The Good Samaritan and GSM (LGBT+)

Let me state by saying that I do not believe that we can truly love somebody while considering that person to be fundamentally broken, flawed, bent, abominable, while comparing that person’s very existence to something like adultery or demanding that the person be celibate because of their very nature.

In short, you cannot love somebody while declaring their nature to be evil and classifying any love or intimacy they may feel as an evil on the level of infidelity or thievery or perversion.

In short, you cannot love someone who is a gender or sexual minority in the way that Jesus calls his people to love unless you accept that person as they are, and accept that person’s love and relationships.

I have seen the damage that this approach has gone, especially to people who were raised in the church. The damage that is done to a child by being told again and again that they are fundamentally broken, that any romantic relationship that they may have feel is a simple abomination – that the image is incalculable, and can and does lead to suicide again and again.

Time and again, Jesus said that we must judge a tree by its fruit. Suicide, pain, alienation, and depression are not good fruit. They are a bitter, bloody harvest that we bear responsibility for.

Any doctrine that leads to death of children and teens cannot be of God.

I don’t want to sound as if I’m condemning Christians who try to love people while maintaining their sincerely held moral objections, because that is often a step on the path. I know I had to get there before I could get here. But I don’t want to give the impression that I think that this is anywhere to end up. This is a baby step. This is milk, and we Christians are called upon to grow up, eat adult food, and put aside childish things.

Rachel Held Evans gave a good illustration of this by pointing out that in Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan, it was not the Samaritan who needed help, who needed somebody to be God’s hands to him. Instead, the Samaritan, who was a member of a group that good observing Jews of the time would consider heretical and immoral, this Samaritan was the one who acted as a good neighbor to the injured man, who was in this context Jewish. It was the outsider, the one who was looked down upon, who was the hands of God to the man after the priest and the Levites passed by and did nothing.

This is a revolutionary concept, but I wanted to publicly put my name on this belief because I don’t want there to be any confusion among anyone who may have read anything else I’ve written as to where I stand. As believers, we don’t need to welcome anyone in just so we can change them. We don’t even need to welcome them just so that we can love them and be Jesus to them. We need to recognize that they may be the hands of God to us, that we may learn from them, grow because of them, or be rescued through them.

 

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Fifty Tears for Orlando

I posted about this on Facebook on Sunday, and thought I should add it here, where it would be more permanent. I thought about adding more here than I said there, then I read this: Dear White, Hetero, Cis People: Please Don’t Co-Opt This Tragedy. 

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what I think. I’m not gay, transgender, bisexual, or otherwise a sexual minority. I’m not Latino. Any observations beyond base sympathy would be little more than armchair commentary from the safety of the sidelines.

We should get out of the way and yield the floor to LGBT+ people, especially Latinx people, so I’ll link to this interview with Isa Noyola and then be done.

[My Facebook post from Sunday, June 12, 2016, follows]

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting [Saturday night, June 11, 2016]. This morning in the service, Pastor Megan told us of an old ritual (Jewish, I believe) of pouring out drops of wine or water in mourning, to represent tears. She poured out fifty drops of water (the number murdered at the last count at the time), counting each one.

I closed my eyes in silence as she counted, trying to comprehend that each number represented somebody’s life. Somebody of incomparable value. Somebody who was most likely loved by friends, family, loved ones. Perhaps somebody who felt alone.

All taken away in the name of “righteous” anger, of “purifying America,” of self-righteous hate.

Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us all…