Thursday, March 7, 2013

Whose Report Will You Believe

Whose Report Will You Believe?
By Rowland Jide Macaulay, 16th December 2011.
In light of recent events in Nigeria, surrounded by the Medias’ responses to the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill 2011, it was high gears for the newspapers, popular TV and Radio shows, not leaving out websites and bloggers.

In 2008 I wrote a sermon with the above title, Whose report would you believe? I want to share it relevance with what is happening in 2011.

I was implicated in many of the Nigerian newspapers, just like I was in 2008 and there were calls for my execution on many of the radio and TV programmes, public opinions were extremely judgmental and inhumane, my thoughts in all of this is, Whose Report will you believe, and what would Jesus do to a homo?

In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illness, 31 years later in 2004 the Nigerian Psychiatric Association made history by deleting homosexuality from its list of mental illness. It appears that the rest of society is delayed. And we have the evidence now if in 2011 members of the government can even consider to table an outrageous bill in the name of tradition, culture and religion.

There have been many debates and reports that claimed homosexuality is not of God and this comes with violence in our homes, nation and homophobic teaching of many religious leaders in Nigeria and all over the world.

For many Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex people and our families and heterosexual friends, these are times of torture and turmoil in a society that promotes homophobia through the thinking and utterances of very powerful and influential people.

Let us pray. Dearly Beloved, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Straight Children of God, we are the DIVA – because we are Divinely Inspired Victoriously anointed, we are placed under this burden of discrimination, because of the love of God and to the glory of Jesus who will deliver us from all those who persecute and spitefully abuse us. If you love Jesus Shout alleluia, If you love Jesus shout Amen

The background to the presentation of a report according to Numbers chapter 13, was as a result of an instruction to spy on the land of Canaan, to which God had promised the Israelites. Moses and Aaron sent men to spy out the land. They were not ordinary people, they were according to the bible, leading men, everyone a leader, they must have been leaders with experiences, perhaps highly educated, people whose report after 40 days of investigation would command respect.

The first 24 verses of Numbers chapter 13, gives us an insight in the workings and investigations these leaders carried out. It was hard work and tedious, they were spies and needed to investigate the land and ensure they come out alive, with all the information to occupy.

Moses instructions to the 12 leaders were clear and unambiguous.

• Spy the land, and see what the land is like
• Whether the people who live in it are strong or weak
• Whether they are few or many – census.
• Whether the land they live is good or bad
• Whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified
• Whether the land is rich or poor
• Whether there are trees in it or not
• also instructed them to; Be bold and bring some of the fruit of the land

Today I believe many of us are called like these leaders to spy the land, be the representative of Jesus by bringing the good news to many marginalized people, even while they serve in other denominations, in our neighbourhoods, many of whom know many other gay or lesbian people that need the inclusive love of Jesus.

Verses 25-26 say “at the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land and they came to Moses and Aaron and to the entire congregation…”

This was the time for the presentation of the report, by the notable and qualified leaders.

First the bible illustrated that they brought back word, Showed the people the fruit of the land – evidence of how great the land is. Then they informed Moses, Aaron and the people that the land flows with milk and honey, economic boom, comfort and prosperous ease. Excellent news, I am sure if I was there at that point I will be more than excited, I perhaps would have had my bags packed ready to move.

But there is a problem, there is another report, reports that meant, don’t get happy yet, don’t rejoice just yet, let us tell you the bad news. Has anyone come to you and say I have good news and bad news, which one do you want first?

This is the bad news, the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified, very large and well protected, besides they are descendants of Anak, a long standing enemy of the Israelites.

At this point you can imagine the chaos, the disappointment, but there is yet another report, verse 30 says, But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said let us go up at once and occupy it (the land), for we are able to overcome it.

You must understand that from the leaders, there are differing and conflicting reports about the land and whether or not it was suitable for acquisition. The same today on whether or not to include gays and lesbians in the church, there are many arguments on our suitability to be Christian or to be ordain for ministry or to be citizens of the world.

There were antagonistic people around, the bible says that those that spent forty days with Caleb on this special expedition, said to the people, we are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we. In other words, we are not up to the task, we cannot do it. Caleb and Joshua were in the minority giving a report of hope.

