ESU Bulletin

Emporia KS

October 10, 2001

Christianity Can Be a Tear Jerker

Alicia Cribbs By Alicia Cribbs, Columnist

"And I cried."

This is a fairly common way for me to end sentences when I tell people about things I have seen or experienced. I cry fairly often, actually.

Yes, you heard me. I cry. Are you surprised?

Yeah, yeah, I know. I can already hear the buzz. "Hey did you hear that Alicia Cribbs is a big ol' cry baby?"

And yes, sometimes tears can be a sign of weakness, depending on why someone is crying and depending on what that person chooses to do with the feelings that caused the crying.

For the most part, my tears cleanse me and help make me strong. My tears push me along when I want to give up sometimes.

Here are some of the things that have made me cry in the last week. Interestingly enough, these examples have to do with Christianity in one way or another.

I was watching a news cast a week ago about the Protestant and Catholic fighting that is going on in Belfast.

Darwin Temptleton helps tell the story in an article he wrote on Sept. 5 for the Belfast Telegraph, "Sheer madness, pupils scatter in terror as blast rocks police lines. Two RUC officers were hurt today when a bomb hurled at security forces exploded meters from where terrified girls being escorted to Holy Cross School. The device, thought to be a blast bomb, was thrown into police lines as they tried to disperse a crowd who were throwing missiles into the ranks of the children and their parents."

Little girls, who ranged in age from 5 to 11, were just trying to go to school and they were being harassed, stoned and bombed because they are Catholic and had the audacity to walk through a Protestant section of town.

Many of the girls were escorted by their parents, mostly mothers. Some mothers even pushed baby carriages. I could not believe what I was seeing. I was stupefied. I was horrified. I sat, I watched and I cried. I thought, "Ah, yes, all this in the name of religion. All this in the name of God."

On Sept. 6, I went to the UAC program "Hate Speech + Love Songs." The program took place in Beach Hall and, since the performer was a gay man, there were two protesters located on 12th Street in front of Beach Hall.

The protesters held signs that read "Sodomy is a sin," and "Repent Sodomite, God will not be mocked." My first thought was of how ironic this was. They stand out here holding signs insisting that God will not be mocked yet they are guilty of mocking God. They mock God with their own heart condition and action.

Where are the tears in all that you ask? Hold on, they are coming.

The men out on the street call themselves Christians. Then I went into the program and encountered a gay man named Tom McCormack who also called himself a Christian.

So what is the difference?

There is this little biblical concept called fruits of the spirit. You know, love, joy, peace, etc. -- those attributes that are supposed to be present in every Christian heart.

I saw those attributes in Tom McCormack through his presence and his stories. He found it. He found his place, his peace, his joy, his God in spite of the world. I was so glad for him. He touched my heard and I cried.

Then later I was still thinking of those men who were outside protesting. I'm sure they think they were doing some great deed for God. I, of course, don't agree. I saw no love there. I saw no soul that has ever even seen a peaceful valley, let alone a soul that dwells in one. And where is the joy in those pinched, judging faces?

I think how these people, from their own place of blind, Godless wandering, tell homosexuals they are the ones who are lost. And I cry.

In the past, when I would see protesters or hear the rhetoric of the conservative right I would think, "How do these people think to introduce homosexuals or anyone to God if they don't even know God?"

But last Thursday night I had a new realization. Protesters and many conservative thinkers aren't really trying to introduce homosexuals to God. What they are really doing is taunting the gay community with what they think the gay community doesn't have. They taunt the gay community with what they think homosexuals CAN'T have.

One of the main things that touched me during McCormack's presentation was when he told of his mother and how she taught him to love. And I thought of my own mother and how she taught me to love.

My mother is what I would call a true Christian. She knows how to love and not judge. She knows how to give without making the receiver feel like a lesser person. She knows how to trust God for results without interfering with what she thinks the results should be or whether or not those results will live up to their human expectations.

Even though my mother doesn't' necessarily agree that being either gay or Catholic is OK, she understand that people have to work out their own relationship with God. And she understands other people's relationships with God may not look exactly like hers.

I think of my mother. I think of her example. I think of how she loves me and accepts me. I smile. And I cry.

Alica Cribbs is a junior rehabilitation major and can be reached at

2001 ESU Bulletin, Emporia KS

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