Editor’s note: After coming out in the pages of O&AN in April last year, Azariah Southworth was fired from hosting a popular Christian music TV show. Now, Southworth travels the country sharing his faith as a Christian and how being a openly gay man hasn’t nullified his faith but rather caused it to blossom and strengthen his relationship with Christ.
by Azariah Southworth
Sensationalism. It’s the fuel to our media and news.
Without it, we’re not interested. The past few weeks, a Pastor out of Arizona has made national headlines. Why? Because Pastor Steven Anderson has stated in his sermons and interviews, President Obama should be murdered, along with gay and transgendered people. All this, of course, is found in the Bible according to Pastor Anderson. (See the video of Anderson’s remarks below.)
Pastor Anderson has stated this would not be classified as murder though, rather it is a penalty the President and gay people, like myself, deserve, and bring upon ourselves. As a gay man and a follower of Christ, I have a few problems with the vile this “Pastor” is spewing out.
So I would like to offer a piece of sensationalism like Pastor Steven Anderson has, but I don’t say it for the sake of sensationalism but rather rationalism. I say this in hopes we will better understand and walk in love. Here is my piece of sensationalism in hopes of rationalism, you might call it an invite.
Pastor Steven Anderson, I have gathered some stones, some are larger than others, but I would be honored to have you do the work of God and stone me as stated in Leviticus 20:13. It’s not murder so you’ll be fine in the eyes of God. My offer is not insincere.
However, before you do, I ask you take into consideration the Gospel of Grace. Remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus? Remember Mary Magdalene? Remember Saul who is more well known as the Apostle Paul? Consider the woman at the well, don’t forget Zacheus the greedy tax collector, and the woman with the issue of blood. All of these people received Grace when they didn’t deserve it and when everyone else denied it to them.
Now take yourself into consideration. All your screw ups and shortcomings. The Gospel of Grace is this… you are not good enough. You never will be good enough. However, there is one who is, and He says that he loves us as we are and not as we should be, because we’ll never be as we should be.
Although you believe God would rather have me dead, it is God who brought me back from the dead. You see, I once lived a life controlled by fear. Fear of myself, fear of hell, fear of acknowledging there was a God that was bigger than the box I put Him in. When I started to understand and experience the Love and Grace of God, it allowed me to breathe again. I was able to see God in the sunset again. I was able to experience hope again. I was able to love again.
Ephesians 2:8 says this, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
My invitation to you stands. But consider what I have shared with you.
Lastly, the difference between your God and mine, is my God is still speaking.
Contact Southworth at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit azariahspeaks.blogspot.com to view his blog.