The False Polemic of Gay vs. Christian

Here we all are the day after the Supreme Court of the United States has declared critical elements of DOMA unconstitutional.  Praise the Lord in all her Wisdom, Grace and Love for the ray of light piercing the darkness.

Of course, as millions of Americans rejoice for their own or their neighbors’ step forward, there are others who are writhing and writing in distressed agony.  It is true that SOME Christians are horrified at the news of their neighbors’ increasing civil equality.  But it is not true that ALL Christians are upset by the court’s ruling.  In fact, there are millions of CHRISTIANS who not only support marriage equality but who fully affirm the lives and loves of queer folks like me. Also real and true is the fact that there are queer folks like me who ARE Christian.  Together, today, we rejoice.  Together, tomorrow, we will continue to work and pray for the light of God to illuminate the path forward

Now the media in all its stinky, self-serving, Mammon worshipping glory wants to keep us misinformed and stridently afraid of one another by shining a spotlight on the self-identified Christians who are freakin’ the hell out.   You don’t need me to point out who they are, you can easily see them on the nightly news, running amok in the blogosphere and likely a few lurking with boggle-eyed bible thumping in your Facebook news feed. I am not that kind of Christian. You likely are not either.

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 as examples of God’s radical hospitality today and every day.

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, recognizes “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)

We come from neighborhoods, towns, cities and states all over the country – yes, even Georgia.

And there are Christians who are leaning into this new day with grace and compassion even if they are uncomfortable yet faithfully open to discerning how the Spirit is moving us all closer to the beloved community.

What I invite you to do is to look around for the Christians in your life, in your news feed and in the world who are a lifting up voices of faithful joy this day and to then share that in what ever way you feel called – hopefully here so this will become a resource for others.   Let US be the voice of the people that the media willfully ignores.  Let US be the people’s microphone and magnify Love that might not sell ads but just might save a life.

And I ardently implore the media to work a little harder to fairly represent the full spectrum Christian voices in this ever evolving conversation.  It really is ok to publish more than fear and loathing, I promise.

Here are a few resources to get us started…

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 Councit 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 – 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 Gay Christian Network (GCN) is a nonprofit ministry supporting Christians worldwide who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

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.

 

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addition a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

  • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

    By the way, while we don’t want to become a community specifically for gays and lesbians, the Heights Church Houston community is very supportive of the LGBT community.

    http://heightschurchhouston.org/

  • http://www.facebook.com/MBWinkel Matthew B. Winkel

    Yay Reconciling Ministries Network!!! My church (St. Andrew UMC in Highlands Ranch, CO) has been one of the largest Reconciling congregations in the nation since Sunday, March 21, 2010. http://www.st-andrew-umc.com/who-we-are/a-reconciling-congregation

    Hoo boy. I’ve actually compiled a long list of resources — which I need to update — but here’s the link (it’s public, but frequest me if necessary):

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/matthew-equality-winkel/resources-for-those-who-dont-quite-get-it-yet-and-those-who-must-debate-them/10150873255220178

    And some (very few) highlights:

    http://biblethumpingliberal.com [Ron Goetz' blog -- he's a fundamentalist-turned-Reconciling United Methodist]

    _Two_Spirits_ (“… interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders.”) ~ http://twospirits.org

    AMA Webcast – Origins of Diversity of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity and How Discriminations Impact Health: http://media01.commpartners.com/AMA/sexual_identity_jan_2011/index.html

    Enjoy ‘n’ stuff.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Hi Kimberly –

    Spot on with this post. AND, I think the conversation is even bigger…

    There are increasing numbers of Christians in the pews of non-affirming denominations. These are our staunchest allies often with the largest scars. For them, there is a disconnect between their lived reality with gay family and friends and the conservative sexual ethic that says gay relationships are unholy. So just because someone is a member of an SBC congregation (for example), it’s important that we don’t paint them unfairly with an anti-gay brush.

    My hope is that, as those allies grow in number, they will provide an internal counterpoint to the conservative theologies that have wrought so much harm. We see this happening powerfully within Catholic perishes. These folks should be encouraged; we need to be careful not to discourage them by pigeon-holing them based on their chosen denomination.

    Thanks, as always, for your voice!
    Best
    Ford

  • daniel_t

    Thanks for reminding folks about the existence of LGBTIQ and ally Christians. We exists. And we blog. I have a friend who lives is Georgia and blogs at http://beescsandds.wordpress.com/. Though I live in Washington now, I’m from the South and [shameless self-promo] I’m currently in a series on “Queering the Christian Table” at http://didwell.wordpress.com/. So yeah, there are a lot of varying Christian responses to all the SCOTUS news this week.

    Peace,
    Daniel

  • jetteye

    The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta! Especially the congregation of All Saints’ Episcopal in Midtown. See especially our LGBT affinity group, GALAS: http://allsaintsatlanta.org/parish-life/affinity-groups/galas/

  • Amy L. Rose

    Affirming blog: ‘”Under the Rose” at subrosa09.wordpress.com (see in particular “My Big, Gay Sermon” and “New Wine at Cana”)

  • James Brehler

    Some
    of my family and friends were apprehensive (to say the least) when I
    became a “Christian Minister” because they didn’t know that you could be
    a Christian without being homophobic and judgmental. I place that on
    the media’s shoulders who only spend time and money on writing about the
    Christian right being opposed to what they view as the secular left.
    You are not wasting time with this post, Kimberly. Those who are in
    Christianity are well aware of the diversity, but it isn’t so obvious to
    those who are not a part of it (and saying that, those within
    Christianity often don’t recognize those with opposing views as
    “Christian”).

  • http://www.anglobaptist.org/ Tripp Hudgins

    There is this: http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/item/8629-the-struggle-is-real#.UcxJF8u9KK2
    Also, my current congregation, First Baptist Palo Alto is welcoming and affirming. Lastly, I have been performing same-sex weddings as if they were just any other wedding for 20 years. So, the diversity and Christian practice and Christian theology on this issue is, as you say, ignored by the media.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Thank you brother Tripp!

  • James Brehler
  • Martha Spong

    I’m currently serving a wonderful UCC church (as their Sabbatical Pastor), St. Paul’s UCC in Mechanicsburg, PA. This is a pretty conservative area, and I am bowled over by the leadership the members of St. Paul’s have shown both to the community and to other UCC churches in the area. LGBT people are not only welcomed, they are integral to the life of the church, holding leadership roles and playing a part in all aspects of worship and fellowship and service. As a pastor who is married to another woman, I am accepted and my family is welcomed and affirmed, by which I mean we are recognized as a real family. It is a good thing.
    I’ve written a lot about inclusivity and God’s love at my blog, Reflectionary (marthaspong.com/). Kim, thanks for this great explanation of the often unreported reality of Christian love and acceptance.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Thank YOU for sharing and for your ministry in the world!

  • Former Racinite Returning
  • MorganGuyton

    Forgive me if it’s inappropriate self-promotion, but I thought it might be beneficial to share this testimony of how a kid who was raised evangelical met the Jesus he knows today in a Bible study where he was the only straight person. Maybe it would be helpful to other evangelicals who come across this post or gay people who wonder where the hell we’re coming from. It was in that Bible study where I began my journey into the discovery that “God has chosen the despised ones and those who are not to bring to nothing the things that are” (1 Cor 1:28). https://morganguyton.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/surprised-by-mercy-my-train-wreck-conversion-story/

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Not at all inappropriate – stand up and be counted!


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