David, Bathsheba, & #metoo

Content Warning:  Sexual Assault


“The explicit nature of the biblical text calls for an equally explicit conversation about the text and, I argue, that includes from the pulpit.” – Wil Gafney, Womanist Hebrew Bible Scholar


I saw something floating around Facebook a few weeks ago… some of you even shared it.  And I figured would work well as an introduction.

I’m going to ask the men here a question.

 “What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?” 

Take a moment and think of an answer.

Most of us, I think, would answer something similar to my answer:

“Nothing.  I don’t think about it.”

Okay, now I’m going to ask the women here a question.

“What steps do you women take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?”

Take a moment and think of an answer.

These might be some of your answers:

Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.  (This is from Jackson Katz)

Let’s pause for a moment here and let this sink in.

Bathsheba can add another thing to this list:

Don’t take a bath in my own home.


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See, many of us who grew up with this story have had it explained to us as a story of adultery.  That David and Bathsheba were having an extra-marital affair, and then David wanted the husband, Uriah, out of the picture.

So he arranged for his murder.

Except in all of this story, Bathsheba never says a word.

She never agrees to have sex with David.  We assume that she did, but I’m not so sure that we should.

In fact, David sends his men to her house to go and get her.

Think about that.  Your husband is off at war, and the door knocks.  And outside the door are two of the king’s messengers, maybe even personal body guards (I doubt David sent the accountants), and they say “The king wants to see you.”

What do you?  Can you even say no?

According to our Bibles, Bathsheba never gives consent to this relationship.  She never gives consent to sex.  She never says yes.

Unwanted sexual contact.  That’s the literal definition of sexual assault.

This isn’t a story of adultery.  This is a story of rape.


We’ve heard a lot of stories of assault over the past year…

The #metoo movement, started by Tarana Burke, is where women are taking courageous steps and stepping forward and saying “Me too.  I am a survivor of sexual assault.”

I remember when my social media feeds were filled with the words “Me too”.  Family, friends, high school acquaintances, strangers, famous people, people I go to church with.  Everywhere.   Me too.

1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their life. 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their life.

And the numbers don’t change in churches.

And this isn’t something that happens “out there.”  This is something that happens “in here” as well.  This is us.  This is our story.


First of all, our primary posture should be one of where we believe the stories that we hear.   Because they’re probably true.

What about false allegations?

Only 2% of reported allegations are found to be false.  And those are of the reported cases.

98% of allegations are true.

There is a far, far, far, far greater chance that a woman will be assaulted than a man falsely accused.  Far more.

So when somebody tells us their story, it is probably true.  And so we believe them.

Our primary posture is one where we believe survivors, and work to create spaces where survivors are listened to, and feel safe and supported.


Secondly, we reinforce to survivors is that it is not their fault that they were assaulted.  They are the victims, and are not responsible for the actions of the perpetrator. 

We do not and we cannot blame the victim.  

Blaming the victim is where we tell the victim that they were part of the problem.

It manifests itself in phrases like this:

“Well, look at the clothes they were wearing.”  “They should know not to get drunk in places like that.”  “They should have said no.”  “They shouldn’t have been alone at night.”  “They were asking for it.”

No.

Victim blaming is saying, “You shouldn’t drive because you might get killed by a drunk driver.”

No. We don’t say that.  We say “you shouldn’t drink and drive.”

What does victim blaming look like in the story of David and Bathsheba?

“Well, she shouldn’t be bathing on the roof.  That’s just asking for trouble.”

And what makes that victim blaming even harder, is that our Bibles don’t even record Bathsheba on the roof.  David was on the roof.  It doesn’t say where Bathsheba was.

We think she was on the roof because of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah, where we hear “You saw her bathing on the roof.  Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya.”  But our Bibles don’t say that.  The Bible locates David on the roof, but not Bathsheba.

And, this victim blaming feeds into the myth that female body is so powerful that men can’t control themselves, so it’s up to women to stop men from assaulting them.

No.

It is not up to women to stop men from assaulting them.  It’s up to men to stop themselves from assaulting women.  It’s up to men to stop themselves from assaulting men. 

