This is the fourteenth installment in a series of reflections on LGBTQ+ matters.
The Christian Mystics over the centuries have taught that our purpose in life is not to describe God or to create elaborate thought systems identified as our doctrines of God. Our purpose is to be unified with God. It is to have our hearts beat with God’s heart. It is to vibrate in tune with the love song we hear God singing.
Henri Nouwen, our more contemporary mystic, avoided dualistic either/or thinking about mind and heart. Our hearts are informed by our minds, and our minds are shaped by our hearts. Listen: “…when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and touched by him in the center of our being. There is mystery here for which words are inadequate. It is the mystery that the heart, which is the center of our being, is transformed by God into his own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe.” (from You Are the Beloved)
That’s pretty hard to take in—our hearts transformed into God’s heart. According to Carl McColman in his book Christian Mystics, “Our goal is to learn… the curriculum of a truly spiritual life… grounded in love, mercy, tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, hope, trust, simplicity, silence, peace, and joy. To embody union with God is to discover these beautiful characteristics emerging from within and slowly transfiguring us….”
The church today, as it faces internal conflict over matters like gender expression and same-sex marriage has choices to make. How will the church present God and our relationship to God to the world? If our chief aim is, as the Westminster Confessions puts it, “…to glorify God and to enjoy him forever,” then a posture of moralistic judgmentalism seems disfigured. If instead we choose to follow the exhortation of St. Paul to “let love be our greatest aim,” then a face that expresses gentleness, care, and embrace, will prevail.
From time to time a member of All One Body will post to this blog. We will also have guest commentary. Stay tuned!