I am unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian. I love my black skin and I love Jesus Christ. Together with being a woman, those two identities are the absolute core of who I am and inform my thoughts and perspectives.
But being a black, female Christian is a hard space to live in today. I am constantly examining and re-examining the intersection of these parts of me.
Because I’m black, I understand all too well the sting and devastation of oppression. Because I’m black, I understand how systemic racism plays out every day in the lives of black folks in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
Because I’m black, I understand the ugliness of white supremacy, the arrogance of unchecked, unacknowledged white privilege and the anger and exhaustion of constantly having to fight for your humanity.
Because I’m black, I understand how insulting “All Lives Matter” is as a response to our fight to demand that “Black Lives Matter”.
Because I’m black, I know what it feels like to be marginalized and oppressed.
Because I’m Christian, I know that Jesus loves me and that he died for my sins and that I have eternal life because I’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation.
Because I’m Christian, I know that God has certain expectations of me and that I need to avoid sin.
I know what the Old Testament says about women on their periods, disobedient children, and eating certain foods (like fat). [Side note: If eating fat is a sin, for which I cannot repent, I am going straight to Hell.]
Because I’m a Christian, I know God’s law on these and many other matters, including premarital sex, tithing and drunkenness.
And because I’m Christian, I know what the Old Testament says about homosexuality.
And, importantly, because I’m a Christian, I know how self-righteous and hypocritical Christians can be.
And because of this hypocrisy, some Christians like to “weigh” sins (in spite of the fact that sin is sin) and seem to forget that we ALL sin and fall short of even coming close to being worthy of God’s grace and mercy (yes, me and you too).
I know that Christians like to “cherry pick” sins, pointing out the sin of someone else, while, with herculean efforts, ignoring the log in their own eye.
I know them when I see them. Truth be told, I’ve even been them sometimes. But since I’m a Christian, I know that God does not want HIs people to “hate on” one another and that the bible instructs us to love one another. In fact, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourself. Everything hangs on those two commandments. I see no exceptions.
Christians are also expected to “tell the truth in love”. So here is my “truth”, spoken in love:
Honestly, I think homosexuality is a sin. But it is no more of a sin than all of you (and me at one point in my life) are committing, who are having sex with someone you are not married to.
It is no more of a sin than the deacon in the church who is flirting with Sister “So and So” and eating up those pound cakes she’s making him, all the while married to Mother Louise.
It is no more of a sin than the sin being committed by all you adultererous, lying, drunken, tax cheating, cursing, swine eating, lusting, degenerates.
We are all saved by grace. God’s grace. Not man’s grace. And we’re all promised salvation if we “confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts” that Jesus is Lord. Nowhere in God’s word is my salvation dependent upon perfection as judged by my fellow sinners. And nowhere in God’s word are homosexuals excluded from salvation.
Yes, I’m aware of 1 Corinthians 6:9. So, if you want to go there, let’s go there. It condemns the sexually immoral, idolaters and adulterers, in addition to homosexuals. So if gays have no path to Heaven, guess what? Neither do most of us nor most of the people we know. Sleeping with your boyfriend/girlfriend? You’re out. Are you having sex with multiple partners? You’re out. Cheating on your spouse? You’re definitely out. Idolizing money? Go to the back of the line. A glutton? I’m out too.
We all can stop praying, stop tithing, stop taking Communion. We’re not going to Heaven UNLESS we stop doing those things. Because there are apparently no saved, active sinners. But if there are no saved, active sinners, then why does the bible tell us to repent of our sins? If we’re not saved, then repenting of sins isn’t going to help us, and if we are saved, and therefore not actively sinning, then what is there to repent from?
But gays haven’t repented of their sin! And you haven’t stopped looking at pornography.
Taking that literal stance is to ignore God’s provision for our secure eternity. Romans 10:9 assures us of salvation. And there are no exclusions from that assurance for sexually immoral people, liars, cheaters, drunks, robbers, or even people, who like me, love pork. If we confess and believe, we will be saved. I’m convicted that applies to EVERYBODY.
That sounds declaratory, not conditional, to me.
It would be a cruel God that would make our salvation dependent on ensuring that we don’t sin. At least not THAT sin. But THIS sin is ok. Well, not ok, but not like HER sin. As long as I don’t do it too much. But how much is too much? At what point would my salvation be in jeopardy?
And who is the arbiter of the stability of my salvation? My pastor? My neighbor? The Christian Right?
To be sure, we are called to follow God’s word, including repenting of our sin. But we are also admonished that we “judge not lest you be judged”.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t “speak the truth in love” to our friends and family about their sins (and be open to receiving the same about ours), but I’m pretty clear that it does not mean that we speak hatefully toward homosexuals, that we wish harm on them, that we disassociate ourselves from them and ostracize them, or that we try to interfere with their right to live peacefully in our (collectively, including them) communities.
This behavior feels like the experience of black people in America to me.
And that ain’t Jesus. I’m sure of that.
And I’m especially sure that it doesn’t mean that we break the law while invoking God’s name, in direct contravention of His directive that we obey the laws. That’s a direct shot at the Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk who is refusing to issue any marriage licenses so that she doesn’t issue any licenses to gays.
I see you Kim Davis, standing on righteousness, all while you’re on your 4th husband and “they” say one of your baby daddies fathered your child while you were married to another man. In other words, the rumor is that you had an affair, and the man that you had sex with outside of your marriage is the father of one of your children.
That sounds pretty sexually immoral to me.
I’m not pointing that out to judge you Ms. Davis. I’m pointing it out to show you that when we start deeming some people’s sins as “unpardonable”, we are treading on very thin ice, as our own sins are likely to come crashing down on us ahead of the ones we sit in judgment of. When we start judging people to the point of refusing to do the job we are paid (and in your case, elected), to do, because they don’t sin like we sin, we are on a slippery slope of pride, which, as Christians should know, goes before the fall.
I’m unashamedly black. Therefore, I am very uncomfortable with the oppression of a group of people. And I’m Christian. Therefore, I am very uncomfortable with singling out an entire group of people for discrimination, determining their sins, and then judging them because they sin (perhaps) differently than I do.
I’m going to try to do what God has called me to do. Spread the gospel, live a Christ-honoring life, forgive others their trespasses against me and love my neighbors, including my gay neighbors, and I’m going to fight against oppression and marginalization by arrogant, hypocritical people.
I don’t pretend to have it all worked out. I’m “working out my salvation” (that blessed assurance) as I go, and trying to hear from God for direction.
In the meantime, I’m trying to love people. That includes gays. And it includes others like me, whose righteousness is like filthy rags before God.
But this is my truth. I’ll be judged for it. And I’m ok with that. As long as God does the judging. All you perfect Christian folks please leave me (and my gay friends and family) alone.
Thanks to this YouTube channel for the picture.