God’s call is not something you hear. It’s something you feel. It tears right through the noise of everyday life and it breaks you open with such force that you can neither deny it nor hide from it. Did you know? God breaks people. Because it is only through a broken, open heart that God can enter. Only when we are lying on the ground, whimpering and shaking in pain, only then are we truly ready to listen because only then has He torn away all barriers and burnt away all doubts. God’s call is painful. But it is also the sweetest pain because it finds you exactly where God loves you the most: in your human frailty.
Frailty is weakness? How can it be weakness if God allowed himself to be frail? A tortured and broken body dying the death of simple thieves. Yes, Jesus was fully God, just like He was fully human. He could have shortened or stopped His suffering at any moment. It is in your frailty where God loves you the most because it was in His own frailty that He loved us all more than His mortal life. So embrace your brokenness. Don’t try to fix it, don’t try to hide it. Embrace it and love it just like God loves it.
And right there between the scattered pieces of your heart, hear His call.
“Go”, He says. “Go and share me.” Be the good you want to see in the world. Share God’s love that He gives you in such abundance. Heal the ones who so desperately believe in their unbrokenness. Never ever be afraid. Why should you? In your most fragile moments He will be there and He will love you.
“A simple lay person armed with scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it.”
How highly controversial! Scripture alone is enough. Scripture is self-authenticating, clear, its own interpreter, and sufficient as the final authority of Christian beliefs. The idea is that whoever bases their faith on scripture, whoever seeks guidance and answers in scripture, doesn’t need anything or anyone else and will never be disappointed.
This concept of scripture alone or sola scriptura was introduced by the same man who said those words in the beginning of this article: Martin Luther, the German reformer who saw so many flaws in the Catholic Church of the 15th century that he simply had to speak against it. His idea that scripture alone stands in the center of an individual’s striving for and learning about God was eagerly adopted by many and eventually also by the younger evangelical denominations in the United States. To this day it is a key principal of many conservative Baptist and Lutheran churches and all those who call themselves “bible-believing”. I firmly believe that indeed, the bible is God’s love letter to us, his children and all the guidance and nudges we need to come closer to this love are right there in scripture. So yes, I call myself bible-believing.
Wait. How can a progressive Christian who is living in a same-sex marriage be bible-believing? How can someone like me adopt the same term as conservative Christians? Do I believe that my sexuality is wrong, that my wife is an abomination? Of course not. Then why does my hand not tremble when I write: “I believe in the bible.”?
Continue reading “Bible-believing Bisexual?!”
The sun is shining on this warm Sunday afternoon in Texas. We are sitting on the porch. Me, my wife Lisa and the old men watch the barn swallows and admire the irises. And as always we share communion. Not everybody has the privilege or the ability to visit a church whenever they feel the need. These two gentlemen don’t. They have a hard time leaving their houses as it is. Nevertheless, communion is important to them. My wife says a short prayer. My eyes are closed, my face warmed by the sun. It’s a good day in good company. Then the older of the two men, let’s call him Jack, a veteran in a wheelchair and with a cowboy hat prays out loud, too. First I smile at his words and then, one by one, they begin to choke me until I feel tears in my eyes.
“All I can say, Lord, is that I am yours. All those years I tried so very hard to be righteous but all I did was exclude and hurt people. That is not love. It is not what you want. I am yours, Lord and I am so very sorry.”
For years my wife and others have visited one of these men and brought him communion because he couldn’t make it to church anymore. And for a long time Jack, who lives just across the street has watched that, not sure what was going on. Grown up and highly active in one of the rather fundamentalist churches, he was suspicious. What were those gay people doing? How could they pretend to be Christian when the bible clearly says that they are an abomination?
Continue reading “In the words of a fundamental Christian: “I am so sorry!””