n all of our lives, there are moments when God
unexpectedly breaks through and reaches us directly.
These moments stay with us for years. They serve as
reference points for us -- signposts we look back on
to remember where we've been and how we got to where
we are now. I've had a few such moments, including my
conversion (obviously) and, several years later, an
experience of God's love so real and so overwhelming
that it is for me a second conversion experience. They
are always unexpected, and somehow gain more resonance
as time goes on. They are the moments when we hear God
speak directly to our hearts, and as such they are
moments that change the direction of our lives.
One of those moments in my life came while reading
Psalm 18. In the psalm, King David is in trouble, and
God is so angered by those who would harm his servant,
that the earth shakes and its foundations are laid
bare. And in the midst of all the thundering, God
He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (vv.16-19)
As I finished verse 19, I put my Bible down and
thought, "That's all nice for David, Lord. But I wish
this psalm could apply to me." And immediately God
shot back, "Why can't it?"
And everything changed.
You see, even though I had once heard God whisper the
words "I love you!" I didn't fully understand the
nature of that love. What God was telling me through
Psalm 18 was that he doesn't just love me in some
abstract, "Yes I love you but only when..." sort of
way. God's love means that he delights in me. Yet
until then I had never made the connection. I easily
saw my unworthiness and so assumed that God merely
loved me in spite of all that. What I hadn't yet seen
was that God was, in fact, head-over-heels crazy about
About us! For I believe this verse applies not just to
King David and myself, but to all of us, as children
of God. Our heavenly Father/Mother is, as all good
parents are, totally nuts about us -- irrationally so,
as it were.
So what does this have to do with our friends on the
Everything. For they tell us they love us, but do we
feel loved? Do they give any signs that they delight
in us? Do they share intimately in the joys and trials
of our lives, rejoicing when we rejoice, and mourning
when we mourn?
Or do they keep themselves at a distance, as though
they're afraid they might get dirty if they draw too
close to us? Does their love for us include any
palpable sense of delight? If not, I don't think they
really love us. How could that be love, when Love
himself walked directly into the most scandalous
situations and loved those whom the rest of the world
hated? No, I think their "love" for us is false, or at
best, a failure.
And that's where we must provide the example.
You see, as queer Christians, it's very easy for us to
be put on the defensive, so that we spend a great deal
of energy trying to prove our opponents wrong. We
spend so much time hashing out doctrine that we forget
the command to love one another -- including our
enemies. We forget Saint Paul's admonition that if the
world is to see the difference between Christians and
everyone else, it will be through our mutual love for
each other: slave and master, husband and wife,
citizen and foreigner, native and immigrant,
conservative and liberal -- all putting aside the
culturally-expected and socially-approved antagonism
and loving each other as equals.
So if we are to show the world that God is truly in love with
us, I think we must take the difficult step of loving
our enemies -- delighting in them, letting them see
just how crazy God really is about them. And fighting
to ensure that nothing separates them from God.
And that means saying NO to their sin.
That means saying NO to all their legalism, their
self-righteousness, and their hypocrisy towards us.
That means saying NO to the way they have turned the
church into an instrument of politics and NO to the
way they have turned it into a marketplace.
That means saying NO to the idols they have made of
our culture, our country, our history, our economic
system, and our constitution.
It means saying NO to every wall they have built to
protect themselves and to every plan they make to
ensure their own safety and prosperity; NO to all the
ways they refuse to trust in God's love, God's
provision, and God's dream for the world; and NO to
all the ways they substitute their own images of God
for the Living God, the God who always travels down
the unexpected path and opens up the unexpected hope.
Therefore, if our brothers and sisters in the church
are unable to show us love, the kind we can feel in
every fiber of our being, then it is up to us to show
them what love is. We must let them know that God is
truly, madly, and deeply in love with them. But we
must also let them know that God will not resist them
forever. If they continue to put him off, he will
eventually leave them be. And then they will have no
love at all.
Yes, as queer Christians of all stripes, we must let
our brothers and sisters know the real, palpable love
of God. They must be able to feel it in the deepest
parts of their souls. They must be able to hear it in
every word we speak, and to see it in everything we
do. It must spring to their mind every time they think
about us. We must be so closely associated with Love
that they cannot tell where we leave off and Christ
And this means they must know that we will not
tolerate any behavior that would distance them from
God. We must be willing to move heaven and earth to
make their paths straight before them, to move every
obstacle out of their way. If we are to love them,
then we must truly despise everything that keeps them
from God's love. For has not God done the same for us?