The letter about Mitt Romney, Mormons and Christians ("Missionaries, Not Troops," Sept. 13) was on the mark in many ways. Had the writer added "Some" to the opening sentence of the third paragraph ("Christians are so hung-up with the rules that they forget that Jesus ...") I would not have felt prompted to respond.
Many Christians are not hung up on the rules. I recently read a book by one such Christian, J. Neil Alexander, an Episcopal bishop headquartered in Atlanta (This Far by Grace). He talks about how he and his friends in elementary school had a vocabulary for gays that was demeaning. The intent was to hurt and exclude. The point was to put someone or some group outside the circle and to keep them at a distance.
This is what happens when whole groups of people are judged and lumped together. Bishop Alexander went through a lot of life experiences to overcome divisive social conditioning in his early life. In so doing, he learned the priceless lesson that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and that no individuals or groups are to be kept out of our hearts. He writes that, for him, the Christian life is "about active participation in a whole web of relationships -- with God, with fellow believers, with nonbelievers, with folks I like and those I don't, and with the whole of God's creation in all its infinite diversity." (p. 15)
This is the spirit that unifies and is much needed in our world today.
Bill Strider, Arcata