Another Pride Fest has come and gone in our community. Turnout was lower this year, but I think this is due to the fact that the Utica Music & Arts Festival was also going on, along with the final bout of Roller Derby season.
There was an article about our interfaith worship service in yesterday’s Observer-Dispatch. You can read it by clicking here or on the picture.
The Comments on the article are also worth reading. For those who have neither the time nor the desire to read the whole thing, here is my contribution to the discussion, which I think sums up some of my better thinking on the subject:
I am the pastor who sang and played guitar at the celebration on Sunday afternoon. I am an evangelical, Bible-believing Christian who tries his best (but often fails) in following Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
When I was a seminary student, I really felt the Holy Spirit challenging me through the text of Scripture and my relationships with LGBT friends to re-evaluate my beliefs about homosexuality. It was a long and difficult process that involved a lot of serious thinking and praying. I don’t claim to have the one and only true interpretation of the Bible, but I can tell you where my convictions landed me:
I believe we are all embraced by the big, big arms of a big, big God who loves us, even though we are all sinners and fall far short of the glory intended for us. I know that Jesus proclaimed that love in his words and his deeds on this earth. I think the Holy Spirit calls us to do the same through our words and deeds.
As a follower of Christ, I believe that my life will be judged based on how well I conform to that impossible standard of perfect love. I know that I will fail miserably in that task and will have no choice but to ask my Judge/Savior for mercy. I do not think that my Jesus will condemn me to hell for placing too much faith in his love.
That’s why I’m going out on a limb and questioning some of the assumptions that some of my fellow Christians have made about our Bible and our God. I am inclined to disagree with my dear friend Dennis Dewey when he preached that some parts of the Bible are ‘out-dated’. I believe that all Scripture is divinely inspired and given to us as a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. However, our interpretations of Scripture are always flawed and finite. I think it is quite possible that God’s word to us on this subject may not be what we think it is.
As we search for these tough answers together, let us always remember that, wherever else our convictions and interpretations may lead us, our first calling is to love others as Christ loves us.
I leave you with these lyrics from the Presbyterian Hymnal (#298):
‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea; There’s a kindness in God’s justice, Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows Are more felt than up in heaven; There is no place where earth’s failings Have such kindly judgment given.
For the love of God is broader Than the measures of the mind; And the heart of the Eternal Is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful, We would gladly trust God’s Word; And our lives reflect thanksgiving For the goodness of our Lord.’