The Church of the Nazarene was not the decider of its theology, the love of God was. And if this is true, God’s love extends to those who find themselves in the LGBTQIA+ community!
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” (Jn. 1:1)
The idea of the word becoming flesh is a tangible portion of the divine touching into our brokenness. But what we do not see in the word or of the word is hate. We only see love. What if we were to take the word becoming flesh as an articulation of the love that abounds to all people, even those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community?
God’s creation of humankind cannot be limited to only heterosexual people, but also to homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people, etc. God does not have anyone telling him who to create and who not to create. There is no limit in God’s creation of humans.
God does not despise or condemn humans to eternal damnation because of their sexual orientation. So many religious groups condemn and want hell for all who are not heterosexual.
I believe they come to such archaic conclusions based on twisted and erroneous interpretations of the Bible, the Qur’an, or other religious texts. Much ink has been wasted by those who misinterpret what the scriptural texts were meant to say.
Many even dare to place words in God’s mouth and scream, “God hates homosexuals! God condemns them to the fires of hell!” Really? Has anyone gone to hell and done a census of how many gay people are there? Of course not.
What kind of monster-god would create a lesbian and then damn her from love? I suspect homophobia gives rise to such words of condemnation, as people place words in God’s mouth to justify their personal issues. How many of these pastors and lay people have unresolved sexual orientation issues themselves? How many are homophobic to hide their own struggles?
Contrary to what these false pastors preach, God reveals himself in and through each member of the LGBTQ+ community. God reveals himself to the world through the poor and the marginalized. The LGBTQ+ family is not at the margin of salvation, but at the center of it.
Jesus was born, lived, and died poor. And the message of God’s love is specially for the poor and marginalized. The marginalized do not fit into the mold society wants, but they are the privileged who receive the Word of God and are invited to follow.
The marginalized are all those whom society hates or undervalues: women, minorities, the poor, the homeless, the undocumented immigrants, the mentally ill, the incarcerated, the old, the sick, and the members of the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community are hated because they exist and for who they are. For this precise reason, God takes them, elevates their dignity, and chooses them as the new group of people through which he makes himself present.
For theology to make sense to modern day society, it must be incarnated. Theology must be done in light of our current struggles and challenges. It must be reinterpreted according to current cultural needs and challenges. Theology is done in the streets and ghettos, with the marginalized and in the workplace—in every place God is present and in every experience.
Theology is dynamic. Those who practice this art will collect, reflect, pray, and write about how they perceive God through the lens of life struggles, challenges, dreams, hopes, frustrations, and suffering. The theology of first century Palestine—as profound and beautiful as it is—must be re-analyzed and read with the lens of the 21st century.
The same truth received in past centuries now encounters 21st century thought. And, more specifically, it encounters the LGBTQ+ community. Theology today must take the LGBTQ+ community and its concerns as a primary source, seeing through the eyes, minds, and hearts of each its members.
To use the Latin, the LGBTQ+ community is a new locus theologicus. This specific group is one through which God chooses to be present in the world. LGBTQ+ members use their stories and life journeys as the lens through which they understand God. God walks with them, not away from them.
God sides with victims and those who are discriminated against. God does not side with the perpetrators of evil, with those who condemn and send to hell his children because of who they are. God is also victimized whenever an LGBTQ+ person is forced to run into a closet and hide. God feels their fears, he knows their suffering. God understands the rejection by their families, churches, and society. In them, God is also rejected. God suffers whenever an LGBTQ+ member is shouted at, hit, persecuted, and killed.
Opponents of LGBTQ+ people commit great sin when they destroy God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans children. Jesus taught us to love God AND to love our neighbors as ourselves. We cannot love God and hate others, whoever they may be. When “Christian” attack, hurt, and wound the LGBTQ+ community, they are not loving the neighbors as Jesus taught. I believe the Holy Spirit inspires a growing number of more men and women to speak loudly in love for the LGBTQ+ community. And the Holy Spirit cannot be muted.
History has taught us, over and over, the consequences of taking God out the picture: the crusades, the inquisition, the conquering and destruction of millions in the Americas by foreign lands, slavery, systemic murder of the African-American community, concentration camps, war, sexual abuse against minors, etc. In all these cases God’s agenda has been switched for the groups’ agenda. Now the LGBTQ+ community is the focus of hate.
LGBTQ+ people today shout for love and respect. Their cries for liberation have the Holy Spirit at the center. The Spirit is also active in everyone who risks life to uphold the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community. In the minds, bodies, and souls of LGBTQ+ people, Jesus is once again hated, rejected, condemned, and put to death. In every homophobic shout, punch, kicking, thrown of roofs, shooting, beheading, etc., Jesus suffers.
We who are part of the LGBTQ+ community pay a price. Many of us are thought of as sinners, mentally ill, unstable, perverts, pedophiles, etc. Some of us have been murdered. Our families and communities hate who we are: effeminate, flamboyant, queer, daring, provocative, extravagant, etc. Yet, through these characteristics we live out our gifts from God.
Many of us have tried to live according to the norms of religion and society. By doing so, we only hurt ourselves. We try to act like someone we weren’t. Inside us, a voice screams, wanting to be heard and eager to come out.
But just as God does not conform to the norms established by humanity, we must not stop on our journey to self-realization and fulfillment as LGBTQ+ individuals. God does not want us to be like the rest; he wants us to be ourselves, just as he made us.
I believe God is with us who are LGBTQ+. And God is for us.
Brian Meyers is currently a Behavioral Health chaplain at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA. He finished his master’s degree in Christian Ministry from PLNU in the summer of 2023. Brian has years of experience working in non-denominational and denominational church settings, as well as years of working alongside the LGBTQ+ movement as an ally and participating in many events in and around San Diego.