The Right Way To Love God?

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What does a “godly” person look like? Is there a right way to love God? Is there a correct path to follow Jesus?

I just returned from my fourth “Christian” conference of the year.

January I was in Chicago for the Gay Christian Network Annual Conference, where some 700 people gathered to celebrate, learn, and share community. Rob and I were among 200 parents, the rest were LGBTQ people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, gathered in the name of Christ. The worship, the camaraderie, the joy of the Lord, filled the conference hall. If you had been there, you would have basked in it! No denomination, no distinction, no made to feel second-class. They’re just brothers and sisters in Christ, full of gratitude for Christ in us, the hope of glory.

God is God.

In June I returned to Chicago for a “By Parents, For Parents” conference. Parents of LGBTQ children coming together to learn how to unconditionally love, accept and affirm their children. They disagreed on whether or not it was a sin – on whether or not they needed to “fix” their kids. But in the midst of that disagreement – and some heated discussion – there was an overwhelming sense of God’s grace. These parents were coming together for the sake of their children.

God is Love.

Also in June I was in St. Louis at the EEWC conference – Christian Feminism Today. Some 150 feminists gathered to learn and grow and experience the love of Christ. Mostly women over 40, they push boundaries (and buttons), reminding us that we are neither male nor female in Christ. They point out the Bible’s many feminine images of God, and use gender inclusive language to remind us that God is God of ALL of us, not just men.

As Nadia Bolz-Weber put it, “If God is male, then male is God.” An exclusively male God is not a biblical God. “God created them (humankind) in his image, male and female he created them.” (You see the awkwardness of English, using “he” to mean male and female – said to be “gender inclusive” but the image that comes to mind is undoubtedly male.) Feminists often spell God as Godde, to nudge out that white-bearded old man we envision, to remind us that women have a stake in this too. It is not to be a pain in the neck (or blasphemous as many accuse them), but to remind us all that we women are not merely observers in this astoundingly good news.

God is Godde.

Last weekend I was in Houston at The Evangelical Network, Conference. It is maybe 150, mostly gay men but plenty of lesbian women, who also count Jesus as their Savior. Voices sang out old-time gospel, charismatic hymns that most had learned as children, growing up in churches that no longer welcome them through their doors. But these people love and belong to God too. These people have a stake in the Gospel too.

God is Good.

God is so much bigger than the image from our own little box, so much more welcoming than our own tradition expects, so much more magnanimous and then we could possibly imagine. Seeing God and all these colors is broadening and exhilarating.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Here. Now.

Thank God.

210 thoughts on “The Right Way To Love God?

  1. Dear Susan,

    There are some topics about which the Bible is silent. But on homosexuality, it is quite plain. Homosexuality was one of the reasons Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed.
    I do not want to sound like a prophet of doom(I am not perfect, but I want to make it clear that even though God loves everyone, He hates sin and homosexuality is a sin.

    • No, that’s not true. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of all the (straight) men in the city threatening to gang-rape visitors. Ezekiel makes that plain: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.'” Ezekiel 16:49. The word “homosexuality” was not introduce the Bible until 1946. If you’re going to uphold something, let it be something true, not fables passed down through congregations.

  2. Love, love, LOVE this post! I am so glad that I found this post AND blog! Such an inspiring post, I may add! Where has this blog been all my life!!!!! ~Natalie (This account is ran by two people! lol)

  3. This is so beautiful and true. I wish more Christians embraced these feelings, it’s so rare to come across. Growing up attending a Christian high school I didn’t get these messages. Thank God, I have seen the light and realize that we’re all the same in God, and that because of his sacrifice and grace we ALL our saved! Thank you for this article!

  4. I really appreciate your post….. and your responses when you were challenged. My God is also a God of love, who accepts all people as they are without judgment. He/She holds them close and if even the slightest opening is there, their hearts open through the love. It does not matter their religion, their race, their sexual orientation or their nationality.

  5. There’s no such thing as i see it as a ordained Minster, but i personally believe that this is a journey, a goal if you will. I also believe that my God, the one that i worship makes no mistakes. He is perfect in all things, there fore when he made a man and a woman to live a multiply. The books that i hold in great reverence did not speak of Adams mental or emotional state but if there was any doubt in him towards his creator, i am positive it would have been addressed and spoken. In which there were only two

    and the evil spirit not three people in the garden. When one is born with the equipment to cause birth, two together will cause heat but not always a child.

  6. I truly enjoyed reading what you had to say. I avoid churches because so many times they are filled with hypocrisy. God is not about hypocrisy, he/she/it is about love, perseverance, and joy. God to me is all inclusive and is so much more than gender, race, ethnicity specific. Because of this, my last priest and I decided that my beliefs don’t truly belong with organized religion. God knows who I am, what I am, and how i will get there. No one else needs to know this or guide this. It is between God and me. What you wrote basically refocused me. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome. I agree, that our relationship with God is intensely personal and intimate. I have also discovered how much God has created me (and all of us) for community, not an island to ourselves. So somehow balancing being true to yourself and also living well in community, that is a journey of discovery! Thanks for your kind comment.

  7. I was a minister’s wife for twenty-two years, and I long ago lost my passion for theological debate with intolerant people. What I appreciate is YOUR heart, and your ability to take people where they are, and move them – or try to move them – to a more humane understanding of Scripture.

