Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God Made Them Gays And Lesbians

God Made Them Gays And Lesbians

© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay,

Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.

I have often thought of making a contribution to rewrite the stories of the bible and this is an opportunity to start. According to Genesis, the first book of Moses, written by a man, it is no wonder that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex people are not prominent figures, this is about to change with the advent of queer ministry.

The opening book also casted women in a different picture, today many countries and cultures globally treat women as subordinate. The developed and mature thinking of liberal theologians argued that Genesis was not only recorded in the ancient days it was recorded by a man. Which in many ways contributed to the exclusion of women and other sexual minority groups? Now we begin to ask queer questions, those questions we are not opportune to ask whilst in Bible school, seminaries etc, many people I know were expelled from theological training because they asked a queer question.

Then how are we to know the truth and how on earth are we going to be set free? The honesty in rewriting these theologies, we have to consider the absence of the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the interpretation of the opening book of the bible, Genesis. And also understand the reasons for exclusion of the correct interpretation, which has constituted a massive debate today.Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth..." there is a suggestion that there must have been a time before the very beginning of the formation of the earth. There must have been a gathering of the heavens, God and Holy Spirit, here we are told of the miraculous formation of the earth.

The separation of darkness and light, sky and waters, waters and dry land, vegetation in various kinds, swarms of living creatures, birds, living creatures of every kind. Read Genesis 1:1-25. Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" We must understand that in the 21st Century much analysis have been carried out scientifically and religiously to explain the origin of humans, whilst many like myself believe in the creation story, one must wonder why gays and lesbians are not included in the interpretation by popular Christian movements? "Let us make humankind in our image" suggest to me that there were more than one person present as I dont believe God would have spoken alone, there seem to be a matter for consideration in heaven.

The paradigm of two creation stories even made it more confusing, the first in Genesis 1, was clear when it says "God made them male and female"Feminist theologians have argued successfully that this signposted to equality of gender in creation, a second creation story recorded in Genesis 2, suggested that the man was made first and from the man the woman was made. The version created disparity in the ability to provide equality to the gender and also created a gap in understanding sexual orientation and identity. We are to understand and accept that women are second to men and therefore men are superior. How do we conclude on what the image of God is? Is God black, white, Asian, African, European, man, woman, homosexual, heterosexual etc?

The creation of the human race is the image of God, lets be queer about the interpretation, many conservative theologians have taken a narrow interpretation to marginalise other groups that neither fit or able to conform to their stereotypes. This is rather sad.The lack of explanation or the ability to be honest led in many ways to the narrow conclusion and the exclusion of women and sexual minorities in the early chapters of the bible.

In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association made a remarkable announcement to delete homosexuality from the list of mental illness, thankfully we are able to say the same step has followed in Nigeria, but 31 years later in 2004.It is believed that we are working in a credible direction to analyse human sexuality and reconcile with spirituality. Gays and Lesbians often harassed on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity are human enough to hold jobs, join the armed force, raise a family and contribute to societal responsibilities.

The bible say "let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" not over each other. This has been a problem between race, between men and women, between people with different sexual orientation who asserts dominion over those who are considered minorities. After spending just over a year in Nigeria where most of the race are black, there are divisive tribal wars in the country, there are dangerous disputes between Christians and Muslim, Northerners and Southerners.

This division also lend its nature to the gay community, where shamefully those who are marginalised by the wider society also found it fit to marginalise within a small group of people, for example, some gay men discriminate against other gay men who are considered too effeminate or passive.The sordid interpretation of the scriptures by fundamentals means that many gays and lesbians today are unable to reconcile sexuality with spirituality, they have been forced away from the relationship with the Creator.

A continuous deliberate act to permanently and mentally exclude gays and lesbians from inclusion in the creation story and the inclusive gospel and love of Jesus we seek to promote. Whilst studying the creation story, I understand as a gay man that we are present in creation, God made them gay and lesbian and since it is known of the biases of the early bible scholars, it is no surprise that the interpretation that excludes still carries on. If you are not gay or lesbian you can never understand, my message is for those who offer healing to gays and lesbians, to stop trying to heal gays or lesbians, rather the fundamentalist need their ignorance and spiritual blindness healed. My queer senses trigger in to action, when studying and studying the creation stories, there are many inaccuracies in the interpretation and offered explanations.

I am not stupid and I just cannot rest nor reconcile with foolishness. I believe many men and many women where created by God at creation and the ability to be heterosexual or homosexual was part of God gift to humanity.At this point we must understand that those who are heterosexuals or homosexuals will act accordingly. The argument "be fruitful and multiply" does not apply to the heterosexual standard with the ability to impregnate and conceive but also to the ability to get wealth, take care of each other and also this principle is often applied in the case of mergers, where two powerful organisations merge they become stronger in their output and resources. The bible strongly recommends partnership of two or more.

Genesis 2 elaborate more on the act of the naming of the creations of God by man (Adam), it must have been a tiring experience for Adam. To my knowledge and to date, probably with a variance of languages the names of the plants, birds and animals remained the same. The example I created in my analogy is this; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a lion what do you call it? Most people responded lion, I know it is different if the lion was a pet lion and you call her Margaret, she will still be recognised as a lion. Then the same question applied again; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a man what do you call him, most people responded man, but note that man all over the world are given names for the purpose of identification. Then in that case nothing has changed, lions will be lions anywhere in the world and man will be man too.My point is that there are humankinds all over the world and we are recognised as such, there are various cultural diversity but that does not negate the nature of our sexual orientation or identity.

In creation according to Genesis 1:27 says "So God created humankind in God's image in the image of God, God created them, male and female (homosexuals and heterosexuals) God created them" This verse suggest that the creations of God, namely humans present all over the world, were created by God in God's image, we believe that humankind are in God's image. History tells us in many part of the world where black people were discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, they were treated then as if they were less than human, now it is ironic that gays and lesbians are also being dealt similar blows because of sexual orientation and identity. If we agree that man is man then at creation God made all the race, all the sexual orientations, etc.

There is certainly one narrow understanding for the mainstream bible classes of traditional fundamentalist religious movement and there are many things we are not told, we are not even allowed to ask questions nor to express a deeper feeling to gain understanding of the diverse human sexuality ordained at creation. This is an incredible flaw in the interpretation of the conservative theologian. I believe in miracles, Yes I do, especially that of common sense, love and harmony. What miracle healer heals a blind person and asked them what is the colour of my shirt? The blind person who has been blind from birth suddenly says blue, doesn’t that ring an alarm of spiritual deception? Many gays and lesbians have been denied the right to grow in love and spirit. I believe in healing but we ought to be more vigilante not to allow wool to be pulled over our faces, we are done with the wheel chair and crotches flying business.

If you are as old as me you will remember, Steven Martin in an American drama called "A Leap Of Faith" which exposes the drama of false evangelical healing. The healing we need and pray is the healing of homophobia, poverty, lack of care, self hatred, NOT homosexuality, which is one of the gifts of God to humanity, which is to be embraced and celebrated.

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, is the Pastor of House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria; Ordained minister of the gospel ten years ago, he is gay, an author of many articles, anthologies, and two books. An MCC minister since 2005, he holds a law degree from Thames Valley University London and a Masters degree in theology, Currently a PhD Candidate of Theology at the United Bible University Nigeria.

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