Archive for the ‘Me and Jesus’ Category

Well since my last post I thought I’d share some of the responses I’d had and how things have moved on.

Firstly, I was really surprised about how important people at my church actually regard communion and those who take it. A number of people knew my story and said how really happy and touched they were I was joining them. There has been a lot of hugging (which I’m not actually good at).

What is more amazing is actually how I feel in myself. Since joining the rest for communion I noticed that one or two others have started taking communion who would sit out. I didn’t realise, in fact, until someone pointed out that they didn’t take communion because I didn’t that feeling excluded actually can effect those around you. I thought, in honesty that it was where I was at and people in my church were cool with it. Which, to be honest, they were, but that didn’t mean they didn’t deeply want me, as a gay person to be part of the family.

Communion, is, in fact a family affair. I have learned that actually with all the liturgy there is much love, coming together an saying those words, although prescribed for us is actually about our unity, our oneness whatever our sexuality, the colour of our skin, our gender or any other difference you choose to mention.

Something else I also realised is that sometimes people don’t feel included, even when they are. They don’t feel equal even though they are equal. But to experience that equality often only happens when we join in.

I learned that the people at St John’s do regard me as an equal. That in their view I’m not a second class Christian, even if the upper echelons and primates of the church may regard me as one.

This weekend our wonderful vicar Alan is coming to share communion with the LGBT group that meets once every fortnight at the church. I’m sure this will be a powerful and moving time.

We are family, we are communion, paid for by the blood of the risen Christ, and it’s good, it’s very good.

Advertisements

A lovely friend of mine asked me to write this.

One of the hardest topics as a Christian is forgiveness. When it comes to forgiving others that is. Ofcourse very few Christians have problems with God forgiving them.

The forgiveness we would like from God is unconditional and free, it does not demand payment as we recognise that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross creates the means by which God forgives us.

However, there is one, huge, huge caveat.

Jesus in the Lord’s prayer says “Father forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Thus, if we want complete, full forgiveness from God. We have to forgive others.

Sounds simple doesn’t it but it is notoriously hard to do.

If we realise our forgiveness from God could just be dependant on how we forgive others, that puts a whole new light on it.

Nelson Mandella said “Forgiveness is a powerful weapon”. I would add, yes Nelson, but it comes at sometimes a high price until we look to Jesus on the cross.

There are still consequences though, for example, if someone steals something from you, Jesus says in Matthew 5:40 “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”, surely not Jesus, surely we should pay what is asked?

Jesus has this thing about going the extra mile, when someone steals something from you, give them something else!

WHAT?

My possessions Lord I’ve worked so hard for?

I want to say don’t give them anything else and lock your stuff away.

Jesus doesn’t seem keen on the whole idea of protectionism, “I forgive you but leave me alone”.  He is more interested in reconciliation.

So if I want reconciliation and forgiveness from God then I have to do the same to others.

It works when judging as well, as you judge others so you shall be judged.

Does Jesus command us therefore to be a doormat?

No because a doormat cannot show love or servanthood to the person who has offended us. Jesus asks us to be a better person by repaying pain with love and that is really hard.

But, forgiveness must come with wisdom, if someone keeps breaking things, may be a good idea to put things out of their way. If someone steals from you, forgive them but be wise about leaving your wallet out, it’s more loving not to because then no offence is created.

Overall, it’s about love.

That’s my thoughts on the subject but I recognise just how hard it is to forgive, especially when there is a lot of pain involved. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon, but one that sometimes takes time to yield. Healing from hurt is a whole other story as is repairing the loss that has happened.

Jesus died on the cross to make it possible, don’t think for one minute that was not a painful experience.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”

Sometimes this can be the first step.

“Lord, Please forgive them and let me come alongside you in forgiveness, show me what you want me to do to reconcile things”.

(or for the more desperate)

“I can’t believe they’ve done it again Lord”, to which He responds, “they are just like you”.

Awkward, very Awkward.

 

The people Jesus loved

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Me and Jesus
Tags:

Following up to my last text on Does God love me? I decided to think about the people that Jesus loved and reached out to and conversely those he did not have time for.

