So lately I've been talking more openly about my unorthodox opinions - in church, on Facebook, one on one, and on this blog.
And guess what?
Suddenly, everyone wants to be my friend.
Suddenly, everyone is coming up to me and thanking me for my comments.
Suddenly, everyone is telling me their secrets and problems.
It would appear that more people are on my side than are willing to publicly admit it. And you know what? I'm loving life. Not only are my feelings being validated. Not only am I feeling less like an isolated dissident in a sea of unquestioning drones. I'm making more friends. And, best of all, I feel that my capacity for charity is growing.
People who know me in real life know that charity is my number one gospel focus. This was the case even before embarking upon my faith transition. In my view, charity, or pure love, is the defining characteristic of God. And I'm trying to be like God. I believe that charity is the greatest of all spiritual gifts, and that it is impossible to cultivate it in yourself. Perhaps God is giving me a little more of this ultimate gift as a comfort for all the bad feelings that have been coursing through my veins the last few months. Or perhaps as I throw away my excessive zeal and orthodoxy, I am opening myself up to people I wouldn't have in the past. Perhaps God is giving me this gift as a reward for continuing to stay my judgment.
All I really know is that everyone deserves love and respect, regardless of circumstances, dispositions, or choices. Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?
I realize now that nobody is perfect. I understood that superficially before, but I know it now. Everyone looks so perfect at church, but it's not real. Everyone has skeletons in the closet. Everyone needs help sometimes. In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see.
When I show kindness to all different sorts of people, I feel happy. I feel humbled. I feel closer to God. I certainly did not expect to come closer to God by taking this unorthodox, potentially heretical route. I did not anticipate that this would be my road to charity. But it appears that this is my lot. And if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.
I'm certainly never going back.