Some still tell me I shouldn't have done what I did.
Yeah, OK. Maybe. But I felt convicted to do it. And I still say it was the right thing to do.
Then they say, "We don't even know for sure they have souls, or if they do, if God ever intended to save them, so we shouldn't be associating with them."
I have to answer like this. If you go out to a menagerie and talk to a horse or a gold-deer, or a wampus, do they listen to you? Can they understand what you are saying and explain their take on it back to you? No, even if a great vain-bird can repeat it word for word, did it take it to heart and judge itself by the Word of the Lord? No. If I explain the Gospel to a Saldorian trader, he quakes and asks questions and understands the concept of God and eternity and all. If God is not going to save him, that's between him and God. My job as one of the Ordained of the Brotherhood is to tell him. If I don't tell any intelligent and yes, sentient being I come across that will listen to me about Him, then God may have something against me. And well, I'm sure He has enough in that file already.
Which is where Billian and me had a difference.
I know Billian is one of the senior brothers and carries a lot of weight within the brotherhood but that is no excuse for behaving stupidly.
Yeah, OK. God is no respecter of persons, and we don't have a formal chain of command with fancy titles and all, but none the less. Billian is one that other's listen to and his opinion sways others. So when I heard that he had been to Lorus and basically lived right with the Lorens until some of the other brothers came to visit. Then he moved out of his hunting lodge and lived in the off-worlder hotel and ate imported food and refused to even speak to the Loren waiter in the local language, and then he started to require the Lorens to live wholly like Earthers. I went live, well, I tried to restrain myself.
How could he do that to them. Many Lorens believe. They started a fine community of faithful, they contribute to missionary campaigns far and wide. Billian was looked up to by them as a pillar of the brotherhood. His sponsor, James was one of our guiding lights for many years. For Billian to fall into this trap was almost unthinkable. Yet he did.
True enough, the Faith we live is of Earth. But we do not have an exclusive right to it. Not if the others believe. It is said, and I feel it may be true, there are more non-Earthers believing now than there are those from Earth. Do not forget how many of our own kind have flatly rejected the faith, and how many others have openly and fully embraced it.
I went by fastest carrier to Loren to face Billian to ask him if he had simply gone space-mad or if this was something worse.
Yeah, OK. I got a little upset. Righteously though. His actions and his words and his bearing were driving believers, some even new believers, away. The Lord had promised to, well, to not be real happy with anybody that harmed the little ones in Him.
Billian stood when I walked into the hotel with a veritable army of Loren faithful behind me. He tried to greet me like a brother, but I stopped him and began my speech. Which I had rehearsed all the way there by the way.
"You are an Earther, and a Believer. Yet when you are among the off-worlders without an Earther to be seen, you live like an off-worlder. But when some of the Brothers from Earth come to call, you put on airs and live fancy and begin to require the off-worlders you had lived with to become Earthers as well as the Believers they are. They will not be judged by God against the charters of Earth, but the Grace of God. On his own a Loren can no more become an Earther than you an Earther can by yourself become Righteous before God! But both of you can believe and become Righteous and be Brothers before Him."
As I spoke what was True Billian seemed to become smaller and uneasy. Some of the Lorens were visibly upset as they realized what he had been teaching was not the Word. A few of the Earthers got indignant and began to speak against Billian, but I had something for them as well.
"And as for you. You who now sit and judge him are as guilty as he is for you know better and yet you went along with the opinions of a man against the Will and Word of God. And you are even more guilty because you should have seen the error and confronted him with it, and you did not. Falling headlong into false teachings and becoming a discouragement to those that see you as you say you live the Faith."
That got them. Their mutterings against Billian turned toward themselves and many eyes suddenly looked toward the ceiling as if trying to find God again.
"Now." I concluded, "If you want me. I am going out to the hunting settlement for my evening meal. If the Lorens will allow you inside the barrier, I would welcome your company."
Yeah, OK. Later. Billian swallowed a cargo container full of pride and begged forgiveness and then made a pretty sermon about the trap of personal pride and the dangers of false teachings both big and small.
On the whole, the Faith and the Brotherhood become stronger and many learned much from the example. Which very well may have been in His plan all along.
Grow in the Faith. Your servant and brother, Rich.
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