When his son came out as gay, the man said, he just did not know what to think. To make sense of it he would have to rethink his stance on homosexuality. And he felt that if he rethought that, he would have to rethink everything about his faith. All of a sudden he felt like he was on sinking sand.
At the time, I couldn’t find the words I wanted to speak to this man who so clearly loves his son and loves his Lord. Since then, I’ve spent a good deal of time pondering this cry from a devout Christian’s heart. Perhaps I have the words now.
Today, 30 LGBT-affirming African religion scholars and faith leaders begin meeting in South Africa. The purpose of the consultation is to build an African faith foundation for the acceptance of LGBT people. It was organized by Kapya Kaoma of Political Research Associates and Michael Adee of the Horizons Foundation’s Global Faith and Justice Project. Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia; Adee is an elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The PCUSA now officially stands with the LGBT people who are criminalized in 78 countries.
In 2004, Brenda Cole—a colleague in a group dedicated to improving the spiritual lives of LGBT people—asked me to preside at her wedding, scheduled more than a year away. “Nancy is a lifelong Presbyterian and wants a Presbyterian minister to preside at our wedding," Brenda said hopefully. "Would you meet with us and talk about officiating?”
I became aware of my trust in God when I was 13, during an overnight with the daughter of our church’s minister. We weren’t in the same school, but that year her dad taught our confirmation class and we became friends.
We had turned the lights out—her mother had asked us to—but, as usual, we continued talking. Eventually, the conversation took a turn when one of us asked, “What if God didn’t exist?”
Who can deny that the heart of marriage is the love and commitment between the partners? Can you? So, it makes perfect sense to me that public opinion in the United States has moved inexorably toward supporting marriage for same-sex couples.
Now that October 2011 has drawn to an end, I want to express my gratitude to
all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who were
inspired by the tradition of October being Coming Out month to come out
to themselves and those around them.
I love having a good conversation with someone who disagrees with me.
Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of these types of conversations –
mostly with colleagues in the church who disagree with me about the
place of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faithful.
I hope that the courageous statement
on LGBT equality in the church by Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba in the January 24,
2011 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook is widely read and pondered
upon. It has certainly provoked much reflection on my part.
I am a great fan of New Year’s resolutions. As December turns into
January, I find myself taking them pretty seriously, pondering what one
or two resolutions I might make for the coming year. What is most
important to me is choosing something that I can make into a habit,
thereby improving my way of being in the world in some small way.
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