Posted by: JennyRain | September 15, 2006

Will the Real Sodom and Gomorrah please stand up?

In the middle of the Abraham story in the Bible is this short, but powerful epithet about a wee-little city called Sodom. We talked about the story in class yesterday and as I braced myself for the onslaught of the “This is why God hates gays” comments that looked to be brewing and bubbling across the classroom, I was pleasantly surprised at the controlled manner in which all discussion was mitigated and then tabled.

“This is typically the story that has been used from the pulpit as a polemic against homosexuality, right?” Said my teacher.

The class nodded their heads in agreement.

“Let me tell you the rest of the story…” continued our teacher.

For the next 15 minutes the class explored the rest of the text. There were a myriad of things that the text has been trying to say for years to all of us, but because there has been such a singular and myopic focus on the “one explanation” for the story, all of the other instructive morals have been lost. I appreciated her attempts to show the other side… I just hope the class was listening.

Don’t be a hater, be a lover.

Why does the world focus so much effort on hating, and so little on loving? It’s not like the “God-hates-gays” sentiment is a new one practiced by the world or the church. Go back a few decades and you will see a “God-hates-coloreds” and before that a “God-hates-women”… All “textually justifiable” by one source or another.

Perhaps it is not God who hates, but people. And it is not just in the church. Hatred crosses religious, socio-economic, ethnic, political, geographic, gender, and educational boundaries. No matter where you go, what you do, or who you are listening to, you will hear hatred preached. It is preached from the pulpit, preached from the oval office, preached from the streets, preached in the schools, preached at our dinner tables, and preached in our hearts.

Hatred is the great contaminator of the world. It starts when we begin talking of our group as an “us” and those outside our group as a “them.” It continues because we begin seeing people as “issues” and stop calling them by their “name.”

Life comes in people, not in issues

…said a teacher I had last semester. We as a people want to solve the “issue” of homosexuality, or the “issue” of drug addiction, or the “issue” of welfare. In the church. In society. We want answers and we want them now. But many are not willing to get to know the names behind the “issues.”

  • We hold seminars at church called “Grace for Will” but forget to invite Will to the table to find out how he would like to be treated or what he needs.
  • We develop scriptural refutation and fences around the scripture so we have a “ready-defense” to “win one o’ tham waywerrrd souls caught in the cluuuutches of [name your “sin”]” but yet we refuse to open our hearts, our dinner tables, and our lives to share Christ’s love.
  • We develop “healing” programs called Exodus or Light for the Blind, but only deem a man or woman acceptable if they follow the prescription to “wholeness” (as defined by the programs).

So what is all of this accomplishing? A repeat of what communities were doing at the turn of the century when they brandished textual evidence, combined with a good old helping of hatred to keep the black community segregated from the opportunity to experience Love.

It is time that we move beyond our hatred, open our hearts, open our lives, and share the love. Andy Stanley stated “only after the Israelites were extradited from Egypt did God bring the law.” Our first job is to love… in all situations, everywhere, at all times. No one ever “lawed” anyone into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Love. Love God. Love Others. Those are the most important commandments. There are so many people in the world that have great need of this love… do we really have the time to hate?

All writings on this blog copyrighted by author 9.15.2006 ©


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