Thankfully, there is a lot of talk these days about bullying. Bullying has probably been occurring since Adam and Eve. It's a form of judgement and we humans sure do love to judge, myself included. After all, when we judge someone else, it gives us a respite from looking at ourselves.
So, what's the difference between a group of teenagers yelling "Fag!" and a church telling it's flock that homosexuality is a sin?
Okay, the group of teenagers may be a bit cruder, but the church's message can cut far deeper. Many people believe that a church is an authority on matters of morality. I used to believe that. How many of our teens who commit suicide were influenced directly by the preachings of a church? I shudder to think.
When a church decides to condemn 5-10% of the population of the planet, I would have hoped that it would stop and think about the implication on their faith and the power of God. They are judging God as having failed to make perfect children on a quite regular basis. Randomly gather 100 people and they're saying that between five and ten of them are doomed to eternity in hell because of who God made them to be?
In an attempt to offer some constructive criticism here, let's look at two of the opportunities being missed by many churches when they choose to judge those they do not understand. First, is the opportunity to reach out to God's children in need. Telling the GLBT community that a Christian loves the sinner, but hates the sin, is only a little less insulting than saying that if your gay, you'll rot in hell. The message is still that if you're gay, you are 'less than.' I would hope that a church would grasp at the opportunity to tell a person that they are a perfect and unique creation of God. Too many in the GLBT community need to know that they are perfect, just as they are.
The second opportunity that the church loses out on is the chance to reconsider our faith and what we believe the message of the Bible is. Christianity is alive and God is still speaking! I'm not suggesting that the truths in the Bible aren't just that, truths. What I'm suggesting is that as our world has changed in the last two thousand plus years, how those literally translated truths apply to our lives today, is not always the same as what they meant then. Two hundred years ago, Christian churches considered the concept of slavery to be upheld by the teachings of the Bible. Christian churches finally realized that slavery in Christ's time was far different than slavery in the 1800's. It was only then that churches got on the right side of that argument.
It is when a church's faith is strong enough to question what it believes that it uncovers more of God's amazing creation. When a church believes, without question, in Bible translations that simply do not reflect in our times, the reality of the times that the Bible was written in, it misses the opportunity to better understand the message that God gave us through the Bible.
I believe that God wants us to question what we believe. It's been my experience that it's through questioning my faith that my faith grows stronger. God dwells within each of us and God gave us a heart and a brain to be able to nurture our our relationship with God.
I like to believe that we, as a people are moving closer to world where questioning is embraced. In the mean time, what's the difference between a group of teenagers yelling "Fag!" and a church telling it's flock that homosexuality is a sin? Not much, I'm afraid.