by: Misty Irons
In the summer of 2000 I made my first trip to West Hollywood to go to a LGBT bookstore called A Different Light. (Those were the days before Amazon.) I was just starting to read coming-out stories and wanted to follow up on certain gay authors whom I found to be accessible. Barnes & Noble bookstore had a dismal gay and lesbian selection, so like a good cross-cultural missionary, I decided I would go out of my comfort zone to gain access to points of view different from what I was used to. I just wanted to understand.
by Misty Irons
Jesus said that loving your neighbor is the greatest commandment next to loving God. Even more, Jesus did it. He loved people without regard for his reputation, safety, popularity, or even his life. The rabbi who defended adulteresses and prostitutes. The holy man who touched lepers. The king who was abandoned to torture and a humiliating public death.
We speak of his suffering in reverent tones because that's how he atoned for our sins. That's the theological side of the story. But the human side of the story is that his sufferings came as a direct result of loving the despised and unwanted. The hatred, the persecution and the outrage were the result of Jesus healing a withered man's hand on the Sabbath and speaking up for a woman who wiped his feet with her hair (not to mention all the other scandals). So when Jesus commands us to love as he loved and also commands us to suffer as he suffered, he is describing two sides of the same coin. You cannot love the way he loved and not suffer the kinds of consequences he suffered.