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Jesus Metropolitan
Community Church
2950 East 55th Place
Indianapolis, Indiana 46220

(317) 722-0000

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Resist the Myths!
from Agape News

I have been privileged to do a lot of couples counseling, and that has been an energizing, inspirational experience.  I have had the opportunity to see many relationships which are momentarily in crisis, but which are highly steeped in LOVE. I have watched couples -- male couples, female couples -- sit beside each other and state affirmations of love and admit to mistakes and speak to each other in ways which makes my heart soar with hope. I have witnessed troubled people who think "it's over", turn on a dime, say a few words, and resolve to start all over again because it's worth it. How do I work such magic and save these relationships?  I'd like to think it's because I'm that good -- but of course, it's not me -- it's hope, it's the unbelievable, unending power of love at work in us.

One technique which I often use to get couples talking is so very simple, but so very profound.  I know that I could certainly get an answer if I asked either person in the room -- "So, what's the problem here --" or better yet -- "What's wrong with your partner?" There wouldn't be silence in the room at all.  I wouldn't have to ask another question.  So -- instead, in an effort to diffuse the conflict or crisis, I ask each person to answer a simple question -- "What first attracted you to your partner?" The reactions are always amazing and usually quite emotional. That one question opens up the floodgates and takes people back to the beginning of the relationship.  Many times tears follow or accompany the answers. Communication slowly builds, emotions are expressed and off we go in an effort to heal wounds and remember love which just moments ago felt so lost and unattainable.

It is JUST LIKE THAT with our relationship to God. We may be in harmony, or we may be in conflict.  Wherever you are with God, right now, please ponder that same question I ask in counseling sessions.  What first attracted you to God? Back when things were easy and new -- what was God like? How did you relate?  What first attracted you to God? 

I will answer my own question. What first attracted me to God? I was attracted to God's endurance.  I had a Sunday School teacher who continually stressed that God would always be FOR us and not AGAINST us -- that God would stand beside us.  In my 7-year-old mind, I pictured God as a very brave and strong best friend, standing next to me holding two things: a sword and a sign.  The sword would guard and protect me, and the sign that God would sometimes hold up in my little mind read:  "I'm for her" --with an arrow pointing to me. I'm for her. A pretty tender image, isn't it? What first attracted you to God? 

Whether you formed a childhood image of God or if your first impression of God came to you as an adult, I ask you to think of it now.  Think back to when God felt safe, on your side, unquestionably for you. Not unlike other relationships, we sometimes lose sight of what first attracted us to God.  Barriers go up. The communication gets clogged and we forget about the qualities that were once so obvious. I submit to you that some of us have lost that initial attraction to God for many good reasons, the primary one which is obvious.  We have been intercepted in our efforts to contact God; indeed we have been told we can't.

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day which was an effort to display how clear a particular company's cell phone's transmission was.  A man answers a phone and the voice of God is on the other end.  The point is to show the man that the reception on this company's cell phone could be clear all the way from Heaven to earth.  In his obvious embarrassment, the man hesitates, and asks God, "Well, what do I call you?" 

The voice of God replies, "That's just it -- you haven't been calling me."

"Oh -- yeah," the man stammers, and then squeaks out the beginning of an apology. Finally, the man asks God, "What's your number?"

The voice of God replies, "I'm in the Good Book."

I found humor in that commercial, but I quickly found a poignant truth.  Many of us haven't been calling God.  And for lots of reasons.  Every human runs the risk of losing interest in any relationship.  Some people feel no need for God. Others feel they have "outgrown" a need for God. Psychologists have long told us that we have an innate need within us to believe in a higher power.  I agree. 

I think we all have a huge need for spirituality, and there's where we get into trouble. We confuse spirituality with religion, with denominations, and with churches. Sometimes religion really gets in the way of our spirituality. Sometimes churches and denominations really clog up the communication between us and God.  Most often, I suspect that for most of us who are in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, who we are has muddied up the waters.  Because we are members of this "odd" minority, we have been told we are not allowed to worship God, that God hates us, that we are not welcome in church, that we are not to work with youth, that we are sinning, and that we are in fact an abomination in the eyes of the very God who made us. These words come from well-intentioned, misinformed people, and you know who they are.

And they are winning! They are keeping us from God!

We need to realize they are laboring under myths and fears.  The clobber passages in the Bible that they use against us are horribly misinterpreted.  There are multitudes of sound theological arguments to their words.  But my purpose in writing this is not to debate scripture, but rather to encourage you -- to inspire you and to ASSURE you, that God loves gay men, God loves lesbians, God loves bisexuals, God loves transgendered people. God made us -- fearfully and wonderfully, and that's it!  God wants us! God made us the way we are!  Does a good parent refuse to love a child?  NO!  God loves us and desires a relationship with each one of us.  You have a right to a relationship with God. You CAN be gay and Christian.  You CAN be transgendered and Christian.

Don't let them take your God away from you. You are not shameful to God because you are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered. You are not hated by God.  You are still a child of God.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made, exactly the way God wanted you.

I constructed a small bird sanctuary in my back yard this past spring. I placed several types of bird feeders and a bird bath in an small area off the back porch. As I watched the birds grow accustomed to what was placed there for their feeding, I grew intrigued at the different approaches the birds would take. Some birds are very bold, stay on a feeder for a long time and eat a lot. Some birds sit on the fence at a safe distance, swoop in and take a quick bite, and then retreat to the safety of the fence for a few more minutes.  Some birds want to be on a feeder alone.  They leave as soon as another bird comes along. When my two dogs are outside, most of the birds retreat, but a few are steadfast enough to hang in there even when the dogs are just a few feet away. What a parallel to how we humans decide to feed our spiritual needs.  We all have the right to do it in the way that makes us comfortable. Some sit on the fence and swoop in.  Others sit and feed longer. Most run from the dogs. Whatever your needs and your style, I encourage you to meet your spiritual needs, and don't let the dogs chase you away. Most of all -- please don't ever perceive that any of those feeding stations are closed to you.  Eat at your own pace in your own style, but don't believe the myths. Don't let others tell you that you can't eat from those feeders.

Go back to the beginning of your relationship with God -- what first attracted you, before you started getting bashed?  I, for one, choose to hold onto the image of God as my strong best friend hoisting a sign in the air:  I'm for her. My dear friends, God IS for you. Reclaim your right to stand next to that sign.

To further encourage you, take a few minutes to read and ponder the following passage of scripture. God so cares for each of us. God loves us, desires time with us and is NOT ASHAMED of us.

Psalm 139:1-16, 23, 24

    O Lord, you have searched me and you know me,
    You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
    Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.

    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

    Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
    If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

    If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
    even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.

    My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
    When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

    Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

JMCC recommends:
Holy Homosexuals
by Rev. M. Piazza.
Click for info.

The Children Are Free
by Rev. Jeff Miner and JT Connoley
Click for info

We Were Baptized, Too
by M. Alexander and J. Preston. 
Click for info.


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