Lent 2019: Day 12
Jesus, Pathway for All the Whosoevers
Sometime ago, I had a huge crush on a guy at a church I was attending. We had a lot of things in common; so, we spent significant time together in ministry. I never told him how I felt about him and to be honest, he was so popular I didn’t expect him to ever pay attention to me. One day, while we all were out to brunch, he took me by the hand and asked me why I wasn’t dating anyone. I told him that I didn’t’ have time. I am sure my vitiligo spot was fire red. I managed to get through the moment without making a fool of myself. He finally asked me to join him on a major ministry project and I thought to myself this is it. But, being a cautious person; instead of saying yes, I told him that I would pray about it. I did pray about it and felt that God told me to say yes to the project.
A week later, I joined him and the rest of the people he invited on the project. We began working and during that time, he gave me more and more responsibilities, which meant we spent more and more time together. One day, he was giving me a ride and I asked him why he was not dating anyone. He smiled and said that it was because he didn’t have time. While my flesh loved that smile and reminder of what I said to him, I felt the pause in my spirit, but I didn’t heed the warning. Something was off and I knew it, but I couldn’t figure it out at that time.
We kept working together in ministry and we also kept up this game of cat and mouse. He would move towards me then when I responded, he would back away. He would block other men from paying attention to me or talk trash when I pay attention to other men. I kept holding on to this bits of home and thought they all meant something. On and on we went.
Two years later, a seminary friend of mine ended up attending an event where he was. After she met him, she pulled me to the side and said, “Girl, he is gay.” Afterwards, she schooled me on the men in ministry who experience so much discrimination in the body of Christ and so fear being exposed that they choose a beard to keep them covered. According to the Wisdom Daily, “In the early days of queer culture, a “beard” was a wife, girlfriend or female companion who acted (wittingly or not) as social cover for a closeted gay man.” Unfortunately, while the world may be more open in its thinking so beards are not necessary, the church is not.
While it took some time to deal with the reality of my situation because I had invested years in this friendship and because I was blindsided, I eventually healed and forgave. I eventually understood how the church puts people in this situation. Sharing this story is part of documenting that healing process.
The other reason why I am telling this story is because I feel that the church has got to get it right when it comes to our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters in Christ. I won’t belabor this. I’ll simply return to my favorite scripture in the Gospel of John. John 3:16 says in the KJV, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” For the modern-day and/or seminary-trained folk, the NRSV says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
My point is this. If God has not made a distinction of how people can get to heaven, except they believe, how can we?
Today, as you reflect, ask yourself, who are you trying to stop from getting to heaven or who are you not helping to get to heaven?