The following is a portion of text from the introduction to Love First- but don’t worry, I won’t post any more! I don’t want to spoil the surprise. What I do want to know is what kind of a feel people get off of the intro, if it’s appealing, fair, etc.
I’m just a girl.
I’m not a Biblical scholar.
I haven’t been to seminary.
While I have spent time as a youth pastor and have led or aided in leading numerous small groups and charitable efforts, I’m not a preacher.
As I write these words I’m just a twenty-five year old wife and mother. The most official work I do is running the toddler room at my home church. Most of my days are spent tending house and making cookies.
But don’t let me deceive you. I am also much more than a paltry list of credentials. I’ve been in the trenches when it comes to bringing God to people. I’ve spent time tending a coffee shop that was known as a safe haven for the ragamuffins and strays of the world. I’ve talked to people. More importantly, I’ve listened to them. I’ve heard their stories. I’ve heard their pain and confusion. I’ve seen the shock on a cross-dresser’s face when he realized that the odd little girl he was talking to was a Christian, and I’ve seen his relief when he realized that my religion didn’t bar me from showing him kindness and taking pleasure in his company. I saw the light come into his eyes when he realized I had no desire to tell him he was going to burn in hell.
I’ve seen the fear on a friend’s face when she thought that telling me she was with another woman might mean losing my friendship, and I heard her relief when she realized my friendship wasn’t conditional to her perceived purity.
I’ve been there when a young man was questioning his sexuality. I’ve heard his fury with God for not just making him straight. I’ve witnessed his tears as he begged and pleaded for his burden to be taken from him, and I’ve seen his spirit wither as days and months passed without hearing God’s reply. I’ve seen him become assured of his own condemnation and fall away.
Oh, the condemnation. All the condemnation. A myriad of bright souls so positively certain that God does not want them that they never even attempt to find His face at all. And why would they believe that God hates them? Because the Church has done almost nothing to disabuse them of that notion- and much to reinforce it. It is the Western Church’s greatest shame that we have convinced an entire subset of humanity that they are not desired by God because they are not desired by us.
Unless something changes, they will never be reached by us- Jesus’ modern day disciples.
And this is where I cease to be just some girl. I am the one who will no longer be silent as I watch Christ’s bride hinder his ministry. I am more than myself because I am called- called to reintroduce the concept of God’s love and mercy. Called to teach that holiness is more than a state of being, it is also the journey towards that state. Holiness is not a prerequisite to faith and acceptance but instead the product of it.
Do not mistake me. What I have to offer to you is not a hypocritical condemnation of the Church’s actions but instead words spoken in love. That love being both for my Mother, the Church, and my Father God.
My call to repentance for the Church is a mere fragment of this written work. The largest part of it is not about what has been done wrong, but how we can start doing it right.