A couple of weeks ago, I invited my friend to write for my blog because I knew she would give us something amazing and challenging and I knew she would do it beautifully. But when her bio popped up in my inbox, I have to admit, my heart sank - because I knew that for some people the biggest challenge in Jenna's piece would not be her words, but her life. I knew that for some finding the Truth in her work would be impossible.
Jenna wrote about our very own forefathers, the plight of the enslaved Israelites, the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, and the God we find in the middle of it all; God with us, intimate and close... She wrote to us with words and stories straight out of The Bible, and still, still, after some people read her brief bio, they were unable to appreciate the Truth in her written work, unable to grasp how Jesus could fit into a message from a Jew. Or worse, a gay Jew.
Some were offended that I would allow, let alone invite, my beloved friend to share this little space on the web. They were livid. One even wrote to let me know she was taking her ball and going home. “I'm unfollowing”, she said. And then she explained that she had enjoyed this blog over the years, but sharing my internet home with a gay Jew was just too much. She's outta here. And then she dropped this bomb of internet hilarity:
“Does Jesus love those living in sin? yes! Did Jesus spend time with sinners? yes! Would Jesus invite an unrepentant sinner to post on His blog? no.”
Honestly? I burst out laughing at the thought of Blogger Jesus gazing at his laptop at noon in his pajamas, sipping cold coffee, checking stats, linking his post on Facebook... Hilarious, right?!... But I still had to ask myself, What would Jesus blog? And Who would Jesus let guest post?
I wondered about the Jesus who walks us down the road, from Jerusalem to Jericho, past the Priest and the Levite and draws us into the path of the heathen Samaritan from whom we learn a valuable lesson. I pondered the Jesus who hand picked a posse of twelve sinners; guys who continually competed for power and attention, who questioned and doubted and so often misunderstood. I wondered about the Jesus who asked the man who would ultimately betray him to join him at the table. Would Jesus invite an unrepentant sinner to kiss him on the cheek and lead him to slaughter?
*shrugs* ...Perhaps we'll never know.
Fine. I'm sorry. I get sarcastic when I'm fired up.
But Jesus, the story teller, shows us over and over how to look at the world with different eyes. So when you ask me if I can reconcile the message of my gay Jewish friend with my own faith in Jesus, the answer is – Yes. And it's not hard.
I view everything through the filter of my Faith. I see the whole world and everything in it through the lens of Christianity. I am, lest there be a doubter among you, a Christian. As a follower of Christ, and as a believer in a triune God, I simply find Jesus present. And that's a gift because His presence makes me unafraid to engage the world, unafraid to ask questions, unafraid to answer them, unafraid to pass the wine and break bread with the those who some would slander and burn. Unafraid because “in him we live and move andhave our being”. (⬅ See what I did there?)
Here's a shocker: I have deep and meaningful relationships with all kinds of people. I have atheist friends, and Jewish friends, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic friends. I love them all. I also have gay friends and straight friends, and a few in the middle, and I have married friends and single friends and friends with kids and without. (For the record, I normally refer to them as simply “my friends”. No more. No less. Likewise, and gratefully, I have never been introduced by any of them as “the straight Christian”.) These people enrich my life and challenge me to know why I believe what I believe. My friends enrich my Faith. And I love them for that. Every last one of them is welcome at my table, around my children, into my inner-circle, and ~ you guessed it ~ on my blog.
But don't be disappointed if you don't find me lobbing verses of scripture at them like live grenades. In my experience, I've come to find that people don't generally respond well to being bombarded with Bible Napalm. And, if you're that guy? Stop it! I know you're well-meaning, but you just sound like a dick... When my friends and I discuss the differences in our Faith, we do it respectfully, gently, gracefully. We speak with Love for one another. It takes us far...
Conversations with Jenna are a highlight for me, I so often find God in them. So when she sent me her piece on being stuck in “the middle”, I couldn't wait to share it. I believed it would be beneficial to you. I believed you could be Blessed by it, and indeed many of you were. But some of you let her bio
clog your filter, rendering you blind. You were unable to see the beauty of God to be found in her words because of your own lack of vision. And I wonder how it is that you make your way in the world, afraid to find meaning outside of Christiandom. Have you not been moved by Ghandi? Not inspired by Whitman? Do you not find beauty in the work of Tchaikovsky or Handel? Does Elie Wiesel not just break your heart for the things of God?
Unfollow if you must. I'm cool with that. But I can't help but feel like you're the one who's missing out.
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Even now, I dread that some of you will try to turn this post into a “gay debate”. Someone will miss the point because someone always does. It's exhausting. Please try to understand what we're talking about before you comment. And keep in mind that my friends are probably reading these comments - so be respectful, or you'll be deleted.
What do you think? What Would Jesus Blog?