You know the saying, “Be careful what you pray for…”
As a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 21 years, I know well the popularity of church revivals and the priority that Evangelicals give towards seeing their brand of “revival” take place in America and across the world. In their minds, the world is bad, people desperately need to believe and become more like them, and God needs to be begged and appeased in order to show up and move among us. So, for a focused period of time, they pray harder, they commit more, they preach louder, and hope their increased efforts move the hands of God in their favor.
Yet, a simple look at the Scriptural narrative will put on display the sure reality that God always shows up in ways that the religious never expect and almost always detest. That’s because many can only see the Jesus of their own image, which is why, in reality, they always miss the real One. Therefore, requiring revival, after revival, after revival, because their needle contains the poison, not the cure—the Satan, not the Savior.
In fact, to the shear panic and hair-pulling dismay of many Christians, the very revival that many spend hours pleading with God to bring, is already here among us—surprise! But sadly, most are oblivious to it, believing God is in the wind, fire, and quaking of their right wing conservatism, not in the choked, whispered screams of those they mute, ignore, condemn, marginalize, demonize, and declare to be the enemy.
That’s why today is a time of reckoning like no other. The top is being revealed as the bottom, the least as the greatest, the first as the last, and the condemned as the anointed ones. For indeed, the religious that claim to know Jesus the most, are in fact, the ones that truly know Him the least.
Just ask the disciple Judas, as he learned that Jesus had found him out to be a sneaky conniving religious phony. How awkward was that moment? Judas’ eyes and soul filled with surprise and shame. So too will be the faces of many Evangelicals when they discover that their prayers for revival have been answered. However, to their terror and alarm, it’s the LGBTQ community that are, in fact, the glorious revival God is bringing to earth. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that will ensue among the religious.
For conservative Evangelicalism has long led the way in manifesting, perhaps, the greatest evil being wielded upon the planet—the spiritual justification of inequality, and all the brutal hell that comes with it. White supremacy, racism, sexism, nationalism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia, greed, self-righteousness, war, and violence are all weeds that find fertile soil and safe harbor among much of right wing Christianity.
Not for long.
For the very Grace that comforts the broken and authors sacred diversity and divine equality into every thread of God’s tapestry of creation, is the very same Grace that now renders heaping buckets of white hot coals upon the heads of the self-righteous, calling them to fierce repentance for their wicked conservative Evangelical ignorance and religious idolatry.
For nothing reveals the cosmic beauty, diversity, and complexity of God’s masterful penmanship like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing reveals the irreversible equality God has written into every fiber of all humanity like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing sounds the trumpets of God’s demand for the unconditional love, affirmation, and acceptance of all of Her creation like the reality of LGBTQ people
They are the revival God is bringing to earth.
They are the test God is bringing to Her Church.
They are the measure that reveals how far American Christianity has fallen.
For nothing reveals religious ignorance and bigotry like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing pulls back the curtain on self-righteousness like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing unveils right wing Christianity’s thirst for supremacy like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing detects the underlying hate, selfishness, and greed of many conservative Christians and the shallowness of their faith ideology like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing sends the religious screaming into the streets with protest and rebellion like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Yes, indeed, Jesus is bringing revival to the earth.
To be sure, thinking outside the echo chamber of right wing religious conservatism can be a daunting proposition whose risks seem too heavy to take and whose revelation too frightening to consider, but hear this, and hear it well…
Every time you wish that the rights and presence of LGBTQ people were erased from the earth, you are the evil Herod searching for the baby Jesus to murder Him and remove His threat to your power and privilege.
Every time you marginalize, distance, and discriminate against LGBTQ people, you are the callous Innkeeper whose lack of discernment and blatant spiritual emptiness could find no room for the presence of the Divine disguised as the misfit and the vulnerable.
Every time you deny the clear science of human sexuality that ever widens the spectrum of God’s creativity, complexity, and diversity, and label LGBTQ people as merely having a mental disorder, you are the ignorant cowardly family of Jesus who, when push came to shove, claimed He was crazy.
Every time you claim to be pro-life and yet emotionally, spiritually, socially, and politically abort the lives of LGBTQ people, you are the faithless hypocritical brothers of Jesus whose primary attraction to His cause was to use Him for their selfish agenda and purposes and ignore the rest of Him.
Every time you use Scripture to judge and demonize an LGBTQ person, you are the Pharisees who, out of a desire for religious power, control, and domination, vigorously searched the Scriptures to justify their bigotry, while completely missing the heart of Jesus.
Every time you deny your LGBTQ child your love and acceptance, you are Peter in the garden denying Jesus, willing to cut off the ear of anyone who reveals your inability to hear the Spirit.
Every time you harm, sabotage, demonize, or render an LGBTQ person to be a lesser human being, you are the soldiers who flogged Jesus, tearing His flesh beyond recognition.
Every time you declare an LGBTQ person to be deviant and outside the creative will of God, you are the apostle Peter, whose ignorance and limited revelation caused him to wrongly pen in Scripture that salvation was only for the Jews.
Every time you condemn an LGBTQ person as a sinning abomination destined for the flames of hell, you are crucifying the risen Jesus all over again.
Oh yes, God is bringing revival to the earth, your prayers have all been answered. But sadly, like many before you, you miss it, and would even condemn, beat, and kill it, because you only see Jesus as the image of yourself and your religious ideology.
Thankfully, God is spitting this idol worship out of His mouth and washing it from the earth, cleansing the cosmos of inequality and hate through Her revelation of Grace, with LGBTQ people the front winds of Her Spirit moving over the waters bringing new Life and Kingdom to all who would have ears to hear it and eyes to see it.
For LGBTQ people are the Emmanuel that assures us that God is still with us…
…that blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. That blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. That blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. That blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. That blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. That blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. That blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Indeed, LGBTQ people are the revival God is bringing to the earth, deal with it.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
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