  8. I can’t help but wonder if the bible we read today is the same one that the original writers intended. I have no degree in theology, I am not fluent in ancient Hebrew or Greek, so the only way I can learn about the bible, besides reading it for myself, is to trust the interpretations of those who have studied it longer and more in depth. And yet these people all come up with radically different conclusions: homosexuality is wrong. Homosexuality isn’t wrong. God’s grace covers everything. God’s grace has limitations based on how much you sin. I can’t take it anymore.

    • Sweet Beth, I believe that is why Jesus made it very simple! “Love God, love others, and this sums up the whole of the law!” If we love God, we follow Christ, we remain abiding in him like a branch on a vine. If we love others, we would not dream of hurting them if we could help it. We would notice that Jesus never used the Bible as a weapon. We would seek to help them and encourage them and be the love of Christ to them. And we would know, beyond any doubt, that EVERYTHING else is fulfilled in those two commands! Jesus and everything he said is absolutely beautiful. We can blow away everything else in a puff, knowing we are right where we need to be, that God loves us, that no one can change that.

  9. As far as how a “godly” person should look like, it’s up to you as far as what God tells you to look like.

    There is a very clear right way to love God, however. Jesus said not anyone who calls him “Lord” will enter into heaven but only the one does the will of the Father. Again He says if we love him to keep his commandments. Anyone who does not keep his commandents, i.e. To take up your cross and deny yourself daily and follow Him,etc., anyone who does not do these things does not love God, period.

    Is there a correct path to follow Jesus? Jesus Christ being the best authority on the subject, I’ll qoute him for the answer.
    “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way
    is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    Oh, and on issues such as how God chooses to reveal Himself in reference to gender, I suggest you look up where the Bible calls God a she, and until you find such an instance refrain from blaspheming.
    “An exclusively male God is not a biblical God.”
    You lie. You have no more right to designate a new name (godde) and gender to the God of the Universe than a mere human has to redesignate the gender given to them by the said God of the Universe.
    “But these people (gays and lesbians) love and belong to God too.
    I’m really sorry but
    “do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” – the Bible.
    Clearly homosexuals do not love God as I demonstrated earlier when I mentioned love, neither do they belong to God, as no one unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God. The very next verse in the text reveals that there had been homosexuals in the church in the time of the text’s writing..
    “Such (fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, etc.) were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    • And what is the will of the Father? “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40 And what is it to keep his commandments? “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” 1 John 1:23

      When you are focused on keeping the law, then you are focused on your own ability. Jesus says to focus on him. If the law was the point, and the better we keep it, the more we’re obeying, then Jesus would have been extremely happy with the Pharisees, who kept every conceivable law to every conceivable degree. Yet, Jesus has only stern and terrible warnings for them. The ONLY people Jesus is harsh with are the legalists! Read Matthew 23. I appreciate your thoughts, but I would change to legalism for anything in the world or beyond.

      I’m will continue to focus only on God, through Jesus, and loving God and others, exactly as he said. Everything else will line up under that, exactly as he said.

      • The determining factor is if the person is repentant or not. They must confesses that their homosexuality is sinful and then repents of it. It is the same with a person who from the womb is violently aggressive. I am a murderer at heart. If I don’t admit that deepest part of my identity is sinful, then I am still deceived and not regenerate or justified. When God regenerates a person they can see their sin in contrast to the holiness of Christ. The regenerate person is in a state of revulsion towards their sin. This drives them to their knees in humility to beg forgiveness from Christ. They can’t run fast enough from their sin. They fight violently against it from then on. They don’t want it. They want Christ’s will. This is repentance that is granted by God along with salvific faith is a perfecting love that doesn’t leave them as they were. The justified will be sanctified. The person who is saved will grow in knowledge of personal sin and holiness. They will be conformed to the word of God. The Father’s sovereign will is for them to become more holy not to remain worldly. To tell someone it is acceptable to God to remain in the sexual immorality without repentance of it or acknowledgement of it as a sin is a horribly hateful false doctrine that will lead many people unrepentant to hell.

        • Our job, Bob, is not to point out sins in others. Jesus never once tells us to do that… on the contrary. We need not fear our sin as much as need to love Christ. I appreciate your fervor, but it sounds a lot like the legalists in the bible who try to stamp out sin (by not even lifting a finger on the Sabbath, lest they sin, but they take away widows’ houses in the name of God, Mark 12:40). Legalism will never produce righteousness; focus on sin does not reduce sin. Focus on Christ reduces sin incidentally, as we enjoy a precious relationship with him, Matt 11:30. ONLY focus on Christ reduces sin, NOT focus on sin.
          No matter how many generations of righteous people try it, legalism brings death, not life. 2 Cor. 3:6.

          • Throwing down the legalist or Pharisee card won’t win the day here. It is not loving to leave a brother or sister in their sin. We are told to lovingly correct our brothers and sisters in Christ. If they aren’t in Christ they won’t ever repent if they are told there is nothing to repent of. Justification is the work of Christ Jesus. We are saved by grace in accordance to His will not by our ability to attain righteousness on our own. I understand grace. I also know that God’s love is a perfecting love and He does not leave a saint in sin without conviction and repentance. A person demonstrates they are a false convert by practicing sin. We who are saved will persevere to the end.

          • Bob, Christ is completely capable of leading and directing people without my help. A lot of people do not feel convicted about being gay. Why should I tell someone they’re wrong about something they are not hearing from God? Especially when I don’t believe they’re wrong. Especially when Jesus never gives us that responsibility. However, he does tell us to love unreservedly. I don’t like to make it more complicated than necessary. I’ll leave correcting to God, who’s really good at it. Loving is a big enough job as it is. Keeps me busy full-time.

