Last night 7 people representing the LGBTQ community from New Direction with Wendy VanderWal Gritter came to my house, and along with some local friends we had over 20 people stuffed into my living room. We had wine and ordered in pizza. They arrived at 5:30pm and I expected them to stay only a few hours but it was almost 11pm by the time they left. It was an amazing evening full of deep discussion, tears and laughter. The love and sense of community was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
The one issue that prevailed in our discussion was community. They had a lot of questions about our online community The Lasting Supper. (By the way, I invite you to join us!) All of them have experienced this cartoon. There are a lot of questions, but living in the question with questions is generally not a welcomed posture to take in the church. We all hunger for the kind of community where we can just be ourselves without being judged, segregated, separated or alienated. All we want is a safe space where we can learn to be who we authentically are and where we can learn to give that same respect and space to others.
The philosopher Slavoj Žižek suggests that the purpose of philosophy is to ask the right questions. I believe that is the purpose of theology, and church ought to be the safest place to do that. But no. Rather, the church has become the most dangerous and even most fatal place to do it.
Everyone in my home last night can attest to that. I personally am committed to providing safe spaces for questioners to thrive.