Love Fest

Just this last week I had two different people say to me that they found the community around my me and my work very affirming, loving, and gentle with each other.

UNTIL someone shows up who feels they have the truth of God and pronounces judgement on them.

"It's not me judging you, it's the truth!"
"It's not me judging you, it's the Bible!"
"It's not me judging you, it's God!"

... they say.

"Love Fest" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward


They immediately condemn the love and spoil the joy of the community.

I'm often reminded of the moving story of Barnabas' fact-finding trip to Antioch. There are rumors that the Spirit is there in the new community of Jesus-followers. He's sent to find out if it's true. It's reported that he when “saw the grace of God, he rejoiced” (Acts 11:23).

It's grace... it's love... it's acceptance... it's inclusion... it's authentic, supportive community... that convinced him it was all good. 

It's NOT adherence to certain rules, regulations, and restrictions that make it true. It's not that a loving community is without these. But it isn't the glue that forms it.

So, I want to encourage these naysayers to look beneath their righteous consternations to what really matters.

It's love.

And I don't want them to miss out, because it's beautiful.

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RE: Love Fest – So true. I got away from organized religion back in the early 70s while I was in the Navy. I got tired of the Pastors ( Three churches in a row! ) dictating who I should or should not hang out with. We were military and we were one big family, friends with the other service member friends and their families. My last Pastor chastised me over three friendships. One was a widow who became a friend through one my squadron buddies. She and he attended a different church and I met her and her daughter at the friends house at a back yard cookout. He felt I shouldn’t be visiting her because we weren’t married and it didn’t look proper. The second was the fiancee of a Marine at a nearby USMC supply center. We’d all have plans to do something together and the gang would show up at her place to wait for him. The Pastor felt that, since she was engaged that I had no business going over to her place when he wasn’t there. There were usually 4 or 5 others there by the time I arrived. And, finally, I met a family from my area, the Northeast, at a revival and became friends. They lived 19 miles north of the town ( Albany, GA ) and I would hitchhike up to hang out with the family. Pastor thought it wasn’t right because their 16 year old daughter seemed to like me too much for his tastes. ( I was 21, but she fawned over ALL of the military guys and was fascinated by stories of their home towns. She had grown up in Schenectady, NY and moved to Americus, GA in second grade. ) Three consecutive pastors who saw evil intent everywhere and wanted to micromanage their parishioners lives. Yes, this has been long-winded and I apologize. But I still talk with God and thank him for all the good things he does for me, no matter how big or small.

Ray Drescher Jr.

Very Good David! It’s also helpful for us to know that “judgment” in original texts was equivalent to “getting back on track” or “setting aright” – and in the hands of a loving and sovereign God, judgment is a beautiful thing, not the hideous concept the church has misled us to believe.

Mike Owens

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