Once upon a time, a little girl learned about Jesus. He had a beard, just like her father, and the bluest of eyes. The Bible told her that he was a warm man – the kind who never met a stranger.
But the sermon always took a Southern Baptist turn for the worse when homosexuality was mentioned. What happens to those who are intimate with the same sex?
From the moment our eyes met, I felt exposed.
“I love your hair!”
Oh no. He’s gay. I’m a Christian. Somehow he’s going to find out what I was taught in church as a child. Keep it together, Lauren, you’re an adult now.
Somehow “thank you” escaped my lips. I smiled and allowed myself a nervous chuckle. My interview commenced soon after.
I got the job.
Flash forward to six months later. It is 2 a.m., and I am, quite literally, praying to God. My right arm is trapped beneath my son. He is snoring the peaceful sleep of a febrile child, which, of course, guarantees another sleepless night for Mom.
In six hours, an important three-hour meeting for work will begin. I will arrive on time, but to the wrong building. I will panic and unsuccessfully fight tears. More than 15 minutes tardy, I will walk into a small conference room with my head down in shame.
But a familiar face will greet me with fresh baked homemade cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip, my favorite. He will express his genuine concern for my well-being, and – in that moment of pure grace – he will begin to rewrite everything I ever learned about homosexuality in church.
I think all believers envision a transformative moment in their lives where the love of Christ reaches them in a time of desperate need, but what happens when the “Jesus with skin on” is gay?
I think we Christians get wrapped up in the details of others’ lives too much. After all, we can’t legislate morality no matter how hard we try. And, if we’re honest, none of us deserve the mercy that God lovingly offers.
But we are granted countless opportunities to forge relationships in this world with those who challenge us – to be vulnerable, to find common ground, and to trust that just maybe God knows what He’s doing.
And this weekend, after nearly three and a half years, my boss and I discussed faith for the very first time.
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