We don’t blame victims.

Victims are not responsible for their assault.  Ever.


If 1 in 3 women are survivors of assault, and 1 in 10 men, it’s worth asking:

Who are the offenders?

Almost exclusively, men are the offenders.

At least 98% of offenders are men.

And, only 1 in 4 assaults are by strangers, so by far, these assaults are being committed by men we know.   Spouses, family, friends, co-workers, service provider, and yes pastors… we’re in this category too.

This is a problem for us men.

So, I’m going to take a few minutes and speak to men.

Women have long figured out how to survive in a world where the risk of assault is real.  It’s time for us to figure out how to get our stuff together and lower the risk of assault.

Look, I get it.  We’re not always good at having vulnerable conversations.  I recently drove twelve hours with a bunch of men my age, and I think we spent about ten minutes talking and the rest either eating, sleeping, or listening to music.

I would encourage all of us men to have at least one conversation about #metoo and assault, because clearly we are the ones with the problem.  We are the ones causing harm.  We are the ones who are hurting the people in our lives.

What to talk about?

Well, let’s start with these:

Boys Will Be Boys – Nope.  We will not assume that we are a bunch of wild animals with no control.  We will expect better of ourselves.

It’s Just Locker Room Talk – Nope.  Talking about women in any way that doesn’t edify them or treat them with dignity is not okay.  Don’t do it.   This is probably one of those areas where we can actually make a difference.  While we may not participate in these conversations, are we willing to step up and tell our peers to stop?  I know when I’m at the curling club, twice where I could not believe the vile coming out of someone’s mouth, but did not want to get into an argument.  I regret both of those.  Hopefully 3rd time’s the charm.

She is someone’s daughter/wife/mother – Nope.  While yes, she is someone’s something, a woman’s dignity is not tied to their relationships with men.  Women deserve to be treated with respect because all humans deserve to be treated with respect.

I’m afraid of false accusations, so I’m limiting how much I work with women.  I’m scared to hire a woman. I’m scared to mentor a woman  – Nope.  Because a)  That’s sexist and b) The risk of men abusing women is far, far higher than the risk of a false allegation.  So, by the very nature of men and women working together, women bear far more risk and have far more to lose.  And, come on… when we even start talking about equality, and not being assaulted, we respond by giving women less opportunities?!?!  Unbelievable.

Because of #metoo, I don’t know how to act around women now.  Good!  Women have learned how to navigate relationships with men to avoid abuse, to survive, forever.  And now it’s time for us to do our work.  So if we have to think extra hard, or make double sure that our actions are appropriate, that’s a good thing.  If we have to make sure we’re doubly clear about consent, awesome.  If we have to spend 20 minutes on google learning, great!  That’s called “doing our work.”  And if we end up saying something wrong, we’re allowed to own it and say “I’m sorry.  I’ll do better.”

It’s a scary time to be a man.  Nope.  Just nope.   Patriarchy is a drug.


Here’s something that we all need to be aware of.

In all relationships, there are different levels of power.

We call them power dynamics.

And we always have to ask ourselves:

Who has more power?  Who has less power?  Who makes decisions? What are the consequences of that decision?

And when we start to ask these questions, we realize that every time there is some sort of oppression happening, some form of abuse, some form of inequality, some sort of injustice, they’re all connected to the realities of power.

Power dynamics affect sexism and assault.

Power dynamics also affect racism, homophobia, war, poverty, political disenfranchisement, genocide, and how many refugees Canada takes in every year.

Power matters.

So, when King David sends his men to go get Bathsheba, and then they get married after David has her husband killed… Who has more power?  Who has less power?  Who makes decisions? What are the consequences that decision?

When we ask these questions, we realize quite quickly that Bathsheba is probably trying to survive.  Because the king has shown that he is a violent man who will kill when he doesn’t get what he wants.

“Hey Bathsheba.  I just killed your husband. Want to get married?”   What is she supposed to say?

Power matters.   

