God, you are so confusing to me lately! I feel afraid, but also comforted. Big shifts and stirrings in my faith and my understanding make me afraid that I love You less…
I’m thinking a lot about the inconsistencies in the bible. Or rather, the inconsistencies we wrestle with and see, because I believe somehow, ultimately it all fits together. That context & translation, not divine origin or infallibility are the roadblocks in our way. These inconstancies make it so hard to iron out the pages. The bible is living, breathing, and wrinkled. We humans prefer our surfaces nice and tidy—flat. You though, God? You are wild, scary, and boundless in how You lived and how You Love. By choosing an ironed, easy-to-look-at, and easy-to-live faith, we also choose iron of a different nature—slavery. Iron bars and iron shackles. We confine You in our jail cell with us.
You are not easy. Jesus, You were the rabbi who didn’t always observe the Sabbath. The rabbi who instead of leading onlookers in stoning that adulteress, reminded us all of our own unfaithfulness—then dared us to cast the first stone. A rabbi who welcomed, instead of shunned, the little children. When we wanted a heaven-sent victor to come and conquer the world in God’s name, You humbled Yourself to death on a cross and conquered hearts in a whole new way.
You broke it all. You ruined religion with Your unbridled tongue, Your fierce defense of the defenseless. You rejected the idea that any single person deserved salvation more than another.
I’m so confused by Christians who claim to know God’s heart for gay people (God’s heart for anyone, really). I’ve heard some of us cite Scripture out of context, much like the Scriptures involving women’s rights. Matthew 7:13-14 seems to be a favorite, used to bolster up the beliefs. (Because when we remove Love and Grace and Mercy from the equation, everything needs to be bolstered.) The road is narrow, yes, but what if it’s the opposite of how these people perceive it? If mainstream religion/Christianity says no to homosexuality, then wouldn’t that be the wide path? The easy, ironed path? Wouldn’t the narrow way, the harder way, be to CHOOSE LOVE? The bloggers, pundits, and preachers I’m thinking about say that they love gay people, it’s just the sin they hate. I get this. I really do, I even think it can be biblically “defended” (keep in mind context though). And honestly, it’s how I used to think. It’s how I defended myself and bolster up my belief. It was such a safe, ironed-out answer. But it didn’t make me squirm like a wrinkled rug on my floor does. It didn’t make me squirm like I do when I read about all of Jesus’ interactions.
I interpret that logic, love the gay person just hate their sin, as “I love the Super Bowl! I just hate football…..” How can you love something if you vehemently reject a huge part of it’s identity? From reading what I’ve read, I have yet to find anything that left me thinking the author would die for the type of person they just spent 1000 words trying to convince me they “loved.” Except, that’s exactly what Jesus did. Also, so what if it’s a sin!?! Why do we care!? Isn’t God big enough to handle that? Cast the first stone, I dare you. I don’t think we love the LGBT community, I think we love ironing…
God, I am so confused by You. I am so confused by the contrast of Romans 5:18-19 against Matthew 7: 13-14. I don’t understand how You lived and how You loved. Every day I am stuck in this wrinkled existence, help me see the world the way You do.
I know what it’s like to be the Other; I went to rehab. The scarlet letter I wore stood for Addict, though Adulteress could’ve worked in a pinch. Some people believed, still believe, I am flawed. The God I met at rehab though, and the God I’ve met every day since, is a God—YOU are a God— who adores even a scarlet-lettered mama. So I am confused by You, and I don’t really enjoy the position it puts me in. But I know You, and I love You. The scars on my body (from cancer & cutting) and the scars on my heart (from trauma, and addiction, and much much more) remind me of the God who has proven, for decades now, just how real and good You really are. I trust You.
My physical/emotional/spiritual brokeness taught me and teaches me just how deep into love You really dig. You go down to our core and awaken an understanding we gain through no other means. Only when we receive the FULLNESS of Your Love can we extend it. I don’t understand it, just like I don’t understand You. I don’t know how I find the kind of love I do. Just like a wrinkled dress I pull out of the laundry bin, it makes me feel uncomfy.
How could I go back to the iron of before? To the slavery of thinking and believing I know what You think. You only Love, and that Love births every one of Your other characteristics. It is Your source, THE source.
Just help me Love, Jesus. I want courage, strength, and bravery to live the way You lived down here. That is the narrow way. Your life was the narrow path, You went against popular beliefs & strong-held religious ideals of Your day. You are all I have in my attempt to do right & good. You walked the narrow path, and in doing so gave us the road map, the guide. It’s full of ups and down, mountains and valleys, hidden and treacherous obstacles, and holy heights. Wrinkly and ripped and inconsistent, it resembling nothing like a freshly printed map humans can so easily decipher. Please make me okay with the folds in the maps & fabrics of this existence, Lord. Help me Love in spite of them.
(Note: Some parts of this post sound similar to parts of a sermon Michael Hidalgo gave at Denver Community Church a few weeks ago. This was written before he gave that sermon and before I heard that sermon. I gave him a head’s up–he knows, it’s all good ; ))