Reconciliation between LGBT Christians and the Church is a process that requires a lot of time, patience, healing, prayer, and more love than any of us are capable of at the moment. It requires the kind of love that only comes from the Holy Spirit Himself. A love that’s like fire shut up in our bones. The kind of love that is driven by compassion for people and passion for God. The kind of love that Jesus had for us.
The process that we must all go through toward reconciliation must start with God Himself, then with the church, and finally with the LGBT community. Unfortunately, a lot of people within the church assume that I’m talking about those really mean people who keep writing and saying bad things about gay people. Not so.
Sure, the all-too-vocal anti-gay crowd gets a lot of the attention, but I think it’s fair to assume that there’s plenty of all-too-silent secret allies within the Church as well. I know you’re out there. You’ve hidden yourselves well. Too well.
I know how hard it is to speak out — to rock the boat. It’s tough. It takes nerves of steel. It takes strength. The questions that flood your mind come a mile a minute — What will they think about me if I speak out? Will I lose friendships? Will I be accepted in my church if I say that I love people regardless if they’re gay or straight? What if they shun me? Or start gossiping about me? What if they think that I’m gay? I have an important role in the church, I might lose it if I openly support my neighbor’s gay son.
But, you say, you’re not like those anti-gay folks. I know.
It’s hard. It’s difficult. It’s scary. But dear friend, we need you. We need you badly.
You see, this Rainbow Kingdom isn’t just for LGBT people. Quite the opposite, in fact. Quite often, people assume that since I’m gay, I always use the rainbow to symbolize the LGBT community. Not so. It’s all about diversity. Diversity in ideas, worship styles, denominations, race, color, creed, sex, and yes, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Not everyone believes the same. Mainline denominations vastly differ with each other over major points of doctrine. Some denominations believe in a more Calvinist basis for their beliefs. Others are Arminian. Some are pentecostal. Some are charismatic. Some are cessationists. Some are more into the symbolics of the gifts.
But all are Christian.
The Rainbow Kingdom embraces every bit of the Kingdom of God — the Church at large — and adds to it the LGBT Christians that have been otherwise cast off.
We all need each other. We need you. I need you.
Every time I post something outrageous said by Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins, or Scott Lively, or some other hate group leader, I always get a ton of quiet support from straight friends. They’ll “like” the post on Facebook, or send a private message about how great it was, and encourage me to “keep it up.” To all of you who do say something, I thank you. Sincerely. But please, for the love of mike, stop telling me how much you want me to keep up the struggle.
You see, dear straight ally, we need you to be a part, too.
Your silence is deafening. It hurts. Don’t you see? When you’re silent while others are spewing hate — you’re actually giving them quiet support.
No! You say. I’m just… afraid.
I don’t have to tell you that gay people can’t change their sexual orientation. You already know this. I don’t have to tell you that the Bible has absolutely nothing to say about committed same-sex relationships. It’s old news to you. I don’t have to convince you to support LGBT rights. You already do. And I don’t have to explain to you why marriage equality is so important. You’re already on board.
But… and you knew this was coming… why is my voice not joined in by a chorus of others? Those of us who are advocates… often do so in the wilderness of solitude. Every once in a while, someone … from afar off… will cheer us on with a wave, but really, we need so much more.
Our voices are so much stronger when they are backed up by the voices of the sleeping giant. Yet so often, we get the wink, the nudge, and the occasional email that says, “not all of us are like that Fischer guy…”
But you’re still afraid to speak out. When we need you the most.
So often, people like myself have to speak loudly because of bullying, oppression, or injustice. A megaphone will only go so far. A loudspeaker, farther still. Even a radio can only reach those who tune in.
No, we’re not all like that. But think of it… if we all stood up against the lies that the hate groups spew, that we aren’t going to let the discussion be dominated by falsehoods and disinformation. It wouldn’t be censorship. It would be a wall of truth that washes away the deception and bigotry that pours into our churches far too often.
A wall of truth. That’s exactly what we need. Right now, all we have are a few bricks, and a few scraps of sand for mortar. We need the truckloads. We need that wall to be built that withstands the arrows, the storms, and the fiery rhetoric that drives the conversation today.
We. Need. You.
If the Church is truly the body of Christ, and the LGBT Christian community is the Prodigal (for example), then we need the hands… the arms that will embrace us. We need the feet that will run out to meet us.
A lot of us are wounded — walking wounded — straight or gay. We’re hurting, and covering our wounds. So very many of the LGBT community don’t want anything to do with the church. Can you blame them? I can’t.
What happens if you have someone who’s been affected with a deep wound? The first thing they want to do is protect it. They’ll cover it, hide it, and keep everyone away.
Even the doctor.
The one who can help the most.
The one with the helping hands. The medicine.
Because it hurts.
We need the allies that know how to clean a wound without pouring salt on it. We need the allies that whisper into our ears that everything is okay.
We need the allies that tell the rest of the visitors that it’s time to leave so we can get the job done.
We already know that the Church is meant to be a hospital — not so that we can stay and nurse our wounds, but so that we can be healed, and then released into our calling.
Released so that we can impact others.
Our calling is to reach out and share the love of God with everyone. And we need you, dear straight ally, to help others know that it includes the gays too.
No, not everyone is “like that.” But silence is only for the fearful. Jesus said to “fear not.”
Fear not. God is doing a work. And you’re invited. Instead of saying, “not all Christians are like that,” why not show us the better way?
End the pain. End the silence. Bring on the joyful noise that is all of God’s children rejoicing — singing together that Jesus Christ is Lord.
That’s a song worth singing, isn’t it? We need your voice.