Soul Fiber: Love is God and God is Love

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” 1 John 4:7-10, The Message (MSG)

At a protest against an inclusive Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a group of extremely conservative clergy gathered to protest the amendment of this Act. It was an honor to be standing at the Capitol as a supportive voice. By the time I was interviewed I was furious (but cool with righteous indignation). I began my remarks by saying “One Black clergy person (when the phrase is used ‘we the Black Pastors’) is not speaking for all Black pastors. Further, the protesters’ ancestors used similar tactics to justify slavery, domestic violence (wives submit to your husbands), Jim Crow, etc. This is a civil right and not a theological issue, and God, contrary to what we heard today, is about love, light, and life.     As usual, I was the only Black clergy person there who spoke in support of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. That is not to brag by any stretch of the imagination. It is actually embarrassing, painful, and an affront to ally’s when members of the Black GLBTQ community accept the violence of living a lie and in the closet because they fear their own truth and God’s truth in creating them more than they affirm God’s love for them as God created them. In my not-so-humble opinion, to continue to believe that one is an abomination in need of deliverance from their sexual sins and gender identity is the real abomination. And to have Black clergy to join the chorus of opponents to equal rights as civil rights (the system is always able find one or two Black opponents) is most disturbing.      As I remind those willing to listen and hear, love is not about sex, sexuality, and with whom you have sex. Love is about intimacy and who are our Biblical examples (for those who want to make this a theological issue)?  David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth, and Jesus and John the Beloved. Intimacy is what God is asking of all of us – draw close to Me and I will draw close to you….     This is the bottom line message: If we are going to proof-text, i.e. lift scripture out of context to support our position, proof-text the affirming scriptures; particularly 1 John 4: 7-10 where we learn that ‘love is God and God is love.’

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: God is Preparing You for the Gift of an Answer

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hid-and-seek game we’re in…. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” Matthew 7:7-11 The Message

It is worth being more attentive to the Spirit of generosity in Holy Writ, most other inspirational work, and in life; a fact easy to overlook when we are tangled and tied up with our own issues; especially when they are dramatized. We also overlook the reality that God (by whatever name) is literally waiting for us to 1) be in relationship (spirituality) with God who is always, always yearning to be in relationship with us and 2) inviting us to ask for what you need (this is based on the promise “I [God] will supply all of your needs according to My riches in heaven”).

Heaven is not exclusively a place in the future eternity. It is a place in your being (the realm of God is within). Focusing on the bye-in-bye will cost you the here-and-now; that is to say, it will cost you today which is called the present – to be unwrapped with the gifts of gratitude and thanks-living.

You may be thinking “I’ve asked God for…and have not received it yet.” Are you certain God did not give you an answer? It may not be the answer you expected or wanted. Yet, God ALWAYS gives you what you need.

You may be bitter about the death of a loved-one, particularly the death of a child. You may say “I would never ask God to take my child; even if she or he was in unmanageable pain.”  Did it occur to you that your loved one asked God to “please take me out of this misery?” In many of the most devastating experiences, is God using (not causing) your pain to prepare you for the answer in the form of another gift?

For a minimum of ten years, I have prayed for training that would prepare me to hang out my shingle, so to speak. That prayer was answered just last week when I was gifted with 40 hours of Peer Support Specialty Certification training. My point?

Keep asking and be direct. Make your request a gift and in time expect God, the Gift Giver, to prepare you for the gift of an answer.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: When You Hear A Crowing Rooster

“Then he got nervous and swore “I don’t know the man! Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three time.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.” Matthew 26:74-75

When you hear a crowing rooster does it remind you of the time you’ve made a commitment or given your word? Does humanity have that sense of self-awareness where we immediately recognize where we’ve sidestepped our own desired to have integrity or are we teaching in our educational, family, and religious systems the reality that our word is important and can be trusted?

Surely, we have had Peter’s experience when we are so emotionally caught up in the moment that we sometimes miss the “who, what, when, were, why possibilities, probabilities, and unknowns. For example, a person may join a church based on their emotional experience as opposed to taking the time to determine, is this the place for me to belong? Is this the place that teaches me tools for better living or is this the place to become a cookie cutting believer?

We are grateful to be received and accepted as a new church start in the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ.  We were not expecting this recognition and almost immediately, I heard the rooster crow in my spirit. Thirty years ago, God called me to the ministry with three assignments based on the threefold conversation the resurrected Christ had with Peter in John 21. Three times the Christ asked Peter “Do you love ME?” This is the first year I wholehearted answered that call. And in all the excitement, joy, and thanksgiving I feel, I also feel some sadness and can related to Pater saying “Lord you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” Of course He knows everything. The lesson is “have you counted the cost associated with answering God’s call and your purpose (hopefully these two are synonymous).

On a lighter note, when I arrived for a week’s Peer Support Specialist Training, upon getting out of my car a rooster crowed and I thought “what an alarm clock.”

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Exchange Your Complaints for Compliments

Do all things without murmurings and disputing’s…Philippians 2:14

Minister Darrick D. McGhee writes in his FB meditation “It’s a wonderful day to be a child of God. Today, I have been commissioned to come and minister to you. My brother, my sister, here’s another short and direct devotional. While praying this morning, the Holy Spirit pressed this heavily within my spirit: Beloved stop complaining so much! By complaining, you are sending a message to God that you do not believe He can change whatever it is. If you know He can, why spend time griping and moaning about it? Could it be possible that the thing you are complaining about is not God’s will for you? Hmmmm! May God Bless you at Your point of need!

This is wonderful counsel in the light of so much gossip, backbiting, resentment, deception, bitterness, divorce, injustice, sickness, exclusivity and the like could very well be lodged in our humanity as a result of the nags, liars, and complainers.

We are doing what we know to do to reach out to those for whom there seems to be more complaints than compliments heaped upon. Some faith-based organizations are even disallowing AA Groups for fear that same gender saints will insist upon using “their” church. Not so when it is God’s church.

Space for Grace (SFG) invites you to another powerful learning opportunity on Thursday, October 23. The more we learn about one another, the more likely we will do as suggested by Minister McGhee.

The late Maya Angelou wrote: “Try to be the rainbow is someone’s cloud.” Minister McGhee reminds us that ‘when you complain, you are telling God, the Universe, and yourself that you do not believe…. At SFG we submit that “When you feel like complaining, practice exchanging your complaint for a compliment.”

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,

their families and, especially their children.