The Good News!
(I just posted this on my blog... http://blog.myspace.com/nathanatx)
I just wanted to share a little encouraging news with you! After being in my job for less than a month, I've been promoted to a position that pays an additional $6,000 a year!
You know, I grew up with a theology that said if you're being a "good Christian," then God will bless your socks off. If you're not being a "good Christian," well, you just deserve all the misery and difficulty in your life. That is such an ugly, self-righteous and materialistic way to look at God.
I have fundamentalist family members who continually judge and condemn me for being gay and I KNOW they have those beliefs. And, man, part of me wants to take the wonderful things that are happening in my life ALL THE TIME and use these blessings as "proof" of God's approval and presence in my life--EVEN though I'm gay.
If God doesn't approve of my being openly gay and loving my life, then why is my life absolutely incredible? Why do good things happen to me all the time? Why do I have so much peace and joy? I have amazing friendships. My business is growing. My ministry is growing and I'm preparing for seminary. So all these wonderful things happening in my life MUST be proof that God loves & approves of me, right?
Well, I no longer have such an immature belief in God. I believe God IS love. PERIOD. Regardless of whether I am loving and kind or not. Regardless of someone's evalutaion of whether I am "Christian" or not. Even though I may not think I deserve God's love, it's still there.
You see, I believe I am personally 100% responsible for how great or how miserable my life is. Albeit, other people do have some influence and unexpected things can happen, but whatever happens, I get to choose how to react and respond. I get to choose how to "be" with whatever happens.
This is why good things are happening in my life. Because I'm determined to create my life as fun & successful. Because I am determined to love my life. And because I surround myself with people who will encourage me in these areas.
I don't need an outward, physical sign or manifestation in order for God to prove Himself to me. I know it in my heart. It's wonderful when good things happen and I have so much gratitude to the Spirit for all the blessings in my life, but I don't think they're happening because I've been a "good Christian." They've been happening because God is good all the time and because I am responsible for my life.
That's the main difference in the way I look at God now, versus how I was taught to look at God in my parent's fundamentalist church. I believe God is all good, like a good mother or father. I don't believe God is waiting around the corner to beat you to a pulp if you make a mistake. I don't believe a loving God would create us as His children and then send some of us to an eternity of torture if we make the mistake of "choosing" to not believe the way fundamentalist Christians do. That's not a picture of a loving God. It's a picture of a terrorist. The idea of a God created eternal hell where the "unsaved" will burn for eternity is atrocious and appalling. And it simply is not the truth.
This, my friend, is the real "Good News!" God loves and adores you, just as you are. You can have an amazing, wonderful life... and God wants that for you... but it's up to you. This new year, take some time to think about how you really want your life to look. What dreams do you have for yourself and your family? What are you passionate about? What changes do you want to see in the lives of people around you? What kind of difference do you want to make in the world?
The Bible says that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of LOVE, power and a sound mind." So when fundamentalists come at you trying to guilt or terrorize you into submission, remember that verse. If fear doesn't come from God, then those people are not Godly.
And be alert and cautious for "backdoor" attempts to bring in the fear and condemnation. In one hand they may pretend to offer love and acceptance, in the other hand they hold the vipers... the conditions which you must meet to gain their love and acceptance. Conditional love is ugly. And it's ugly all the time.
Excellent and well said. Yes, it probably does surprise fundamentalists and homophobes that we are indeed genuinely happy people. We can earn success just as well any other person.
Congrats to you! You deserve it and keep up the good work.
If I may echo your statement, this year has been great for me too. I have a new, wonderful boyfriend, Chris, and is the best thing to happen to me. I truly love him as I feel more alive than ever being with him. God does bless us all - patience, hard work, and faith with get us through our wilderness experiences in order to enter the blessed Promised Land of happiness, success, and love.
Peace & Blessings to You.
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