“Why does God hate me?”
The question pierced the silence of of my office, pinning me down for a lack of words. What was I supposed to say to this young lady in the 10th grade standing awkwardly in my door. The same young lady who for the first few months of my time at this church barely shared pleasantries with me when we passed in the hall. My theological training crashed to the ground as I turned and faced this child of God. I stopped what I was doing, looking into her tear filled eyes and simply said: “Colleen God does not hate anybody.”
Her response was equally debilitating. “Then why does everyone tell me that?” Holding up her well used Bible I could only imagine had been her companion since 3rd grade she added, “And why do they tell me this book says so?” Over time she would prove that she knew that book far better than any run of the mill seminary graduate like myself. What do you say when an otherwise vibrant young person shares this out of the blue? As if her first questions weren’t tough enough, what came next left me reeling for answers.
“You see I’m a lesbian and everybody tells me God thinks I’m a bad person because of it.”
To complicate things this young lady had been chosen as the youth elder fully ordained and installed in that office.
I invited her into my office and we talked for what seemed like forever. We talked about love. We talked about acceptance. We talked about God. When we had cried it all out we both left different people. She was well on her way to accepting that God did love her. And I too was well on my way to understanding that God loved her, accepted her, cared for her every bit as much as every other person created in the image of God.
I realized that day theology may teach us a lot about God but it can never us how to love and accept another person. We only learn that through relationship. It is only in relationship that we can struggle with one another and truly understand God’s desire for us to live in community. It is here we experience God’s overwhelming love for all of creation.
The friendship that ensued since has taught me much. It has taught me that the Journey toward the new Heaven and the new earth goes straight through justice and justice will not be satisfied until all may freely serve.
We as a denomination have unfortunately lost this bright child of God. She has moved to another church that accepts and loves her just as God created her. That’s our loss. But I hope we never have to see anymore Colleen’s leave because of it.
I support 10-A