At this point the report was unfavorable, people were worried, and in addition to the bad report, the land also consumes its inhabitants, the people who live there are giants.

Whose report will you believe? Whose report will you believe? Oh Whose report will you believe? The report that says “We are able to overcome it” or that which concludes “we are not able because they are stronger than we?”

I want to invite you to come to Jesus with all the chaos, the disappointment, the lies that we cannot be children of God because we are gays and lesbians. I want to invite you to the place where all people are accepted and free to be children of God. And that is in the presence of Jesus, if you love Jesus say amen.

Let me remind you that we are able to overcome it, the rejection, the violence, the abuse, the assaults, the homophobic religious abuses, our bible is our guide, Roman 12:19 says “beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord”.

Today, many people claim to speak the mind of God but yet do not believe in the inclusive love and gospel of Jesus that includes all people, regardless of whether we are black or white, large or small, tall or short, heterosexuals or homosexuals.

The bible tells us clearly in John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that God gave God’s only son, so that everyone/whosoever who believes in Jesus may not perish but may have eternal life” I tell you again Jesus came to die for our sins and not our sexuality, the requirement here is whoever believes, not Anglicans, or Catholics, or Pentecostals, but whoever believes in Jesus. Jesus does not belong to any denomination, Jesus died for all people.

Galatians 3:26 “ For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, verse 3:28, there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for all are one in Christ Jesus.” May I also say that there is no longer heterosexual or homosexual for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

Romans 9:19-21, 25-26 nailed it for me, we need to read and apply our bible which brings us into favour and the love of God. Hear what the bible says “For who can resist God’s will? But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use… those who were not my people I will call my people and those who were not beloved I will call beloved, and in the very place where it is said to them, you are not my people there they shall be called children of the living God” even if that place is Nigeria, I tell you those who persecute us have no option but we need to let them know we are children of the living God, called Dearly Beloved.

A few more illustration that shows that the bible is inclusive of all people regardless of our sexual orientation,

The woman married to seven brothers, Matthew 22:29-30 “Jesus answered them, you are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” I want to tell you those that say we cannot be gay and Christians are wrong, those who said we are an abomination to God are wrong. Often they want us to deny God and our sexuality, they want to put our Jesus in a box.

Equally Jesus challenged the religious leader of his time after they failed to acknowledge the miracle of healing the man that was born blind, he was ostracized, and he was forced out of the church. The bible says in John 9:35 “Jesus heard that they had driven him out (that is the man Jesus healed) and when Jesus found him, he said do you believe in the son of man?... Verse 38 He said Lord I believe…verse 39 Jesus said I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see and those who do see may become blind. Some of the Pharisees (the religious leaders of the time of Jesus), near Jesus heard this and said to Jesus, surely we are not blind, are we? Jesus said to them if you were blind, you would not have sin, but now that you say, we see, your sins remains”. Don’t be surprise that we live in a time that many religious leaders and fellow Christians will claim that they see but yet are determined to reject lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and put us out of their churches.

Often we have relied on modern scientist to prove our cases, People say things about us and jump to human conclusions, but I want you to know that God is a good God who will not allow us to suffer and who continues to fight for us.

Finally brothers and sisters I charge your, whose report will you believe?

The report that condemns you and claim we are not children of God, or the scriptures that say we are dearly beloved children of the living God.

Whose report will you believe? Religious leaders who have used derogatory remarks to address gay and lesbian people or perhaps the book of 1 Peter 2:9 “…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light”.

Dearly beloved, Whose report will you believe?

The negative report of the Nigerian media that rejects, victimize and ostracize us or the report that includes us? 1 Peter 2:10 says “once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy”

Whose report will you believe? The report that keeps you in the closet of fear or the report according to the word of God in Roman 8:37-39 “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loved us, for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

In a BBC report, Dr Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary, University of London, said that he believed that the brain differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals were laid down early in foetal development. "As far as he was concerned there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned too there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay," Let us all believe in the report of the love of Jesus that includes everyone. God bless you all, Amen.