          • He convicts them of sin through the hearing and reading of His word. If they don’t read His word and they have no desire for His word they could be false converts. If they read His word it is very obvious what is sin and what is not. If people use proper hermeneutics and are exegetical in their exposition they will understand that it is sinful. If they do not hate their sin then they are false converts. It is pretty simple. If a person does not produce fruit in keeping with the spirit of salvation, then they need to test themselves to see if they are in the faith. You are not loving them by not teaching them the word. God is love, but love is not God. God is also wrathful and will poor out His wrath on the unrepentant in hell for all eternity. If this is ok with you then by all means never warn anyone about sin, death, and hell. If you truly love people you will warn them of the consequences of anything other than a total surrender to Jesus as their Master and Lord. He will not accept a head nod or partial surrender. He is either Lord of them or they are His enemies. To be a friend to the world is to be at enmity with God. Would you encourage them to keep the sovereign Lord as their enemy? I would hope not. Every person needs to see their need by understanding the reality of their sins offense against a truly righteous and holy God. Only then will they be humbled. I don’t care what your sin is whether it is lying, thieving, adultery, or homosexuality, it all needs to be seen for what it is and repented of. Wounds from a friend are better than the kisses of a flatterer.

          • Brother, the Pharisees knew the scripture inside-out, and they did not recognize the Messiah when he came. I will not warn of sin, death and hell. I will point people to Jesus, which is what he told me to do. Period. All the rest is legalism. It is. Jesus said he wold make us fishers of men; he didn’t tell us to clean the fish. I’m doing what God has given me to do. If this is not the place for you, there are probably places that fit better, but I’m going to do what God has given me. Period. I would be foolish to do any other.

    • Perhaps, you as well as others should remember that Jesus was also a listener. As a guide, biblical truth is very important for many aspects of our well being as well to teach the benefits of following guidelines which help to create a since of integrity about how to live out our lives as christians. This helps us all to learn how to create boundaries for our own well being as much as it helps us to communicate our clear boundaries to those who do not have them. The Lord God says, guard your heart. Regardless of anyones personal beliefs which are challenged by biblical truth (legalistically speaking) a persons valued relationship with the trinity will certainly be the conviction or non conviction or how this truth speaks to them. We can be ask and we can communicate our belief; however, both personal condemnation and praise come from the Lord. Do not forget that the same God who spoke of the unrighteous things you point out is also the same God who inspired others in scripture to point out the sin of gluttony. There are many christians who are unhealthy and obese because of their bad eating habits. Do they not inherit the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is available for those who seek God. You and I are both not equipped to make that choice for others simply because we know what the bible says. As Jesus also did for the broken and for believers, he listened.

  10. You have a warped view of love, God, Jesus, the kingdom of Heaven and Christianity, ma’am. Let’s see if we can’t tackle them one at a time.

    There are different kinds of love described in the Word of God, one is God’s love, and one is the response to God’s love. The response is this –

    Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

    • And what is Jesus’ commandment? 1 John 1:23And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. And, Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

  11. Reblogged this on Blunt Belief and commented:
    Fantastic article, but I especially love this part: “But in the midst of that disagreement – and some heated discussion – there was an overwhelming sense of God’s grace. These parents were coming together for the sake of their children.”

    May we constantly remind ourselves that “God is so much bigger than the image from our own little box”. Amen.

  12. This is a great time in our society for people to one, think about the balance of truth and grace, and two, discuss and even challenge where those two things exist in the individual and in our relationships. So much about evangelism, especially in the “intention” of American Evangelism, has connotations of forgetting what outreach and ministry is all about and how truth and grace are part of this outreach perhaps the way our creator intended. The centrality of Christian belief has to do with many things, one of which is truly feeling accepting. Even though I am a protestant, I agree with Pope Francis who in a December New Yorker article stated that the church is just as much about assisting the emotional hurt and broken as it is saving the lost. Notice I said assisting, not fixing. In our day, this could not be more true. Billy Graham states, It is the Holy Sprit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and our job to love. Anne Rice states, evil is always possible, goodness is a difficulty. With God, achieving the thing which are difficult on many levels, is possible. No matter our choices and backgrounds, Godly universal love of the Old Scripture and forgiving unconditional love or the New scripture was obviously God’s way of transitioning love in a more personal way to the world which was created. While we all, Sunday teachers to theologians and educators, in the quest for finding more about truth fall short of having all the answers, the search for the Right Way brings us together in ways humans without God are not capable of doing. Case in point, agnositcs, atheist and believers are capable and do listen to one another. I am sure many would disagree with me; however, that is part of what God also intended. Good to read these responses.

  13. Incredible news!! Though I have recently left Christianity for a kinder atheism, i LOVE seeing the Body of Christ being inclusive in this way!! This gives me hope that religion can be good 🙂 Also, I love the “Godde” idea. Let’s do it! tealtomato.com

  14. Hey Susan,
    Today I was in the library, and under the new arrivals was a book with the picture of the minister at the top of this page. Her name is Nadia Bolz-Weber and I am starting the book now. What were the odds?
    Now it’s Monday. Have you worked yourself out of a job yet?

