I am still reeling from the fact that there are so-called Christians here in my new homeland who are preaching the false gospel that if you are Christian, you cannot be gay and if you are gay, you are not a Christian.
In fact, I was sick to my stomach, outraged on so many levels when I read this statement, from one of the signers (with the help of Google Translate)
“It all started with the woman’s self-determination, he says. The revolution goes through the acceptance of homosexuality and transgender people, into a world where masculinity and femininity are denied as such.”
Oh, but wait, there’s more, so much more…I’ll hold your hair while you puke.
“Nunn prefers to call homosexuality broken than sin. And you should not link that brokenness to your ‘core identity’, says Nunn. It lies in what God says about you in the Bible. He compares homosexual Christians with Christians who have a heart defect or suffer from dementia. ‘Does that make you a demented Christian? No, you are a beloved child of God struggling with the brokenness of dementia.”
I mean, I am used to hearing this from the power hunger, fear peddling theocrats of American evangelicalism, but have been utterly astonished by my own ignorance in believing it did not exist here.
I honestly thought I had landed on the golden shores of progressive reason and quiet faith. But seeing the pervasiveness of conservative theology, it is no wonder that so many people here have rejected religion all together.
What is even more surprising to me recently is the flickering of a little pride in my own theological heritage where the existence of diverse theological frameworks give us space to explore the many ways God is still speaking, even though the diversity is often painfully divisive.
Yes, millions of Americans believe that “protection of religious freedom” gives them the right to discriminate against LGBT citizens based on one interpretation of one subset of one religion’s understanding of a few words of scripture. Some folks actually believe deep in their hearts that God will punish them if they do anything at all that cold appear to approve of what they sincerely believe is punishable by an eternity of hell-fire suffering.
I feel really sad for all these people because they are genuinely afraid of God and that is contrary to everything I understand the Gospel of Jesus be about.
Jesus resoundly confronted the religious authorities of his day, shutting down any religious law that separated people from God’s love.
And the good news today is, there are millions of Christians who fully affirm the beautifully diverse lives and loves of queer folks like me.
Also, real and true is the fact that there are queer folks like me who ARE madly in love with Jesus, and even though the label is loaded, call ourselves Christian.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow, we work and pray for the light of God to illuminate a path forward in faith where we claim the truth that nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:31-39)
Side note: please remember that the media often wants to keep citizens misinformed and stridently afraid of one another. They do so by spotlighting the negative actions of a handful of people and ignoring the loving, affirming faith of many more Christians. Whether in America or The Netherlands, the media profits off of people by writing about people who hide their ignorance behind scripture. It is not nearly as profitable to write headlines like “Check out these Christians who love everyone, just like Jesus.”
What I want you to know and trust is that there are good people, loving people, cultural Christians or out-right Jesus freaks like me, who are living examples of God’s radical hospitality.
We come from neighbourhoods, towns, cities and regions all over The Netherlands and yes, even the deeply fractured America. In fact, it is the vociferously fractured religious landscape of America that may it a fertile land for flourishing faith that welcomes all.
We come in all shapes and sizes – individuals, prayer partners, Sunday School classes, campus ministries, congregations and whole denominations that affirm that each individual is a child of God, recognizing “that we are called to be like one body with many members, seeking with others of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to journey together toward the promised realm of God.” – (from the Open and Affirming statement of Old South Church, United Church of Christ, Boston, MA)
What I invite you to do is to look around for Christians in your life (or be the Christian in someone else’s life), who lift up voices of faithful affirmation of our LGBT sisters and brothers. Let US ALL be the hands and feet of Christ in a world weary under the weight of fear and loathing. Let US be the people’s microphone and magnify the Love of God that might not sell advertising, but just might save a life.
I also want to share a treasure trove of Christian resources that fully affirm, and work for the full inclusion of, LGBT people. Everyone is welcome to share your own LGBT affirming faith resources in the comments below.
Here are a few resources to get us started. Everyone is welcome to share your own LGBT affirming faith resources in the comments below.
Wijdekerk.nl “Wijdekerk Foundation is an initiative of a group of Christians, themselves LGBT + people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) or closely involved with LGBT + people. We believe that everyone should be able to be themselves in his or her church. We have combined our experiences and strengths and share them on this site.
We want to do this from the love of Jesus Christ. Together are Wijdekerk.”
Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists “Members of the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) are churches, organizations, and individuals who are willing to go on record as welcoming and affirming all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, and who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith.”
Believe Out Loud – is about helping churches live out this Christian principle by becoming fully inclusive of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Brethren/Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests– The mission of BMC is to cultivate an inclusive church and society and to care for the Mennonite and Brethren lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied community.
Catholic – DignityUSA works for respect and justice for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy and support.
Disciples of Christ – The Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance is a presence working for the full dignity and integrity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and affirming people within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Episcopalian – Integrity USA “Since 1974, Integrity has been a faithful witness of God’s inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. We are working for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments.”
Lutherans Concerned/North America “works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church and congregations. They provide a place of comfort and safety. They reach out and teach that Christ’s message, the Gospel, is for everyone equally. They call for the blessing of committed and covenanted same-gender relationships, and for the ordination of those called to minister.”
PC(USA) More Light Presbyterians – is a network of people seeking the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
United Church of Christ Open & Affirming (ONA) Program – ONA is “shorthand” for Open and Affirming, the designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the United Church of Christ which make public statements of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
That All May Freely Serve advocates for an inclusive church for all who are disenfranchised: A church that honors diversity and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons as full members. Full membership includes eligibility for ordination to the offices of elder, deacon, and Minister of Word and Sacrament.
The Institute for Welcoming Resources at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a networking hub for movement leaders and a source of downloadable toolkits and curriculum for your church.
[featured image by ActiveSteve – Creative Commons license. Use does not indicate artist endorsement]