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I Think The Rapture May Have Happened Already Because I Am Missing Some Gay Christian Friends And All These Intolerant Christians Are Still Around

To my atheist and other non-Christian friends: Yes, you may have their cars.

I knew that I would write this post after writing Quote Of The Day – Marriage Rocks (When I Stop Being A Baby).  I cannot write about my marriage without remembering the men and women in this country that are not allowed to marry who they choose to love because other people do not approve.  And with everything going on in Virginia around LGBT issues.  And Glenn Beck calling for Christians to leave our churches if they preach social justice.  And liberals and progressives asking for more Christians to stand up.  Well, here I am, Lord.

I am not a Biblical scholar.  I can’t quote much scripture.  I know that many Christians who believe homosexuality is sin have about twelve passages to choose.  The most commonly quoted are Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, and Romans 1:26-27.  Some Biblical scholars consider the first two to be about rape and prostitution, respectively, therefore, not condemnations of homosexuality.  The third one is more troubling although my pastor sees it as call against lust and passion not homosexuality with commitment and accountability.  And even those of us in heterosexual relationships are asked to abide by commitment and accountability in Christianity.

But these passages exist.  I can’t deny them.  I also can’t deny that Christianity was used to justify slavery with Ephesian 6:5-6 (among other passages) and discrimination against women with 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (among others).  Yet some Christians looked into their hearts and refused to use those passages to justify our nation’s laws any longer.  Wrong is wrong.  When those Christians chose to judge these laws and practices with love and the ultimate belief that God is good and gracious, they marched and rallied.  They led the call to change our nation.

As a Christian, I uphold certain biblical passages and see other passages as not reflecting God’s world.  As do most Christians, right and left.  Whether we call it parable or misunderstanding or out of context.  (How many Christians have rewritten Ephesian 5:22-33 so their marriages aren’t out of the first century or even the 1950s?)  I can do this because my relationship with God is personal as well as biblical.  In the end, I have to look in the mirror and see the person looking back at me.  God is not just the Bible and the Pastor.  God is the sparrow and God is hope.  God is the love we have for people we shouldn’t even like.  God is the perfectly timed phone call.  God is the coincidences of my life that have saved me time and again.

I look into the faces of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and I don’t see sin or abomination.  I see God.  God’s work.  I have no experience with a God who would create us with the desire to love and spend the rest of our life with another human being, and then say: HA! IT’S A SIN.  My God is too loving and has granted me too much grace to be so shallow.  Being gay is not a short fall.  Homosexuality is another way God has created us.  I can’t see it any other way.

I’m tired of Christianity being synonymous with hate and intolerance.  I want my religion back.  God loves us.  All of us.  And that may be the hardest part of being a liberal-social-justice-gay-rights-supporting Christian.  Jesus calls us to love all of our neighbors.  So I’m stuck loving those who hate gays, too.  And I believe that I have to love them as much as I love those who support gay rights.  What they say and do makes me cringe and write blog posts, but I love them anyway.  Because my God is that big.  And grants us all that much grace and opportunity to choose Him.  Jesus didn’t die for the righteous ones.  God didn’t anoint the perfect.  He chose the misfits and the prostitutes and the liars.  He chose you and me.

I know that some Christians reading this will not able to see homosexuality as anything but a sin.  Fine.  But couldn’t you use all that energy and anger towards helping the poor and the oppressed instead of making my gay friends’ lives harder?  Couldn’t you leave them alone?  I just can’t recall the story of Jesus daring us to cast the largest stone with the best aim.

And if you’ve read this far and still can’t imagine thinking or doing anything different, try this prayer:

God, Help me to set aside everything that I think I know about homosexuality, the Bible, Christianity, and especially about you God. So I may have a new experience with homosexuality, the Bible, Christianity and especially with you God. Amen.

Now read the post again.  Please.  I’m not looking to change your mind.  I’m hoping to open your heart.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

25 thoughts to “I Think The Rapture May Have Happened Already Because I Am Missing Some Gay Christian Friends And All These Intolerant Christians Are Still Around”

  1. I don't understand why one person loving another is met with such disdain. What is it that the haters find so horrendous about *love*? I would much rather be friends with a kind, loving, non-judgmental gay person, than a hateful, spiteful bigot.
    I have to ask myself — — what is it they fear?
    (And I think quoting scripture (“God's word”) from the anti-love folks is a total cop-out. I'm sure we liberals could find twice as many passages touting love and tolerance.)

