The following post was written by Kevin Harris, Director of Community Relations at The Marin Foundation.
As we continue to talk with individuals in Chicago and others around the country, we have become very accustomed to hearing Christians from varying theological backgrounds express their remorse over the fact that often times they and the broader Church have not done right by the LGBT community. While our gathering at the Chicago Pride Parade is a rather isolated event in and of itself, we have come to see it as an opportunity to embody the shift that we are seeing within communities of faith today that are giving rise to expressions of remorse paired with a desire to learn and rework the way they have lived in relationship with and to individuals in the LGBT community. Though there has often been a degree of hesitancy and trepidation, we are starting to see more and more individuals pushing past their fears that are cast out by love and a desire that all might experience dignity, love, and reconciliation with faith and each other. So along the lines of acknowledging our failures and shortcomings and moving forward to be the change that you believe Christ wants to see in the world, we are hoping to hear from you and how you plan to make a difference.
To go along with our presence at the Chicago Pride Parade this year, we are starting a video campaign to let our respective apologies give birth to practical steps and actions that we can take in moving towards healing the pain and righting the wrongs that have been brought about by many in the Christian community. The videos can be posted on YouTube including ‘I’m Sorry Campaign’ somewhere in the title. We are looking for individuals to record relatively short two part videos expressing what it is that they are individually and/or corporately sorry for related to how they and the broader Church have fallen short in how they have lived out their faith and often caused pain and hurt for individuals in the LGBT community (1st part) and then letting that lead into what they are personally going to commit to do about it to start to move things forward in their respective spheres of influence and make things better for individuals in the LGBT community (2nd part). Whether you have a more traditional understanding of scripture and sexuality or believe that God blesses same-sex relationships (whether you a Christian that is heterosexual or LGBT) we would love to hear your thoughts and commitment(s) on a video.
In asking for videos to go along with our ‘I’m Sorry Campaign,’ we are in no way trying to encourage animosity towards the broader Church as we realize that it will most likely lead towards the expression of some difficult words that may need to be heard, but we rather would like to start to dig into and give voice to some of the things we are sorry for as we at The Marin Foundation deeply care for the Church and want to see it more closely embody the faith, hope, and love that God has called it to. So in your apologies, let us know what you feel has been placed upon your heart and if you are willing to share and be vulnerable, some of the areas in your own life that you may need to ask forgiveness for related to sins of commission/omission whether they be something like using derogatory language and hurting another person or possibly times that you have stood passively by and not stood up for others or what you believed was right. In your commitments, let us know what you are going to start doing different or seek to change whether it be things like standing up against the bullying of LGBT youth, addressing prejudice towards and stereotypes about the LGBT community in your own life and combating them in public spheres, addressing issues of justice related to the LGBT community, or doing your part to shift the acceptable medium of engagement and how your own community of faith lives out their beliefs in relation with and to the LGBT community.
As you post videos on YouTube with the title I mentioned above, we would appreciate if you let us know about the videos by sending a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We at The Marin Foundation will also be posting a few videos from some of our friends in the Chicagoland area on this blog leading up to pride as examples. After pride, our goal is to start posting some of the videos on our website at www.themarinfoundation.org for individuals to view.