Jesus wasn’t a homophobe so why are you?

Aside


Last November, Paul Davies, decided to get baptised as a public declaration of his commitment to God. For months before that, Paul wrestled with the desire to become a Christian and part of Church, against his strong beliefs that homosexuality is not a choice, but is natural. He wrote the following article for a special issue of ‘Quench’ on LGBT+ about the way the in which some Churches have treated LGBT+.

Christianity has for a long time been one of the most prominent anti-gay institutions. As a Christian, I find this deeply upsetting. Homophobia goes against my faith which teaches me that God loves everyone. In fact, if you’re going to take one single message from the Bible, it should be a message of love. Jesus didn’t condemn anyone, except religious leaders, so the Church has no place doing it either. Despite my feeling on this, I’m well aware that I’m in the minority. The majority of Christians still condemn homosexuality.

I’m thankful to admit that this is starting to change. I was inspired to write this article when I heard about a group of Christians who attended a gay pride march in Chicago. I know what you’re thinking. A group of not just Christians, but American Christians, at a gay pride march sounds like a recipe for disaster. I’m glad to say that it wasn’t. The group were holding up banners apologising for the way the church had treated homosexuals. Their apology sparked a fantastic response from the marchers. There were tears, waving and even one dancer left the march to hug the Christians.

For me, the image is heart warming. There’s a lot of media attention for Christians who condemn homosexuality. Such as the crazy Westbro Baptist Church who claim that ‘God hates Fags’. (By the way, don’t be too offended by the Westbro nut jobs, apparently god also hates Sweden as well, because of the ‘Satanic IKEA’.)

It’s rare to see such a powerful display of acceptance from Christians. This is partly because anti-gay Christians are a lot more vocal, and partly because the media would rather report on condemnation than acceptance. In the summer some of the people in my church went to a gay bar because they had karaoke. The staff were shocked that Christians would want to go there but we hadn’t given it a second thought. The crazies are much few and far between but we’re all quite likely to have heard about their shameful campaigns.

The truth is that there are many Christians, particularly the young future leaders of the church, who find the idea of condemning homosexuals repulsive and morally wrong. Many see that the homosexuality of the Bible and of today is completely different.  In the Bible when homosexuality is mentioned it is in the context of rape or extra marital affairs. This is a historical difference in culture and language which has tainted Christianity over the years. The word homosexuality didn’t exist when the Bible was written, so the relations referred to are not the same as we would understand homosexuality now. Christians need to accept and understand this, like they have over issues such as slavery.

The future’s bright for acceptance within the church. We’re starting to see the cobwebs being brushed off. The more modern, independent Churches are already changing the religious Christianity, not the message, but the man-crafted ideology that has corrupted the real message of Christ. The old institutions are going to either change, or die along with their congregation.

There is so much more to say on this issue, this really is just a brief article about this topic, especially with the recent prevalence of the gay marriage debate. Please feel free to express your views on this post in the comments box below but do so with respect.

SIMPLE PLEASURES: everyday life


Our normal routine, our everyday life is the very simplest of pleasures that most of us miss. It’s an awful irony that we only realize how blessed we were every single day, when something awful that puts those things into jeopardy. It’s only when someone has an accident that results in paralysis that they realize how lucky they were to live without a disability. It’s only once you get ill that you realize that you took a good night’s sleep for granted. For me, I’ve come to realize how lucky I am that I only have fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. This hit me one day on a hospital visit, I was looking for the right ward when I read ‘teenage cancer’ on the sign and right there and then I thanked God that wasn’t where I was going that day.

I found out recently that a family friend has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although I am not close to this person or his wife, they are my parents friends, this has caused me a lot of grief because I can’t imagine how painful it would be to lose Paul. I think about all the things they’ve already done for the last time without knowing- the last holiday they went on, the last birthday. My parents are going through an awful time in nearly every area of their life but they have each other. I know that I would take any suffering if I could have Paul with me. These friends have lived a good, comfortable life but I know all of that will feel empty when she looses her husband.

This is something Gretchen Rubin tackles in The Happiness Project. It seems too morbid a topic to have in such a book, but realizing that bad news is only ever a phone call away makes you realize how lucky you are. None of us are exempt from the call telling us a loved one has been in an accident or that the test results are not good news. In a twisted way it is other people’s tragedies that make us thankful for what we have. Nothing can bring us security, we can work all our lives for a retirement fund that disappears in a few days in a global banking crisis or loose all our possessions in a house fire or natural disaster. We tend to think that because we worked for something then we deserve it, and we do, but just because you bought it, because you’re a good wife or husband, because your parents love you unconditionally does not mean it will be there forever. In reality we never really own anything, it can be taken in an incident is what I’m trying to say.

In my Church, we have a saying- everything is a gift. Don’t take anything for granted. We can’t live everyday as if it were our last, I’d have no money for starters and I would spend a lot of time on tearful conversations and making funeral plans. But, we can live a fulfilling, satisfying life. In the Bible it says to live life in all its fullness, sometimes that means doing not very fun stuff like being good with your finances so you have a roof over your head, but I’ve learnt not to see these things as a drag, I am so thankful that I have money to pay my gas bill, unlike many people right here in the UK. Instead of seeing things as a drag, I turn it on its head and I see the blessing, instead of missing the blessing. It may sound saintly but I’m happy than I’ve ever been. The other morning, I woke up really early in pain, instead of moaning at how unfair this is and how tired it made me, I thanked God that being in pain meant I finally got around to doing some stuff. I have a really short attention span and a bad memory so it takes me so long to get around to doing stuff so being stuck in the bathroom made me do some internet shopping I needed to get around to. Later on, I feel asleep with my head in Paul’s lap, usually he can’t sit down for more than a couple of minutes but because he didn’t want to wake me, he chilled out on the sofa watching TV, something he barely ever does.

So, thank God or the universe or just be happy that you are so very blessed today, no matter how little you have.