This weekend I had the honor of being a part of The Reformation Project conference in Washington D.C., a conference hosted by my friend Matthew Vines which sought to train Christians on how to be effective agents of change in their communities around the issue of LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion. The weekend was packed with prophetic (and frankly, historic) plenary addresses by Rev. Allyson Robinson and Dr. David Gushee, Seminars on how to interpret scripture from Dr. Jim Brownson and Matthew Vines, and a plethora of break out sessions on everything from Pastoral Care to faith based political organizing.
Throughout the weekend, I continued to run into amazing men and women who are a part of some of the most influential conservative churches and organizations in America who had come to conference because they are committed to bringing theological change to their communities.I heard tremendous stories of endurance for the sake of the Gospel, brave individuals who have faced harsh opposition because of their sexuality and yet have resolved to remain a part of the communities that have done so much harm to them out of love for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.As I sat across the table from many of these individuals, I found myself in awe of their boldness and their compassion for the Church, and their willingness to place everything on the line in order to help their communities respond to the reforming work of God’s Spirit around LBGTQ inclusion.
Many will look at events like The Reformation Project and organizations like Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and assume that because these efforts are (currently) small compared to that of the Southern Baptist Convention, that our influence will be inconsequential. Yet I continue to find myself reminded of the truth that God can do the impossible with the smallest of forces. I’m reminded that all of the transformation that has ever happened in the Church and in the world has never been with massive armies of people, but through the remnant of people who are heeding the unpopular, prophetic call of God. I am confident that those of us who find ourselves deeply and passionately committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also to LGBTQ equality and inclusion in the Church will, as vehicles of the power of God, be able to bring about the change that the Church so desperately needs.
Am I being to presumptuous? I don’t think so. I am convinced that, as many of the prophets and faithful disciples throughout the ages, through unapologetic stand for equality, unwavering commitment to justice, and lives firmly rooted in Christ, we can and will be used by God to bring about the much needed reformation in the Church.
In the words of Dr. David Gushee, in his plenary address at the conference this weekend:“We must listen for and be ready for the Spirit of God—which looks like our hard hearts melting, our calcified minds changing, our spirits repenting; it looks like our churches growing more inclusive, our courage deepening, and our love for unwanted strangers growing fierce. It looks like joyful cross-bearing for Jesus’ sake. It looks like solidarity with the oppressed. It looks like strangely abundant joy.”
Ah, abundant joy. Through sacrifice. Soldiarity with the oppressed. Through taking the unpopular, but righteous stand for inclusion.
Radically subversive? Yes. But isn’t everything about our faith?
We are living in days brimming with hope and possibility. The Kingdom of God is expanding and culminating before our eyes. We’re a long way from its fulfillment, but we’re clearly growing closer every day.
God is moving. Will we move with him?
P.S. Also, MSNBC has done an awesome mini-documentary on my work at Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and my time at the Southern Baptist ERLC Conference. I hope you’ll take a second to check it out!