I want to make it fairly clear that Jesus is my model for how I conduct myself and how I view the notion of what it means to be a Christian. I don’t see Jesus telling his disciples or the apostles or anyone to separate themselves from those that are different from themselves. I do not see any evidence to suggest that Jesus would shun those that would be willing to follow him and follow his teachings–be they Jew, Gentile, old, sick, male, female, child, adult, leper, tax collector, sinner, or saint… or anything else.
I do not see Jesus preaching a hatred for those that are “different” or “other”. I do not see Jesus setting a table of communion with a sign that reads, “Members Only” or “Reserved for White Christian Heterosexuals Only”.
What I do see is Jesus concerned about the well-being of all humanity– not some, not only select portions of the human population– but all of humanity. I see Jesus asking for the forgiveness of all humanity– even those that would crucify and persecute him and those that follow his teachings. I see Jesus preaching love and tolerance for all peoples. I see Jesus preaching openness and understanding. I see Jesus preaching for harmony among nations and peoples and unity and solidarity under God, the creator of all humanity. I see Jesus preaching love– not hate. I hear Jesus saying, “Welcome. Come. Follow me and I shall bring you rest and comfort and security from those that would harm you.”
I do not see a Jesus that would condemn a person for trying to be honest and sincere within their heart. I see a Jesus that desires us to be whole inside and out. I see a Jesus that wants us to come before God as whole people– loving, compassionate, happy, giving, sharing, full of the Holy Spirit. I do not see a Jesus that would turn someone away or being lesbian or transgender or gay or bisexual or asexual.
I see Jesus warning us against hypocrites who would use his teaching falsely to inflict hurt and harm on others. I see Jesus warning against those who are self-righteous and use religion as a prop to attain power and to oppress others. I see Jesus warning against oppression and discrimination and divisiveness based on fear and false witness.
I believe we all have a lot to learn about what Jesus means when he sets as commandment to love thy neighbor and love others as we would want to be loved.