  15. The title leaves me cold. The article is does no better. We all come to our spirituality in a different way, according to the times and our cultures. In 500 years religion will look nothing like it does today, just as today’s religion looks nothing like it did 500 years ago. How we seek God is more about our political position and our personal character than anything that has been deemed correct by God. The Bible has been and always will be a tool that is manipulated by religious leaders with the use of selective quotes and the avoidance of anything in the Bible that doesn’t fit their purpose. Homophobia, war, division of the sexes, food phobias, and marrying your brothers widow are all promoted in the Bible is that how God wants me to love him/her/it?

    • I hope you understand that I was expanding boxes, not building them. I agree about how religion changes. That is why it is essential we focus on the essential: love. That is exactly what the bible’s star, Jesus, told us to focus on. “Love God and love others, and everything else will fit.” Thank you for your comment.

      • It is such a nebulous principle….love….. so hard to define and everyone has their own take on it. I admire you for taking on the subject, but when we speak to 10 people there will be 10 different opinions of what we have said everyone hears words through a personal filter. Many abusive husbands truly believe that they “love” their wives. Hormonal teens believe that giddy feeling is everlasting love. Pet owners love their pets. Some women love shoes. When you say we should love God, are these the loves people think of? Those feelings? After all, love IS an emotion.

        Well that’s my 2 cents worth. I admire you for taking on such a volatile subject, and I thank you for reading my comment and replying. Love is a really tough subject. Wishing you all the best and I’ll be coming back to read more of your blog. Thanks again

  16. Reblogged this and commented:
    I really love this post. It is difficult to find ways places where worship is about the love of God. Not for the perpetuation of discrimination in the name of God.

  17. Very nice post! 🙂
    However I have a question that is totally off topic. When I click on your post in freshly pressed (or in the reader) I see this:
    ” Sorry, this blog only allows us to show the first section of a post. Read Full Post →”
    How did you do this? I would like to do the same to attract more people to my blog itself. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Cheers,
    Micky

  18. Well said! I think it’s so important not to impose a rigid idea of God onto our children. To impose (for example) the idea of God as some kind of ‘bearded man’ is really a form of mental cruelty if you think about it because there is no actual evidence for this being the case.

    To force your own children to accept an image of a ‘manly, fatherly, patriarchal, unshaven’ God as ‘factual’ and ‘objectively true’ without any empirical evidence to back up this claim can only harm the development of our children’s rational minds – which is why it is mental cruelty.

    Instead we must allow our children to picture God as THEY want to – whether that be a bearded man, a woman, a bearded woman, an animal like a horse or a badger, or perhaps something more abstract like a gas cloud or a breeze gently ruffling the leaves of a forest or even as something completely invisible and undetectable.

    • Well, what I love about the bible’s description (separated from so much cultural misinterpretation) is that God is personal and relatable. That God knows and loves me as a person, and that I can know God intimately and carry on conversations — which I do regularly! I appreciate divesting God of cultural image, but those abstract images you names are not anything you can have a conversation with. Conversing with God throughout my day is where I live and breathe! Thank you for your thoughts. ❤

  19. Always try to write something new but failed…yet I’m trying,only with a hope..that at any moment I can get something best..during those trials i portrayed dis…..for all those relationships where love is the only language…

    As dark clouds make way from simmering sun…
    As beautiful day emerge from a depth of despairs…
    As after every disaster…there is a huge silence. .
    Just like that love is…
    As to love someone….sounds so easy..
    Rather to stay with it forever…is harder but brighter.
    Begning…it may seem ugly..
    Ending of love is amazing.
    Although its difficult to define it.
    But words become more special after defining it….
    When it is about love and life.
    Love is close to nature..
    As nature is the best amplifier of your thought. ..
    Love behaves the same…
    Hug it…it hugs you tightly back..
    Think it..it comes to an existence. .
    Feel it…it’ll be your best feeling..
    See it…it’s God’s glance.
    Say it…it’s words of wisdom.
    Wish it..it come true..
    Trust it…it never backfire.
    Believe it…its genuine.
    Pray it..it returns back.
    Accept it for what it is…
    It’ll accept ‘U’ for what you are

  20. I really like that you spoke on this topic. I love what you said. Your article was screaming to me that we need to be more accepting of God’s presence of being. This box we live in restricts the versatility of God. I love this. It’s an open-minded approach and I love it. I love to say “God is…..” because I wouldn’t dare restrict God’s presence. Thank you!

    • The last sentence of your comment reminds me of the an exercise discussion which defines God in the world through the use of feeling. For many, we call on God in times of need that deal with feeling. Anger is a feeling. Anger is …
      Unfortunately, many of us use anger as a means of diverting our own lack of dealing with life. We tend to divert anger at others who are not responsible nor deserve our anger. God’s presence of being in our lives can exist while we are angry. We have the capacity to use anger for the good or for positive purposes. Protecting the innocent. Having enough of world hunger and diverting anger to make positive things happen which feed the hungry. Having enough of seeing the youth in your neighborhood struggle with abuses and using anger to develop a program which helps to teach the value of life. If you look at scripture of the Old testament, God’s love was illustrated as a universal love by many people. People still used the tactic an eye for an eye. In the New testament, anger, at least from Jesus perspective, was not used to diminish love. It was used to protect and defend the idea of forgiving love and to do just what you mentioned, break the restrictions of legalistic thinking too much inside the box and waking up those who could not see nor accept God’s presence of being. I tend to think that so many people, christian or not or any other title we all wish to give ourselves, we simply are not in touch with truly accepting ourselves for who we are the way God made us. Once you learn to do this, God’s presence can be more evident.

