Archive for February 14th, 2008

Room, Even for Me!

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Today’s scripture: John 14:1-3 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

Back when I was in my early 20’s, I was a mess!

It’s a common story in our congregation (and elsewhere): I knew not only that I was gay and couldn’t change that, but also that God was real. This would have been no problem except that my fundamentalist upbringing said that gays could not be Christians in good standing, and would not get to Heaven if they didn’t change. There was great conflict in me as these two undeniable forces tried to exist simultaneously in my head.

All I could see to do was run away from the conflict, and I ended up being a reluctant and closeted gay man, and a distant and skeptical Christian.

Even in the midst of all this conflict, there were still a couple of verses in the Bible that gave me comfort. This passage from John was one of them. Reading it at that time in my life, it seemed to be saying that maybe, even against what my church was saying, there might be a place for me in heaven. That maybe one of those dwelling places could even be for people like me who found themselves unable to stop being gay, but still believed. It was this sort of “call from the Governor” theology that probably kept me from doing something irreversible at a time when I didn’t think my life was worth very much.

Now, of course, I know a lot more about the Bible and how some have twisted its meaning around at the expense of folks like me. I know that there are a lot more places in the Bible where it says that people like me are loved by God, and will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

But it still comforts me to know that the Kingdom isn’t just for a narrow segment of the population — God has space for lots of different people. Besides, it might get pretty boring if we all had to be like Pat Robertson or Oral Roberts.

There is even a place for people like me!

Thought for the day: God, thank you for the wideness of your mercy! Help me to always keep in mind: Am I making space in my life for all kinds of people, like God does, or am I keeping some people out?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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