Just this last week I had two different people say to me that they found the community around my me and my work very affirming, loving, and gentle with each other.
UNTIL someone shows up who feels they have the truth of God and pronounces judgement on them.
"It's not me judging you, it's the truth!"
"It's not me judging you, it's the Bible!"
"It's not me judging you, it's God!"
... they say.
They immediately condemn the love and spoil the joy of the community.
I'm often reminded of the moving story of Barnabas' fact-finding trip to Antioch. There are rumors that the Spirit is there in the new community of Jesus-followers. He's sent to find out if it's true. It's reported that he when “saw the grace of God, he rejoiced” (Acts 11:23).
It's grace... it's love... it's acceptance... it's inclusion... it's authentic, supportive community... that convinced him it was all good.
It's NOT adherence to certain rules, regulations, and restrictions that make it true. It's not that a loving community is without these. But it isn't the glue that forms it.
So, I want to encourage these naysayers to look beneath their righteous consternations to what really matters.
And I don't want them to miss out, because it's beautiful.