Does Jesus really love you? It’s a question you may or may not have considered.
But Jeff Chu felt he had to. Because he was Christian and gay, he wasn’t sure of the answer.
So he took a spiritual pilgrimage to hear from others in all brands of denominations, universities, families. He compiled the stories in Does Jesus Really Love Me: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.
If you haven’t already listened to the stories of your own gay friends or family members, this book can encourage you to keep conversations open and loving.
It is not a book about theology (although it includes some). Chu doesn’t try to prove or disprove anybody’s biblical beliefs. Each is responsible for interpreting the scriptures on homosexuality for themselves.
But it is a book about hearing.
Because regardless of our positions, most of us have room to grow in becoming better listeners. And until we’re more willing to fully hear each other, our love won’t likely improve.
And when we fail to love, we perpetuate the doubt that maybe Jesus couldn’t love either.
Whether you agree or not, at least hear these words from the chapter with Chu’s interview with Justin Lee, founder of GCN and author of Torn, on his concern that the church itself can turn people off Christianity (not a new concept, granted, but still listen):
“A lot of people assume that the primary reason I do this is because I want to see gay people more accepted in society,” [Justin] says. “But I’d say my primary motivation [for the ministry of GCN] is that, if the church doesn’t get this right, it’s not going to stop gay people from being accepted in society. What it’s really going to do is turn people off Christianity.” It’s not just gay people like Dave and Shane, but also moms and siblings and friends.
“If the church doesn’t learn how to be loving to gay people soon, the damage will have been done. We’ll see a generation of young people who want nothing to do with the church. And that would be a great tragedy.”
We each have to pray and study what “how to be loving” looks like in our lives.
And then let Jesus work it out through us.
MORE VOICES FROM THE BOOK:
“I want to believe we can have this conversation in a spirit of grace that doesn’t hurt people on either side. It’s just really hard to do.”
– Rebekah Eklund, former denominational executive board member
“We owe each other a dialogue and a discussion.”
– Dale Kuehne, New Hampshire minister and professor
“What kind of a church do we need to be where it’s actually possible and desirable to come into a community to process these issues together?” he asks. “Quite frankly, right now, the church is perceived as the last place you’d want to go.”
– Howard Burgoyne, East Coast Conference superintendent of Covenant churches
“We’re having conversations that the broader church is having—hard conversations that can break up churches—but it’s the ethos that is different. We’re not in pursuit of people. We’re in pursuit of God, and through that pursuit, people like us end up coming.”
– Joey Torres
“So does Jesus really love me? It depends on whom you ask. If you ask me, I would say that He does, but after my year of pilgrimage, I understand that love differently . . . . It has taken me this far to reach a beginning, not an end, of a renewed faith in God—my God—who is bigger than I ever imagined possible. . . . My faith may be too small, my misunderstandings too great, but my God is a big God.”
– Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?
Yes, Jesus really does love you, Jeff Chu.
I thank him for his grace to love us all.
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- To hear voices, listen
- Memorizing Isaiah 55:6