Richard Rohr writes “the only thing he (meaning Jesus) excluded was exclusion itself.” Rohr followed up by saying God is relational, God is forgiving, and God is grace filled. God is woven into the human and the divine, the spirit and all matter. In Jesus, we have an example of what God intended for all people; a radical hospitality where God is so much bigger than culture, empire, or religion.
This week the national body of the UMC is meeting. They are wrestling with issues concerning the decades long erasure, exclusion and often dehumanizing of God’s beloved LGBTQ children. I feel the pain and the tension. As I read the reports from General Conference, I see the division in churches and the body of Christ. The injustice and oppression are not of God. I encourage you to lift up prayers for the UM Church and for all who struggle with issues of division.
Any example of phobia and “ism” in society threaten to overshadow the inclusive love of God. Remember the creation story? After each wondrously made plant, animal, and human “God blessed it and saw that everything was very good.”
Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (NRSV). This verse seems to strike an almost modern note about human equality. Contemporary interpreters have updated Paul’s statement and added pairs to the three original ones: “neither gay nor straight,” “neither healthy nor disabled,” and “neither black nor white.”
My point is not to open wounds or create space for argument. My point is to invite serious reflection on God who is bigger than culture, empire or religion. God is our hope, our light, and our strength. May we all work to heal the wounds of our phobias and isms.