Thus, a relationship with two different levels of power is pretty much impossible, because it’s actually classified as an abuse of power.   And this applies to everyone:  Teachers, pastors, lawyers, doctors, child care workers, youth workers, nurses, coaches, politicians.

With David and Bathsheba, what’s we’ve historically called adultery is not only sexual assault, but it’s also an abuse of power.

Take a moment… Do you know of a politician who’s been accused of sexual assault?

Take another moment and think of a different politician who had an “affair” with their secretary?”

See… it’s not a conservative or liberal thing, a left thing or a right thing, a religious thing or non-religious thing.  It is a power thing.   Someone with power wants something and they use that power to get it.

I’m picking on politicians here, but the same can be said in the media world, the business world, or the church world…  And ugh, we in church world have our own skeletons to deal with.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

But if we look closely, and ask questions about power, we sexual harassment and abuse are rooted in power dynamics.

Catcalling?  Unwanted massage?  Assault?  All of King David’s gross actions? They’re clearly not the same behaviours… but they are rooted in the same desire: Power and control, and using power to dominate and get what one wants.   And none of it is “loving our neighbours as ourselves.”

We have some work to do, don’t we?


I’m going to take a few moments here and address some of the unique ways that our faith affect our postures about #metoo.   Each of these deserves a sermon on their own, and I don’t have answers to all of these. But I do think there’s value to naming them.

1. In our effort to “not be a stumbling block” to others, we have put an unfair burden on women. We create dress codes for women and expect modesty.  And while I’m open to having a conversation about these things, when we do these things to help men “not sin” or “not to lust”, we again are blaming the victim, and removing any sense of responsibility of men.

And just for fun, Jesus wasn’t in favour of dress codes.  He was in favour of gouging out men’s eyes.  Because, he said that if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.  He’s having no part of this victim blaming business.   

(But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  Matthew 5:28-28)

2.  We are terrible at talking about sex. We are brutal at it.  Now, this probably applies to most humans, and not just us religious folk, but still, we’re especially bad at it.   I think this is why the church spends so much time talking about same-sex relationships and the LGBTQI community, because as long as we’re talking about “that”, we don’t have to talk about ourselves.  And because we’re so bad at talking sex, it makes talking about assault and abuse that much harder.

3. Related to that, we need to find better ways to talk about sex other than “True love waits. Wait until you’re married and then it’ll be great. And this is really important.”  We need to find better ways to talk about this, because a)  In a recent survey, 80% of Christians have sex before they’re married.  88% of non-Christians have sex before they’re married, so clearly the message of “true love waits” only works for about 8% of us.

But this message is also really harmful to victims of sexual assault. So not only is there the trauma of being an assault survivor, but then there’s the added guilt and shame that religion adds because now you can no longer save yourself for your future partner, or now you’ve had extra-marital sex.

4. Forgiveness – We like talking about forgiveness. It’s kind of one of our things.  And this is one of the reasons why I’m a Christian.  But what we’re not always good at is figuring out what forgiveness all entails.

Someone much wiser than me once said that:  “Forgive and forget is one of the worst phrases in the English language.”   Forgiveness is not about forgetting.   Forgetting means we just let the abuser keep abusing, or we keep them in their positions of authority, or keep giving them access to vulnerable people.

Forgiveness involves accountability.  It involves repentance.  It acknowledges harm.  It is equally (but probably more so) concerned about the victim as it is the offender.   And forgiveness takes time.

Forgiveness is not forgetting.

We in the church still have a lot of work to do.


A few years ago, I found myself saying over and over again, “We don’t walk alone.”

And that still applies today.

We don’t walk alone.

We walk together, trying to love each other.

We walk together, working to create safe communities.

And we walk together, trying to interrupt violence and injustice wherever we can.

We don’t walk alone.

We walk together.

And trust that in the midst of all it, God is with us.

We trust that God has crushed the power of sin and darkness.

And we trust that God cares deeply about hope and healing, liberation and justice.

