The value of a Gay life
On Wed 22 Feb 2006, the Al-Askariya "Golden Mosque", one of the most holiest Shiite muslim sites was bombed. Several men dressed as police officers entered the mosque, tied up the guards there and set explosives resulting in the blast. The bombing has instigated nationwide protests in Iraq and several reported counterattacks on Sunni muslims. By 25 feb 2006, over 128 Sunni mosques had been attacked and three clerics killed. The Golden Mosque is the burial place of two of the 12 revered Shiite Imams, Imam Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 AD and his son, the 11th Imam Hasan al-Askari, who died in 874 A.D.The alleged perpetrators, twelve inmates were snatched from the main prison in Basra by gunmen. The "Christian" religion is not spared either in such response against degradation of their religion sites. . The first crusade was instigated by Pope Urban II in 1095 to recapture Jerusalem. Another six crusades followed with the Seventh Crusade led by St.Louis in 1248. Millions died, an typical example being the Battle of Askalon, on 8 Dec 1099. where 200,000 were slaughtered. The value of life seems very fragile in religion.
In the same light of religious reasons many thousands of Gays have been executed in Iran, and Nigeria, and many sentenced to long prison terms in Arab Countries. In USA, many are abused and some are killed because of their sexuality. Is life considered of great value in religion, let alone the life of a gay person? The Crusaders have seemingly reappeared in the modern day scene as the Christian Right. The Crusaders wore the symbol Jerusalem or Crusaders Cross in their garments just as the Christian Right justifies their action in the name of Christ. However, by the time of the crusades, the "Christian" church has only resemblances to the 1st century. The church remained closed to its roots during the persecutions from Nero (65-68 AD.) to Diocletian (303 AD.). However, the New Testament type of Christian Churches effectively only lasted 500 years after Christ death.
The Edict of Milan in 313 AD. by Emperor Constantine ended the persecutions. Christianity became a state religion and many passed from heathenism to Christianity by no other conversion than a mere change of name. Christianity became the "in" thing with a highly structured organization. In 533 AD John II was declared to be the 1st Pope in 533 AD by the Emperor Justinian. Instead of a loosely structured organization when we left the 1st century church described in the bible, whose allegiances is solely to the resurrected Christ, we now have a earthly ruler having much power. A public relations spin was put in place to associate John II with Apostle Peter to gain credibility not understanding that Jesus deliberately left without a successor but with a comforter, the Holy Spirit. Jesus had no children whom rulership can be passed onto. The disciples sought to be his left and right hand man, but Jesus declared all are equal under God's eyes. True Christianity values life, and equality, and has only one King, Jesus Christ. By the time of the crusades, it has become just like any religion without much regard to life, and even less regard to gay people.
The foundation of the church is not Peter but Peter's reply that Jesus is Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the head of the church and the foundation of Christianity. The reply was amazing. because it acknowledges Jesus in its rightful place. As long as we have this foundation of the resurrected Christ, the forces of evil cannot overcome it. The church back slide and fell when it made man however great to be its foundation stone for we are all fallen people. The church of Jesus Chirst was a place of acceptance of Gay people as early records of the church testifies. But by the time it fell, it has become just like any religion without much regard to life, and even less regard to gay people. The gates of Hades has seemingly prevailed. It took hundred of years to reform the church from this "conservative" and hardline position. It was a step by step move by God, from the Reformation started by Martin Luther in 1517 which attempted to refocus our salvation back to faith in Jesus Christ. In time many denominations were arose, some moving forward but some backwards. It is not that each group has a valid expression of faith based on the scriptures, it was that God was moving forward to cleanse His church to be founded on Christ and not man. Even many Conservative Churches who claim Christ as the foundation is 100 years behind that move of God, as many did not believe in the supernatural such as tongues despite their outward claim to abide by the bible. God is rebuilding His church and there is much pain in this process as seen in the debates within the Gay marriage.
The Crusaders bearing the symbol of the cross thought they were fighting for Christ. But in reality they were fighting for men and their own agenda. In Luke 22:49, the disciples wanted to defend Christ. It was not to recapture a "Christian" city or a land grabbing exercise of the crusades. It was literally protecting Christ who was challenged by soldiers from the religious authorities. And yet, Jesus forbids them from taking up arms. Instead of responding in kind, Jesus responded in love and valuing of human life. He healed the servant injured by His disciples. Jesus ultimate sacrifice was at the cross of calvary. But the cross is empty today for Christ rose again from the dead. Hence the cross represents death, death to self, to our own ways, man's ways. Each time we raise the banner of the cross, we are rightfully declaring that we are willing to die that others will be blessed and the love of God be known. We die in faith that Christ resurrection will exalt us again. Our modern Christian Right despite claiming to be biblically based, are no different from the crusaders. Throughout the States and in Europe, in state after state, the Christian Church who is in the vast majority is taking up "arms" against the very small gay minority. The battles are in the courts and legislation to limit the rights for gay people. "Let the people vote" they insisted knowing that the majority is on their side. Once the sword is raised, we move out of being in Christ. Our actions becomes self justified with human moralistic arguments. In the end much harm will result that will damage the church and the ministry.
The Christian symbol is not only unique, it is a religious insult much alike the cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet in a distasteful manner. Consider having the motto or banner of your religion, a tombstone, a hangman's noose, or a guillotine . This is exactly what the cross represents, a symbol of death and suffering. 'Christians' that have drawn swords which Christ forbid have made it into a religion of man. The cross became a symbol of death and suffering to muslims, gays, jews, and thousands others killed instead of presenting Jesus who died whose death brings them new life. There are very few Gay Christians and faith communities in Asia to the point that it almost does not numerically exist with just a handful of attendance at 'gay' churches in Asia. Gays have been so disappointed by the church and the many hurts and woundings that have been inflicted on them. But God values each life of a Gay person. He values your life and mine.
On a Friday night at a Gay bar in Tanjong Pagar Road, there were two hundred or more patrons with the bar fully crowded. At 11 pm the numbers would slowly dwindled as they adjourned to a disco establishment at the ground level. Their eyes look to and fro in search for a partner, in search for love. The Methodist Church nearby would have nothing to do with them as they are "sinners". But God's eyes also cruise the scene and look to and fro with heartbreak and longing to enter into their lives for every gay life values much to God that for any one of them, Jesus would have come to die for them.
God will keep His part of the deal to reveal himself to all mankind, from the biggest cities of the world, to the smallest tribes. Amongst the big cities for whom the gospel came first, amidst the frenzy of evangelism, lives the most unevangelized people groups. God will keep His promise because He values the lives of Gay people. They are precious to Him and He will not stop showing mercy and grace despite the antagonistic, self righteous attitude and criminal way they are treated by the rest of christianity. God sees where no one saw, God is there when no one knows. There is no one greater or like He in the heavens nor on earth for matchles is His majesty, grace and mercy. As we prepare the altar to worship God, we await His coming upon our community for we know He loves Gays for He has created them wonderfully as Gays.
O Lord God of Israel
O Lord God of Israel that