Jesus Loves:-

  • Fishermen
  • Tax Collectors
  • “Sinners”
  • Publicans
  • Lepers
  • Prostitutes
  • Roman Soldiers, especially those who have a  “servant” who is sick
  • John “The disciple who Jesus Loved” Who would lay with his head on Jesus’ Chest
  • Judas, the betrayer
  • Short people
  • People who were demonised
  • Thieves (especially those on the cross, who incidentally forgot to get baptised or repent)
  • Children
  • Women – remember the woman that touched the hem of his garment, remember that women were seen as second class
  • Samaritans
  • The poor
  • Peacemakers
  • Those who mourn
  • The persecuted because of his name – incidentally that doesn’t include Pharisees
  • Prodigal sons
  • Slaves
  • Pharisees (remember Nicodemus)
  • The World
  • The sick
  • The disabled (I hate that word)
  • The blind
  • The different
  • Basically anyone for whom the word “Outcast” applies as he was an Outcast.
  • His mother
  • PARTIES! (especially when they run out of wine)
  • Carpenters
  • Rich People (remember the Rich young ruler) (I know it’s on both lists)
  • Poor widows who only have 1 mite to put in the offering

Jesus is not amused by:-

  • People turning the temple into a den of robbers
  • Pharisees – people who have forgotten love in favour of law – whitewashed graves who shut the kingdom of heaven in mens faces.
  • Rich people? – Remember the Rich young ruler

I wonder, just wonder which list Gay people like me fit into?

Does God love me?

Posted: April 14, 2014 in Me and Jesus
Tags:

I have been struggling with this question for years. For the straight person it is easy to assume God’s love for them.

What I think “The Church” thinks.

I think that some of the church is cool with me and some of them hate me. The ones who love, really love, the ones who are not sure want to love but have been told by “someone” they can’t but feel awkward about it and the ones that hate, well they REALLY know how to reject someone.

I hear repeatedly (just listen to LBC radio), I’m a sinner, I’m an abomination, I’m not “natural”, I commit the unforgivable sin, I can change and become straight. Even though I live alone with my cat and hardly see anyone.

I still remember vividly when my church decided to have a discussion on Gay Marriage in the lady chapel at church. I did not go, I found it incredibly hard as I was sitting over the other side of the church. I felt like they were all discussing my life as if I was on trial.

Frankly, I don’t think the Church really believes half of the things it says. I mean no one gets stoned to death for committing adultery?

I wonder what Jesus would say to the church about this whole thing.

What I think Jesus thinks.

Jesus, this is much more awkward.

What do I know about Jesus? Jesus condemned the religious for shutting the gates of heaven in mens faces by all their rules.

Jesus, he loved outcasts, after all, he was an outcast, he was born away from home, he was an immigrant in Egypt, he hugged lepers and healed them, he reached out to everyone, I wonder what he would say to me?

Perhaps he might not be so interested in my sexuality? Maybe God actually would love someone like me. I mean why would he create me and then punish me for being who I am?

Would Jesus allow me to be in love with another person? Would Jesus celebrate love I had for another person even if he was the same sex as me?

Well, it was well known that the Roman Centurion, quite a few of them were Gay and Jesus healed his “servant”. I mean, if you have a servant and he’s sick, you get another one, don’t you? Why did the Roman Centurion journey all that way to meet some Jew, perhaps his love for the Servant was more? I mean, the greek word, so I’ve been told COULD mean lover?

So what if God does love someone like me? Does he think I’m second class, not quite good enough like the church thinks, does he think, as Archbishop Welby recently said, that Gay people should be sacrificed so that violent people will not hurt Christians?

I wish I didn’t have this nagging doubt. Every time a Christian says again that I’m an abomination to God. I wish I could some how break through this.

If I could at least “touch the hem of his garment”, perhaps no one would notice. I don’t take communion in church.  I would tell people it was because I could not get married in church but in fact it was something else, that deep down I feel second class, not quite good enough as far as the church is concerned. I am awkward, like a piece of furniture that does not fit in. That old rug, or odd chair that you just can’t get rid of.

I often think it would be easier not to go to church at all. Easier just to live my christian life alone, after all I do a lot of the time. But you know I just hope one day I will be able to feel that God loves someone like me.

The Striving

What feeling inadequate before God does actually can just lead to depression, for me it does as well but also striving, the thought that perhaps if I do OTHER things to impress God he can overlook the one thing I can’t change.

Does God love me?

Not sure.

http://www.nakedpastor.com/2012/12/07/heavenly-homosexuals/

I love this cartoon.

I think for me it just speaks about God’s grace and how we think we might have some idea of who will be in heaven when we get there. But delightfully, God has a way of reaching people we would never expect, across circumstances, across religious fervour of those who think they are serving him by rejecting people, of those who think by showing God’s love as conditional they are correct. It just amazes me how many LGBT people do have faith, do love Jesus and serve him much as I try to. But it is hard when those who are supposed to be encouraging you in your faith, especially some of the Anglican leadership, instead discourage you and for me sometimes make me feel like quitting church altogether.

