not just as you are but just as you should be

"Just As I Am" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Just As I Am” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I write books of cartoons, art and ideas HERE.

The story of Vicky Beeching is intriguing to me. She came out as gay. After struggling with this for over 20 years! She says, “I feel certain God loves me just the way I am”. Beautiful, right?

But I read a post on Facebook where someone said that she shouldn’t have given up. She was wrong to give up on God. She should’ve waited until God healed her of her same-sex attraction. And if he never did, then she should’ve just lived with it. “Just as I am”, in his opinion, was a grave theological error and a moral cop-out.

How many altar calls did I come forward for? I can’t even count! But every time the invitation was to come “just as I am”. I was accepted just as I was.

Soon afterward though it turned into “God loves you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you the way you are.” Oh! That’s a slight switch of message, isn’t it? It felt like false advertising.

Then, if I didn’t change the way I was, either God wasn’t hearing me, or I wasn’t being clear enough, or I was being tested.

The bottom line was that I had to be a certain way. Like the robots in my cartoon, it’s all bathed in love and grace talk, but the reality is that we are expected to conform to the standard. Out with diversity!

It really isn’t “just as I am” but “just as I should be”!

I made a poor robot.

Meet other people who make poor robots HERE!

Sophia was a lousy robot. Read about her HERE!


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7 Responses

  1. Tracey Cullers says:

    Just as I should be
    Looking like this
    Passionate at the snap of their fingers for their causes
    Having money to give without showing strain at the earning
    Then I might be ok to end a service in prayer

  2. Heather Stanley says:

    This made me think of a video that was played in church yesterday – Michael W Smith’s Never been unloved. It lists a done of things people have been, then says don’t worry because you’ve never been unloved. Ok, I get it – no matter what He loves us…. but it still seems like a list of things I shouldn’t be.

    That list includes:

    unapproachable (what if I’m an introvert)
    unbroken (huh?)
    uneasy/undecided (is doubt not allowed now?)
    unexceptional (why can’t I just be middle of the road me)
    unemotional (what is acceptable in terms of emotional?)

  3. “God loves you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”
    Yes, the message from “Just as I am” has changed a bit, but to me they have not yet crossed the line. For that, it would have to become:
    “God loves you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you different from us.”

    To say that one has no improvements to be made in their life implies a perfection that cannot be attributed to any human being I have ever met. The trick, of course, is defining the direction one must take to move towards that perfection. I certainly do not know. “Become just like us” is certainly a popular suggestion of the church, and it seems to continue to fill the pews.

    “Then, if I didn’t change the way I was, either God wasn’t hearing me, or I wasn’t being clear enough, or I was being tested.”
    Isn’t there another option, that God truly wants better for you? Again, I’m not saying what “better” means, and for the most part I am unwilling to trust the church (or any mortal) to define that for me. But I am far from perfect in any sense of the word, and if God can help me become a better me, then I am all for it.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    As I grow more comfortable holding ‘doubts’ in one hand, and ‘beliefs’ in the other hand, I find balance and humility, compassion and comfort, and I can worship God. However, this is more of an Eastern thought.

    Our churches in the US appear to not be very comfortable with a person maturing spiritually via the holding of balance. Rather, the US churches appear to gravitate towards ‘absolutes’ (either you are left holding or right holding).

    Some Western authors believe that holding opposites leads to “tension”… and agree that it can lead to “maturity”… but did you notice the use of the word “tension”? I am discovering that there is little tension in holding both gently – it allows me to navigate the high-wire of life’s experiences like a long pole in my hands. Can you imagine the fall – even from the least gust of wind – if I held only a pole with my right hand and extended it only to the right? My high-wire ‘act’ would be short and fatal rather quickly.

    Can you imagine holding to opposites?

    I think Jesus did just that…

    And so, Jesus had no problem with fellowshipping with Jews or Samaritans; or with receiving worship from a healed Samaritan leper or eating dinner with a Jewish Pharisee that invited Him. He had no problem speaking about His upcoming death and resurrection – yet prayed for the ‘cup’ to be taken from Him in the garden.

    Can you imagine a church endorsing meeting with gay believers and straight believers for the sake of fellowship? Can you imagine a church allowing a gay worship leader just an hour before holding a potluck dinner for all the parishioners? Can you imagine a church listening to the man that talks about his upcoming death from cancer, and also allow him to pray for the ‘cup’ to be taken away – ‘nevertheless, not as I wish, but as the Father wills’?

    If you can imagine these, then you can imagine how Jesus would live today… gently balancing opposites on the high-wire of life’s experiences.

    Thus, in my opinion, the US church institutions will become more and more irrelevant to the upcoming US generations – the US church institutions sadly continue to reflect the need for absolutes to a youthful culture that is searching for balance on the high-wire of their rapidly changing culture. They crave a gentle balance gained by the holding of opposites – not the one-sided weight of absolutes.

  5. Jeff P says:

    Are the robots allowed to change and become different once they pass through the sameness filter?
    What does Christian theology say about that? The theology seems to only talk about getting into heaven – not about what is possible to do once you get in there. Can we change “shape”? Can we sneak back out? Is there a back-door? I plan on sneaking both a shovel and wire-cutters in there…

  6. Cecilia Davidson says:

    Caryn, I’d like to argue that, practice-wise, I do hold opposites. Non-belief and appreciation of the sacred. Apparently to some this means I’m a hypocite e_e