We don’t wake up, unless we do it together. – Rev Matthew Wright

 


If you live in Manitoba:

  • To contact the 24/7 Sexual Assault Crisis Line, call 1-888-292-7565.
  •  To contact MCC about resources, support groups, consultations & information
    visit abuseresponseandprevention.ca
  • To report clergy abuse, contact your church conference pastor

I’m grateful for the help of Steph from Southeast Coalition Against Trafficking, Hilary from Into Account, Jaymie from MCC, and many other women who helped shape this sermon.

 

Batman, Summer Camp, and Shrek

A sermon from Exodus 14, which is the story of the Hebrews leaving slavery in Egypt, and crossing the Red Sea.


So, one of the things that the preacher is NOT supposed to do is assume that everyone in the audience knows their Bibles, or that they know the stories we’re preaching about.  We are not supposed “Oh, you all know the story.”

However, with today’s story, I’m going to assume that you know it.

The  Exodus is the story of the Hebrews who the Red Sea after leaving slavery in Egypt.   It’s the centre of the story of Moses, where Moses grew up a prince in Egypt, ran away, came back and told Pharaoh “Let my people go!”, Pharaoh said “no”, and then some plagues happened and eventually the Red Sea parted for the Hebrews and they crossed on dry land, while all of Pharaoh’s army the dead man’s float.

Moses 1

I’m going to assume we know the gist of this story because a lot of people have made a lot of movies about it.

If you are older, you will remember the greatest epic of all “The 10 Commandments” from 1956, featuring Charlton Hesston.

moses 2And then, twenty years ago “The Prince of Egypt” came out, and oh my goodness, this was one of the most star laden casts of the 90s!  I had no idea at the time, but this movie featured the voices of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin AND Martin Short, with music by Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston AND Boyz II Men.    What was the budget for this movie?

moses 3And then recently, we saw Ridley Scott take a crack at the story of the Moses in “Exodus:  Gods and Kings” featuring Christian Bale and Sigourney Weaver.  I enjoyed this unique take on the story, although, I have to admit that every time I see Christian Bale in a movie, all I can think about is him from the Dark Night:  “I Am Batman!”  And every time I hear the name Sigourney Weaver, I just think about Finding Dory.   “Hello!  I’m Sigourney Weaver!”

Okay. So I hope we know the story!

The story of Exodus, of God hearing the cry of God’s people, liberating them from slavery, and then crossing the Red Sea on dry land, is THE story of the Old Testament.

This was the first Passover for the Jewish people, and is celebrated to this day.  There are even stories of Jewish folk in concentration camps still celebrating Passover, reclining together and re-telling the story of God’s liberation of their people.

This story is as story of God fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham, that Abraham’s descendants will number like the stars and they will make a great nation.

This story is a story of God hearing the cry of the oppressed and acting.

This is one of the stories that African American slaves latched on to in America, where they put their faith in a God that liberates people.

This story is a big deal.  If you watch sports, this is their TSN turning point.   It’s the climax of the spot.  To quote Rachel Held Evans, “Let my people go” has “shaped the faith of millions of people, inspiring artists and activists and world leaders for centuries.”


Okay, and now we’re going to look at this story in two different ways.

One of the ways will probably feel more natural to you, and the other one might feel a bit uncomfortable.   One more be more familiar, and one new.

And with Google, you definitely can find people supporting both ways to look at the story.

I’m going to let the cat out of the bag and let you know that we’re going to end up in the same place.  So, rather than look at the other side of the story with disdain or fear or animosity, try looking at it with curiosity, compassion, and understanding.    Someone needs to hear the story differently than you, and that’s okay.


Path #1 – This would be the way of looking at the story that’s portrayed in the first two movies, the 10 Commandments and the Prince of Egypt.  This is a story of Moses leading his people out of slavery, of challenging the empire, or God freeing one million Hebrews, of God delivering them to dry land.

God is good, and mighty to save.

This way of looking at the story is actually captured in a kids song, called Pharaoh Pharaoh.  I sang it when I was a kid at summer camp, and then when I was a counselor at camp we sang it, and then this summer we sent Arianna, my daughter, to her first time at summer camp, and during the parents program, guess what song they started singing?  Pharaoh Pharah! Ooooo Baby.  Let my people go, O-ah-ah, yeah yeah yeah.  All of us parents in back started laughing and said “They’re still singing this song?”

