I’ve been thinking a lot about what it looks like to be in relationship with people who see the world in a totally different way than I do, especially those who confess to have faith in the same God as me. This has been a challenge for years, as I grew up in evangelical environments while often secretly holding views that strayed from the accepted or maybe loudest spoken position. Even in my family, chosen and biological, there are many who don’t jive with my way of seeing the world.
As I ponder this quandary in spaces where I deeply care about the people (while reminding myself that underneath what I see as their deeply rooted pathologies is the goodness of a human made in the image of God, who has the same capacity for good and evil actions as I do in each moment of each day), I also foolishly read Facebook comments and blog post responses. I want to rend my clothing, dress my head with ashes, put on sackcloth, and wonder how in the hell God can redeem such heartlessness and fearful hatred.
The go-to image of Pharisaical behavior comes to mind as I was told by the head of the Christian Coalition in Washington State that I was "going to hell because of my views on the queer community and its much needed presence in the Christian community.” Oh yeah and this happened during a community course at my more liberal seminary in Seattle. I remember thinking, “God, if how this person speaks of you is true about you then I want no part of you.” And in turn I was immediately reminded by my father, who I think often wonders if I am truly saved, that at the core of God’s nature is a bottomless pit of love for humanity and that I know better than this person how I have seen God work. This story/event is a marker that brings me back to the core of my worldview.
My theology begins and ends with the love of God. All of humanity bears this image of God. This God who so loves the WHOLE world that God seeks its salvation. And in turn I am called to love all with the graciousness and lavishness of God. The same graciousness and lavishness that led Christ to the Cross, Teresa of Avila to have visions, Martin Luther King Jr. to fight against injustice, and Anne Lamott to become sober and healthy step by step.