  21. Oh, another thought here.

    I read the above passage from Romans 1, and looked it up. It says that God grieved when some people suppressed the truth, refused to use the eye of their reason, refused to honor God or render him thanks, boasted of their own wisdom, and used idols in the form of animal images. “For this reason, God has given them up to shameful passions… [and to] break all rules of conduct,” including murder, heartlessness toward parents, and lack of affection or pity.
    Well I am no Bible scholar here, but that description doesn’t fit anyone I’ve ever known personally. Certainly not the LGBTQ Christians.

    Thanks again,
    Mary

  22. The Bible says you should love the Lord God with all your heart, mind and strength…. difficult to tell the heart, mind or strength of purpose of the person in the picture…???

  23. At the end of the day as long as you’re pursuing a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, God will communicate all the things you need to know. And certainly you are my sibling in Christ.
    Thanks for the read and perspective.

  24. I felt every syllable you spoke as if coming from me…who are we to decide good bad ugly….God is way above all this. God is love and love is God….having humanity is God…that’s the basic….I am following you to be in touch…if you get time visit mine….wonderful write up

  25. Reblogged this and commented:
    Everyone should have equal opportunities to love in their own way, not one way determined long before we even had the opportunity to think for ourselves. Loved this. ❤ 🙂

  26. This post seems to fall in line, at least a little, with my views.
    For a very long time now I’ve felt that each and every religion is really worshiping the same Deity no matter the name they actually give him/her/shim.
    God, Jehovah, The Great Donut King in the Sky and all the others, organized or not, that worship some form of God are really only worshiping the same being.
    I realize this is not a popular view, and in some cultures would probably at least get me stoned, but it is my view regardless.
    Thank you. I’ll be Pressing This so I can add my own views and this comment.

  27. I’m just wondering why you would follow a religion that explicitly is against your lifestyle. And I mean that with the utmost sincerity. Christianity, as a general rule, is against homosexuality (I wont point out the verses as I’m sure you’re aware of them). I just want to understand your position. I’d seriously like to hear your take on this, as I haven’t fully read your blog.

    • I am not following a religion; I follow a person — Jesus — because he gives me life. Real true life, in a loving relationship. The bible has been badly misinterpreted about homosexuality, and I am not trusting others’ interpretations, I’m trusting God through Jesus Christ. Please do read my blog! I think you’ll enjoy it. Also, you can read my about page, and that might answer more of your questions. I want nothing to do with religion; I want everything to do with Jesus who gave me life. 🙂

      • Personally, I have no dog in this fight. I am not a Christian in any sense of the word, so it’s not a matter of me taking my misinterpretations out on you. I am an ally of the LGBT community 100%, and I just wanted to know how you could mesh the two together. Not judging. If you’re happy with it, I’m happy for you Susan. I will read through your blog some more, your posts seem to spark a bit of conversation, which I like. Also, if you could edit out the last two sentences of my previous comment to get rid of my email addy (I wasn’t thinking when I posted it…lol).

        • No prob. 🙂 I mesh the two because the horrors of pulling this issue out (as uniquely reprehensible) have been immeasurable. I just watched a show last night about the 60s, the civil rights marches of blacks and white allies, and the beatings by police of those who dared to stand up and say, “We will no longer be treated like this. The horrors of that civil rights march are hard to overstate. And yet Christians at the time used bible verses about slavery to justify that treatment. Really! So that should give every single person today pause about using verses to justify similar treatment — and it is similar — of this issue. Right there is enough for us to say, “Okay, God, what did I miss? Is this how we should treat these people?” As I have prayed fervently about this, God has made it clear that we as a culture have been way off-track about this, and treated the LGBTQ community horribly, and we have badly misinterpreted those few scriptures — that being gay and Christian do not conflict in the least. Further, our job is to love, period. Thanks for your question.

          • I wish every Christian put these ideas the way you do…thanks for that. I forget sometimes that the fundamentalist view isn’t necessarily the mainstream, even though the media would make it look like it.

  28. We commit idolatry when we fashion a god in our mind into something that is comfortable for us. Either one can accept the Bible as divinely inspired or not. We don’t have the liberty to take what we like and leave doctrines we find unpalatable.

    Marriage between one man and one woman is an illustration of Christ and his church. To tamper with his model is to commit blasphemy.

    All sin is an abomination to God. That does not change when we redefine sin. We, as a society, approve of sexual sin. That includes homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pornography, everything that is outside of a marriage between a man and a woman consists of sexual sin.

    God calls us Christians to love one another. He also calls us to forsake sin. He accepted the woman who committed adultery, but he told her to “sin no more.”

    In order to see the Kingdom of God we must put our trust in Jesus and we must repent of our sins. There is no room in the Bible for us to justify or to redefine sin.

    • Sweetie, I appreciate your heart here. Sin is not a particular action — sin is NOT following Jesus. period. What is the work God wants of us? To believe in the one he sent. I don’t want to retype everything I’ve said on this topic before, but cultures HAVE redefined marriage over the millennia. Our job is to love and encourage each other, and encourage them in Christ. NOT to correct each other. Whatever Jesus said to the woman forgiven for adultery HE said. He didn’t let anybody else judge her. YOU follow Christ. And leave everyone else to follow too. Or not. Love God, love others. And you will be fulfilling the great command. Blessings to you.

