Not very long ago I would have been called a heretic (and that’s probably the politest name I would have been called). Some might still call me that.
There is a risk that comes with being vocal about topics such as these. I’m willing to take that risk.
We are almost halfway through Pride month. It’s a time of celebration and protest.
I like to keep my sexuality to myself, so it’s not something that I choose to shout about. For those who are interested, I’m Bi-sexual but not at the exclusion of any gender identity. That means that I am attracted to all genders. I’m also an ally to the rest of the LGBTQAI+ community.
I’m also a disciple of Jesus. There’s still a thought within faith circles that one can’t be in the LGBTQAI+ community and be a disciple of Jesus. I used to believe that too (I’m ashamed to say!). This was damaging to myself and my faith. it was also damaging to others. For that, I’m sincerely sorry.
So, how have I reconciled these things? Well, I’ve studied the Bible for myself. I’ve read books on the subject. I’ve been in conversation with other people (both within the community and allies) about this topic. I now wholeheartedly believe that it is not sinful to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
To celebrate that fact I have created the artwork to the right of this text.
I painted several of the Pride Flags and then I ripped Bible passages out of my Bible and stuck them on top with glue. I’m now going to varnish and list it for sale. It also accompanies the chapter on sexuality and gender identity in my upcoming book. The book, as a whole, is about topics of complexity faced by modern-day disciples and how they fit together to form the puzzle of discipleship.
There are a lot of things that people might not like about this artwork and that they might not like about me. I’m OK with that. However, although I am happy to speak respectfully with people about topics such as these I will not tolerate anything remotely abusive.
What I want to say very clearly is that I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is loved and accepted by Jesus. That of course includes the LGBTQAI+ community. I do not believe that Jesus excludes anyone!
In case you are interested, here are the Bible passages I used:
* “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
* “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ appointed it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men'” – Ephesians 4:1-6
* “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7: 7-12
* “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.” – Psalm 139: 13-14
* “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1
* “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” – John 3:16-18
* “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” – Ephesians 1: 15-19
* I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted.” – Psalm 138: 1-3
All of the Bible verses we taken from the New International Version. Although not an inclusive Bible, I hope you will find comfort and hope if you are struggling with this topic, or things in general. You are loved, you are precious, you are worthy, you are accepted, you are needed, you are wanted, you are unique.