A Christian Outside the Box

There are a few things that need to be said before I start this one.

First, I am Christian so, if it looks like I’m pointing fingers at others, I’m also in the group I’m pointing at.

Second, I know that stereotypes are not a good thing. Having said that, I also know that they don’t apply in every case so, if they don’t apply to you, please don’t take offense.

Third, for the gazillionth time, I do not think that being gay or having a faith that is different from mine is a sin. Period.

We, Christians, seem to think that being rigid in our thoughts is a good thing. I really don’t know how we got to that spot. We have deified our dogma to the point that “thought crimes” give us a reason to hate. Yeah, I know, I used the word “hate”. We have decided that we can use our faith to exclude people because WE deem them “sinners”. We have decided that it is our God given right to condemn and repress in the name of God and love. We have decided that we have the sole right to determine not only what is moral but, to say what God would say is moral. We hold that morality up like a shield. We use it to protect ourselves from looking at ourselves. We have placed that shield between ourselves and the mirror that allows us to look at ourselves. We say, “yeah, I sin but, at least, I’m not gay. I might doubt but, at least, I’m not a heathen.” 

We tend to forget our own history. Our church is an outgrowth of the life of a man that was trying to change his church. He shook up his world by associating with the rejects and outcasts of His society. He said of the rigidly dogmatic of his time ““What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence!” We forget that our faith calls us not to determine what is “wrong” with the lives of others but, what is wrong with our own lives. We have become modern Pharisees. 

I really do understand the view. It is easy to cling to a self image that gives us the sense of rightness. The problem lies in the idea that if I am exclusively right, then, anyone that is different has to be wrong. It forces me to be in opposition to views that I do not understand. It gives a perception of strength because of my rigidity. It allows a sense of safety by saying that anything outside the box is dangerous but, here, inside this box we are safe. By allowing us a sense of persecution, it allows us to feel as if the world is a danger to us and builds a “bunker mentality”. We have become Pharisees.

Here is the problem. The rest of humanity does not conform to our views. The majority of the world is outside of the box that is my world view. When I have limited my horizons to what i can see from the bottom of the box, then all I see is box. That does not follow what I have been taught as a Christian. I have been taught that “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world” Notice that it does not say “all the Christian children”. My Bible makes no qualifiers as to who is loved by God. Those qualifiers were put in by men. We made rules where the Son of God put none in place. We are wrong for doing that. It is not our place to say who God loves and who He does not. Matthew says “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.2“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you…” When we say that God can not love someone then we are expecting that same standard to be applied to us.

From my perspective, I do not want that to happen to me. I am a harsh critic…of myself. I have been lucky, though. I have been given people to help me. I have been given a Pagan friend, Aj, that helped me to see that being of a different faith is not the same as being evil. I have been given Z to teach me that it is entirely possible to be gay and Christian. They have taken my box and trampled it to shreds.

I do not foresee a circumstance that will ever give me reason to become Pagan. I like being Christian. It is part of my self. I have learned, though, that being Pagan is just as much a part of Aj. It is not a fad or a passing thing. I also know the lady. She is a good person. She is true to herself and her faith. It is not my place to judge her because her faith is different from mine. I do not want to have that “measure” applied to me.

The more insidious part of Christianity is the way that Z is treated. The part that says that if she doesn’t repent her “gayness” then she can not be Christian. It is the, in my opinion, misguided belief that she is a sin. Because she could no more divide herself from that than she could remove her DNA and remain living. The belief that she decided, again, misguided and wrong, in my view, to be gay and can at any time undecide to be gay. That because it is willing sin then she is unrepentant and, therefore, not allowed to be Christian. There is a phrase that is tossed around “hate the sin but, love the sinner.” If you have determined that being gay is a sin, and, if she and I have determined that it is a part of her, then the conclusion is that it is ok to hate her. 

One problem is the perception that there is a Christian injunction against being gay. Problem is that Christ never had a word to say on the subject. Not one word.

The second is that the Church is an exclusive club for non-sinners. Bad news, in Romans 3:23 it says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So, if the Church is going to exclude sinners the building is going to be empty. Period. 

The third point that is used is this. By allowing her into the Church, they are condoning her “choice” to be gay. That they are approving it for the world to see. They wouldn’t want the world to see a “dirty cup”. They wouldn’t want the outsiders to think that they would allow that behavior in their Church.

*******

My perceptions have changed. I used to be that rigid. I forgot some basics. It is not MY Church. It is God’s Church. I have realized that the verses that speak most strongly to me are the ones that speak to the heart of love. The ones that speak to how God created us in His image. The ones that speak to how I am to look inside of myself and change myself. The ones that call me to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me”. My Bible does not call me to exclude. It calls me to fellowship. 

I will also add this, “sin” is a Judeo-Christian concept. It is not a part of Paganism. I have no calling to apply my concept of sin to that faith.

My views have changed over time. I would hope that they have matured. I have been so rigidly dogmatic as to exclude everyone that I could not fit in my box. In some ways, I still have a box. It is a much bigger box. It has room for far more in it than I ever thought possible. It includes Aj and Z and as many people as want to join us in it.

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