The Wrongness of Being Right

By: Candace Chellew-Hodge

Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you?  It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain.  — Course in Miracles, Lesson 62:1-4

When I launched Whosoever, my online magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians back in 1996, I immediately came under attack. I received letters from total strangers telling me that I was going to hell, simply for having the temerity to believe that God created me as a lesbian — a woman created to love and live my life with another woman.

The attacks were cruel and withering. I was informed that I was “filthy,” “disgusting,” “an abomination to God,” and that I “deserved death.”

How did I react? I attacked right back. I came to the defense of God and the Bible with the same spirit and vigor in which I had been attacked. I spent years and years arguing online and in person with anyone who was spoiling for a fight. I was right and they were wrong, wrong, so very wrong.

As I write in my book, Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, fending off all those attacks over the years taught me a lot. I honed my pro-LGBT biblical arguments and bolstered my own beliefs that my way of thinking was the only right way. What I came to realize, in time, however was this — arguing and attacking is fruitless. It produces no new converts and only makes your enemies more determined to defeat you just to prove themselves right and you wrong.

It has taken me a long time to realize that every time I attacked in the way I had been attacked I was not calling upon God’s strength within me — that higher, divine self. Instead, I was drawing on my own weakness, defending my own ego that would rather die than be proven wrong.

I still fully believe that God created LGBT people just as they are and blesses them whenever they live into the truth of that identity for themselves. I just don’t feel the need to defend that position anymore. Anyone who condemns the love two people find between themselves has already shown that they are operating out of that weak ego and not Christ’s strength and love. Their arguments condemn themselves.

Which is not to say that people of faith and love should not be involved in civil and religious movements for full rights for any excluded group. Not arguing or attacking is not the same as not actively working for justice. We are simply called to act in love and not in attack. Love will win out over fear if we keep showing up in love and refuse to attack others or defend our position. Love is the only defense we need.

As I have moved out of the LGBT Christian arena into this new forum, I find that again, I am under attack. Now, however, I find more traditional Christians, including some from the LGBT community, criticizing my newfound direction.

“You’re quoting the Course in Miracles?” they say to me. “Really? That stuff is heretical. You’ll go to hell for believing in that.”

Same attack, different day. Only now, I have no defense. I have no need of one. For every attack that comes I will simply respond in love. I will bless anyone who comes to attack me. They need not agree with me. Evangelism was never really my goal, even when I was firmly in the Christian fold.

“Your goal is to find out who you are …” the Course reminds us, and this is every religion’s call, at its heart — a call to move out of our small, attacking ego and into the wholeness of our True Self, where Christ’s strength dwells. For some, traditional Christianity provides the way to achieve that goal, for others its Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism or secular Humanism. Pick your path — the one that resonates with you — because that’s the one that will lead you to your true, divine self.

The least we can do for one another is walk our own path in love and kindness and refrain from attacking others for how they seek the same goal.

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6 comments on “The Wrongness of Being Right

  1. RebelLady

    OK…a bit of honesty here. I’ll have to admit that after following Whosoever since not long after you started it, reading this blog was quite, umm…surprising to me (understatement!). It was surprising but it was also, for me, affirming and, I realize, quite courageous for you.

    Its really scary when you find yourself tightrope walking with no net, hoping your non-existent wings will catch you if you fall. You’re just out there, sometimes (most times) alone looking for the next step and the one after that. No rules, no book of “do this, don’t do that” to cover your butt.

    I can’t even remember when or where or how my ‘path’ started. But I can tell you there hasn’t been a net and I’ve looked and I haven’t found any wings lol. What I have learned is that forgiveness does more for me than it does for the one I’ve forgiven. Carrying unforgiveness, anger, bitterness only hurts me. If I take time to ‘sit with’ the offense, sometimes I can get to the ‘bottom’ of why I was offended and simply realize I need to work on that area of me. I can’t change them but I can change me.

