There is no greater love than when someone risks their own life for the sake of others. (John 15:13, my loose interpretation).
When it comes to the LGBTQ community, most of the Church has a love problem.
Even as the institution claims to be following the teachings of Jesus, who taught that love was the greatest commandment (so much so that it should be practiced even toward those we dislike), it has unceremoniously condemned a whole segment of society over an “issue” in which the Bible is largely uninterested.
Communities, relationships, and even families have been broken apart and deeply damaged over the unloving position the larger Church has taken when it comes to the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ Christians have had most of the negative impact land squarely in their lives; and, in response, many have realized they don’t need that kind of systemic abuse. So, they have, understandably, relegated the Church to a less-than-loving relic of their past and moved on to find nurturing and healthy communities where they can be who they are and more fully express themselves in love.
That’s what makes cases like Maria’s so remarkable.
You can listen to part of her story and message below. When you do, I’d like to encourage you to keep this in mind: Maria made a choice to stay in the Church. Even when the institutional Church and those who participate in it made it clear that her sexual identity placed her in a category of people they don’t like, Maria made a choice to stay.
Think about that. She chose to stay in an environment that was decidedly hostile toward her. Undoubtedly, that choice meant risking parts of her life that many of us would name as important to us: stability, loving community, nurture, support, and so many others.
One would assume that she stayed, at least in part, because she saw that the Church wasn’t practicing what it preached. Maria knew other LGBTQ folk would be hurt by its less-than-loving practices. So, she risked important parts of her life to show the Church a more loving way, and also to show members of the LGBTQ community who interact with the Church that there are Christians who truly love them.There is no greater love than when someone risks their own life for the sake of others. (John 15:13, my loose interpretation).
That, my friends, is the voice of love.
Maria is not the only LGBTQ Christian who has chosen to stay in the Institutional Church. In fact, there are entire denominations formed around the idea of a fully inclusive community where love is the greatest good and all are embraced without regard to sexuality or sexual identity.
It’s undeniable that the Church could learn a great deal from Maria and others who have made the same choice she has. But, you don’t have to take my word for it:
There is no greater love than when someone risks their own life for the sake of others.
Consider supporting Mark’s blogging. Help create a market for Progressive Christianity. Not through big publishers or big denominations, but through the grassroots. We need to encourage the growth of progressive Christian voices in the marketplace. Even a dollar will help.
Facebook continues to make it increasingly difficult for me to let you know about new blog posts like this. Please consider signing up for my mailing list where we can insure you are notified.Just click here!
Mark is a co-founder of The Christian Left. Come and join the conversation!