Unconditional Love

Pop-Up Sermon: Don’t Exploit the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Tragedy

Pulse Nightclub Victims

(Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

The proper response from the Church is to show the Orlando Pulse Nightclub victims, their families, friends and associates love as they confront tragedy. Yes, it’s always the right time to offer salvation but never the right time to spew condemnation, shame, guilt, and hate (all forms of venom). When one condemns another, he or she condemns himself or herself: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1). This isn’t the time for you to advance your anti-LGBTQ agendas; it’s the time for you to demonstrate to members of the LGBTQ community and those affected by the Orlando mass shooting how much God loves them.

We will never be effective in winning souls for Christ by coming from a place of hate, emerging from a toxic spirit of self-righteousness. As a minister of the Gospel of Grace, I have a righteous indignation toward those members of the clergy and professing Christians whom pervert the Gospel with their prejudices and hateful and violent rhetoric, making the propagating of the Gospel troubling and ineffective for many.

I have heard a preacher attempt to camouflage his attack on the LGBTQ people involved in the Orlando massacre. He posited that they were responsible for their own deaths because of how they were living and what they were doing. Hmm…was he in this nightclub too? How does he know what they were doing? Was he in the bedroom with these folks also? Hmm… To be fair (insert sarcasm), he did add, “We are to show them love.” Sorry, sir, those folks didn’t walk into that gay nightclub to be killed. How ignorant of you! For the record, on the night of the heinous mass shooting, heterosexual people were in attendance also.

Did those Christians at the Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina go to Bible Study to be murdered by Dylann Roof? Exactly. No. Victims in both tragedies went to enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness.

Pastor Bobby Wright of The Back to the Bible Holiness Church (sorry, the name of this church makes me chuckle for several reasons—but, I digress) in Buford, Georgia posted a sign outside of his church, stating, “God created man and woman. Satan made gays & transgender.” First, this epitomizes postmodern cooning. Umm…I thought Scripture teaches that God created everyone and everything (Genesis Chapter 1; Colossians 1:16-20). The blind leading the blind. Smh. Although people have already spray-painted the sign, it wouldn’t surprise me to see folks burn down the sign and the church. I, of course, don’t support such criminal acts. We must, however, understand how mean-spirited expressions can incite undesirable responses.

Regardless of a person’s race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation, Jesus has called us to love him or her: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). Do what pleases God: love people! Get your theology right; get your call right; get your witness right; get your message right. Love everyone. True love, God’s love, does no harm.

Again, don’t let your personal agendas cause you to be a useless witness for and follower of Christ. Love is what brings people to Jesus—not hate, condemnation, self-righteousness, shame, guilt, and sin-imputing: “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Let love and peace abound all over the world!

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Happy 33rd Birthday to Santresa L. Glass

Santresa L. Glass

Look at those cheekbones! Lol!

I want to take this opportunity to wish Santresa L. Glass, my best friend, a Happy 33rd Birthday!  I appreciate your friendship and love.  Each day, my understanding of the value of your friendship and love becomes clearer.  I am so proud of all the things you’ve accomplished.  At 33 years old, you are proving to get better with time.  Although some people believe that your posts on Facebook (including your pictures), your tweets, and Instagram pictures/posts are attempts to present yourself as being more than you really are, those individuals truly don’t know you.  If they really knew you, as I do, they would know that the glow they see is authentic happiness.  I may (notice the emphasis on “may”) tolerate people attacking me for a little while, but one thing I will not tolerate is any attacks on my best friend, Santresa L. Glass.  I don’t mind getting life without the possibility of parole for annihilating anyone who would try to attack and do you harm.  Believe that!

I’m truly proud of you for being so close to completing your doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership at Argosy University.  Although some are already trying to downplay and criticize you for obtaining your doctoral degree online, they are simply “toxic mushrooms” (I’m pretty sure you can appreciate that term).  I cannot wait to read your doctoral committee approved version of your dissertation!  Oh yeah, for the haters, Santresa is required to pen a dissertation.  It will not be long before I get to call you “Dr. Glass.”  Sounds great, right?

You are beautiful!  You always have been.  Time has only ameliorated your beauty.  You’re not pretending to be beautiful—you simply are!

No one can ever question your authenticity.  You have never been afraid to express who you truly are.  You embrace not only the great things about yourself but also your imperfections.  One of the things I love most about you is your authenticity.  When I’m talking to you, I always know that I’m talking to San and not some inauthentic persona you’ve created to please others.

On this day, take time to reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed to you.  He has a tremendous number of more blessings for you.  Enjoy YOUR day.  Have the best birthday ever.  Again, happy birthday!

Love you,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison