I recently watched Kody Hersh’s QuakerSpeak video entitled How Jesus Affirms My Queerness, and was disappointed by the negative comments in some of the follow-up posts. I began to formulate counter-responses to those who staunchly refused to accept that God/Jesus loves all people, including LGBTQ folks, just as they are. Since the refusers often used scriptures to prop up their position, I decided to select a few scriptures of my own.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
~ Luke 11:11
If you were growing up LGBTQ, how would you want to be treated? If you were the loving parent of someone who identified as queer, would you refuse to allow her to express who she really is? Can you see the difference between the teaching that God loves Kody Hersh just as she is and the false teaching that God does not love Kody just as she is but will only agree to love her if she became, or pretended to become, something else?
The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.
~ Acts 10:15
In the tenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Peter gave up his inherited religious taboo against the Gentiles, a people he considered unclean and outside of God’s unconditional love. Peter changed his mind, and in doing so contributed to far-reaching change for others. Can you see the parallels between this paradigm change of Peter’s and recent changes in our religious/cultural attitude towards LGBTQ people?
Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
~ Mark 2:27
Here’s a news flash for those who haven’t considered it before: our human understanding of scripture is meant to grow and change as we, our world, and our understanding of the ways of God grow and change! In other words: Scripture was made for man, not man for the scriptures. Jesus famously told his contemporaries that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” These words were not just about one day of the week. They are examples of Jesus’ whole project of getting people to live a life that is free of the prejudice created by narrow interpretations of scriptures and religious traditions. Scriptures and religious traditions glorify a God of love when they help us to serve, rather than hinder, other human beings. If our scriptures aren’t lending us the courage and insight to do this, there is something wrong with the way we use them.
To those who would exclude other human beings from full and loving fellowship because of disagreements about sexual orientation, I have the following request: Please don’t refuse to accept people because they are different from you! This unnecessarily hinders both you and the ones you are uncomfortable with, or afraid of, for whatever reason. This goes for me as well. As a follower of Jesus, I must continue to have compassion for all human weakness. Since Jesus lands harder on rigid judgment than on any other human weakness, its clear we have to seek conversion for our pre-judging habits.
Kody Hersh’s video is a wonderful example of simplicity and integrity. I pray we Christians can honor such love as was expressed there rather than get tripped up by human misunderstandings made into laws and habits that hurt people.