In two days, I’ll be taking a bus to Redmond to cast my diasporic vote in the Lebanese elections. I won’t be doing this because I believe that there will be a direct correlation between casting my vote and seeing any change in my lifetime; I’ll be taking that bus to cast that vote because I love my friends and family and when you love, you do things like that. You show up, you participate, you chip in.
I’m grateful to be able to ride that bus to Redmond; I’m grateful that I can ride a bus to pretty much anywhere with relative ease. It’s easier to get around and do the things I want to do over here.
I love Lebanon but the United States seems to love me back; I would be lying if I pretended otherwise. And because the U.S. seems to love me, I try to love it too: I show up, I participate, I try my best to chip in. I do things I don’t really want to do, like write this for you today.
You’ve fallen for my trap. This post is about SCOTUS. Read on.
I don’t want to write about this. I don’t want to have a conversation. I only want to post my strange pictures and be comfortably incomprehensible, but I can’t do that this week, not while the tides of grief pool around everyone I love here. I’ll write this.
I’ll write this as a man, of course, but the ironies of the vote I’ll be casting compel me to be even more specific. On Sunday, I’ll be taking a bus to line up with other Maronite Catholics to exercise a civic duty while others line up as Sunni Muslims or Greek Orthodox, etc., the sort of sorting and legislation of fixity that made me an atheist for so many years. That’s how most of you met me; the rest of you know me after I reconciled with God.
That last part might come as a surprise to some because I’m not interested in proselytizing. I am, however, deeply invested in principles, and these are mine: I’ve been a Christian since 2015. I never wanted to be a Christian, but you do things when you’re loved. You love back.
Nothing I’ll write today will change anyone’s mind about anything, but if you’re still reading, you care enough about me to hear what I have to say. So let me be clear about who I’m writing this for: my Brother in Christ, what I will say will be a drop of water in the ocean of your convictions, whatever they may be, but the old patristic line cuts both ways: unus christianus nullus christianus, one Christian is no Christian, so we’re stuck with each other.
My Brother in Christ, our God is not life. Our God is love, the source of eternal life. Eternal life. Do you tell me that you fear death when life is eternal? I know, I know, we probably have to talk about what eternity entails, but can we agree that what we worship is not life, but rather, love?
I challenge you to consider that to be Christian is not to be pro-life, but to be pro-love. You will tell me that your opponent does not know love and I will challenge you again: only you can demonstrate that you know it well. How do you show up? How do you participate? How do you chip in?
This is my desperate plea for love. I will not argue with you about life but I will fight you tooth and nail about love. You can have your views on life; I certainly have mine. But love is beyond debate. And love abhors compulsion like nature abhors a vacuum.
I don’t believe there will be a direct correlation between these words and any change in our lifetimes, but love is patient, love is kind.