Things That Make Us Go“Duh”
by Lori Heine
What do we believe about God? The growing conflict between anti-gay Christians on one side, and LGBT Christians and our allies on the other, really boils down to that. It is about us only secondarily. Primarily, it is about God.
In an earlier essay in The Epistle, I stated a fact too obvious to be disputed: that for Christians, religious freedom means the freedom to do what Christ told us to do. If we would follow Jesus, He Himself declared in Scripture what we must do. That we must abide by His teachings, and do what He has done.
There are all sorts of ideas, out there in the big, wide world, about God. About what God is like, and about what God expects of us. Regardless of our differences, Christians of every sort believe that Jesus has revealed to us Who God is. And what God wants from us.
Of course that all sounds pretty obvious. You may be reading this and thinking, “Well, duh!” It may be very clear to us, but it must not be clear to everybody who goes by the name of Christian. The dogged opposition of anti-gay Christians to LGBT inclusion in the church shows that many of them have ideas about God that didn’t come from Jesus.
Our ever-increasing inclusion in the Body of Christ is the result, I do believe, of the fact that a growing number of Christians are clarifying what they believe about God. That they are remembering the Master to whom they have committed their lives, have really explored in-depth what the Bible says about Him, and are determined to follow in His footsteps more faithfully than ever before. What straight Christians believe about us, and even what we believe about ourselves, is, again, strictly secondary to what we all believe about God. The few desperately-twisted verses anti-gay Christians pick out of the Bible, supposedly to bolster their opposition to us, cannot possibly stand up against the clear witness of Jesus Himself.
If God made us in His likeness, and Jesus died to save us, then God must love us. If we didn’t choose our sexual orientation or gender identity, then either God created us the way we are or—if we are the way we are for some other reason—the God revealed in Christ would never hold it against us for being that way. Any God who would punish us, or wish us to be miserable, because of something that, for whatever reason, we can’t help could not possibly be the God Who “so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” Anti-gay Christians, in their heart-of-hearts, demonstrate that they do not believe in this God.
Jesus shared all He had, not even withholding His very life. He welcomed others—even those shunned by the “good religious people” of His time—and went out of His way to find them and tell them that God loved them. Yes, He spoke a good deal about sin, but He defined it as the failure to live faithfully with others, or to treat them as we want to be treated, ourselves. The notion that loving others faithfully, or seeking to love them this way, was somehow sinful, He would certainly have found not only abhorrent but very, very strange. He also told us not to obsess over whether others were sinning, but to concentrate on being the best that we could be.
Most of us already know this. As I retell it here, it is old news. But sometimes things can be so elementary, and so fundamentally, obviously true, that we just sort of file them away and forget them. Though they’re as plain as the noses on our faces, amid the jumble of the world’s preoccupations this is all too easy to do. It’s always good to remind ourselves, from time to time, even of things that make us go “duh.”
© 2015 Lori Heine
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