Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Well I’m excited.

Often it feels like there is a huge gulf between the LGBT community and Christianity, one that if you are a Christian and gay, can be hard to deal with, you live in a kind of no mans land.

But that gulf is getting much narrower. I remember the first time I ever bought a Gay Times magazine. It was in Tesco. I still have it. I bought it and I didn’t try to hide it. I took it home, read every page. I had been outed by someone but I had finally accepted who I was and it was connection to the gay community which I had just started to experience again.

I was SO happy to see some amazing LGBT Christians actually being published in interviews in the magazine for December. The articles are warm and inviting. It is so nice seeing LGBT publications doing something positive for LGBT Christians rather than the constant slating.

You get persecuted by the church for being gay, and by the gay community for being Christian. But that is changing and it’s fantastic.

I wanted to add. If you are gay and Christian and feeling alone please get in touch and I’ll try and help.

If you are near Hillingdon, UK, check out St John’s Hillingdon hill where you will be loved and welcomed. What’s more we even have an LGBT Christian Fellowship.

Thanks for being their Gay Times! I wonder if we could use the articles to produce a flyer for church? Hmmm.

http://www.gaytimes.co.uk

http://www.stjohnshillingdon.org.uk

Love to All

 

Paul

Advertisements

I have for some time been thinking about the whole Communion thing. Not only Communion but Marriage, priesthood etc. and I am about to say something shocking…. but when you get a handle on it it gives us freedom.

Communion

In the church of England a Priest has to bless the bread and wine (consecrate it), ofcourse this has caused a bit of a problem where you don’t have a Vicar. Now ofcourse this would cause a bit of a problem for Jesus, ofcourse he was not ordained, or the disciples, or apostles.

The Breaking of Bread belongs to the Church world wide, but we could actually drop the ritual and make it much simpler, we could lose the “requirements” of hundreds of years of history that are not only, not in the Bible or practiced by Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the ritual sometimes, but we must not be bound by it, Communion belongs to Christians, not to ritual.

The Priesthood

Ok  given there are elders, and priests in the Bible, but these people did not dress differently from the common man, in fact the original purpose of robes was so that the priest looked like the common man, but it somehow got lost. Ofcourse, we are all priests, Jesus created the priesthood of all believers, the priesthood belongs to every Christian.

Now, we do need elders and apostles. We need people to manage the church. That’s very important.

Marriage

Marriage was around LONG before there was church, and Christians to make rules about it. Gay Marriage, sorry to say for those who think it is quite a modern thing was practiced well before the church was established, a number of Roman Emperors married Men, marriage has had many many forms over the years and to think that the Church some how has a right to define what it is sadly leaves a lot to be desired.

Money

Why on earth does some organisation think it has a right to demand 10% of the income of those who are probably struggling themselves. While Bishops live in palaces it is immoral to demand a tithe from the poor.

Jesus wouldn’t do it, even Paul the Apostle was a tent maker and welcomed gifts, everyone gave “as he was able”. Making people feel second class because they can’t give is wrong.

A fixed percentage is unfair on the poor.

Someone who earns £1000 a month but gives £100 to the church will find life much harder than someone who earns £10000 a month and gives £1000.

Remember the woman who through the small coin into the offering and Jesus said how she gave more than all the others.

I often see TV adverts for charities and I’ve got to the point where I say to myself, if you can afford that TV ad. you don’t need my money.

(I’m such a rebel)

Baptism

Here’s something else that the churches love to  take over. Baptism, it doesn’t belong to the church but every believer. Many many baptisms are performed in rivers and lakes, all you need is Water, a confession of faith and believers.

I do love church though….

Christmas.

Posted: December 23, 2014 in Peoms
Tags: ,

It’s almost like I’m blinded by the tinsel
Making a shimmering wall to protect me from “The Gift”
It’s almost like the star can’t be seen because of our street lights of commercialism
It’s almost like those Wise Men never journeyed to the dark, smelly stable
Or the shepherds who were as dark and smelly as the stable never knelt before the One of whom the Angels sang
It’s almost as if his message of Love and Peace for all, of good news became bad news for some
It’s almost as if the food trough that he rested in as a baby was still, just, a trough

Of course, it’s up to us, to dig through the tinsel and froth of our modern lives
It’s up to us to sit quietly and watch the mother and child
To listen to the soft speech of the confused carpenter father trying to keep up
To capture the smells and noise of the stable
Gather with all and watch the story unfold
Suddenly our commercial, modern approach seems a bit irrelevant

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?

