Things you shouldn't talk about on Facebook if you are a Christian living in the Deep South who also is somewhat of a public figure: Gay people and Civil Rights.
It's possible that I have once again alienated a large portion of my readership by not conforming to what is status quo around these parts.
The same bill that was passed in Arizona then vetoed by the governor is in the Mississippi Congress right now. I changed my profile picture to protest what I think is a violation of human rights.
I never knew rainbows made people so angry.
Then the questions started coming.
Me: This is me not wanting to live in a state that would pass laws that would set us back 50 years. This is me wanting to be on the right side of history and publicly telling my gay friends that I love them and I think Jesus does too. And this is me saying I'll never give my business to anyone who discriminates against people for their personal beliefs.
"Jesus, does love them... And we should too. But, he didn't condone sin -- he died for it. The Cross is our reminder of the extent of His love for us and His payment for what He declares sin. Standing up for what is right? What standard determines "right," for the Christian, is God's word. He defines right, not us. And His side is always the right side of history."
Me: Yes that's what the Old Testament says but Mark 12: 30-31 "Jesus said, 'And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.'"
In my personal opinion to mistreat someone because of the "sin" you see in their lives is NOT loving your neighbor as you love yourself unless you want people to start getting turned away from businesses for ANY semblance of sin in their lives. I'm not going to be the one that tosses that stone. My job is love people regardless of what I think about their life choices. The God I serve is big enough to deal with that on His own.
And honestly, I'd rather God rebuke me for loving a sinner too much (is that really a thing?) than rebuke me for neglecting "the least of these." I'd rather err on the side of love.
I Don't Understand
I don't get it. Honestly, I don't. You have to know that I raised as a VERY conservative Christian. But where I was raised that came with a lot of other crap -- a lot of leftover racism and hatred that was prettied up with a carefully chosen Scripture or two. There was a very prominent "separate but equal" viewpoint about African-American people. I didn't question it for several years even though it never felt right to me. I heard things like, "They are just different than we are." "It's okay to be friends with them but you just don't want to marry one of them."
The stance of so many Christians today about LGBT people reminds me so much of the racist views of the past and several months ago I decided I simply couldn't be silent anymore.
Largely, my readership was very quiet about what I said -- which in the South means they weren't happy. My regulars who almost always comment on my posts were silent and I realized I'd probably lost a portion of my readers. But then I started getting emails from the gay community -- heartbreaking, moving stories from real people who had been hurt by the church -- cast out and told that they were too dirty, too unworthy for God. It broke my heart and made me more determined to publicly love them.
But now that I've stirred the pot, I'm ready to just go all in and say everything I want to say on the subject. Fact of the matter is -- if I've lost readers over this issue, they're going to be burning copies of my next book, Are You There God? It's Me, Mommy, to keep their feet warm at night.
So let's just do this thang-- if Christians think gay people are sinners-- what is the church doing to reach them? How many people who are sitting in church every Sunday have gay friends? How many people who think they are sinners are going out of their way to get to know them and LOVE them and show them God's love?
Doesn't the Bible say that it's the goodness of God that draws man to repentance? (It does.) Why does the church think that telling them they are sinners is going to bring them in? Why aren't churches AGGRESSIVELY pursuing them? Because if the church really believes that it's a sin and a choice, shouldn't that make LGBT people the most unreached group in the world? And the easiest to reach financially? You don't even need a passport!
I can read, I know what the Bible says about homosexuality -- I also know that it says we should stone women who aren't virgins on their wedding nights. But here's the deal-- I'm not God. I'm not Jesus and it's above my pay grade to think that I have the discernment to know somebody's heart.
I believe the Bible, but I also believe that the God I love is too huge, too majestic and too all-encompassing to be contained in between two leather covers. I cannot fathom the depths of God's love for me, so it terrifies me to make a judgement on anyone else's lifestyle. *I'm too focused on what an asshat I am from day-to-day.
*Someone shared this video from Momastery with me and it was right on point.
I don't understand the confusion between morality and civil rights.
Morality: What YOU believe to be right or wrong.
Civil rights: Rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.
Do people really think anyone should be denied basic civil rights for being "immoral"?
Can morality be legislated?
Where does that bus stop?
For me, the bottom line is this -- Jesus said in Matthew 25: 41-45,
"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because--
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'
"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'
"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me -- you failed to do it to me.'