Revoice: Hope Rests on Honesty

Revoice: Hope Rests on Honesty September 10, 2019

People of Earth! Two years ago Revoice became, as far as I know, the only ecumenical conference for lgbt/same-sex attracted Christians who accept the Church’s teaching that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. I’ve been to both of the conferences so far and they have been amazing experiences. In a way I’d never experienced, I was among my people.

Today they’re raising funds not only for Revoice 2020, which I can’t recommend highly enough!!!!, but also so they can hire more staffers and give those who already work for Revoice a desperately-needed pay raise. The Revoice staffers I’ve met are ridiculously hardworking and dedicated, and they’ve been doing more than full-time work for, at best, part-time wages. Your donation would make it possible for the conference to reach more people, and help prevent burnout and exhaustion.

In this already-unique conference, one especially beautiful element is its insistence on both the Cross and the Resurrection; both repentance and hope. Leah Libresco Sargeant has written about how Christian pop-music is “unrelentingly cheerful”:

There were 2.5 times as many mentions of “grace” as “sin” in the songs’ lyrics. Other pairs were even more lopsided: There were more than eight mentions of “life” for every instance of “death,” and “love” was more than seven times as common as “fear.” (For the record, 1 John 4:18 — “perfect love casts out fear” — is advice for spiritual formation, not lyrics writing.) Parishioners may find too much positive language dispiriting. When Christian pop songs and hymns are “excessively positive or wholly positive,” they often “come across as cotton candy and inauthentic,” said Richard Beck, a psychology professor at Abilene Christian University and the author of several books on the intersection between theology and psychology.

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By contrast, worship at Revoice always took us on a full journey, from Creation through the Fall, to Good Friday and then Easter. The singing and the preaching always called us to take up our own crosses and also to trust that Christ carries us. This willingness to acknowledge sorrow, ongoing suffering, sacrifice, and doubt–while placing them in the context of the empty tomb and the glorified Wounds–allows Revoice a deep honesty. I’ve been at other religious conferences for gay or same-sex attracted people, where it seemed like the conference organizers were pushing optimism on us. I’ve been at other conferences where you were allowed to talk about sin and suffering as long as it was a) all about your sexuality, or b) safely in the past. Revoice doesn’t play that. At Revoice people described the ways their churches had imposed unnecessary suffering on them. They looked for the Gospel in gay communities and cultures, and found so much more than their parents and pastors had been able to see. They talked frankly about their own questions and concerns–including concerns with the conference itself! This seems so healthy to me.

I’ve already given a lot of cash and will give more, but I want to encourage all of you to consider what you can give to help these people build up a community which is honest with one another and in love with Christ.


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