Wildflowers in the Swiss Alps, 1973.
Oh, isn’t that sweet? Chris is getting sentimental in his latter years, you might be thinking, out of touch with reality, pining nostalgically for an ideal world of lovingkindness. Next he’ll be composing rhymes for Hallmark cards.
But grace is countercultural, haven’t you noticed? Watch, read, listen, or click the news and you will find much that is ungracious. As a cure and balance, I’ve been paying attention to stories that don’t make it above the fold of the newspaper (for those who remember such a reference), are not “trending” or on the bestseller list:
+A doctor walking twenty blocks through rain to see her 91-year-old Filipina-American patient hours before she died, and the daughters who cared for her.
+A book about Darwin’s understanding that beauty and artful behavior, not just natural selection, influenced the shaping of species. And females had much to say in the process!
+How three friends worked together to prove that upside-down jellyfish sleep, indicating a brain is not required for slumber. (I think not having a brain would help!)
+A columnist’s pilgrimage to the Vatican and a pope who cares about refugees, immigrants, climate change, war and peace.
+Admiration for an unsung Civil Rights activist from the 50s, Rev. Joseph De Laine, involved in Brown v Board of Education.
+Understanding how feminism has positively affected the future direction of philosophy.
+Artists who make a statement with their artwork shortly before they die.
I wanted to title my first book about seeking ordination in the church as an openly gay man, A Profile in Grace. I was tentative about it, though, because it could imply that grace was something I had achieved or was gifted on my own, when my intent was that I, like everyone else, live and love and work by God’s grace. Harper & Row, its first publisher, preferred a title that suggested the story line, and my friend Scott Rogo suggested Uncommon Calling.
But God’s grace is what called me out of the closet and into that uncommon calling, a lifelong ministry of reconciliation between the church and the LGBT community, and more broadly, between sexuality and spirituality.
Grace is tough and truthful and transformative and liberating. It requires strength and honesty and change and freedom. When I have encountered or beheld or experienced or witnessed God’s grace, I have become better, happier, more helpful, and more gracious. Grace begets grace.
We may all be profiles in grace. It is in the glory of God’s grace that each of us discovers who we are created and called to be.
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Photo and words Copyright © 2017 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.