    • Well said, In America our nation was established by men who weren’t perfect but they formed a nation under God who gave them their rights. I am a firm believer in Martin Luther’s TWO KINGDOMS as he laid out thoughts about my triune God’s sovereign power. I have thought for many years that God gives the occupants of a land the right to claim the territory. When they fail to follow his clear teachings – nations are consumed by other nations more powerful. Adam failed the responsibility test – and in 2014 we have billions of people who fail that test every day. It is to easy to deny God’s words by tweaking the responsibility away – It Doesn’t work that way. The Old Testament is full of stories of people who said, ” I’ll do it my way, and god will understand,” Personalities lost wars, and their family members because of their humankind pride – why would anybody want to tell their children to not follow God’s commands, in exchange for a short life of sexual pleasure?

      • Dear TerraJohn1, to love God and love others (JESUS’ words of our top priority) is an enormous responsibility! Perhaps there is none greater. The LGBTQ issue is NOT about sexual pleasure, it’s about identity, and it’s about love. You are heterosexual (I’m guessing) whether or not you have sex; you would be offended if someone said your marriage was all about sex: it’s SOO much more. Thank you for your comment.

      • I’m troubled. I had to read the article and the comments again because haven’t found anything about salvation. I see plenty of ‘love’ statements, but that is only one attribute of Jesus. Jesus did not come to be our buddy. He came to rescue us from our sin. He came so that we might not go to hell. I don’t see any message of the cross.

        It appears that I am seeing the opposite. Regardless of faith, or lack thereof, the comments affirm “love” and the view of multiple paths to God are being lauded.

        In John 14:6, Jesus says that he is the only way. In John 14:15, he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He repeats it in John 14:21. He says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” He repeats this thought in John 14:23 and John 14:24.

        In John 15, Jesus says that he is the true vine, and if we do not abide, we will be cut off, thrown into the fire and burned. Is this just a metaphor? No, he says lawbreakers are going to hell.

        We know Jesus essentially breaks the Ten Commandments down to two: Love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Does this mean that the Ten Commandments are null and void? If you lie, steal, murder, or commit adultery are you loving God with all of your soul, mind, and strength? Of course not. Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? No, because you are sinning against your neighbor. Breaking any commandment is being unloving.

        Is God love and nothing else? If so, how do we reconcile Revelation 19:15 when John tells us this of Jesus, “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” He will strike the nations down with the power of his word. Somebody is not being affirmed in this verse. Let’s be honest, Jesus is cutting down most of the world.

        I would be unloving if I kept my mouth shut. Jesus’ plan is to separate the wheat from the chaff. I don’t want people to be chaff because they would prefer to walk on their own path, rather than the one path laid out by Jesus. By believing in a Jesus that is inconsistent with the Bible is to believe in an idol. A fake Jesus.

        If the object is to “love” and affirm everyone, I’m sure there are some good Kiwanis Clubs. If the object is to save souls and to live forever with Jesus in heaven, then we need to obey his words.

        • Ted, I appreciate your heart here. Jesus said that he is the way the truth and the life, that no one comes to the Father but by him. He said to follow him. Come to him for living water. He said very clearly not to judge each other, but to leave all that to the Father. Jesus even said he didn’t come to judge the world but to save it. He told us to love others. Humans have wrongly interpreted many passages and destroyed countless lives in the process. Burning people at the stake as witches, because that is how they interpreted the Bible. Scourging slaves and claiming authority from the Bible in our recent history. The watertight cases the Pharisees brought to Jesus time and again, yet Jesus always filleted those arguments. What do you think this whole blog is except directing people to Jesus? The thief on the cross only said, “We [two thieves] indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong,” Luke 22:41, and Jesus said he would be in paradise. I will not add anything to coming to Jesus. The LGBTQ community has been badly abused by legalism — by religious leaders adding to Jesus — portraying God’s acceptance as conditional. Jesus never tells us to correct what we think is others’ sin. Jesus corrects Simon (a religious leader) for merely thinking judgment about the “sinful woman.” All the evidence lines up in favor of unconditional love, nonjudgment, and pointing to Jesus. That’s what I do. All the evidence lines up against judging, convicting, condemning, no matter how watertight the case. That is what I don’t do. Jesus was thought to be off-the-rails by the religious leaders. I stand by my position, which is one of humble dependence on Christ, not the law. I really do appreciate your comment.

  29. Thank you for a timely reminder that there are many people out there who don’t see me as a freak for being a gay Christian woman. And also to hear that not all parents are unsupportive. Life as someone who wants a lifestyle contrary to their church’s beliefs of right and wrong gets very lonely,especially when your parents are central to upholding those views.
    For myself I think I need to expand my own personal box and start believing that God accepts me just as I am.

    • Indeed, my friend! God DOES love you just as you are! Absolutely. I’m glad you got this from this post. 🙂 And my heart breaks that you are lonely, like so many others in the LGBTQ community. You may be able to find a gay-affirming church at gaychurch.org, if you’re interested in trying. Whatever is ahead, I hope you’re able to find real community. All the best to you, Sister.

  30. Wonderful post, The creator I serve meets us where we are and is quite capable of changing anything that needs changing. Many churches still have an unwritten list of “pet sins” that they close their eyes to, most common being gluttony and tale bearing. They have other “sins” they deem unforgivable. That doesn’t match with what they have written in their holy books nor does it match with what I know of the creator from examining creation. I think the tide is turning. More and more people are realizing that if we don’t allow “sinners” in our churches the pews will be empty.

    • Is this a joke? More importantly, is the bible given any regard in this article? I wonder how God feels about this majestic “LGBTQ”. Oh here is a text: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust on toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27.

