The metaphor of Jesus as the gate of the sheep pen and the assertion that previous prophets and leaders are thieves and bandits of the sheep because they have not come through Christ to be saved is a challenging one. Whereas the promise of Jesus is “whoever enters by me is saved” is an open and permissive statement. However, the implication of being the only way is closed and oppressive for gay people as they are not fully accepted in most religions. So it be told you have to be different to be saved, and you cannot be different without giving up your inner most self to pretend to be different is deeply distressing for me as a gay man. And given so many other religions tend to say our way is the only true way, at least by the behaviour of many vocal followers and clerics, then this is a truly bleak picture for LGBT. For gay people the only surprise is that gay people follow any religion at all. None of my mystical experiences of Christ have had the message that Christ is the only way, more it is a specific way with certain guaranteed benefits that can be chosen but not to have to be chosen exclusively.
Also in healing I have had both Buddha and Christ energy together. I know this is both presumptuous, perhaps ridiculous and only too subjective, but it is the basis on which I have any belief in Christ. So if these two energies can coexist and support spiritual healing then this goes against the sentiments in this week’s Gospel.
As a gay man I cannot believe in much of the Bible, I find it difficult to take some, leave some, especially when so many believe in the things that the Bible refers to that hurt me and other outsiders. All in the Bible does not sit comfortably with the unconditional love and heart centred message that I believe comes from Christ, although generally I am comfortable and heartened by the Gospels. And I can see from my spiritual experience that Christ may be the gateway to being heart centred, but where does that leave the beautiful aspects of other religions that seem entirely consistent with much of Christianity?
So I like the idea that previous prophets in the Bible have got it wrong as I don’t like the message of pervious prophets. But does it mean that other religions have it completely wrong even where it is the same?
This is contentious story telling and the kind of religion that seems so against the purer message of unconditional love and forgiveness. But perhaps in my humble little brain I have missed something.