  2. I'm not Christian, but I love it when liberals use the Bible, or religion in general to make a point that involves tolerance, charity, or upholding the rights of others. We should do it more often. Martin Luther King did it. Gandhi did it. And I like to think it's what Jesus would do. (I don't worship at his church, but I'd play on his team).

  3. Amazing…I am a gay Christian and it's so rare to find someone like you who can explicate the very emotions that I have about this subject. Thank you for being bigger than the labels and stereotypes and sharing this with the world 🙂 God bless <3

  4. Wow. Good blog. I disagree LOVINGLY, but good blog. Does that make any sense? I think it's so important for us that disagree with one another to read articles likes this to re-evaluate our beliefs. We constantly just keep believing something year after year just because we were taught something or have always thought that way, there'd be no room for growth. So thank you! I totally agree that there are “Christians” better suited representing evil, Satan, or what have ya than Jesus. I often wonder what God thinks when people use His name to rationalize hateful actions. To me being tolerant does not mean I have to agree or allow actions to take place, but I do have to respectfully disagree. The Bible talks WAY more about loving others, kindness, and praying when there are differences. “Love your neighbor as yourself”…there is no clause to race or sexual orientation. So I let beliefs guide me at voting and my beliefs guide me in relating to others. We can do our best to pray and do what God calls us to. Sometimes we'll be on the same side of the fence and at others different sides. But BOTH SIDES are LOVED. And that's the truth that we can't misinterpret. I know this probably reads wishy-washy but I don't know how else to explain it!

  5. No bible scholar here either…It is just so sad and strange to me that having sex with another man would be a sin. I get a lot of sins. They make sense. Robbing your neighbor – not good. Gossip – not good. Heck, there are even parts of Leviticus that make sense (esp Leviticus 15:1-7. As a doctor, I'm not even sure what it means to be “afflicted with a chronic flow from his private parts…”, but I definately agree that it sounds “unclean” and that washing your garments and bed couldn't possibly hurt.)

    I just feel very unsettled when someone tells me that if I had sex with another man, I would be sinning. It doesn't make sense to me. I didn't have pre-marital sex mostly because I was terrified of sex, of not being good enough or doing something wrong or getting someone pregnant. But I did a whole lot of “everything-but-sex” prior to marriage. Is that a sin? I'm pretty sure I spent most of 8th through 12th grade lusting, was that all sin? Would it somehow be more of a sin if I had been fooling around with a guy or spent a whole movie wondering how I was going to get the guy next to me to hook-up with me? And if all that lusting, heavy petting or dreaming thereof that we take for granted as a normal part of puberty is a sin, why don't we have people standing with signs outside of high school dances and proms reminding high schoolers to stop looking at their dates that way and to try to see them as “God sees them”?

    I spent years of my life defining myself by what I was not. It was very comfortable. I was the guy who didn't drink. I was the guy who didn't have sex. I wasn’t like you…I was better. I had more control, more will-power, more something. But at some point all those illusions of being different broke down. I realized all I was…was alone and angry. I found a way to God through a bible-study group with a bunch of my uber-christian med school friends reading Romans. I learned about an “obediance by faith” because I had a God who loved me so much that it made me what to spread that love around. As I came to know a loving God, I realized that I am just like all of you. I am fallen. I am in need of redemption. In Roman’s Paul says “through the law we become conscious of sin,” but it seems like the law works best as a living document, like the constitution. It would stink if Leviticus still made the rules. I don’t want to have to sleep in a different bed when my wife gets her period. I like shrimp. I like my steak a little on the rare side. When I plant a garden, I don’t want to wait 5 years to eat the first tomato. I don’t want to have to sleep in a different bed when my wife gets her period. I look silly with facial hair.

    I realize that frankly I don’t know what sin is…times change and knowing sin is not my job. I work everyday to stay in contact with my God and ask Him to guide my thoughts, my words and my actions and that is the best that I can do. So far my God keeps telling me to love my gay couple friends like I would love any other couple.