    Your voice and voices like yours are needed as much or more now as they were in 1996. Remember, the woman who dictated “Course” (I love it, too!) did so under protest. She fought every inch of the way while dictating, refused to continue several times and quit but was compelled to continue. Its a gift to the world as are people like you and thousands of others. Keep walking, keep posting, keep forgiving. You’ll never know the next step until you’ve taken it.

    RL

  2. SimplyMe

    Illuminating, as always ^^ What I love about this blog is what I loved about Whosoever: it tackles LGBT issues, but it’s not solely about that; it also addresses the root of homophobia and all other social ills: fear.

    I do have one question: in Whosoever, you’ve mentioned Rick Warren’s A Purpose-Driven Life and how it carries a dangerous ideology. Why do you say this?

    1. cchellew

      Thanks for your comment. I am critical of Warren for the same reason I’m critical of people like Joel Osteen … they preach a happy, slappy kind of gospel. “God wants you to have lots of money and worldly success!” Bull puckey. God does want us to be happy, but if worldly wealth and things made for happiness, why was Jesus so poor? Was he not happy? He had no palace, no stadiums full of people cheering for his sermons. Jesus seemed very happy with very little in this world. The “prosperity gospel” preachers are simply in it for themselves. I know Warren says he doesn’t take a salary anymore and tithes 90% of his earnings, but if I made millions of dollars a year on book royalties, that would be easy, because even giving away 90% of his money, he’s still very wealthy. Their gospel is in opposition to Jesus’ message which was the blessedness of being poor … not in poverty, per se … but in a poor spirit that understands that the wealth of the world is not God’s will for our lives, but the wealth of God’s spirit within us that knows it is better to give than receive, better to forgive than be forgiven and better to die to this world that be so much a part of it that we think God must love us if we have lots of stuff and judge those who don’t have a lot of stuff as being not as faithful. It’s a dangerous theology because it pits poor against rich, “successful” against failures, etc. Jesus came to unite us, not divide us up into new categories. Hope that makes some sense!

  3. RebelLady

    I think my problem with these types of teachings is what they do to the people who read them but don’t experience what they’re told they can expect (God the ATM, God the parking lot attendant who finds parking spaces, etc). I can speak from experience: When we don’t get what we’ve been told we can expect from God, we never question God; we question ourselves. For instance, “I must not be worthy”, “There must be unconfessed sin in my life”, “There must be something wrong with me”, etc. I believe this is especially true for those of us in the LGBT community who have spent most (if not all) of our lives being told we are ‘abominations to God’. Over time, these types of thoughts destroy our sense of self-value and self-worth and leave us believing that what we’ve been told about ourselves must be true. So we ask God to change us and make us straight (so we’ll be worthy) and if that doesn’t happen, we get angry with God. Its very circular and never brings us to the point of realizing that it was God that created us to be who we are and that life simply is what it is…it isn’t personal or out to get you…it just is what it is.

    RL

    1. cchellew

      I think that’s the crux of it RL, and it’s why the prosperity gospel teachers get off scott free. There’s no questioning their theology or motives behind it when those ideas fail — because they always do. Instead, people see themselves as failures instead of rightly seeing that it was bad theology that failed them.

      This is my idea behind the spiritual apocalypse — instead of seeing ourselves as unworthy, we lift the veil of bad theology that has taught us to feel this way and discover the truth: WE ARE WORTHY! We always have been because we have never been separated from God! We have always been in union with God and any theology that teaches us that we are separate from God, or separated by God from “sin” or whatever, is a false theology. That theology has kept us in shame for too long. It’s time to lift the veil, to welcome the apocalypse, and be born anew as the worthy children of God we have always been and will always be.

      1. SimplyMe

        Yes, I’m sure those wolves in sheep’s clothing get off scot-free because hey, they must be doing SOMETHING right if God allows them such blessings! In all seriousness, though, isn’t there a verse in Timothy saying that money is the root of all evil, or something like that?

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