Oh church. What are we doing? Attacking. Attacking with little to no grace. Little to no mercy. And definitely nothing that resembles the infinite love that is our God. Yes, we have our differences. Of course we do! We’re human. We’re flawed. We are opinionated. We have biases. We have different vantage points in this world. However we have a common denominator: Jesus. How are we resembling our Lord? How are we using our voices to promote the love of Christ, the inclusion, the acceptance, the mercy, the justice, the grace of our Savior?
I’d venture to say we are showing the world that we don’t really believe the radical love of Christ. And that we don’t really live by grace and mercy. I’d go as far as to say we even show hate. Hate towards our own, hate towards those with differences. I am deeply burdened and saddened by this.
The most recent flare up has been directed towards Jen Hatmaker because of this interview. She speaks powerfully, eloquently, honestly, and openly about her beliefs on a variety of topics. And she speaks for a large swath of Christians. What we believe, how we view the world, how we view God. She has been demonized however as a heretic. She has had her books pulled from shelves of Christian bookstores. Similarly a few years back World Vision made a change to include LGBT people in employment. Christians took away (in massive numbers) their financial support of poor children across the world because of this “heretical” shift of policy. I guess they can be happy that they made World Vision switch the policy back to exclusion at the expense of children. I can quote this as the precise moment my faith took a deep dive. I lost respect for the church and I was embarrassed and sick to see this attack on World Vision and the LGBT community. I began to question the existence and relevance of God. Likewise in the past this form of attack was unleashed on Rob Bell, Rachel Held Evans, and other prominent progressive Christian leaders. Heretics. However, really? I’m not so sure you can cut them off so quickly. If you do you will be cutting out a huge chunk of your brothers and sisters. People who are in relationship with Christ, they just have a different interpretation of the Bible, of how Jesus has shown us to live.
So, here goes..
Yes. Some of us believe that we should include those that are marginalized. Yes, that means our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. And yes, I DO mean that we have LGBTQ family in the church; faithful followers of Christ doing their best, just like you and me. LGBTQ brothers and sisters who are in relationship with our God. And yes, I will stand by this and I will give my all to protect and love my people. Because I see their worth and I see their love and I see their humility and I see their honest yearning for a place at the table. I see their resemblance of Jesus. I see them. I want them in the family.
Yes. I support and fully stand with my brothers and sisters of color. I support Black Lives Matter. I support the continuation of racial reconciliation in the church and in our country. I am an ally and I will support our people of color as they fight for equality and I will do my best to understand and promote understanding of systemic racism. Because, it’s a thing. A real true thing. As a daughter of God I will stand with those facing injustice. As a church let us unleash the beauty that comes from racial unity.
And yes I believe feminism has a place in the church. I believe we should be forefront in the fight. We should be pursuing women as leaders. We should be listening to women. We should be giving every woman resources to use their God given talents, voices, and callings. Don’t put baby in a box. Women. We are made in the image of our God just as men are. That means we have the divine calling to be who we have been made to be. Those voices inside us, fighting to get out? Let them out. Don’t hold back the fire. God put them there, we have the fire to let our love out into this world, into the church. We can shine light and we can burn with grace, mercy and love like no other. The church needs us and the flames our Lord has put in our beings.
I see US. We are a large dysfunctional family. We are being watched by this world. What are we showing them? Are we showing them Jesus? Are we showing radical love? Are we showing grace? Are we showing mercy? And in that radical love, grace and mercy are we fighting the darkness.. are we working towards justice and reconciliation?