so off i went to the supermarket this afternoon ... hang on, just noticed a rainbow outside ... sorry, but i had to go out and look at it.
o yes ... the supermarket. outside the exit (which i had to pass to get to the entrance), two young women in matching sweatshirts were collecting for something. they saw me trying to read their sign (am trying hard not to accept that it may already be time for a new pair of glasses. what kind of life is this where chocolate, good english milk chocolate, can make you go blind?!). we began to chat, and as i listened to a story of rehabilitation from cocaine and alcohol abuse, i reached into my pocket thinking i should drop a dollar in the glass jar and go buy my hummus. as i am hearing about the 80k job and the lexus she used to have, i am realising that these are the edge-of-recycling jeans that are nicely frayed, not quite indecent, and have holes in all the pockets. as i am hearing that finding jesus christ has filled the emptiness in her heart i reach into my back pocket and discover that my wallet is still at home in the back pocket of the black jeans i just threw into the laundry basket. i apologise to the women and drive home to get money for groceries.
while i drove i thought about what i'd heard. on the one hand, a programme to get women off drugs that worked - what could be wrong with that? on the other hand, if that programme also promoted such things as the importance of persuading others who already had a religious allegiance that the love of christ is superior ... and/or intolerance of other diversity such as sexual orientation - then why should i give it any kind of financial support?
i returned with my wallet, and returned to the conversation. as the woman spoke, i felt like she had replaced one addiction with another. i decided to ask her my questions from the car. she told me that god loves everyone no matter what choices they have made. i asked her if she was comparing homosexuality to a cocaine habit and she said oh no, and her cousin is a lesbian and she adores her. as we spoke, i began to feel that her avowed tolerance was sincere. she told me she is now going to bible college to become a minister. i asked her if she had considered the possibility that others in her programme might not be as tolerant as she is, and she replied that she is very new at it all.
long story short - i asked for more to read about the programme, and was given a book written by its founder. i sat in the car park for about 30 minutes reading it. homosexuality is referred to as perverse and a sin. when i got to the bit where the author is praising god for saving a ftm transexual and turning her into a good xian woman i put the book down.
so i didn't give them any money. but i have been thinking this afternoon about what feels to me like a dilemma. is it simply a question of do the ends justify the means? is an addiction to religion any healthier than any other? ok, of course it doesn't lead you into the criminal activities of the world of drugs ... but why should damage to the soul be any less heinous than damage to the body? good luck to her that she turned her life around, but do i want her on a college campus targetting the questioning and the insecure (and the questioning and insecure jews)?