In this quest to 1) help LGBT folks understand that they can have a vibrant, liberating relationship with a God who doesn’t condemn them and to 2) help the church understand that gay folks should not only be welcomed, but fully affirmed, appreciated, and used in their churches – I admit I have some presuppostions.
My chief presupposition is that if people would open their minds to what the Bible actually says – and doesn’t say – about homosexuality, this whole struggle would be over.
If gay folks could see that scripture (and therefore, God) neither condemns nor judges their sexuality, then they would stop feeling condemned and judged. Likewise, if the church and its leaders would seriously study the “gay scriptures” and find what they actually said to the people they were written to a few thousand years ago, wouldn’t they reailize that there’s no reason not to open their doors to our community?
It all seems so clear to me.
Or rather, it all seemed so clear to me until a few minutes ago. I’m currently reading “In the Eye of the Storm: Pushed to the Center by God” by Bishop Gene Robinson – the first gay man to be ordained Bishop in the Episcopal church. A few minutes ago, sitting on a bench in Prospect Park, Gene opened my eyes to a whole new reason many Christians, church leaders, and churches prickle at the idea of LGBT people worshiping in their pews, proud and unrepentant of their sexual orientation. Perhaps the problem goes deeper than simply a misunderstanding about scripture…
When you dig down a little more, you’ll find that what we’re seeing is the beginning of the end of patriarchy. For a very long time, men – mostly white, educated Western, heterosexual men from the Global North – have been making all the decisions for the world. People of color have demanded a place at that decision making table, and so have women. Now that we lgbt people are claiming a place too, the system of patriarchy, out of which [Christianity, Judaism, and Islam] developed, seems to be starting to unravel… It’s not because gay and lesbian people are any different than others who have demanded equality, but because for religious bodies and for the culture, the full equality of gays and lesbians strikes at the very heart of the patriarchy and misogyny that’s been the way of the world for so long. (p. 98-99)
Thanks, Gene. I’m gonna chew on that for a while…