yesterday i introduced a series in which we’ll explore conversations with churches and church leaders regarding their relationship and reputation within the LGBT community. but before we dive into it, we’re going to briefly touch on where i fall in the conversation.
where everybody falls in the conversation with the gay community seems to be a pretty popular discussion these days.
just yesterday, my feed and inbox were bombarded with multiple blogs posted within the past 24 hours on the topic of church and sexuality, LGBT equality and gay marriage.
sammy adebiyi wrote a fantastic article for prodigal magazine in which he outlined a tear-filled apology toward the gay community during a sermon on homosexuality.
evangelical blog superstar rachel held evans began her opening remarks on a conversation regarding sexuality yesterday, listing 8 ‘sex consultants’ to keep her accountable in the conversation
one of RHE’s accountabilibuddies is kimberly knight, who also wrote a patheos blog on being an ally with the LGBT community.
kimberly listed a number of helpful steps in becoming an LGBT ally in this post which i highly recommend to any person who has only dipped their toes in the deep waters of this conversation.
unfortunately, in the comments of that post, one (perhaps even well-intentioned!) person likened all gay people to murderers, rapists and embezzlers (
that’ll help create peaceful and productive dialogue).
this unsurprisingly turned their conversation sour.
the author’s response was a series of linked previously published posts, each introduced with the accusation,
‘You are not an ally if you believe…’
interestingly, neither rachel nor kimberly listed what i consider THE BEST resource in the conversation between the LGBT community and the church – one that not only has shaped my tone in ongoing conversations and relationships with gay and lesbian people in my life, but could quite simply have helped the tone of the conversation in the comments section of that blog.
you can get that resource here. and if you haven’t yet read it, you need to.
meanwhile, everybody wants to pick a side. are you an ally? an advocate? an activist? a bigot? a homophobe?
how can i label you?
it now seems pretty popular to take a firm position on one side or the other in the conversation with the LGBT community – and in order to know which side everybody else is on, a slew of questions ensue ::
• is your church gay affirming?
• would you vote for gay marriage?
• can gay people change?
• are gay people going to be in heaven?
• do you think those pesky 7 verses on homosexuality should be redefined?
• do you think gay people are born that way?
and on and on it goes.
it seems clear to me the polarizing, closed-ended ‘yes/no’ questions tend to come from folks on BOTH sides of the aisle who often desire nothing more than to understand who and what they’re up against.
it’s a cultural litmus test :: are you one of US, or are you one of THEM? which side of the battle are you on? this is, after all, a culture WAR… right? hmmmmm.
‘blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’
but how do we make peace with those with whom we disagree?
meanwhile, after some self-reflection and discovery over at his post, sammy declares to the gay community ::
I don’t know if we’ll ever agree on the the issue of homosexuality, but what I do know is Jesus loves you. I know that he loves you and I also know that I haven’t done a good job of showing you that and for that I’m so sorry.
RHE pointed out that as a speaker/author/blogger, she’s been warned by multiple well-intentioned people that if she doesn’t say ‘just the right thing’ and tow the party line when it comes to sexuality, she risks losing speaking engagements, book deals, readers and even friendships. she writes,
‘We have become a Church that judges one another by how we judge one another, and that makes me sad.’
so before we launch into what is wrong with the current reality of here – how our inability to dialogue prompted pastors to preach apologies to a percentage of the population previously pushed to the margins which was received with an outpouring of gratitude in spite of severe theological differences – perhaps it would do us good to ask ourselves this question along with sammy ::
is it possible to disagree with and STILL love people unconditionally?
is it possible that the position of a peacemaker is one that is not firmly planted on one side or the other, but is willing to make one’s own position and conviction (whether conservative or progressive in social, political or religious realms) SECONDARY to the larger issue of unconditional love?
<spolier alert :: jesus did>
what do you think?