This is the ninth installment in a series of reflections on LGBTQ+ matters.
Some students worry so much about meeting the expectations of their teachers that they miss the point of learning activities. Questions like “How many words must be in this essay?” and “Do we need to know this for the test?” and “May I skip class without hurting my grade?” can reveal a preoccupation with following rules. The worry, of course, is that not following the rules will lead to punishing consequences.
Some people approach the LGBTQ conversation with the same mindset. “What are the rules about same-sex behavior?” they want to know. “Are there clear ethical guidelines in scripture about who people may marry?” “Can we allow known rule-breakers to be ordained as elders, deacons, or preachers?” they ask, conveniently ignoring that every ordained person, and every non-ordained church member, is a rule-breaker of one kind or another.
A rule-bound orientation reveals, dare I say it, distrust in God. People too focused on rule-breaking mostly see God as the almighty authority whose primary concern is with punishment for violations of Divine standards. They fail to see that what God wants most is to give us what we most want: Love. Can you trust that this is what God really wants most of all?
Henri Nouwen teaches in his book Here and Now that the word obedience comes from a Latin word, ob-audire, which means “to listen with great attentiveness.” When we are not attentive to God’s voice of love, persistently spoken throughout the Bible, we become too focused on how we can earn God’s love by perfectly following the rules. In failing to let love be our greatest aim, we are disobedient. We fail to hear that God-With-Us wants to give us what our hearts most desire. God is our Lover who wants nothing more than for us to live in, and never impede, the flow of that love. Listen with great attentiveness.
From time to time a member of All One Body will post to this blog. We will also have guest commentary. Stay tuned!