Background: A few days ago, I wrote about the beginning of an important conversation in my life. It is all built around my call, my drive, my need, my passion to have a place of ministry that positively impacts and makes a difference in other people’s lives. That call, drive, need, and passion is informed by the heartbreaking statistics of young people choosing an unhealthy life or death…informed by the loneliness, disconnectedness, and “discountedness” that many closeted LGBTQ people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities attest to experiencing in the church and in her educational institutions…and is ultimately informed by the love of Christ and a deep abiding belief that we (the Body of Christ – the Church) can do better than condemning all LGBTQ people to hell. Much better.
The process of communicating on this topic in my particular context is a slow process, and intentionally so. It carries both negatives and positives. Yesterday’s post dealt with only some stressors and negatives of the conversation…today, I am addressing some motivators and positives.
It’s about God’s love. Hopefully, we can all agree on this one fact…that God loves everyone. No exceptions. It’s time that my faith family start sharing Christ’s love in the way that He always did…with everyone. Christ was particularly famous for loving on “sinners,” those whom the organized religion of the day considered as outcasts, unclean, and unholy. It was those people who Christ loved to spend time with. He hung out at their houses, he went to their parties, he attended their weddings. He wasn’t scared that their particular issue would rub off onto him, because he understood that his close relationship with his Father would keep him centered in those moments. He embraced the messiness of sharing the Father’s love; and somehow that didn’t discourage him, but it, in fact, motivated him to do more. It’s time that His Body decide to do the same.
It’s about people. This conversation is not about some abstract idea. It is about flesh and blood. Let’s move the conversation from “what if” to “what is.” It’s about the young person in your youth group at church who is silently and painfully dying inside. It’s about that college student who needs someone to walk with them as they navigate this most difficult time of their life. It’s about those single people in the church who everyone is always trying to get married off so that they can be a part of “God’s plan for marriage”…when, in fact, they know they can’t do that. It’s about people like me, who are doing everything in their power to make a mixed-orientation marriage thrive. It’s about people who have never been in church, who have walked away from the church, and even about those who hate the church. It’s about people…children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, and enemies. It’s about your son. It’s about your daughter. It’s about you.
It’s about truth. Not some silly pie in the sky “God-loves-you-and-has-a-wonderful-plan-for-your-life” kind of “truth.” But an honest, transparent, tenuous, and vulnerable truth about life and faith. An acknowledgement that life is messy…real messy. And so is faith. An honest confession that one’s life and faith are journeys which will enjoy a scarcity of long term non-negotiables. That no human alive or dead really has it all together or figured out. A celebration of the reality that we need each other, and that together we can discover the truth that we each individually need. It’s about the fact that we know that God does NOT hate fags. It’s about the fact that, just because you happen to be LGBTQ does not mean that you are a threat to any child. It’s about entering the conversation without any preconceived ideas about the other person. It’s about the church shutting it’s mouth and opening it’s ears…which will ultimately and unavoidably result in open hearts. That is the perfect greenhouse effect to bring about the saving of lives and hearts.
In some contexts and in some ways, this conversation will be like a party. I will meet people. I will encounter Him. And we’ll all get along just grand!
I’m ready for that!