      There is what God believes about the LGBTQ community. You may say this isn’t loving but God is the more loving than you think he is. Instead of tossing everyone in this community in hell: he offered them an ark of safety: Jesus Christ. If they accept him: they can spend eternity with him (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23). However, if they die without accepting Christ’s gift of salvation: they will go to a fiery hell for all of eternity. People in this community might not like to hear this (especially Nadia Bolz Weber) but it is the truth straight from God’s word, not mine.

      • Well, hello there! I sure appreciate your passion. 🙂 I can tell you’re new to this conversation, because you are asking questions that have been completely dismantled by Christian scholars, in books and blogs, for some time now. (Much of that work is on my resources page.)

        I take my bible very seriously, and that is why I’m not going to do God’s job by determining what’s right and wrong for anybody, especially because the Pharisees example of doing that turned out so badly!

        Your comment, however, has inspired me to use in my new column: Dear Susan (based on the old Dear Abby). I will be begin that in August, and I will answer your comment in more depth there. Please follow so you can watch for it! Meanwhile, I really recommend my resources page to get caught up on so much wonderful conversation going on about this whole group of people who cannot be reduced to “people who should do thus-and-so.” All the best to you!

        • I am kind of curious how Christian scholars can “dismantle” what the bible says. I am not asking anyone to do God’s job for him. God told us what is “right and wrong” (sin and not sin) in his holy word which I gave a quote from in my first comment. I believe his word to be immutable, divine, unspotted from the world, perfect, just, true, holy, preserved, inspired, and inerrant. No scholarship can dismantle that. I understand not wanting to judge people (Matthew 7:1) but you can say what is sinful and what is righteous in general as long as it is done with God’s word as your fact checker.

          The Pharisees took God’s law to an unbiblical point where they became much stricter than the bible commanded them to be. However, saying homosexuality is wrong is as plain and biblical as saying that Jesus died and rose again. This is my argument. I have biblical texts to back me up and, therefore, I stand by it.

          • I really appreciate your dilemma, I really do. Do you know that the bible clearly tells us not to have anything to do with idolatrous worship? If you are not sure, here is a whole page of verses about it. And yet, when talking about eating food from idolatrous worship in 1 Corinthians 8 (verse 8, especially), Paul says, it doesn’t matter! If your conscience doesn’t convict you, you’re free to eat it! Well, that seems to contradict the black & white they were taught, and directly contradicts Acts 15:29. I encourage you to read What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality. If you read it with an open mind, I think you will discover some things you don’t currently understand. However inerrant the bible is, it is our interpretation of the bible that has been horrifyingly wrong many times — and has drastically changed over time. Necessarily. We do not justify slavery, even though there are countless verses that support it. Do you condemn the countless Christian women who do not wear a head covering, despite 1 Corinthians 11:6? You may, but most Christians no longer do because of context. Not to see that our understanding has changed as we (not God) change is to have very limited understanding. I know this is hard, and challenges what you have believed for a very long time. All the best.

          • Look back and you will find, “when offered, except it and dust off thy feet”. What Paul said was not new or strange, remember this new religion was made of the mostly poor. This fact is what made it difficult for the rich, this was pointed out to Constantine by many buy as history states he excepted God but also he needed them for political reasons

  31. Nice post! good to share! the important things are that Christians are not going to box the God! and not anybody can do it! He first loved us! his nature is good already! If we see some restriction at all churches that we made it , because we see the situation not from the eyes of God’s love! Yes , we are facing issues like gays in church and marriage ! for solving this we need to listen what God is telling about this! We love all , but it does not mean we are going to accept everything! remember one bad apple can corrupt all apples in the box! by loving each other we are able to handle the issues better!

    • Thank you for your comment. I think you nailed it! — we DON’T see the situation from the eyes of God’s love. That’s all God asks us to do, is look through his love, and he’ll manage the rest. What if God wants us to accept gays and gay marriage, just as he wanted us to accept blacks and interracial marriage? We are very foolish not to listen! Best to you. ❤

      • Forgive the intrusion, but I came across your blog and was moved to comment on your post.

        Jehovah created us. Male and female we were created. Human. Concerning the Christian LGBT community, and the way I understand it is that God loves the person no the sin. The book of Matthew speaks of us not being able to judge each other. Why? because with what measure would we judge? We all fall short of the glory of God and no one can claim to be more righteous than another. Jesus left us two great commandments: 1. Love your God, the one and only God. and 2. Love your neighbour as you would love yourself. If you understand what it means to love or rather what love is as illustratded in the book of Corintihians There is only one race; the human race. It is the mental conditioning of centuries and cultures that have created the concept of a negative difference.

      • Thanks for Quick respond!
        A few things to be remembered:
        1- We are no the Judges (we cannot predict by saying WHAT IF)
        2- We are listening to God first than people (otherwise we are not God’s people it means we are listing to ourselves first)
        I know you are writing for those people but let us to write in the right way, not our own way! This very important issue as much as we are listening to them as heavy as we need to be care full.
        This is not an easy talking issue! Saying what if can make worse this scenario more. We all have a heart and soul to love them. For sure not point finger to them. But touching to the traditional way of marriage in church should far away to accept soon. It is far away from the bible teaching.
        As you read the bible, there is no even one word to accept the gay marriage! I love them as Christ love all of us.
        But we need to know that the churches cannot married them under the church of God.
        Be blessed.

