Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Be the change you wish to see

My denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will gather this August for our biannual Churchwide Assembly, taking place right here in my hometown. At this Assembly, the voting members will decide whether or not to adopt a recently-completed Social Statement on issues of sexuality. They will also be called upon to decide about some resolutions around the place of GLBT folks in the Body of Christ, with regard to ordination and blessing of same-gender relationships. I posted an analysis here when all were revealed in February.

I'm hopeful that there will be real and open conversation, as opposed to frustration, fear and finger-pointing. We're off to a pretty good start, from what I'm hearing.

To that end, Beloved and I have been part of a project that aims to tell the stories of people directly affected by these issues within our church. The participants here don't intend to argue scripture or doctrine, nor to label those on the other side of the "fence." Instead, we simply tell our stories as loving, Christ-following people who are geared toward same-gender relationships, or as pastors and family members of GLBT folks.

We're not scary. We're not Extra-Sinful. We're not hedonists, any more than our straight brothers and sisters can be so called en masse. And we're already part of the the Body of Christ. As one couple in the book describes it,

Both John and I attend these debate forums they have at synod assemblies.
We listen to some people talk using terminology such as
‘the gay lifestyle’ and ‘those gays’ and ‘them’
without knowing we’re sitting in the room right with them.
They talk like they’re authorities
when they have no clue about our lives or our relationships.
We work our butts off, take care of our family,
go to church, knit,
and fall asleep before the ten o’clock news is on.
That’s the gay lifestyle.

That made me laugh, because it's so representative of my life, too--well, except for the knitting part.

Read our story here (#9). Share it with anyone in your life who might be helped by hearing it, or any of the others in the book. If you are able and so inclined, provide a little bit of financial support to the committee that put it together.

Most importantly, invite a conversation with someone who sees these issues through a different lens than yours, whether or not either or both of you are churchgoers. Be open. Be respectful. Cultivate trust and understanding instead of hollering and name-calling.

Let's unbolt the doors we've slammed in one another's faces.


Songbird said...

What a good thing you are doing; I hope the conversation will truly be an open one.

daharja said...

Whatever happened to not judging one another?

I think it is true that sometimes the hardest thing of all is to love one another, regardless of our differences.

Thanks for this post.