Witnesses of Hell
Two Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door, and being at a loose end I got chatting. There was a bonny woman in her thirties who did most of the talking, and a younger woman possibly learning the ropes. She could not come in that day, they wanted to get round all the houses in the area, to find leads worth pursuing. She asked me to consider Galatians 5:22-23 before they returned:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
A lovely verse. I told them I am Quaker, and agreed, yes, I had the Bible. I gave them a copy of Advices and Queries.
When she returned she was with an older woman, and this time they came in. They invited me to consider in my own Bible (in case I did not trust their translation) 1 Cor. 6 22-23:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
“And such were some of you,” said the older woman.
“I am transsexual,” I said. “Do you think that applies to me?”
I could not get an answer from her. It is not for her to judge, but for God alone. There are birth defects and genetic abnormalities and intersex conditions. What if I said I am a thief, and proud of it? Again, it is not for her to judge. I would be welcome at the Kingdom Hall, and they would address me by the name I chose. I said I worshipped at the Meeting House, so would not be able to come.
Perhaps I should have asked, why choose these verses? You do judge, really. But these are Christians whose Good News includes some very bad news: we are all sinners, and the Coming Wrath will get us unless we conform to their particular understanding of the Bible.
An Evangelical Christian deleted my comment from her blog when she looked at mine. I emailed and asked why. She did not want her children looking at my blog, she said.
I know we are all broken people, some more severely than others. And I know that the only One who can heal our brokenness is Jesus. He can take our messed up lives and turn them into His glory, our trash to treasure, beauty from ashes. And I know He loves you as much as He loves me.
So far, so winsome. Then she spoke about not judging, and then,
I think the Bible is very clear about sin, and sometimes people are offended by truth, because it speaks directly against their sin. We can take truth and learn and grow and be changed by it, or we can hear it and become offended. It’s a choice.
I don’t know, but I feel judged. I know that my transition is not a sin, and that the condemnation of homosexuality has caused deep anguish, whereas the relationships of consenting adults are no more sinful when homosexual than when heterosexual. I just do not know how to get that attractive and articulate evangelist to accept this. It does not help that probably both of us think ourselves more spiritually advanced than the other.
Why would I want to? Millions of people around the World would think I am going to Hell or Jahannam or whatever if they thought about it. Why should I care? I could say that my concern was for Other People, and indeed the sooner Evangelicals stop telling untruths about the world, the happier gay and trans children will be. But really it is for me. I am unnerved, a little, looking at someone who thinks that without her teaching I risk damnation, and my old feeling that my transsexuality is sinful still has echoes in me. I would not have been angry, otherwise, merely dismissive. I know my world view is more accurate, but facing such certainty and opposition I am affected by it.