Hard stuff - courage, that is.
Surfing for other information, I came across the Sunday homily from Clonard Monastery today. And courage is what I thought of.
Like the courage I thought of when I heard on Radio Ulster this week a young man, Stephen Scott, tell his story of being set upon and left for dead by three "men" because of his being gay. He told how he had been bullied at school, how he had felt suicidal, how he would have stopped being gay if he could... and how he wouldn't have minded a one-to-one fight... but he spoke of the injustice of being pulled to the ground by a gang of three. Cowardly injustice. Compare and contrast.
The homily today challenged us as Christians to follow Jesus in befriending the people that seem somehow to fall short of God's plans for them, to listen to them, to walk with them, and love them. It wasn't just a criticism of Iris Robinson's remarks on the Stephen Nolan Show. (There's plenty of that here.) It challenged the cultural expectation that "good" and "upright" citizens and leaders feel the need to distance themselves, to identify gay sex as "an abomination" as the hypocritical self-righteousness that it usually is.
Jesus used to get criticised for the low company he kept. But these days his followers seem to have got over that criticism. Protestants and Catholics alike (and other religions too) - and perhaps the most religiously commited most of all, are prone to the deadly and contagious virus of judgmentalism. It seems to me the only courageous way forward is to love unconditionally, and trust the Holy Spirit to sort out whatever is on God's agenda and priorities, in God's own time. Whatever it says of my orthodoxy or otherwise, trusting God to do the judging is the test of whether we believe Jesus or not.