While attending this year's Pride Parade in San Francisco, I was particularly amazed at the number of rainbow-flag waving teens, children and toddlers. They seemed to outnumber adults, and their enthusiasm was electric. Looking in their faces, I saw openness, joy, and wonder. In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, I've been pondering why this youngest generation displays such acceptance. What makes these youth so open to embrace differences?
Jesus told his followers that their only hope of catching a glimpse of God was to become like little children. Unfortunately, many become childish rather than child-like in their search for God.
A childish approach fixes on one idea, one structure, and one perspective with inflexible rigidity. Positions and personas calcify, and we confuse them for Absolute Truth. We shrink to the size of our prejudices, as does our understanding of whatever God is. God degenerates into a brittle icon in need of a defense that usually becomes offensive.
A child-like approach deals in curiosity, awe, and the fluidity of not-knowing. The boundaries of God and our understanding of who is included in "We the People" keep expanding. Such a Divine Essence needs no defense because everything and everyone is included in ever-widening circles of grace.
Such a God is neither gay nor straight, neither male nor female, neither Christian nor agnostic, neither Democrat or Republican, yet is all these and infinitely more. The Divine is both totally inclusive yet transcends every category that is included. Tuning in to that inclusive yet transcendent wavelength, identity and perspectives broaden. We are free to move and evolve. Our positions and personas are held more lightly. This is that path toward personal maturity.
What is true for an individual is also true for a group, a community, a nation, and a world. Will we see each other as interconnected and sharing the same Sacred Essence? Will we allow our hearts and minds to remain truly open? If so, we will have become more child-like, and in doing so, we may finally grow up.