  32. Hi Susan .

    Until I read this post I didn”t know that one can love God this way. This is interesting and I hope that one day I will be able to comprehend the meaning fully.
    Please pardon me, I feel like aligning with the views / comments of Joshua, probably due to my traditional evangelical background.
    However I duely respect your faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.
    All my love.

  33. There isn’t even only one path to heaven, except in the sense of each one of us being responsible for finding our own way. Which might be a Hindu path, or a Scientology path, or a poly-theistic path. The important part is what kind of person you are because of the life you live. If you have love for yourself and others, kindness and gentleness towards those in need, and the wrath of a tornado for those who abuse or deliberately injure others – In My Humble Opinion, you’re doing fine. In Revelations it says there are 12 gates on the outside walls of “New Jerusalem”. If there was only one way to get there – what are the other 11 gates for?

  34. This post reminded me of this t-shirt that I saw somebody wear on the street: “I met God. She’s black.” Haha may be a little blasphemous, but point made.

  35. Goes to show that there are no special look/appearances in how one choose to serve god, as long as you are following god that is the path. Like your style and fashion.

    • Right on. And how boring it would be if we served God by following a well-worn rut of countless people before us. Like a horse that carries little kids around in a circle, instead of running far and wide as horses are mean to do! The first feels “safer” but it is also la faint echo of real life! ❤

  36. So fascinating…I’m Jewish, more into the cultural aspects, but I do believe in God. I also believe that God created everyone for a purpose and that people using religion to demonize those in the LGBTQ community are profoundly misintrepreting how God would want them to behave.

  37. Susan,

    I agree that God is so much bigger than our boxes. Christians too often confine God to our own idolized version of Him; conservative, Republic, homophobic, etc. But this conclusion you arrive at seems contradictory to your own post, and you seem to put him in an altogether different box.

    It’s almost like God doesn’t have a say in how we are to love God. God demonstrated His love for us (all of us, including everyone she mentions in her article) by crucifying His Son to justify and redeem us. We are not loving God by doing the very thing He crucified His son to save us from.

    This is a lofty blog post, but without any footing. There is no scriptural basis (beyond “God is love”, which is as true as the verse “The Lord is a God of Justice” – Isaiah 30:18). I suppose you might respond, “who are you to say YOU know what God is like?” To which I would respond, “neither of us have a right.” God, however, does.

    “I the Lord speak the truth;
    I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:19, ESV)

    Sincerely,
    Joshua Corlew

    • Hello Joshua! I appreciate your comment. I’m not sure how you got that I was putting God in a box — I thought I was showing how different God might look in different contexts, but that God is still God. The footing I stand on is the entire life of Christ, which told us to follow him, trust the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth, don’t judge others (he said three different ways) and completely don’t use scripture as a weapon., as he was repeatedly clear to the religious leaders of his day. I am attempting to open boxes that confine to God to what is taught from the pulpit or our traditions when God is so much bigger — God is ALWAYS bigger than we think! I don’t ask anyone to see God through my lens, but through the lens God reveals as we lay aside our understanding thus far. I appreciate your respectful tone and your heart. Best to you, Susan

    • re: Isaiah. yes. that is exactly how God wants you to love God, by just loving. Loving truth is greater than loving your neighbour, but what good is truth without love. loving that which is above, and that which is whole, just as the Creator has made them, is indeed love. Truth is that which exists. And no, there can be no truth attached to the way someone dresses unless the person is making a point with it, in which case it is the point that needs addressing. Isaiah also speaks of the unrighteous trying to usurp righteousness, and the righteous being treated as unrighteous, and the clothing-morality is such a device that aids the performance of that lie.

      • I can see what Joshua is saying and you! We are not to judge, but we are allowed to judge based off fruits. Matthew 17:23. If God has set us free he has given us the freedom from your sins, so why go back to those ways? One may struggle with sex before marriage, being gay, having a potty mouth, lying, stealing, pride, etc. but if I’m saved why would I want to go back to those ways if I’m set given the gift of freedom from those things? We are not our own. Romans 14:8, Galations 5:24, Galations 4:9
        I agree God does loves us all and not one is perfect because he says so, but not only did he come to save, but he saved in hopes that we’d be obedient and out of that love for him we’d want to be obedient to our holy God. I hope this makes sense.

  38. I like your idea of God as God, Love, Godde, and Good. To me, hatred, shame, discrimination, or invasion of privacy isn’t God. To me, God accepts all, and prefers people to practice kindness to others rather than to hurt or degrade others in His Name. Thanks for your kind and wonderful post.

  39. Sounds like some important stops on this journey! 🙂
    P.S. Feminist theologian Mary Daly wrote “If God is male, then male is God” in Beyond God the Father in 1973 well before Nadia come on to the scene! 😉

          • “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2:13. Adam was first created, and Eve was from Adam’s. “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23. “Man” is referring to Adam, and Adam was first created in the image of God as in Genesis 1:27, thus GOD is a male.

          • “A-dam” means human — then God separated this human into male and female. The bible also has many feminine images of God: El Shaddai, meaning “many-breasted one” in context of nurturing God’s children; a mother hen taking her chicks under it’s wing; a mother bear protecting her cubs. Many churches throughout the millennia have said God is male, and it has damaged women terribly, subjecting them to cruelty by “superior” men who believe God is male, which means males are God. Jesus does not underline this thought but redeems women at every turn. How can women have a part of redemption if they are not created in God’s image too? Christians in authority have misinterpreted many things badly throughout history, and have been proven wrong.

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