We have been betrayed by those closest to us. We have written about being shamed, shunned and judged, and how our faith has been questioned. We have talked about people who tell us we are leading people into hell.
All “in God’s name.” Usually from those in the nonaffirming, conservative evangelical church.
Why? Because of our love, support and advocacy for our daughters and other LGBTQI people.
Of course, they don’t see it that way.
There are people in this group whom we love dearly and miss very much. I know they are just running a program they have been taught and have heard on Sunday mornings for decades. I have forgiven them and stand ready to reconcile.
People “struggle” with a lot of things—most of which could indeed be “condemned by scripture”—if that is your goal and interpretation. But most of those people who struggle are still welcome in their family, in their church.
What is it about this particular issue that causes such glaring blindness, hubris, hypocrisy and anger?
I have seen the God Hates Gays signs but what about these… God Hates Cotton Blends, God Hates Women With No Hats, God Hates Shrimp, God Hates Cross Tattoos?
For those of you who would not go to your gay child’s wedding because you don’t want to condone “sin”—are you condoning divorce if you attend a wedding where one of them was married in the past; condoning pre-marital sex if they lived together before the wedding; condoning drunkenness if they serve wine at the wedding to someone who is already tipsy; condoning gluttony if they serve cake to an overeater?
They came to Jesus with this same issue—lots of laws, asking which ones are important. And he told them!
For those of you who ask, “Are there no absolutes anymore?” that is essentially what the pharisees were asking—which laws do we still keep, which ones are important, which ones are absolutes?
Jesus answered them—and he answered for any of us who have the same question… Love God. Love others. All the law is wrapped up in these two.
What about everything else, Jesus? What about the “disputable matters” (as Paul talks about in Romans 14), and things that were cultural, and things we just don’t understand or misinterpret?
He answered that too.
He said the Spirit of God to teach us and guide us in all things—each of us, personally and individually. That relationship to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s leading in our life was—and still is—the ultimate authority.
“But what about the Bible?? Isn’t the Bible the ultimate authority?” No, actually. Remember, Jesus said repeatedly, “You read this, but I tell you THIS…”
The Bible confirms the authority of the Spirit of God inside us in the New Testament when Paul says that if our conscience does not condemn us. i.e. the Holy Spirit, we are okay with God!
This is how Jesus lived his life, it is how he told us to live ours, and it is how he interacted with people. And it is so very different to what most of the evangelical church lives and teaches.
Jesus set aside the law on several occasions in favor of people. Much of today’s Christianity ignores all of that and simply focuses on the law, on behavior.
Everyday, I see the pain and betrayal that comes from focus on people’s behavior instead of focus on people. To focus on certain behaviors is to miss the heart of God. It is to underestimate how much we have been loved.
The devastating pain and suffering of those who have been destroyed by their family and church… rejecting them, kicking them to the street, condemning them to hell, calling them an abomination, calling them an embarrassment to the family—all leading to homelessness, tragic substance abuse and stunningly high suicide rates.
I feel sure the pews and the pulpits are filled with people whose hearts are troubled by all of this—many of you reading this post. I’m here to tell you, there is a better way.
To follow Jesus is to follow a gospel of radical, lavish inclusion. Let me take your hand and lead you on a journey of discovery, of the lavish love and inclusion Jesus shows us.
Jesus is the biggest threat to today’s religious, behavior-focused, nonaffirming Christianity.
Jesus was considered a radical and a heretic then, and his teachings are still radical and a heretical today.
And I welcome every bit of it. It’s time for a reformation.
We have ‘pay-what-you-can’ video courses helping those in the faith community be more inclusive while strengthening their faith; helping parents love, accept & affirm their LGBTQI children; and helping LGBTQI heal shame from family, church & community wounds. We also have private Facebook support groups for parents, and other resources. Please click here.