Friday, March 18, 2011
The universal nature of the Gospel...
Over the last week, my friend Invictus Pilgrim, has responded thoughtfully, sincerely and logically in a number of posts to what I believe was a disingenuous question left on his blog. (To read IP's posts, which I think are wonderful, go here: http://invictuspilgrim.blogspot.com).
In my frustration at the ongoing contention and arrogance perpetrated by this anonymous commentor who recently began calling himself Bryan, I wrote a long angry essay condemning him and his ilk for the close minded bigotry toward homosexuality they continue to propagate among members of the Church as truth. Fortunately, I lost the diatribe in a page change.
Let me say instead that Bryan and those like him have a serious doctrinal problem themselves. They seem to be blind to the universal nature of the Gospel. They, like the pharisees of old, are so caught up in the letter of the law, the black and white, the right and wrong, that they fail to understand that Christ's arms are open to ALL his sons and daughters, especially gay ones. ("Come unto me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden....") They also fail to remember that in the end Christ wants ALL of his children, every one, to have joy. ("Men are [not just righteous men] that they might have joy.")
To illustrate the universality of the Gospel, I find it interesting that Jesus spent most of his ministry surrounded by sinners, those who the "worthy" members of the Church of his time refused to countenance. But regardless of the opinions of the "righteous", Christ was there. He performed miracles. He healed souls. He showed love.
One of the most touching stories in scripture involves Christ's conversation with the woman at the well. The "worthy" members castigated Jesus because he was unwilling to condemn an adulteress. When caught in their sophistry, these "worthy" brethren slinked from Christ's presence.
Alone with the woman, knowing full well the extent of her sin, Jesus simply asked, "Where are thine accusers?" And when the situation was clear, whispered to the woman, "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more."
When I approach the judgment bar I hope I will have love in my heart for my God and my neighbor. If that is my end, I have confidence in receiving the approbation of my Savior. His atonement will have paid my debt and I will be whole. The anger and hostility of those who hate and contend will be forgotten and in contrast, I will forever have a heart filled with joy.
That is ultimately what I wish for Anonymous/Bryan, that he might come to terms with all of this as many of us gay men and women have. In so doing, I am confident that he, too, will ultimately stand approved before God and find the joy that he deserves.