June is Pride month, where around the country events take place to honor the LGBT community. It is an opportunity to celebrate their dignity and equality while bringing awareness to issues that they face daily.
How does “The Church” or Faith community measure up in how we love our LGBT friend?
Five years ago I had the honor of supporting one of my closest friends as the best man when she married her wife. There was a ton of support from Christians I spoke with but it also prompted plenty of pushback. I prayed and wrestled with this choice earnestly and in the end I have peace that love and Jesus won that day.
I am not writing this blog to defend my choice or to rewrite theology. I have been taking a course put together by The Center for Faith Sexuality and Gender and I feel very encouraged by the approach of Pastor Preston Sprinkle, I promise that is his real name. He says that as a church leader it is more important for me to know and lover real LGBT people and pour into their lives, than it is for me to know every verse in the Bible that mentions same sex relationships. Amen brother.
Do you know how many LGBT people had a connection to the church at some point in their lives? Can you guess how many of them have stories of being hurt, mistreated or outright abandoned by that same church? That’s rhetorical … my favorite viewpoint that Pastor Sprinkle offers is that it is not “the churches theology that needs to change, it’s their posture.”
I believe that we can walk hand in hand with people as they experience life, which includes sexual orientation. The church should be a safe and compassionate place for the LGBT community, not one of torment.
See even though my BFF lights the menorah it’s not our theology that has hurt her, but words from actual Christians that have made her feel like the church doesn’t want her there. I argue that not only do we want her, we need her there. She has loved me when I was most unlovable, and forgiven me at my most unforgivable. Called me out when I was wrong and humbled me in life’s greatest victories. She is a caring, compassionate friend and doting Aunt to my girls. She has shown me the kind of love the Bible says we should show each other.
I challenge fellow Christ followers to pray earnestly to have a heart that honors God and loves people, just like Jesus did.
Love you Bone!
The Deacon Speaks