At the end of the song, though, there’s a line about all of Pharaoh’s army doing the dead man’s float.  And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve wondered about that.

Did those soldiers have kids?  Partners?  Surely they had parents who would rather not have to get into a boat to go pick up floating kids?

And those soldiers – Shoot… Surely they had hopes and dreams and might have trying to save enough money to buy their first house.  They were just doing what they were told by their commanding officer, and we celebrate their death as God’s victory?   And then we make a kids song of it?  With actions? That’s kind of dark, isn’t it?

Let alone that the Hebrews are only free from Pharaoh because God came and killed all the first born Egyptians.  I know that the Egyptians weren’t very kind and loving, but isn’t God supposed not to return tit for tat?  This has never sat well with me.  Maybe because I’m a first born, and if my parents were Egyptian, I’d be dead.  Or, now I think about my daughter.  Or let’s try this.  How many of us are the first born in our family.

Do liberation and freedom come at the expense of our enemies dying?  In this story… yes.  Pharaoh wasn’t going to let them go until he suffered enough consequences.

But do these questions take away from the liberation of God’s people?  I mean, like, they were in slavery for over 400 years.  That’s kind of a long time isn’t it?  What do we do with this?


Path #2 – This one is fairly new to me, but when I heard it, I was grateful.  I first heard it by reading some Jewish authors on their understandings of the Torah, and I’ve also heard this recently Christian scholars.

They suggest that the Exodus might not have happened exactly as recorded in the Bible.  Something happened, that’s not up for debate.  But what exactly happened, is.

We know quite a bit about Ancient Egypt, as they built pyramids and we’ve opened up their tombs and studied their mummies and read their hieroglyphic mission statements on their walls.  And what we’ve found out is that there is no recorded history of the Hebrew slaves leaving Egypt.  The assumption here is that if one million slaves walked out of Egypt, someone in Egypt would have written it down.  They didn’t.  The assumption is that if every firstborn died, somebody would have written it down.  But they didn’t.

Now, the absence of proof isn’t proof itself, so we can’t say with great authority what did or did happen.  Maybe it did happen. Maybe it didn’t.  Maybe there weren’t a million people.  Maybe there were 500. Or 5000. Maybe they crossed the Reed Sea, not the Red Sea, as some scholars suggest.

It maybe not happening as recorded certainly gets us around the whole “God killing all the first born children” bit.  And the soldiers doing the dead man’s float.  I certainly don’t love worshiping a God who’s down with violence.

But it can also leave in an uncertain position.  Because what are we supposed to do with this story, and it’s place in Jewish religion?  And what do we do with many of these stories?  And what do we do with the fact that Jesus, Paul, Mary, Isaiah, Elijah, Esther, and Peter, were all Jewish and believed this story was an integral part of their religion?

Is just a fairy tale?

I actually think one of the worst things that we can do is treat this story like a fairy tale.   People in concentration camps do not gather to celebrate Passover because of Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty, or Santa Claus.  They gather to celebrate Passover because God is in the business of freeing people, and they will never forget that.

When I was in Albuquerque with Richard Rohr, he explored the question of why African American slaves adopted the religion of their oppressors.  That makes no sense.  Why would you worship the God of the people who owned you?

American slaves did not adopt the Christianity because it’s like Shrek or Star Wars.

Sure, Harry Potter is great, but I’m not so sure it can lead people out of slavery.

No… They heard the story of a God who hears the cry of the oppressed… they heard the story of a God who sent Moses to tell Pharaoh “Let my people go”… They heard the story of an enslaved people being saved by God’s hand leading them through the water to freedom.

God leading them through the water meant the trackers couldn’t follow them.  Through the water meant the dogs would lose their scent.  Through the waters meant that when they crossed the Ohio River, they were free.

There’s power to this story.  There is truth to this story.

This story was written to as a cosmic battle between the God of the Hebrews, Yahweh, and the gods of Egyptians. And the god of the Hebrews was far more powerful.

