Ok, What just went through your mind? What assumptions did you immediately make? Did your gut tell you that I was closed minded or open hearted? Did your feelings tell you that I am a social conservative or a liberal activist? Am I a right wing gun toting, anti-abortion, patriarchal, firebrand, or am I a leftist, peace-making, choice accepting, gender-inclusive… firebrand? Am I a Biblical literalist who is sure that the vast majority of people in this world are going to Hell unless I evangelize them first, or do I understand the Bible from a more modern interpretive paradigm in which a Loving God doesn’t have a Hell?
I find myself over and over again having to explain to people that there are many flavors of Baptists. But put simply; the flavor of Baptist represented by Charles Worley, who spouted vile, hate-filled words about my LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered) brothers and sisters, is a flavor that should offend all who have had the misfortune to sample it.
If you missed it, a few weeks ago in a Sunday sermon, Charles Worley told his congregation at the Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina, that gays and lesbians should be wiped from the face of the earth - Build two enclosures with hundreds of miles of electrified fence and pen up the lesbians in one and the “queers and the Gays” in the other, fly over in a plane and drop in food, and in one generation, not being able to reproduce, they will all die off.
Ah, the Love of God through Jesus Christ. [sigh]
As a straight guy, I don’t know what it feels like to be attracted to a person of my same sex. But I do know what it feels like to be bullied.
As a happily married person, I do not know what it feels like to have my love relationship marginalized, reviled and made illegal. But I do know how it feels to scream out for justice and be ignored.
But, as a Baptist – and more importantly – an unlabeled Child of God, I know all too well that the bible, when used as a weapon, will do far more to destroy then it will to build up.
As a disciple of Jesus, (for whom the issue of homosexuality was so important that he never mentioned it once), I beg people who would sit in judgment of those who are different from themselves to remember the second half of the verse that begins, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” It reads: “For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Emphasis mine)(Mathew 7:1-2)
All too often we turn away from God as we judge each other, when we should be uniting with God in Loving each other.
Ancient church tradition holds that when the Apostle John (the supposed author of the Gospel that bears that name) was in his 90s and so feeble and frail that he had to be carried into the church, he would each week share this one insight with his fellow believers, “My little children, love one another. It is the Lord’s command, and if this alone be done, it is enough.”
To all people of goodwill everywhere I say, I plead; Let Love Be Enough, Let Love Be Enough.
Rev. Gregory Thomas is the pastor of