First Kings 19:12 (KJV): “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
A reader of the scriptures learns in the above verse of the still small voice in which God spoke to the prophet Elijah. As a child I remember wondering what that voice would sound like. Would it be an actual voice? Would I know it was God speaking to me? Would I hear it? Would it be a sign that I would see and then take as God’s voice?
The pastor of the church I attended with my parents during my childhood would often say that God had spoken to him about a passage of scripture, which he would then use as the basis for that day’s sermon. I grew up believing that God physically spoke to people in the present as I believed he had in the biblical past. I was an innocent then, a child who had yet to see how hateful people can be.
Stephen Sondheim said it beautifully with his lyric, “Careful the things you say, children will listen” from the song “Children Will Listen” from the fairytale musical “Into The Woods.” He’s not wrong. Children will listen, and they do. They believe. They trust. They don’t often question. But when children grow up, some of what they blindingly believed becomes glaringly untrue.
As an adult who questions everything, I find it annoying (I’m working on finding it entertaining) how God “speaks” to people nowadays.
Let’s talk specifically about the Benham brothers, David and Jason: twins who reside in North Carolina and are so anti-gay they’re basically pro-hate. They are just the latest in a line of Christians making ridiculous statements about how God sent the recent Hurricanes (Harvey and, specifically, Irma) in retaliation for equality: gay marriage, LGBTQ acceptance, trrans rights, gender identity.
David Benham: “So today, there’s a message from God for us.”
Jason Benham: (citing Psalms 104:4 [NIV]) “God, he makes the winds his messengers.”
So according to these two, the winds of the hurricanes are messengers sent from God. And God is using these winds to say that we—the people, the nation—need to repent for our egregious sin of finally moving in the direction of equality for ALL human beings.
If the Benham brothers’ message came from God, then I think God is a little shady. I mean, seriously… speaking to one person one way and another person another? Is he playing us against each other? Is he telling Rick Wiles, Kevin Swanson, the Benham brothers, or any local homophobe one thing while telling other people who fully accept LGBTQ humans something else? How are we supposed to know which voice is the actual voice of God? And who’s telling the truth? Is God a pot stirrer of “Mean Girls” proportions? Shady, indeed.
I think the voice is just that of the subconscious reminding one of what he believes, telling him want he wants to hear, reassuring him of his “rightness.” Those innermost beliefs then get spouted from the proverbial mountain top in the form of words declared without hesitation to be God’s own.
I question the mental stability of anyone who thinks Hurricane Harvey bore down on Houston because of its progressive attitude toward LGBTQ people or because of its former lesbian mayor. Case in point: Ann Coulter’s tweet (click the link). Sounds like her own hateful prejudice coming out to me. But then again, she’s a pot stirrer.
To believe that Hurricane Irma is yet another punishment for the Divided (er, United) States of America because I can legally get married is an absurd belief. One that unfortunately continues to restrict and limit too many in this country… and the world.
As much as I’ve questioned my own religious upbringing over the years, I’ve never really stopped to think about God saying hateful, nasty, negative things about LGBTQ people to one group and then turning around and telling another group that LGBTQ people are perfectly exactly the people we’re supposed to be. Born this way! I mean I am made in his image if I’m to believe the words of the Bible that so many take as truth and law. At least the verses that are picked and chosen to be believed… as truth and law.
The people who wish to blame all of the world’s disasters on LGBTQ people should take a second and look at themselves. Let me flip the tables. Maybe God sent the hurricanes to punish you for the vile way you treat LGBTQ people. Maybe the hurricanes are your punishment for dragging God’s name into your own hateful ideals of who deserves what. Maybe the hurricanes are actually that still small voice trying to speak to you “on the wind,” but your hatred is preventing you from hearing it.
Regardless, you’re wrong. Neither I nor any members of the LGBTQ community caused the devastation of Harvey or Irma. God is not punishing anyone. And how arrogant is it that anyone would claim to know God’s actions? Hurricanes happen. (Hello… global warming.) Gay is human. Love is love. Gay rights are human rights.
As for using passages from the Bible to get a point across, John 13:34 (KJV) says, “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
None of us needs that still small voice to tell us to love each other. But even if it did, I don’t know how many of us would hear it.