The Jug.

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Christian Ethics
Tags: , ,

Jesus in one of his frequent and mostly surprising visits observed a jug. It was made of glass, empty, chipped in odd places.

” Did you bring that?” I asked.

“No, he said, it’s yours, you’ve just not noticed it before”

“Why does it have a board on the top of it, so nothing can be put in?”

“Well”, Jesus said, with that warm ‘annoying’ smile, “that’s your Love Jug”.

“Oh! I said, it’s empty”

“Yes, said Jesus, and you are scared to let anyone fill it so you keep that board on top, the ‘personal space’ board, it serves you well, protecting you from pain”

“But….”, I said, half knowing what was coming,

“But… because you will not make yourself vulnerable, when I send people to you to show you love you cannot receive it, in fact, you don’t really receive my love, you’re so worried about conditions, about not being good enough, so worried you might get hurt”.

“Jesus, I know what you’re saying but if I remove that board then I will get hurt”,

“Maybe,”, he said, “But it’s better than feeling alone and empty isn’t it? Remember when I died for you, to show you the ultimate love I have for you, I had to become ultimately vulnerable, when you think of being ‘Christlike’, it’s not about obeying rules, or being a ‘Good Christian’, but about being vulnerable, because out of that vulnerability comes humility and strength”.

“It’s very risky”, I said, hoping he wouldn’t force me to take the board from the top of the Jug,

“Yes, but love and risk are intrinsically tied together, if you don’t want to feel so alone and empty, you have to become vulnerable, you have to receive pain and love equally, sometimes your jug will be broken, but a new, better one, will be made in it’s place”

“Do I have to take the board of now?”

“No,”, said Jesus, “it’s always your choice to be vulnerable, no one else’s, except sometimes bad things happen and the board is removed on it’s own, you become vulnerable because you can no longer be strong, you have a choice, you can live as a vulnerable receptive vessel of my love or carry on relying on your own strength, the problem is, when others need of the contents of your jug, there won’t be much there”.

“Jesus, it’s dangerous”

“Yes”

“Is it worth it?”

“Yes”

“I’m scared”

“There”, said Jesus, “that did it”

The board protecting me was gone, my fear made me vulnerable and Jesus love could flow into my jug

“You see”, he said wryly, “perfect love casts out all fear, your vulnerability opened the door for love to deal with fear”,

“I think I’ll just leave the board off for a while longer”, I said.

 

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental health has yet again been dragged kicking and screaming to the fore by Asda and Tesco’s silly costume. Most people actually do suffer from mental health issues, wether depression, stress or anything else. This, in the LGBT community is surprisingly high, especially amongst the young people.  A recent survey said that 40% of young people believe they have mental health problems.

The problem with being different, is that people find it difficult to deal with you and when you take on their views of who you are, you can end up with all kinds of problems. Having condemned myself for a lot of my life, I understand this from a personal perspective, having suffered from depression, I can understand this as well. But so many young people struggling with these issues is terrible.

Here is a space for the church, Jesus was complained about because he spent all his time with “tax collectors and sinners”, his critics, the Pharisees (leadership of the church?), thoroughly enjoyed taking him to pieces for doing what he knew should. LGBT people are seen by some churches as the worst of sinners, which, oddly, seems to me to alienate them from the Jesus that sits with us, in the back of the gay bar, laughing and sharing his stories about the real Kingdom of God, not demanding, just giving.

How can we, Christ’s church, built on a foundation of sacrificial love have got to the place where, dare I say it, we have been part of the problem for this group of people? It is time for the redemption of Christianity and the gospel from the hatred towards anyone who does not fit, to the love of those special people, love can really help with a lot of these kind of issues. Instead of “love the sinner, hate the sin”, we should just love everyone. The more needy the more love should be given, because when this person finds Jesus, they find the ultimate love and their redemption is even greater.

What have we done?

If you are in the Hillingdon UK area, my friend Lukasz and his team run Hillingdon Mind for LGBT people http://www.hillingdonmind.org.uk/index.php/projects/lgbt . If you need help please get in touch.