Cruise Hilight #3: Rights versus Responsibilities

The Giant Twins

Cruise HiLight #3  — I recently went on a cruise, experienced some interesting Pentecostal church experience along with some other god- moments…here they are…

While I was on the cruise I listened to this podcast from the Guardian (a newspaper here in the UK) and it was asking the question if we needed a new morality in light of all of the recent changes in the definition of what it means to be in a nuclear family, also in light of all of the technological progress that is conceivably changing how the world interacts with another and how they may effect rights and responsibilities, and there are many other topics included on the forefront of this all too important ongoing discussion. But something a Rabbi said stuck with me: “Rights leave no room for tolerance”. These words reverberate in the back of my head.

What we have, what we think is ours can draw us into a blind reality where we  think what is mine is mine alone. And the aggressive assertion that what is mine could lead to a pseudo-reality where we think we have to fight to keep what is ‘mine’. And so we oppress, judge, murder, kill and steal (physically and metaphorically) to make sure that what we own stays mine.

This is also how a lot of people might treat faith. That my faith tradition is mine and I will do whatever it takes to protect it. My understanding of God is mine and I will stand by His side and fight against anyone who thinks otherwise. My ethics are the world I live in, and if you don’t fit those ethics than I will do all I can to make sure you never enter my world. This is the danger of having rights.

The ancient nomadic followers of Yahweh believed no one ever had rights, but that everyone had responsibilities. That we are responsibility for peace, not that we had a right to it. That we had a responsibility to not just uphold our beliefs, but that if we uphold ours than we are responsible to uphold the beliefs of others. This is very much the case within Christianity and the idea that there needs to be a ‘versus’ other religions in there. That somehow we have a right for God to be a Christian God. That we have a right to convert God to our faith.

Or even in the ‘gay debate’. People think they have right to assert their beliefs onto the lives of others. They believe they have a right to use the Bible as a tool for ideological destruction. I have many good friends that are part of the gay community who I know that love and follow Jesus. And to assert that one person knows better than another what the ethics of God are is not only arrogant but another of many reasons why we can’t afford to have rights any longer. That we all have a responsibility to and for one another. And this reality,changes everything. It really does.

Because if we embrace ‘rights’ as a way of life than we embrace inequality as a way of life too. And where there is inequality there is no room for equality. It’s not like creamer or half-and-half. You can’t have one with the other. Not in the arena of love. Love is tolerant and embraces above all ethics, truth, religious affiliations. Love doesn’t convert to any worldview. It is what it is without my, yours or anyone’s worldview effecting it. And so, maybe like my tag line says: love can change everything.


One comment

  1. stephy · March 22, 2010

    You had me at “cruise” and “gay debate.”


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