Hello all. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Last week I got sick—real sick. I was knocked out for 6 days and I’m still feeling some residual effects even today, 8 days after the initial kick in the pants. But enough of my bitterness…on to happier times.
Tonight The Marin Foundation is hosting our first Living in the Tension Community Gathering at 7pm. If you’re in Chicago, feel free to come on by to 5249 N. Ashland Ave! Here is a quick breakdown of what we’re all about, our mission, 2009 schedule and tentative topic list:
Purpose for Living in the Tension Community Gathering:
Christians need to start willfully planting themselves in the middle of some very uncomfortable places—making a conscious commitment to stay in that place with the GLBT community. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was locked up in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. In a letter to confront his fellow white clergymen, MLK reflected on his life’s work to that point and said: “I must confess that I am not afraid of the world tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension my whole life, but there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension which is necessary for growth.”
I’m going to be real right now—the Christian community has been running from that constructive, non-violent tension for too long when it comes to gays and lesbians. The productive growth that MLK was talking about only comes retrospectively, after much time has been spent immersed in tension filled areas with what we are most uneasy about. Those tension-filled areas are dirty, disgusting, confusing, overbearing and uneasy. And they’re worth every minute for the kingdom we so boldly claim ourselves to be a part of.
For gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, ex-gay, celibate and straight people to all willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, intentionally forming a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics within the culture war that is faith and sexuality.
Culture wants to resolve conflict—we want to use our different communities’ filtration systems to elevate the conversation through the tension. Get past the stereotypes. Learn and practice what it means to live in unanswerable questions. Shift the paradigm away from a ‘fix it’ culture to one that turns hearts onto Christ amongst the most uncomfortable places. Stay. Commit. Reconcile. Grow.Current 2009 Schedule (only through May 21st at this point) and Tentative Topics:
March 3: Elevating the Tension in Faith and Sexuality
March 19: Language, Biases and Stereotypes that Tear us all Down
April 9: Controversial Research—Myth or Fact
April 21: April 17th Day of Silence—Shame in the Closet
May 12: MILK Movie Viewing and Discussion
May 21: I DO EXIST – EX-GAY Viewing and Discussion
Future Dates still to be scheduled:
June 4: Is there such a thing as the 4th Ideal of Sexuality and Faith?
June 28: Attending Chicago Gay Pride Parade and Discussion After
July 16: Discussion with a Gay Secular Person
July 30: Discussion with an Ex-Gay Person
Aug 13: Discussion with a Gay Christian
Aug 27: Discussion with a Celibate Person
Sep 10: Discussion with a Straight Conservative Christian
Sep 22: Reverse Board—God and Gay
Oct 8: Secret Confessions (Oct 11th National Coming Out Day)
Oct 19: Volunteer at Chicago AIDS Hospice
Nov 5: Gay Marriage: Right, Wrong, Political, Religious?
Nov 17: Love is an Orientation
Dec 3: The Actual Argument: You’re in the Fire Now
A goal of mine is to help other churches and organizations around the country start their own Living in the Tension Community Gatherings! I’ll fill everyone in on those plans as we’re on our way through this new, and exciting adventure in Chicago.
As my favorite saying goes (and yes, I actually made this one up!):
He was a Jewish carpenter, and therefore I build bridges.