Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Misérables

I know you clicked on my blog post expecting to see another review of this epic movie, but I think you may end up a little surprised as it’s not going to be that at all.

I spent three hours of the Sabbath yesterday watching this movie.  Coincidentally, I used to spend three hours at church every Sunday, but learned far more about love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy yesterday than I ever did at church.  For the first time in many years, I was inspired.

I think there are far too many Javerts in the world.  I think there are too many people who are more concerned with justice than mercy.  I see Javerts when I see protests against gay marriage, I see Javerts when there are death threats against girls who just want to wear pants to church, I see Javerts when I get passive aggressive comments on pictures where I’ve worn tank tops, or when I get messages from acquaintances telling me I'm not worthy because I hold an opinion contrary to the one I'm supposed to have.

There is not enough mercy in this world, there’s not enough love.  And particularly there’s not enough love and mercy in religion. I think that most things written before the four Gospels and most that’s been written since are poor interpretations of how Jesus wanted us to live.  I think religion and God have become man’s way of justifying greed, lust and selfishness.

Now I’m not saying that religious people are corrupt, there are wonderful people and there is truth and kindness everywhere.  I’m just saying for me and for my family, the church is not it.  The focus on Sundays is what to believe, what rules to follow, how long my skirts should be so I can get into heaven.  The focus is on dogma and not behavior.  It made me too judgmental, too much like the Pharisees, too much like Javert; concerned more about the law than about love and mercy.  

I read this brilliant comment regarding the movie, "If you asked the bishop and Javert what the believed in, they would say the exact same thing, and yet look how differently they lived their lives."  I and many others have entirely missed the point of religion.  

My friend Kari said it so well, “I think that love, pure unselfish unconditional love is the most profound and yet simple way we as humans can lift ourselves to a morality and connection with others; that is the closest thing to the concept of “god” that we can achieve.  Love is my god.” 

For that reason, my husband and I will be raising our children without religion.  No I did not say that we will be raising our children without love, compassion and morals.  That’s not it at all.  Religion does not have a monopoly on those things.  What I mean is that we will be raising our children without dogma.  As Javert and the Bishop make it clear, it's not what you believe, it's how you live your life.  We will be raising our children and teaching our children how to have compassion for people who believe differently and do differently than them, and how to love, because to "love another person is to see the face of God."

Let God serve justice, let us dole solely in mercy.

So in this New Year, my goal is to live more authentically, with more kindness and mercy to people.  I hope you can extend the same kindness and mercy to us as we pave this new pathway, as it was not a decision that was made lightly and not without many tears and prayers.  

And for the first time in many, many years, we are at peace.



amber said...

Love it. Authentic brits is pretty awesome.

Lyns said...

I'm a huge fan of the authentic Brits. HUGE fan

Kari Werlang said...

Aw, i got quoted! That made my day! :o) I can't wait to see the movie, I think I am going tomorrow... Yaaaaaayyy! Love your post and even without having seen it yet I totally agree. :o)

Courtney said...

I actually think the comparison of Javert was Brilliant! To me Javert at heart wanted to be good and right, but looked to justice and rules to guide him rather than love and mercy. Javert wasn't an evil man but he was guided by a different compass than I want to use. I also see that with people within the church as well. I don't think they are evil by any means. Their goals are much like mine. We all want to be the best people we can be but we use different methods to reach that goal. They for the most use rules and justice to guide them and I try to use love and mercy. Now that doesn't mean they don't use love and mercy, but the sad fact is that I see it being employed less and less. That is not how I want to live I want to love more and judge less (love Kari's quote).
Thanks Brit for summing up my feelings oh so well!

Brittany Terry said...

Good points Courtney! I also think there are many shades between Javert and the Bishop. I myself would rather err on the side of mercy, but have a long long way to go :)

Meg said...

I like your comparisons... I agree that we need a lot more love and mercy in this life. There is a phrase that keeps going through my head this past year from a primary song, "Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too." Everyone means everyone. People get way too caught up in the rules, including myself at times. But it's not about the rules, it's about love. This is going to sound really stupid, but I got my ear double pierced last year (shame!) because I've always wanted to, and I have been shocked at how I've been treated over something as insignificant and silly as this. That doesn't make me a bad person, it doesn't mean anything! But I've felt that wrath from this silly little thing... brother! My eyes have been opened to this dogma more as I've watched the way my brother in law has been treated by our family members and friends since coming out of the closet. My heart aches for him, that he has to go through so much hatred over this. I'm grateful that I feel nothing but love for him and am one of the few family members that has invited his boyfriend to come over to our house and meet my kid. It's so sad...

I'm sure this has been so hard... I wish you and your darling family peace. You and Rusty are good people! You have to do what feels right to you. We are all just trying to find our way, really. And we could all use less Javert's along the process.

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