Thursday, March 22, 2012

Perverted Gospel (Romans 8:35, 38-39)

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Trouble? Calamity? Persecution? Hunger? Nakedness? Danger? Violence? … For I’m certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, neither heights nor depths – nor anything else in all creation – will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior.                       
                Romans 8:35, 38-39

The promise that Paul experienced in the Sacred of the vitality and power of divine love has been sorely tested for queer persons. Paul’s assertion that nothing in all creation is able to separate us from the love of God seems to have underestimated the power of religious institutions to oppress and to torment.

In the christian tradition a great perversion of the gospel of the Christ has taken place. The good news which is meant to restore and unite in love, has instead, been used to separate and to crush.

There are those who high jacked the gospel and turned the good news from a tool of healing and joy into a tool of guilt and control. In the hands of these misguided souls the “good news” becomes the “bad news”. The bad news declares unworthiness, instills hate, and legitimates human judgment. Ultimately the bad news segregates those “justified” to be in God’s presence from those “contemptible” in the sight of the Holy. According to Paul this is the antithesis of God’s love in Christ.

Far from being a burden the good news of the Christ is to be a liberating force in our lives. The good news empowers us for union with God and creation. The good news creates hope, opens new possibilities and rouses idle potential. The good news is good for it enlivens, supports, and makes possible the compassion of God in the lives of all people.

Nothing, Paul emphasizes, can separate us from the life giving and life blessing force of the Sacred. Yet, some religious persons work their best to do exactly that. Misguided by a prejudice dressed up in righteousness, religious folk have succeeded in driving away many from the presence of God.

Still even in the toughest of times when hate filled and spiteful things are declared from the conformist religious institutions, God’s love is not stymied. The good news goes out no matter how bad the followers of Christ trip all over ourselves.

In the church of my youth, while I was given a list of those who still had time to turn before they burned, I was also given pieces of the good news. A nascent knowing that nothing in life or in death can separate me from the compassion of the Sacred. Years later it was the good news that gave me the wherewithal to be proud of who I am. The good news whispers that while trouble, calamity, persecution, danger, and violence may be used against me, I cannot be separated from the love of God.

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