"God hates ... "
"Jesus loves you, ... but"
I read the Scriptures, and I take what I find there quite seriously, but I must confess I marvel at how seemingly faithful people can read the same scriptures - the very same words - and can find in those texts prohibitions and calls to exclude and hurt others.
I have never been able to see how the Scriptures can be used, or more appropriately, misused to exclude women, left-handed people, minorities, and most recently Gays, Lesbians, Trans-gendered and Bi-sexual people ... over the course of time, the Church has struggled repeatedly with the widening of our circle. Each time we've tried to widen the circle voices have called out denouncing the inclusion of the latest group, likening us to Sodom and Gomorrah and calling on the fires of heaven to rain down on us and condemn us to the deepest hell.
How can we, who claim to follow a God of Love and Grace, utter such hurtful and hateful words?
How can ANYONE who claims to be a follower of this rabbi named Yeshua utter words dripping with such hate and anger?
I've pondered the bewildering idea of God Hating anyone elsewhere on this site, and today as I've been following the postings of my friend and colleague Blake (aka The Laughing Pastor), as he watched the convulsions our American Presbyterian cousins are going through at their General Assembly, I find myself once again wondering how we've so defined 'faithfulness' and the Gospel, to intentionally exclude ANYONE.
When I read the Scriptures, I don't see any foot note that says God's love is ONLY for a particular group of people ... when I read the Scriptures I see a Gospel that frees us from such foolishness and calls us to care for those who are hurt, broken, and marginalized. When I read the Scriptures I discover that living out the Gospel demands opening the circle wide and living inclusively and with love for ALL people.
Love precludes the ability to say God hates anyone ...
Love prevents us from invoking anger and hurt in our speech ...
Love locks firmly the gates of hell and asks us to stop trying to condemn people to its fiery abyss ...
Love means living without fear and trusting in God fully and without hesitation !!!
Love means serving rainbow oreos and celebrating the diversity of the human family at Church function!!
Love means living the idea of welcoming EVERYONE in the name of the Risen One!!