Sex and the sinners
I watched The Bible mini series over Easter – or, to be fair, I watched most of it. I shamefully switched off just as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on the donkey. I’m not proud of that. But having endured slaughters, sacrifices, whippings and other ugly biblical mayhem, I couldn’t bear to watch the inevitable 39 lashes that would all but kill the man. So I bailed on Christ.
I don’t think so.
My Christian leader is a lover and a healer. He makes allowances. He forgives. He won’t care that I turned off the TV because He sees the bigger picture. He sets far more store by regular acts of kindness than He does by regular visits to church. Would far prefer us to teach our children about tolerance and understanding than discrimination and damnation in His name.
I saw a car bumper sticker in LA that summed up my personal brand of Christianity: ‘Kindness is my religion’. Yep, Like.
But many others would disagree.
Such as the Christian fanatics we saw causing a commotion on Rodeo Drive. They were shouting and waving banners, urging us to shun the sinners – aka gay community – and smugly assuring us that we too were sinners and heading for hell if we indulged in sex outside wedlock or masturbated in the privacy of our own beds. Incensed, I called them out. Asked them about ‘Blessed are the meek’ and ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’. They laughed and told me they had God on their side. I futilely argued that claiming Christianity did not grant them a right to judge others. Judging in itself was sinful.They laughed again. And explained they were not sinners because He had died for their sins. And it was their job to judge.
Wouldn’t it be marvellous if, come the glorious day, the good Lord asked these people: Why were you using me as a stick to bully and persecute? As a license to indulge in smug self-righteousness and hate? Why were you standing on the street when you could have been spending that time helping a worthy organisation or someone in real need?
The very thought of that scenario makes me indulge in a little smugness myself.
And all this, of course, is assuming there is a God and a Heaven.
And I choose to believe that there is. Partially because there are so many people and pets that I’m dying to meet again. Assuming that they, too, made it into heaven. And I believe they all did.
But if it turns out that these banner wavers are right and typical representatives of God’s Heaven dwellers, I think I’d rather take my chances and follow the car with the bumper sticker. I’ll take the sex and the sinners. Because the God that shields discrimination and hatred is no God of mine.
And what about non-believers?
At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. Some of my greatest friends question and even totally reject the notion of God’s existence, which is their absolute right. Comes under the more reasonable banner of ‘Free will’. And heaven knows, they might be right.
But all these folk live ‘kind’ lives. They help, accept, chip in and generally do their bit for those around them. When they do good, it’s done purely for the sake of the recipient and not because they are enhancing their religious CV. Which is exactly what we Christians are supposed to be doing! And in my humble opinion, their genuinely good deeds will secure their places in Heaven anyway. My God champions good and equality.
But if there is no Heaven, then logically there is no Hell either. Which leaves nothing.
Just a lifetime of choices to look back on. And whether there is or isn’t a Heaven, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by choosing to be kind to one another.
Because the one thing we do know is that we have this world to live in. And a little kindness goes a long way.
And maybe, just maybe, the path to Heaven is paved with good intentions.