Saturday, February 16, 2013
What's Wrong with this World is the Idea that God Loves Everybody?
Westboro Baptist Church spokes-hater Steven Drain says "that mainline Christianity is chiefly to blame for legitimizing" same-sex marriage in part by "erroneously preaching that God loves everybody."
I think he might be right, except for the "erroneously" part. Christianity, like the Judaism from which it sprang, has had two streams. One stream says God is primarily holy or sovereign or some other such characteristic that separates God from humanity. God loves only the particular group that is likewise pure, whether said purity is moral, doctrinal, or simply by God's elective fiat.
The other stream says that God's primary characteristic is love. God loves everyone and exemplifies that love via the particularities of the Jewish and Christian peoples.
These two streams have been in conversation with one another and indeed have struggled against one another. I believe that Jesus took sides in this conflict and chose love. He didn't say the most important commandments in his tradition had anything to do with staying pure or believing the right things but simply loving God and loving one's neighbor.
If God expects me to love my neighbor, as The Christian Left reminds us, it means to love my homeless neighbor, my Muslim neighbor, my black neighbor, my gay neighbor, my immigrant neighbor, my Jewish neighbor, my Christian neighbor, my atheist neighbor, my disabled neighbor, and my addicted neighbor. If I am to love all these neighbors, surely God loves them more. And that makes all the difference in the world in how we treat each other.
WBC says we love our neighbors by telling them God hates them. I think we love our neighbors in part by telling them God loves them and by treating them as I would want to be treated myself.