Ashley is an award-winning graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland's Department of Religious Studies.
Jesus came to us first in the form of a helpless infant in a dirty cattle stall; a most unlikely vesture for the Saviour of the World. If Christians believe He will come again, we cannot be sure what form he will take. After the resurrection, just three days since the disciples had seen him living, Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus (John 20:15). He must have looked much different from what she had known! We must see the face of Christ in all we meet for Jesus came and lived and died for not some of us, but all of us. God is full of surprises.
While browsing the internet I have come across an astounding number of FAQ's and articles posing questions like, "What would you do if a transgendered person came to your church for worship?" or "What would you do if a gay couple came to your church?" or even "What if they walked in with a child, would you have to say something??" all of these questions implying that simply having these qualities is negative and would disrupt the reverence of a service of worship.
While the fact that anyone would ask these questions in the first place is disturbing, many of the responses are even worse. One particular response stands out in my mind in which the pastor questioned replied, "As long as they are dressed tastefully then they are welcome." Yet another cited Paul's instructions on how to dress for church (1 Cor 11:2-16), a sliver of the Epistles very far removed from it's ancient time-bound context. Many say they must accept these different characters as they are because Jesus says we must love our neighbours, but they say so begrudgingly, as though being in the company of these- these human beings is a difficult task and distracts from worship.
Taking up thy cross is not meant to be easy, but how another person carries theirs is none of your concern.
This means that how a person, male or female or non-binary identifying, chooses to show up dressed for worship is not to concern you. Moreover, it should not be considered distracting or disruptive, no matter how flamboyant, as most churches are equipped with many different fixtures to facilitate meditation such as stained-glass, an altar set with an array of symbolic food and vessels, or shining empty crosses still echoing with the rejoicing of the resurrection.
Fashion aside, we must respect God's expertise in Creation.
God made each of us in His own image. He shines in the eyes of each and every person, He dances on the giggles of babbling toddlers, and He warms the embrace of those we love to hold. Whether or not God took seven days or seven billion years to create the world and everything in it is completely irrelevant- whichever way the world came into being, we are to be sure that God was at the helm and made us with intent. It has been proven fact that sexuality and gender identity are the result of biological wiring (note: not mis-wiring), designed expertly and intentionally by the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation. I think Lady Gaga said it right, He makes no mistakes. God made these beautiful, fearful, and wonderful people the way He intended and they all have a seat at the table no matter what they wear, how their family is arranged, or how they desire to express their love.
Why would those who call themselves Christians act as though the mere presence of a perfectly normal human being who is simply different from them be cause for alarm? Why would anyone even consider that a service might be disrupted or need to be altered because a transgendered person graced the sanctuary? A gay person? A homeless person? A poor person? A virgin mother with her husband and suckling baby?
There was no room at the inn in Bethlehem, but there is always room at the Lord's table.
Let's make an effort to love unconditionally and with unabashed abandon. Let down the guards society has taught us to build around our hearts and welcome strangers with love and compassion so that they are never strangers for long. Let us use our intellects, these beautiful minds God has blessed us with, to learn and to grow and to understand one another more fully and in doing so come to realize the fullness of God's Creation. Listen carefully. He speaks through us all.
© 2017 Ashley Ruby
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 03, 2017:
Under reincarnation we become what we hate in order to experience life from another viewpoint. Jesus: Condemn not, but if you do, you will be condemned in the same measure. Jesus/God never condemned anyone, He healed with Forgiveness.
Jack Jenn from Living in hope on planet earth. on November 02, 2017:
Firstly, we are told - love the sinner but not the sin.
In Australia we are waiting on the results of the vote as to whether to allow same sex couples to legally marry. Who would ever have thought it would come to this?
It is just further proof that man has turned away from God and His laws. For so many they don't care that it is an abomination to God, Leviticus 18: 22.
Even to the reasoning of some men and women - it doesn't cause me any harm and if that's what they want, then let it be. But that doesn't make it right to allow it as it isn't what God wants.
They say it has nothing to do with God, it is all about equality and fairness but in reality, equality and fairness has absolutely nothing to do with it, it is in fact, ONLY about what God has said about it.
And in truth, Australia is fast becoming a Godless country and the results of this vote will only serve to reinforce that.
In Australia the Cancer Council has a good ad on TV and to use an analogy of theirs, "You have one clear way of reducing your risk." This ad is deigned to convict any and all that if you continue or even begin smoking, this may be your lot.
It is exactly the same as with alcohol, (when taken to abusive levels) scripture is also clear in this, 1st. Corinthians 6: 9,10. There are many addicted to alcohol who would also hope to be saved - "you have one clear way of reducing your risk" and that is abstaining - totally.
And so it is with so many in this community, (gays) there are many who firmly believe in God and I'm sure that initially it wasn't their desire to be so afflicted and most would have struggled with it but the degraded values of society has allowed the militant to come forward to the point that they make these demands on the rest of us.
Yes you are correct that gender identity is the result of biological wiring, expertly designed by our creator but something has gone wrong somewhere along the line, most probably at our own hand. I find it hard to even believe that you with your credentials, would even think that God is to blame.
Well, "they also have one clear way of reducing their risk of losing salvation" and that is total abstention, full stop.
If you continue to sin knowing it is sin, then salvation is lost.
Why is it that God has been left out of this debate/vote? I haven't seen many even attempt to bring His view forward. It is clear to all that a man with a man, or a woman with a woman cannot produce a baby by their union - only by natural procreation can a man and a woman together produce a baby. Just because a child can be adopted by these couples does NOT in any way make it right in God's eyes, it is only the act of two men together or two women together that makes it wrong.
Consider Mark 9: 37, If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the lake of fire.
I feel very sad for those afflicted but everyone has a free choice regarding their personal salvation - in the end it will come down to how much you value and want salvation. No matter which way Australia votes it makes no difference to how the vote pans out, it only makes a difference in what those in that community do about it.
It may surprise some to know that the anti-Christ will ban marriage and have no desire for women, 1st. Timothy 4: 3 and Daniel 11: 37.
There is just 9 short years to the beginning of Tribulation where the anti-Christ will rise and we will recognise him by then, this is further evidence of the breaking down and conditioning of society by Satan, which is already happening and will become much worse as the day draws closer. How much further will society be degraded to the point where we become completely desensitised?
I believe there is much worse to come, not to mention war.
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 01, 2017:
Spirit is the Life, Mind is the Builder, and the Physical is the Result. In other words, spirit is the source of all life. The mind focuses that energy into creative (positive) or destructive (negative) avenues of expression. The impact of our choices will eventually find expression in the physical, affecting ourselves and our relationships with one another.
Reincarnation is a theory which explains why we are as we are. We choose, even make our material bodies for a purpose. The lessons to be learned may be many and varied, but it is Not punishment. We are here as life experiencing itself.
KingdomCome from those of the Ecclesia on October 29, 2017:
This is pure garbage.