As I was strolling down the blog path tonight, I found a post to which I decided to respond. I have chosen to say very little regarding the deep feelings I have because of the “fall out” from church people. I have received many hurtful comments through my life before I was clergy so it has seemed that to comment would be to paint (another) target on myself. So I have chose to be silent.
But, at least for now, this space is relatively anonymous. So I’m “outing” myself — the greatest Christian influence in my life was gay and was my dad. My dad died a significant time ago but I still am very careful about disclosing that he was gay. There is way too much judgement in this world and I already have enough of the self-righetous proclaimations from those convinced that women cannot be called by God to be preachers — so I am silent about his homosexuality.
My dad taught me to love and value people without regard to skin color by the way he treated people with all the shades of skin tones. (see Kindness under the fruity five – ironic?) My dad gave me the bedrock knowledge that he loved me no matter what. My dad had plently of flaws and bad decisions but the foundation of love and connection to God that he built for me was priceless. And just how is it that God uses someone like that in such profoundly influential ways to create a person like me who also influences others, all toward the end of being in right relationship with God, and someone else pronounces the conclusion that the first someone is doomed to hell? Since when are the humans in charge?
The post below is the Emerging Women blog that started it for me tonight.
I read a response in the mail bag of People magazine recently. It was written in response to Lance Bass the singer “coming out”. When I read this comment, I can’t tell you the emotion that stirred within me. I wanted to post it to see what you think of it.
“Lance Bass can lead any kind of lifestyle he chooses, but he can’t be a homosexual and a Christian, and he should not mislead others into believing that he is at peace with God. Homosexuality is an abomination to God. Loving and accepting people is what all of us should do, but the Bible teaches us that the lifestyle Lance has chosen is absolutely forbidden.”
Wow where do I even begin. For one, I usually have steared clear of this topic. I also was raised with these sort of views. However, in my “walk” currently, I have very different ideas about this topic than I once held. I know many of the debate points of either side of this issue. I personally am “on the fence” and don’t really want to throw my ideas for or against. What I do find, is I am challenging my responses to the “them” of this world. I really am starting to embrace a “we”.
I have been reading Adventures In Missing the Point by Brian D. McLaren & Tony Campolo. A book that has been, for me, a very eye opening and challenging read. In the chapter “Missing the Point: Homosexuality” pg. 182 under Gospels, Tony Campolo writes:
“Jesus undoubtedly knew about homosexuality, and we can assume that he held to the teachings of the Torah on the subject. But nowhere does he condemn gays and lesbians. In fact, Jesus never mentions homosexuality even once. Homosexuality just isn’t on his Top Ten list of sins. What is number one on that list, however, is judgemental religious people who look for sin in the lives of others without dealing with the sin in their own lives (Matthew 23). Furthermore, it is uncomfortable to note that, although Jesus is silent about homosexuality, he specifically condemns the remarriage of divorced people- a practice accepted by most modern Christians. “
I think what sits with me most these days, is that I can walk in the ways of Christ, but I will never be without sin. Not that it excuses us to blatantly sin, but we are forgiven, and Jesus Loves all people equally. We look to the “others” like the homosexual community and demand things that “we” ourselves fight, the ongoing battle with our sinful nature (if that is the position that is held). Many in the Christian communities don’t want “them” in our communities, to be our friends, or to be loved by Jesus as “we” are. We focus on (our perception of) their sin, instead of extending the unjudgemental Love of Jesus. “We” have a heirarchy of sins, but sin is just sin to God. We don’t tell the overtly overweight, the decivers, the liars, the gossipers, the judgemental and arrogant, the pornographers, the self-righteous etc., etc., that they can’t be these things and still be a Christian. (I was/am at some point in my life most of these, but hid many of them well from my church and my family. The one’s that I didn’t hide, I never was told I couldn’t seek God or Jesus, or be a Christian until I was “sinless”.)
Matthew 22 (Message Bible : The Most Important Command)
Jesus said, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Matthew 5 (Message Bible: Love Your Enemies)
….”Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish-to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the loveable, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
I am not in any postion “to cast the first stone” nor judge a persons heart. Whether I agree or disagree with this topic, Jesus compells me to Love and show Grace as he has given those to us. I would rather leave the judging of a person’s heart or where they are on their journey with Christ up to God. I do know that if my attitude is one like that of the People Magazine response, I am probably hurting not helping the message of Christ. I don’t know what God will do in someone’s life nor the time that it will take, but I can love, accept, and trust that God knows best; not me!