    As a little thought experiment, I’d ask anyone who feels confident that they know what is sin to spend all of tomorrow looking at and reacting to people around them who gossip the same way they react to gay couples and see how much they feel like they are sharing Christ’s love.

    Enough rambling. Enjoy the following link: http://tinyurl.com/ydazrvs

  6. And that's why I love you, and felt kindred to you from the beginning. Because I believe in love first, and love last. Jesus did not tell us to love only those like us, who think like us. He said, “I leave you with one another, now go. To encourage, to love, to uplift.”

    I take that commandment to heart.

  7. Thank you. This is perfect. We all need to recognize, Christian or not, that the bible has been interpreted and reinterpreted to support lots of terrible things that have happened throughout history. I cannot understand how these people can use their religion to justify hate – if you really believe that’s what your religion is about (and many Christians do not) why would you stay?

  8. How did I miss this when it was originally posted? You made me cry, Alex. Conflicted tears. Happy to hear this point of view, frustrated that it is not shared by more Christians. I want to badly to pass this along to my extended family, who send me almost-daily emails pushing their right-wing agenda. And I never respond because I don’t want to start That Debate. Because it will strain my relationship with my family. But I am beginning to feel that my silence is “sinful.” That I am not being assertive enough. Standing up for what I believe is right.

    1. I have to agree. My niece came out to my sister several years ago and there was turmoil. I have been conflicted with this for a very long time. I love my niece with all my heart and would do anything for her. Believe it or not, her younger brother and I talked recently (at his graduation) and he even said, “Aunt Val, this is the one thing I am going against the church with.” Hearing this from an 18 year old high school graduate made me look more on the inside of me. Have I been a “bad aunt”? I too cried conflicted tears.
      I still don’t understand it; what is to be believed-the bible, or the pastor or spiritual leader, or neither?
      I have no children, so my niece and nephew are all I have.
      Thank you for making me “think outside the box”. My husband is still under the “old school of thought”, but repsects me by not shoving his point of view down my throat.
      I struggle with this daily and I do believe you are right-why would God want us as Christians fighting over which one of us is better or on the level to be judging others?
      Thank you for writing this.

  9. God bless you for writing this! This is exactly how I have always felt about this topic, and I face a great deal of opposition from my rather conservative family. As Christians we simply have bigger fish to fry than to worry about two people loving each other. We have to help the poor, we have to spread God’s love, we have to serve God. Being intolerant won’t help us do those things.

  10. Alex, i appreciate your post. im sorry that I dont have a previous history of following your blog, i found this though stumble upon. anyway, im a christian too, but i just wanted to push back a bit with the one thought. what traits do we have that we think God gave us, and what ones might just be a part of humanity’s long time on this earth? I may be hated by some Christians for this, but i see God as having started the universe, and evolution being a possible vehicle for our existence. and I think an advantage to that is that God is not responsible for people in the same way than if he created every specific person with very specific traits. I personally think we are creatures created in God’s image, and many things are connected to genetics etc. like our health. like….. does God choose a person to be born with down’s syndrome, another with blue eyes, one of us with brown hair, one with strong muscles, and another without legs? what about someone born as a hermaphrodite? I think all are made in God’s image, and i dont think our sexuality is a big part of God’s image. i think it’s an earth thing, which has much emotion, but has a function of keeping humans alive. Someone isnt less in the image of God because of sexual things they didnt pick. but i also dont think that determines what behavior is the right behavior. what are your thoughts?

    1. I am not a biblical scholar but my understanding of the Song of Solomon is that there is lots of sexuality in it, and I don’t think love and attraction are merely to procreate unless you mean by “keeping us alive” that we long to be close to another human being. (Humans get very ill when kept in isolation.) I think what we now call “sexy” is probably not what God had in mind, but I don’t think it’s because sex and sexuality are not a spiritual experience.
      I do think we have traits which make our lives different from others and I’m not sure how much God “decides” for us. I tend to think he gives us the strength to do our best with them rather than decide beforehand although I’m probably putting a lot of “humanness” on to him with that statement.
      In the end, I think it is our tendency to have to make things (which hurt no one) good or bad is the least God-like trait we have.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  11. sorry, I don’t mean to make it sound that sex only has a function of procreation, I think there is much emotion to it. but I personally don’t see a desire as a strong argument for justification of actions or expressions. at least not in my own life and heart for sure.

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