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An open letter to the Diocese of New Jersey

Several decades ago I spent a weekend with one of the most delightful,
life-affirming, brilliant, and caring persons I have ever met.  I have not
seen her for at least 30 years, and yet I am still struck by her vitality
on that occasion.  In the course of the weekend, she surprised me and
others gathered for this retreat when she recalled how she had been
brought up in a narrow religious sect that forbade almost everything--no
musical instruments in their worship, no make-up, no bright colors, no
......  Her parents sternly enforced all these rules. 

"And yet you're so much the opposite of all that!" I marveled.  "How did
you ever re-wire all those circuits?" 

"I didn't, Louie.  I just walked into another room."

You will never be able to set right every wrong that you have uncovered in
one another over the past few years.  But you can experience God's
presence in one another right now just by walking into another room. 

Nicodemus asked, How can I enter my mother's womb again?  I imagine that
for persons on both 'sides' of your struggle a womb might seem tempting as
a place to start all over again.  If you could have a completely fresh
start, if you could just unknow what you now know about.....

You cannot re-enter a womb, but you must be born again, of a new spirit.

I challenge each of you not to throw away any lists of adversaries you
might have created or imagined, but instead to turn them into prayer lists
and invitation lists.  I challenge each of you to pray at least five
minutes per day for each person on your list, naming to God every way that
you can find God's countenance in the faces of those whom you have learned
to dislike or distrust.

We cannot change our enemies, and our love for them is insincere if it is
conditional upon their changing.  However, we can with God's help learn to
love them, as most certainly God does.  And we can genuinely wish them
well, invite them to dinner, and find scads of ways to make joy together.

My prayer for all of you is that you may fully participate in this joyful
mystery, holy communion indeed. 

Love, faithfully, Lutibelle/Louie

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