I joined Twitter at the same time I started a blog.
Different than Facebook, where I still connect with friends and family. Twitter helps me follow the blogging world. Hot topics, new postings, upcoming conferences and book signings.
And in this Twitter world I now subscribe to, I only scroll a few tweets before hearing from or about Rachel Held Evans. She is a big name in the Christian blogging community. I met her for like five seconds at my first writing conference. We've exchanged like two posts and tweets when I was on her book launch team for "Searching for Sunday."
I don’t remember who it was but a friend of hers once tweeted something to the effect of,
“You can divide a roomful of Christians by mentioning the latest Rachel Held Evans post.”
While I don’t agree with every conclusion Rachel has reached, I respect her. She is my sister in Christ.
If you get a chance to read this article by her, which I am responding to in today’s post, you’ll see she is eloquent and well-researched in many areas I am not. She doesn’t shy away from tackling hard topics such as women’s role in the church and our Christian responsibility to the LGBT community.
She reads her Bible, studies historical context and hermeneutics in order to discern a biblical response to life’s challenging topics. When these techniques don’t fully answer her questions, she turns to the Holy Spirit living inside of her for further wisdom.
Following Rachel’s lead, I decided to consider the LGBT topic. My faith walk struggles to know what to do with this alternative lifestyle. I am being real here. I don’t even know how to bring these two worlds together. As soon as I type these words, other words enter my mind... for God so loved the world. All the world.
I will continue to study Scripture and discern what God would have me to do. Educate myself. Asking hard questions and examining my responses won’t hinder my relationship with Jesus. My faith foundation could stand a little shake, rattle and roll from time to time. I realize now the part of this process I was handling all wrong is that I wasn’t handling it at all.
It’s time to come out of my faith closet.
For me, this controversial topic has names. It is about real people in my life. Not my gay friends. My f-r-i-e-n-d-s. Period. Friends I have known since I was a little girl. Friends I went to church with, who share memories with me from school. Friends I worked with as a young professional.
One guy stood out as our class clown. He had a locker beside mine in school. His artwork was so good it often got displayed in the hallway outside the art room. You always wanted to sit beside him in class, because for the love of humor! A group of us would meet at his house many a weekend and go from there to cruise main street or catch a movie at our one-screen theater.
He and another friend of mine shared a fascination with Madonna. Papa don’t preach. That friend lives an enviable life of travel and big city living. Trained in culinary art, he often posts on Facebook about meals he enjoys. Pull out your cooking dictionary because I cannot even pronounce the foods. Pictures included please. Do they make a scratch and sniff e-book?
I remember the honest conversations about religion and God that I had with another friend. Christ impacted her life. Her relationship with Him grew during a time she spent in a youth group while living in Indiana. She lives out west now, putting the skills she learned as our yearbook photographer to good use. And no better place to do so than in the mountains.
If I read my Bible correctly, Jesus died for these people too. Surely I can find a way to love them well.
One article I read suggested it wasn’t enough to love gay people in spite of their gayness because we think that is “what Jesus would do.” It encouraged us to drop the labels.
Jesus didn’t call Zaccheus a tax collector. He called him by name.
To the woman caught in the act of adultery, he didn’t hurl insults or call her adulterer. He simply called her woman.
To the woman who bled for twelve years. The one who took a huge risk and touched the hem of His garment. Because healing meant everything to her. He didn’t call her a thief for stealing some of His power. He didn’t call her a sinner because she had a bleeding problem. No. This woman! She is the only recorded woman in the whole Bible to have Jesus call her, “Daughter.”
Jesus didn’t love based on labels. He just loved. Can I reach that point?