This morning I sat on my deck overlooking our pond, watching the egret and heron hunt for breakfast, having a cup of coffee and trying to sort out my feeling about the mass killings of this past week.  How do we as a society deal with the hate that drives these events? How do we as Christians respond to hate?  With those types of questions in my head, I continued reading the book Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor.  The chapter was titled “The God You Didn’t Make Up” there were several passages that I would like to share.

“My religious language is quite excellent at speaking to what it means to be authentically human.  It means we are made in the image of God – not just you, but everyone.  It means tending the neighbor’s welfare as religiously as you tend your own.”

“There is no loving God without loving other human beings. From 1 John.  “Those who do not love a brother or sister whom the have seen, cannot love a God whom they have not seen”…the same God who came into the world in the body of Jesus comes to me in the bodies of my neighbors, because God knows that a body needs a body to make things real, and the real physical presence of my neighbors makes them much harder for me to romanticized, fantasize or demonize.”

“A disproportionate number of famous Bible stories about Jesus involve strangers – Romans, Samaritans, Canaanites, Syrophoenicians…These were often the people who blew Jesus mind, opening themselves up to what God could do in ways that escaped the people he knew best.”

“” The supreme religious challenge,” says Jonathan Sacks, “is to see God’s image in the one who is not in our image.”  If he is right, then-the stranger-the one who doesn’t look, think, or act like the rest of us-may offer us the best chance of seeing past our own reflections in the mirror to the God we did not make up.”