Holy Love: A Final Word

​I hope your reading of ‘Holy Love’ and these related posts has been helpful.  In the book, I include two additional writings: a word to LGBTQ+ people (“You  Are Loved”) and a word to those who disagree with me (”A Word to Non-Affirming Christians”).  I add the following remarks to what’s there, and use this post to bring this series to an end.

First, to LGBTQ+ people.  The past 5+ years have been a blessing to Jeannie and me, getting to know you, and seeing in you full humanity, genuine faith, and devoted discipleship.  No matter what others may say to you, or about you–never cease to know that you are God’s beloved children.  You do not need to change who you are or who you love.  All you have to do is what all the rest of us have to do: love God, love others, manifest the fruit of the Spirit, and grow in grace.  Thank you for showing us how deep and wide God’s love is.

Second, to non-affirming Christians.  The past 5+ years has confirmed that there is (and has always been) more diversity in Christianity about human sexuality than you are willing to admit.  I do not say this harshly, but only realistically.  I wish more of you would admit it too.  In the past 5+ years my belief concerning the inspiration and authority of Scripture has not diminished one bit, and I have discovered it is possible to be a “Bible believing Christian” and also an ally with LGBTQ+ people, affirming their civil rights and their full inclusion in the Church–with complete access to its sacraments, ministries, and ministries.  Thank you, non-affirming Christians, for pushing back on my becoming an ally; it is a gift even if you did not mean it to be so. Your rejections have caused me to explore beyond your borders and see a depth and breadth of God’s love I did not see for so long.

We are engaged in a great and unresolved debate in the world, the nation, and  the Church concerning LGBTQ+ people.  In the past 5+ years one verse has increasingly guided my thinking and living, “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).  The first three words have been my affirmation for 57 years, “Christ is all”—Jesus is Lord!  I say so now.

The second three words “and in all” have been God’s revelation into which I am now living, and doing so through friendships with LGBTQ+ people, the study of Scripture and extra-biblical material, and by participation in LGBTQ+ groups and related advocacy organizations.

The only way I know to end this series is as a witness, not a debater. I can only tell you what I have seen and heard: “Christ is all and in all.”  All means all.  All I can do is invite you to find this out for yourself, if you have not done so already.  And if you have discovered it, all I can ask you to be is a public witness to this reality, and an active ally with God’s beloved LGBTQ+ children– our siblings in the human family.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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