The Law of LOVE

The American Franciscan, Ft. Richard Rohr, OFM, following in the classical Franciscan Tradition, seeks to bring light into the arguments about people who lives are different, wanting us all to acknowledge God’s hand in the creation of ALL that lives and ALL human beings who live on the planet earth.

Many of the posts featured on this circuit appear to proclaim the very opposite – the conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical – position; whilst an even cursory look at the New Testament enables serious scholars of the Bible to discern (by the power of the holy Spirit dwelling in the hearts of The Faithful) that the life and witness of Jesus speaks of something very different.

The company Jesus sought out, and the sort of friends that Jesus ate and drank with, turn out to be those at the lower end of the social scale. The people Jesus had the most difficulty with were the Scribes and Pharisees whose ministry seemed to consist of judgement by The Law, while yet in breach of it on their own account. Their greatest sin? Their hypocrisy – a sin all too many of us who call ourselves Christians can be all too readily guilty of. The best stories Jesus told his disciples were those of the gentle treatment he afforded ‘The Woman Taken in Adultery’ (while castigating her accusers), and the Publican in the Temple, whose confession of his sinful nature brought him what Jesus was pleased to call’ Justification’. Self-righteousness was never acceptable to the Redeemer of The World!

Now that the truth is discerned about the situation of the LGBTQI community, the Church has had to adjust its former faulty understanding of the nature of the people involved – each one of them created ‘In the Divine Image and Likeness’, loved by God and included among those that Jesus came into this world to redeem. He has already performed that role, and the task of the Church Universal is to help everyone to whom they minister to enter into the Gift of Salvation and Redemption that Jesus, alone, could bring.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

____________________________________________________

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Image Credit: Brian McLaren, Untitled 10-12 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States. Jenna Keiper and Leslye Colvin, 2021, triptych art, United States.

Week Four: Everyone Belongs

The Integrity of Love

CAC friend Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis shares how a broad examination of scripture emboldened her to trust in God’s expansive love for all people, even when the church excludes them:

In my first semester at Princeton Theological Seminary, I was confronted with questions I had never pondered—most especially, just how literally was the Bible the word of God? This question buzzed around everything: from women and preaching to manifest destiny and chosenness to economic justice to homosexuality. . . . Since I had no idea what to think of all this [regarding gay ordination], my first question was, “What does the Bible say?” . . . 

As a Christian, I had learned only ten commandments, none of which said anything about being or not being gay. In the gospels, Jesus hadn’t said anything about being gay. Puzzled, I went to the part of the scriptures these colleagues [against gay people] were referring to—the texts about purity codes. I read about keeping kosher, about not eating shellfish or pork, about avoiding mixed fabrics and not touching a woman during menstruation. And there, too, was the mention that a man shouldn’t lie down with a man as he would a woman. But it made no sense to me that we were singling out the texts relating to gay sex while still wearing different fabrics . . . and still eating shrimp and barbecue ribs! All of this was so maddening to me. . . .

My own view came into clearer focus when, at the suggestion of one of my teachers, I read a book by Chris Glaser. . . . Reading his story, it was clear that Chris was born gay—thus was gay by design—and so he hadn’t broken any laws! As the psalmist wrote, every human being is “awesomely and wonderfully made” [Psalm 139:14] just as they are. To me, this meant that if any of us are created in the divine image, my gay friends are, too. I found a sense of kinship with my LGBTQIA+ colleagues, and my heart expanded. They deserved justice, welcome, and acceptance. These were my people, my posse; I would not leave them behind.

Their stories and their struggles converted me from “What does the Bible say?” to new questions: What is the context in which the Bible says that? And does that make sense? And is that right? And does it square with Love? [1]

Minister and activist William Sloane Coffin Jr. (1924–2006) urges readers to rely on the integrity of love rather than our own limited and limiting judgments:

[There] are those who prefer certainty to truth, those in church who put the purity of dogma ahead of the integrity of love. And what a distortion of the gospel it is to have limited sympathies and unlimited certainties, when the very reverse, to have limited certainties but unlimited sympathies, is not only more tolerant but far more Christian. For “who has known the mind of God?” [Romans 11:34] And didn’t Paul also insist that if we fail in love we fail in all other things? [2]

[1] Jacqui Lewis, Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World (New York: Harmony, 2021), 140–142.

[2] William Sloane Coffin, “Liberty to the Captives and Good Tidings to the Afflicted,” in Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, ed. Walter Wink (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 106–107.

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.