Last week my colleague Richard McCullen and I posted a call to our denomination to reconsider how we posture ourselves on the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion as a denomination. This public post emerged out of a sincere desire to cultivate conversation about how we could be truly inclusive of the vulnerable and marginalized in our midst. I have written extensively about the tangible psychological harm that is caused to LGBTQ+ individuals who find themselves in non-affirming enviornments- they are five times more likely to attempt suicide than those who are in inclusive environments.
Yet, our denomination continues to fund new churches that are not fully inclusive and clergy across the country are not trained in understanding sexuality and gender identity. Because up to this point we have valued unity over the dignity and true inclusion of LGBTQ+ people and we have treated the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion as a mere theological disagreement rather than a matter of human rights and dignity, our denomination is culpable in the harm being done to LGBTQ+ people across North America. For any follower of Jesus, this should be a distressing realization, and should call us to deeply reflection and deep conversation on this topic.Today, our General Minister and the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Alliance released statements (which I assume are a response to our post from last week) that reaffirm their personal commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion, which I am deeply grateful for. However, these statements again treat this conversation as a matter of mere theological disagreement and dismiss those of us calling for deeper reflection on how we exist in relationship with each other as somehow not valuing Jesus’ call to love and unity, which I found deeply disappointing. Because tone and heart are often lost in writing, I have decided to release the following video where I describe the heart and intention behind last week’s post and my desire for continued conversation in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on how we engage on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the decade to come: