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Center for Action and Contemplation

Solidarity Not Judgment

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Father Richard Rohr understands the heart of Christianity as God’s loving solidarity with all people and with reality itself: 

Through Jesus Christ, God’s own broad, deep, and all-inclusive worldview is made available to us. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the point of the Christian life is to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the full, final, and intended effect of the Incarnation—symbolized by the cross, which is God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgment. This is how we are to imitate Jesus, the good Jewish man who saw and called forth the divine in Gentiles like the Syrophoenician woman and the Roman centurions who followed him; in Jewish tax collectors who collaborated with the Empire; in zealots who opposed it; in sinners of all stripes; in eunuchs, pagan astrologers, and all those “outside the law.” Jesus had no trouble whatsoever with otherness

If we are ready to reclaim the true meaning of “catholic,” which is “universal,” we must concentrate on including—as Jesus clearly did—instead of excluding—which he never did. The only thing Jesus excluded was exclusion itself. [1] 

Transgender priest Shannon Kearns provides an example of God’s inclusive solidarity with eunuchs, sexual minorities in the time of the prophet Isaiah:  

In Isaiah 56:3b–5 … the prophet says, “And don’t let the eunuch say, ‘I’m just a dry tree.’ The Lord says: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, choose what I desire, and remain loyal to my covenant. In my temple and courts, I will give them a monument and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give to them an enduring name that won’t be removed.”  

It’s a word of comfort and hope. A word of healing…. Eunuchs are told they will be given an enduring legacy. This piece about being given an “enduring name” rings loudly for many transgender and nonbinary people, especially the ones who have claimed new names…. This also rings loudly for the many people who have felt excluded and cut off from entry into religious spaces because of their gender diversity.…  

The message of the eunuchs is that the boxes don’t work. They aren’t fit to live in. They will likely kill us if we stay there. The freedom to move between spaces and worlds, the freedom to claim all of who we are, the freedom to be is what we are called to. The message of the eunuchs also calls us to look around and ask: Who is being excluded? Who is not welcome? Who is there no space for? That list of people and those names that come to your mind? The message in Isaiah 56 and from the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 says, “There is space for them in the kingdom of God, too.”… They don’t need to change to be worthy; they are made worthy by wanting to be included.  

Anyone who desires the water is welcome.  


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (New York: Convergent, 2019), 32, 33, 34. 

[2] Shannon T. L. Kearns, In the Margins: A Transgender Man’s Journey with Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2022), 17, 27. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—CAC Staff, Untitled, watercolor. Izzy Spitz, Field Study 2, oil pastel on canvas. Izzy Spitz, Everything at Once, digital oil pastel on canvas. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

Artist Statement (Izzy Spitz): “Chemistry of self” [collection of images] is a visual diary of varying emotions of my day-to-day life. It’s an act of presence in a world of existential overwhelm and grounding in the gifts of mundane life. 

Story from Our Community:  

When my firstborn lacked oxygen at birth, she had to learn to live with an intellectual disability from her very first months of life. With the support of professionals, I realized that I can be either an obstacle or a facilitator for her development. I focused on what she can do and achieve, not the other way around. In the process, I met with inspiring parents and caring professionals who worked in solidarity with people who have been marginalized because of their disabilities. My daughter will never be independent, but she is productive and happy. In her own way, she brings pure joy to everyone around her. She is a living example that with love and respect for each person’s talents (and limits), we can all develop our potential. Each one of us is the face of Christ. How then can we not love all of humanity? —Salwa K. 

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