This story was written to show that in a world of localized religions, where the gods of one nation didn’t have power in another, or… there was actually a universal God who’s jurisdiction is the entire earth.

This story was written as a replay of the creation story, where on day 3, the water of chaos is separated to reveal dry land.

This story was written so that the Israelites would never forget that God has laid a claim on them, and they were to serve that God.  Not Pharaoh.  Not slave masters.  Not kings.  Not foreign armies.

But God and God alone, because God is in the business of giving God’s people freedom.


Freedom.  That is the invitation today for World Communion Sunday.  Freedom.

Freedom to claim God’s power in our world and in our lives.

Freedom to live in God’s claim on us.

Freedom to serve God and God alone.

Freedom to participate to in God’s way of life, where good news is proclaimed to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind… where the oppressed are set free.

Freedom to see the image of God in everyone, and live like it.

“Because if we can’t see Christ in others then we are no longer looking with the eyes of Christ.”  – Richard Rohr

And there is freedom to be found when we can see the Christ in others.

This is one of those times where I think that coming to have communion on Sunday morning is  quite counter-cultural and revolutionary, because today we’re not only going to look for the image of God in each other, but we’re also going to practice it.  We’re going to practice living into God’s way.

Who’s invited to communion?  Everyone.  As good ole wise Richard Rohr says, “Communion is meal for the sick, not a prize for being perfect.”  There is no meritocracy in Christianity.  Nobody is keeping score.

So we are all invited.  Friends, lovers, enemies, and fr-enemies.  Come.

Married or single, divorced or common-law or widowed.  Come

Straight or Gay or Bisexual. Come.

Those us who have lots of money and those of us who don’t have a lot of money.  Come.

Young and old or somewhere in between.  Come.

Mennonite or Catholic or Evangelical or Ukrainian Orthodox or Spiritual but not religious.  Come.

Women and men and gender non-confirming or those transitioning.  Come.

Those of us who are differently abled.  Come.

Pacifist or not, veteran or conscientious objector. Come.

Theologically liberal or theologically conservative or if you just don’t about any of that stuff. Come.

There is space for everyone at God’s table.

And when we serve each other, we begin to see the Christ in each other.

We come and serve each other as people who bear the image of God.

When we serve each other, we are learning to see with the eyes of Christ.

Amen.

On being Christian, following the Bible, and the LGBTTQI* community

Over the past several years, the stories have started to accumulate.

Stories that seem to follow the same story line.

A Christian starts telling people they identify as LGBTTQI*

And then the consequences start.

 

I know someone who was told they can no longer call themselves Christian.   

I know someone who was no longer allowed to teach Sunday School.

I know someone who was no longer allowed to sing in church.

I know someone who has preaching gigs cancelled.

I know someone who knows that following their call to be a pastor is near impossible.

I know someone who has been called a pervert and abomination.

I know someone whose donors stopped supporting them.

I know someone whose pastor now has a hard time shaking hands in the foyer.

I know someone who can’t bring their partner to family gatherings.

I know someone who was kicked out of their house.

 

And what breaks my heart in all of these is that the harm is being perpetuated by Christians.

Christians who believe in love.

Christians who believe the Bible.

 

Me too.

I believe in love.

I believe in the Bible.

When Jesus was asked which is the most important commandment, he answered “The most important one is this:  ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

The apostle Paul agrees.  “Let no debt remain outstanding except the debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments… are best summed up in this one command:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  Love does no harm to its neighbour.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

 

Are our actions loving?

Are we loving our neighbours as ourselves?

 

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law of the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12

 

Are we treating our neighbours in ways that we want to be treated?

 

Or, are our attempts at faithfulness causing harm?


I fear that
that sometimes, instead of faithfully following the Bible’s instructions on love, we actually end up doing the opposite of what the Bible says. 


 

PS – The positives stories are also accumulating. Here, my attempt here is to acknowledge that most of the resistance to lgbttqi* equality is rooted in my community, the Christian one.  And because of that, we have to ask ourselves some extra questions.