was not a Christian, I was a better Christian than many of the people who talk about Christ, but who seem to know nothing about him.
This message struck me deeply, because I consider being called a good Christian one of the highest compliments I could ever be paid. To me, Pope Francis is a good Christian, not a hypocritical or exploiter of faith like so many of our leaders.
I am not conventionally religious, I tend to bounce all over the place, yet in a way I am quite religious. I believe in caring for the poor and giving them hope, and in searching for compassion and empathy in our daily lives. That is the heart of Christ's call to the world as I understand it.
We are, in our world, obliged to care for those weaker and more vulnerable than ourselves.
I am belatedly doing that in my life, and a wonderful community called the Army Of Good has formed around me. We are very diverse, and have no discussions about faith, everyone is welcome, but Christ's ethos is very much alive in the group, even if it has been forgotten elsewhere.
I see in the outside world that there are political Christians and true Christians of the faith, and Greg is one of the latter. He drove all the way to South Carolina to talk to me and thank me for what I am doing and writing, and this brought me briefly to tears a second time. How humbling and touching is that.
Greg also has a dog he loves dearly, and as I often have, he wondered if it is okay to love his dog more than he loves many people. He is never disappointed by his dog, but is sometimes disappointed by humans.
Don't worry about it, I said, I believe loving animals teaches us – especially men – how to love people.
That's what happened to me, when I had given up on love, my dogs kept it alive and helped me to wait until I found the right person to love.
So there I was, sitting on my farm, throngs of people all around me having this wonderful conversation about Christ, faith, compassion and animals with a man I had never met and did not know. Except I did.
In that moment here, Greg and I became brothers, he saw me in a way that even some people who have known me for many years do not know and can't see.
I didn't have to reveal myself to Chris, he saw what was in my heart. I will return the compliment, he is a good Christian to me and I very deeply appreciate his coming all this way to see me. America was here on the farm Saturday, and I am overwhelmed at their coming.