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.