Monday, September 30, 2013

Inclusion is not about Tolerance, it's about Repentance

The IRD recently published a blog post blasting current and former Candler theological students as being intolerant of the beliefs of Rev. Eddie Fox when it comes to LGBT inclusion and the very “practice” of homosexuality. 
One of my major problems with the author’s argument was the false assertion that those who seek to undo the centuries of harm done to the LGBT community are doing it just for the sake of being inclusive. “But isn’t it interesting?  Those who would change Christian sexual doctrine for the sake of tolerance are so openly intolerant?” I’m sorry to inform the IRD that for most progressive Christians, inclusion is not about tolerance - it is about repentance. Repenting of using the Scriptures as a weapon that leads LGBT teens to kill themselves and adults to live “in closets” and in shame; as a tool to separate God’s children from the grace, love, and mercy found within the Church; and failing to read and interpret Scripture in the Spirit through whom it was written. 
Yes, “through whom”, not “in which”; Scripture was written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), and that Spirit is dwelling in and speaking through people to this day – God has not ceased to speak to people through Scripture, reason, tradition, and personal experience. I hate to be the rain on this parade of injustice, but the Holy Spirit is busy breaking the chains of homophobia, in the PCUSA, the Episcopal Church, UCC, Disciples of Christ, ECLA, and even in the United Methodist Church. Though the Church is not a perfect reflection of Christ, through the Holy Spirit it is moving on to perfection or being made perfect in Christ (1 John 4:8).
Repenting is about turning away from wrong doing, and turning towards a life that reflects the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A life that is in-tune with the love of the Father as demonstrated in the sending of His beloved Son (John 3:16-17), in-tune with His justice in the saving of the oppressed slaves in Egypt (Exodus), and in-tune with His correction (Acts 10). “What God has made clean, you must not call profane (Acts 10:15b).” For too long we as the Church have been calling people profane, unclean, wicked, abominations, etc. – but in Christ all have been made clean. I’m sorry for those people in the Church who miss the old days when people wouldn’t call them out on calling people profane, when they have been made new in Christ – may God soften hearts, and correct them gently through the example of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. For too long fear of “the other” and of the unknown has been paralyzing the Church from serving those who most need the gospel, but the love of God is casting such fear out – God is calling us to stop living in fear and to start seeking the Spirit of power and love (2 Timothy 1:7).