Thank you for your concern for my soul.

Thank you for your concern for my soul.

Thank you for reaching out to me, exhorting me to “return to the gospel” and to “repent of my sins.”

Your fervent pleas, so heartfelt, only further me on my path.

I follow a Jesus who isn’t prepackaged. I follow a Jesus who offers the Word, instead of lines from a script.

I’m sad to report to you that your message to me reads very harshly. I’m pretty certain that it wasn’t meant that way. I’m pretty sure that you are motivated out of your idea of love. We have to gather in all the lost sheep, after all. We are taught this.

But your words remind me of the times that members of my family tried to shame me as well.

That is what this is.

It is the same as a parent yelling at a child, telling her loudly and firmly that she doing something wrong. They feel that she is doing something so wrong that it is essential to stop her right then and there, before she wrecks her life. They do this out of love, they think.

It is the same as a well-meaning aunt or brother calling the wrath of God down on this same child, for different reasons, for many years. These same people change wills to benefit themselves. These same people lie to get their way. These same people manipulate with other abusive weapons.

God and Jesus should never be used as weapons. They should never be used to abuse another person.

I offer you a new way of understanding God, and Jesus, and the world. I offer you a new way of interacting with them.

I invite you to try to see your words from the perspective of the non-believer. I invite you to see how throwing Bible verses at them does not lead them into the fold, but turns them away. It turns the bread of life into a stone, the same stones that were meant to stone the adulteress. Instead of feeding, your words condemn.

I invite you into an understanding of God as the source of love.

I invite you into this love.

God first spoke to me when I was twelve, standing in my back yard. God has spoken to me many times since, and everything He has told me that was going to happen has happened. I have wrestled with this knowledge, knowing that it is unusual.

Yet I stayed away from Christianity for a long time because of people exactly like you, who made me feel shame for who I am. I stayed away from Jesus because I couldn’t see him for the Christianists who stood in His way.

I invite you into a new relationship with Jesus, and God. I invite you to discover Jesus by serving Him, by finding Him where He is hiding in plain sight. I invite you to find Him in the soup kitchen, at the tornado site, in the mall. I invite you to find Him while you are teaching a foreigner how to read our language. I invite you to find Him while listening to the heartache of a stranger who has been excluded from church.

I invite you to discover the joy that comes from letting God work through you.

I invite you into a relationship with a Jesus who loves all, serves all, and died for all.

I invite you into a bigger love.

This path isn’t paved. This Way is narrow and hard to see. It is a beautiful journey.

I will pray for you, as I hope you will pray for me.

I wish you peace and blessings on your journey.