Greetings from Minnesota, to my dear brother Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, the first of us to encounter the mysterious Spirit of Jesus in the middle of our Suffering Road.

 

I give thanks for your dedication to all men of your region. Your compassion, love, and commitment to diverse peoples amazes me. Poor Peter, have mercy on him, for he was so entrenched within the walls of his culture that he could not comprehend the Gospel touching the lives of those beyond the walls of Judaism. So thank you truly for your vision and courage to go where no man had ever gone before, a Light in the darkness, sharing Good News.

 

Dear brother, it’s time for me to get real. I’ve been talking about you behind your back in scorn. Please forgive me. It’s time I finally bring my concerns directly to you.

 

I cannot pretend to comprehend the thorn in your flesh that you have tried in vain to remove. We all have our defects. Go easy on yourself! Is it that you are attracted to men and feel you must keep it a secret to show your separation from Roman culture? Is this why you write so hatefully of men sleeping with other men, because you hate this part of yourself? Is it that you are a transgender person, fearing the female spirit inside you, and in your confusion the only way you can act out is to tell women to stay in their place and be submissive, because you are secretly trying to subdue the woman within? If it is either of these dear brother, fear no more, because the church (at least parts of it) will now accept you, as God accepts you!

 

But if it is not this, then we’ve got a bone to pick. I’m pissed. Radical honesty: you’ve been my nemesis for years. You’ve given men the world over a religious and theological excuse to abuse, manipulate, neglect, degrade, confine, and oppress women and LGBTQ folks. I know I can’t speak for all of us, but many, if not most of us, are sick of you! You’ve done your fair share in turning The Way of love, equality, and community (The Way that Jesus taught, that always included women) into the Christianity of hierarchy, exclusion, tyranny, and patriarchy! Thanks a lot!!! Your writing makes me so nauseous and angry that I’ve avoided it altogether for the last eight years! I can’t even bring myself to read the beautiful parts because I feel I’m paying tribute to your bigotry!!

 

…Ok. I had to slow down and breathe. There is something you wrote that I memorized as a child that I’m so grateful for, because it has comforted me many times.

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life,

Angels nor demons,

Neither present nor future,

Nor any powers,

Neither height nor depth,

Nor Anything else in all of creation

Will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

Chelsea Forbrook

Advertisements