I love The Simpsons. I love Rod and Todd singing a fantastic song, “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” I love the boys asking “WHERE?!” Hilarious every time.
Joy is not happiness. Happiness is a positive feeling based on good things that happen to you. Joy is the positive feeling that is always there, no matter what happens.
On the day I was last forced out of a job for complaining about the daily homophobic and sexualised harassment I faced from my colleagues, I was asked to lead prayers. My prayer was a prayer of thanksgiving to an awesome God.
When I was at university, I was part of the Christian Union. I remember one night when we talked about joy as an acronym.
Yourself after them.
These days, we are taught to focus on ourselves. Me Me Me. I have seen this manifest in Christianity in different ways. Women are encouraged to wallow in (often imagined) traumas and victimhood, and they are told to keep telling people how God is helping them. We see in mostly male Christians about how God has made them wealthy, successful and popular. In mainstream Christianity, God has been usurped, replaced by Me. God is now the power by which people become gods. It is a total perversion of the Gospel.
The Bible has always been used to back up narratives. Trump supporters in the USA talk about forgiveness and how a person can change without asking why Trump has never repented of his behaviours and he continues to behave in disgusting ways towards women and minorities and anyone else he feels negativity toward on any given day. Christians in the UK are told to accept any behaviour because God is love, and these behaviours range from church leaders who rape to okaying anyone’s choice of lifestyle or malicious behaviour such as gossip. Anything goes is not in accordance with the Bible. Okaying gossip and abuse and turning a blind eye flies in the face of the Bible and everything Jesus taught us. The Bible gives us clear boundaries for living.
Most UK people are very kind and generous people. We are a very giving nation. Intersectionality, post modernism, whatever you want to call the message that is given today, tells us to focus on ourselves, our pain, our struggles, micro aggressions and slights. We are told we have the right to demand people treat us as we want to be treated, and we have the right to be abusive to anyone who we believe disrespects us. American psychologists have said that this narcissistic focus on the self has contributed significantly to the rise in depression and anxiety in the West. The left wing social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks about this in many of his Youtube videos.
Jordan Peterson – a psychologist whose lectures can be found on Youtube – was asked about the pursuit of happiness as a goal. He said what makes people happy is having meaning in their life, therefore we should be pursuing a meaningful life and that will make us happy.
People wonder how I can be a Christian and be LGBT. After all, Christianity is full of homophobia. Yes it is. So is the rest of humanity but I do not stop being a person.
People ask how I can have traditional beliefs around marriage when I am LGBT. There is so much to say around this, about the Bible, Jesus and God’s relationship to humanity and the Church described in almost every Book in the Bible as being like a Groom to a Bride. In short, God makes me joyful. Being bi is an immutable characteristic, like having dark hair. It is not interesting, it is not something to build my life around and it does nothing to push my life forward and give my life meaning. I would have to be a pretty boring person to base my life around a sexual urge.
When LGBT people become aggressive towards me for being Christian and traditional and tell me I should drop my religion, I ask them where they were when I was seriously ill, I ask them where were they when I was attacked in the street, I ask them where they were when I was lied about and shunned yet again. They were nowhere to be seen. They can’t stand me. They certainly won’t be there for me in my hour of need. But God is there for me. All the time. God is there. So of course I am sticking with God.
In my recent posts, I have shown how divided LGBT people are and how malevolently some LGBT people behave towards others. The same is true in Christianity. However, away from Christian people, there is God. There is something more and beyond the people. This is what I hold to: God.
Sexual attraction does not enrich my life on a daily basis. God does. Most days I am not attracted to anyone. But I can pray, read my Bible, sing and praise God every day. I can listen to what God wants from me as well as ask God to help me in my life. My faith is an active, two way relationship. It is living and breathing. It is full of joy.
Being LGBT informs my life, but God is my life.
Jesus, Others, Yourself = JOY.