A few weeks ago I gave a talk on Self-Love being Resistance. It was the first time I have ever spoken to a group of people about my faith and being a queer Christian.
Upon closing, I opened the floor for questions and the first one I received left me being transparent on the notion I needed so much more time to develop a thought out response.
It went something like this:
“How do we reconcile a religion that has caused so much pain to so many by not allowing togetherness?”
My talk was on how the Bible encouraged justice and love of your person. My entire hour was devoted to showing the connectivity we all have to one another, the binding of our kinship and how Jesus celebrates our uniqueness to hold us together in harmony.
But, had I offered a clear picture of reconciliation for the word I, too, struggle saying?
Why this person totally agreed with my talk, she posed a question of deeper magnitude – Are we too far gone? Can we even show people this love you speak of?
And, here’s my more thought out answer.
Yes, because through Christ movement can happen and is spoken over throughout the text and in testimony of our individual lives.
Jesus is the glue of which holds our brokenness together – including our churches; our religion.
The church is comprised of people. And, as we know all too well through newscasts and twitter feeds, people are imperfect. We will taint things with our imperfections, our greed, our privilege and our wants – however, the church has seen this battle before – more than once. And, overcomes through the same people who tarnish it with Christ’s overwhelming love for our brokenness.
The foundation of which we practice our religion, our christian faith is within the body of Christ – the church.
And, we are members of this church, as we are carrying Christ within us.
It is the sacrifice of his love for each one of us as equal that continues to move us forward in moments of brokenness. Because through Christ there is reconciliation.
It is the relationship aspect of our faith, I believe, which makes church – church. We cannot preach the word or call ourselves the body of Christ if we are not living into our individual relationships with Jesus. And, living into the teachings of his ministry.
14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
2 Corinthians 5: 14,17-19
Reconciliation was entrusted to us through Christ.
Our faith, our church and our lives are reconciled through Christ. To know him, is to know reconciliation, which would make sense to ask, “but what about the trespasses against me by my own religion?”
There are pieces of our practice that are tangible. They are made & upheld by humans. And, we are revolving door of wrestling individual relationships with our faith. Collectively, we do the same.
So, when are religion trespasses against us I find it even more compelling to lean into our relationship with Jesus and ask hard questions of leadership. Because my ultimate example of living into Christianity is Jesus.
*The man flipped a few tables, spoke out in radical justice and questioned everything. So, it feels safe to say, we should too.
- What is the intent of this movement?
- Are we leaving anyone behind?
- Are we treating the body of Christ as one member or of the many inclusive all with gifts worth acknowledging?
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. …. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it
1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Together we make the church. Together we rejoice. Together we suffer. To know Jesus is to know the church. To know Jesus is to know relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The picture I painted during this talk was of love for our person and the deep love I personally hold for Christ. It is through him that I know, believe and trust in ultimate reconciliation. And, it is by our creation as individuals I see responsibility to teach this, speak this and leave my light on – even when religion seems to be shifting from the center of its ground – Jesus.
So, the answer is and will always be Jesus.
Because all good and evident love lives with him.