At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we have to look back and think honestly how we treated our fellow man. Regardless of our faith or atheism, as human beings we are, by our very nature, responsible for each other, because in being responsible for each other, we are merely being responsible for ourselves.

Sadly though to often we are only “loving those who love us”. I have many friends of other faiths, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Jews who I love and respect as much as other Christians. My workplace is a fine example of a multi-cultural, multi-gender, multi-sexuality place. We don’t deny each other, but affirm each other, regularly on a festival, those of that faith will bring in some food to celebrate and we all do, there is never an angry word or a criticism of someone because of their sexuality and/or faith, nor an awkward denial, just acceptance that we are different and that is the best way to be.

We don’t have to fight each other all the time. The bible says Love covers over a multitude of sins. Have you noticed when someone is in love, they are blind to the blatantly obvious, their friends can see what a terrible person he is, but they just don’t get it. Love makes them blind. Sometimes, I wonder if God’s love is like that, he’s blinded by the sacrifice of his only Son. His love is unconditional, if only he could get through the religious rubbish that we put up as walls, instead of making our view of him clearer, it just gives us more blurred vision.

Jesus talked of coming to him like a child, perhaps that’s the key to the Kingdom. Not clever words or beautiful cathedrals, perhaps blind love for God. Simple love that does not come to God with a list of rules we’ve obeyed, points we’ve scored against others, but simply waiting.

I have waffled a bit in this piece, not stuck to one subject but drifted through some thoughts inspired by this cartoon.

 

One of the common things I hear, even in accepting churches is that LGBT people are God’s second best, that gay relationships are not God’s best for man.

Sadly I think these people are wrong. Why, because God chooses the helper, the best helper that is for you if you will allow him. For Adam, Adam’s great helper for him was Eve.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man… but for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God… made a woman… and he brought her to the man.
~ Genesis 2:18-22

First point, God wanted Adam to choose his helper from all the animals. Thus, this relationship God wanted for Adam was not a sexual one. God’s helper was Eve, she was perfect for him. Still no mention of sex though.

Second point, the right helper for anyone might not be a woman! God’s concern is that man’s and his “helper” have their emotional needs met, there is no mention of sex, or children at this point for that matter. For me the church is often obsessed with sex, with sex acts, but God seems much more concerned with the whole person. Gay people are humans that unless called to celibacy and living alone (which I think is rare), need a helper, a companion.

Where Christian’s often go wrong is by making procreation the reason for committed relationships (call it marriage if you like). This making only people who have children have a valid marriage, but that’s not what Genesis is talking about. It’s talking about a suitable helper. Actually, if two people love each other and live for other, perhaps they are disabled or unable to have children, still their relationship is just as valid.

If you say that all God want’s is a man to marry a woman and have children, you reduce God to being some kind of “child factory maker”. Gay relationships, relationships between people unable to have children are not God’s second best. Children, yes, are a blessing from God, but two people living in unity and worship of him, regardless of their ability to produce children naturally, honour him, and in honouring him, become his best. So if someone is disabled, or gay, or lesbian, or unable to have children, their relationships are no less special or valid in his site.

You see, homosexuality is not some kind of sin or disease, it’s a state of being, the outworking of which is the same needs and wants as straight people. Gay relationships, relationships between disabled people, relationships between childless people and the lives of single people should all be celebrated equally. God does not see any of us as second best or not quite as good as another human being. Jesus died for all of us, whatever our race, religion, sexuality, age, weight, goodness, badness or any other label you like. Paul the apostle said how we are all made equal through Christ.

God loves love and hates hate.

I go to a loving church.

After my last post – about the Church of England I came to the horrible realisation that maybe church, in itself, is not the Kingdom Jesus was talking about.

The Kingdom, after all is not like a human kingdom, it is not one that has borders.

Jesus had some odd things to say about it.

Its a Kingdom where all everyone is equal. (Matthew 20)

It’s a Kingdom of the Rejected. Matthew 8:10 (The story of the Roman Centurion and his Pias, male servant with which he was probably in a relationship).

Could it be that the very people the church rejects or hurts could be the very people who are welcomed, unhindered by the Christ who was rejected before them?

Church, for me should reflect Christ and his Kingdom. For now, we have a long way to go.

You see if the sons and daughters of the Kingdom, knew their King more and built church on Him, “church” would be very different from the silly pomp and circumstance, the unnecessary walls and rules that bind.