By: Connor Jay
I remember being so sure of my theology. I was 14, so of course it was perfect. How could it not be? When you’re 14 you know everything. I remember being certain of two things that continue to haunt me to this day: I was so confident that people who were gay were going to hell, and if they didn’t want to go to hell, they should just not be gay. It was just that simple. I was wrong.
I remember telling a friend in junior high that he was going to hell because he was gay. And that he disgusted God and therefore disgusted me. I don’t remember my exact words, but I remember how righteous I felt about it. I felt good about it. I was wrong.
What I now know, is that sometimes God needs to die. What I mean here is that sometimes the God we’re so certain of, the God we created in our own image, is keeping us from discovering another facet of God’s nature.
As Anne Lamott writes in Traveling Mercies, “The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty. It is madness. You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out he, or she, hates all the same people you do.”
The God I had created that hated members of the LGBTQ community needed to die. In the same way theologian Paul Tillich writes of a God above God, I believe that there is a God beyond God. There is more God than the God I know. Beyond my God as a 14 year old was a God who loves members of the LGBTQ community, and continues to remind me that they reveal more about love than I ever could.
I hope I continue to be less certain. I hope I continue to be less sure that I have it all figured out and am more open to the beauty in uncertainty. In C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan can be found peeling the scales off of Eustace, a boy who became a dragon because of his pride. The peeling hurts. Eustace had to let Aslan peel off his scales, in the same way I think some of our theology has to be peeled off at times. I think I became a dragon. Thankfully, though not without pain, some of my scales have been peeled off, and I’ve become a little more like a boy again. Less certain and more curious.
Author’s note: this piece was originally written back in 2016.
About the author
Connor is a seminary student at Martin Luther University College in Kitchener Waterloo and has been a part of Elevation’s community since November 2019 and on staff since September 2020.