Monday, March 23, 2015

When Did Rules Become Tourniquets?

    I forget where I first heard this, but it bears repeating:
    I can guarantee you that there is not one person who doesn't know that you, evangelical Christian, don't support gay marriage.
    I'd also add to that. I can guarantee you, evangelical, that there is not one person who isn't aware how grossed out you are by sex not within your normal vanilla stereotype.
    I can guarantee you that there is not. one. divorcee unaware that God hates divorce.
    I know there is not one woman whose goal in life was to have an abortion.
    But I can also guarantee you that there's one thing most of the people you're preaching your truth at don't know.
    I can guarantee you it's their first question, too.
    Can I be loved?
    Can God love me? Can Christians? Can anyone?
    Yet in Christian subculture, our first instinct seems to be REMIND THEM OF THE RULEZ.
     To which I'd like to ask: if you're being so loving, then why do they keep asking this question? Why do your transgender teenagers kill themselves? Why do your women stay with men who beat the shit out of them? Why do your unmarried girls feel like the only way to avoid public humiliation is to have an abortion?
    I'm not an expert, but I don't think the problem is that we're not being loud enough in our "secularized" culture. The problem isn't "them" or their "sin natures," because for heaven's sake, they're asking if you love them. That's a good question - it's not a bad thing to want love and to want to be whole. In fact, isn't that what so many of you Christians sell Christianity as - a path to wholeness and heaven?
    The problem is, we're doing something very wrong.
    When did rules become our tourniquets? When did we start assuming we need to list out the rules before compassion and love? I mean, how many stories are there about the power of rules to save life?
    Now replace "rule" with love, and there's probably too many to list. Harry Potter and fairy tales like Snow White or Cinderella are obvious answers, but really Crime and Punishment, The Master and Margarita, Les Miserables, and more meet this criteria.
    Yet we keep acting like "taking a stand" for the rules is love. And it's not. It never has been, and it never will be.

    Love is patient. Love doesn't comment on advice columns warning you that your divorce is the fault of your own selfishness.
    Love is kind. Full stop.
    Love does not envy. It doesn't scheme to put more Republicans in power so you can keep the political control you like.
    Love does not boast about how keeping your 'virginity' will give you the happy marriage you deserve.
    Love is not arrogant or rude. Love doesn't claim that you're better than your sincere-hearted friend because you differ on your understanding of abusive power structures.
    Love does not seek its own. Love cares about the people on the margins. Love does not seek conservative approval by refusing to sell cake to a couple whose marriage you disagree with.
    Love is not provoked into a Twitter fight that ends (or begins) with labeling someone a heretic.
    Love does not rejoice in iniquity - I knew they were sexist/racist/homophobic because of one ignorant comment! I'm so glad I can call them out on this in front of all my followers! - but rejoices in truth.
    Love bears all things - and I think our divorces, questions, doubts, abortions, gender transitions and coming outs fall under "all." So, sorry, but refusing to sell cake to a gay couple is not love. Kicking out your queer and/or pregnant child is not love.
    Love hopes all things - for you to find happiness again, that there is a heaven and a good God and someday everyone will be reconciled to Him.
    Love believes all things - like when you say being  LGBTQQIAP wasn't a decision, I might just trust you on that since I am not you. Like when you say you're a feminist and a pro-life complementarian, I might just trust that you have genuine reasoning behind it, even if we disagree.
    Love never fails.
    Love runs besides you or lets you go when you need it and waits with open arms. Love prays and holds you and dances with you and sings over you.
    Love loves you.


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