Last Tuesday, I stood in front of a class full of seminarians and made a presentation about how we would be imaging God in our class. While I read scripture, I showed slides of classic Bible scenes as depicted by cultures all over the world. Jesus was Korean, African, Chinese, Indian, White, European American, Sioux, Cherokee, Italian, Saudi Arabian, and Palestinian. In my language, I spoke of what it means to open our imaging of God so that those in the pews can see themselves as created in God’s image. In my language, I asked them also to imagine that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members of their congregations were also created in God’s image. I teach in a liberal, inclusive Jesuit seminary that has found a way to make room for Protestants from many denominations to study alongside Catholic students, and train together for work in ministry.
A year ago, I was a churchplanter in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Shortly after my ordination in June 2009, I left the ECC church I had worked at for eight years to start a new congregation in Seattle’s diverse University District. As my husband and I made it known that we would be planting a new congregation, the question came up again and again: would I be welcome at your church? Would my parents be welcome at your church? When people start asking if they would be welcome, if they would be safe in church, something is wrong. I knew I needed to step into God’s call on my life as a minister, and preach openly that all of us, gay and straight, are welcomed and celebrated in the God’s kingdom. Soon thereafter, we officially announced that the churchplant would be open and affirming. Continue reading Leah Klug: “Let Us Work Together”→
Yesterday, one of our readers shared a link to a Holy Week sermon on our Facebook page (you can click “like” in the box on the right if you haven’t already done so to support us on Facebook and get new post notifications in your news feed).
I’m sharing the link here in hopes that more people will see and read and pass along this powerful, moving sermon:
As I read this sermon, I was reminded how one of the things the evangelical church often struggles to do well is lament. When it comes to the treatment of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers in our churches and our communities, there is a deep and urgent need for us to lament. Today is Good Friday. Today is a day on which the church laments. Today we hear the lament of Jesus himself, from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That cry of forsakenness, loneliness, humiliation, and abandonment is echoed by countless marginalized groups today. May the Church give ear to that cry and always remember: it is the cry of Jesus. We must hear, and join in, the lament if we are to be able to bring the hopeful light of the Gospel. We can’t just skip past Good Friday. But even from Friday’s darkness, we can’t forget: Sunday’s coming.
(Also, be sure to go back and read yesterday’s post from Darlene if you haven’t already! We are grateful for her willingness to share her journey so honestly with us.)
I’ve contemplated the idea of sharing my thoughts about this topic for some time now – not sure whether I should or even could piece words together well enough to produce anything worth reading. This is mostly because I am still learning. I am discovering that it is possible to walk away from a careful study of Scripture and come away with a host of differing interpretations, and that I am not exempt from error. Not only that, but people who think differently from me can also be right.
I also must admit that I have some concerns (that border on fear) in sharing my thoughts. First, I worry that I will be misunderstood and even rejected by people I consider friends. Second, that I will become the victim of assumptions regarding my sexual status. I am a single heterosexual woman who desires to remain single indefinitely (I know that’s rare). I believe that God’s call for me is celibacy and I embrace that and celebrate being a happy and fulfilled single woman. As a woman for whom this is true, I risk being attacked by unwarranted assumptions and conclusions that many may draw regarding my sexual orientation. This is not because I frown upon those who are gay/lesbian, rather because of my utter dislike for assumption and misrepresentation. A third concern is that I will hurt those who read or that my thoughts may be misconstrued – my apologies in advance. And finally, I can’t help but consider that I will be misunderstood or have some distance placed between me and my fellow African American sisters/brothers because of what I say or refrain from saying in this brief space.
Earlier this year I wrote a letter to the Covenant Companion exhorting my beloved denomination to have open hearts and open arms to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I wept when I read the “first person” letters of response in the September, 2010 issue of the Companion. The pain reflected in them haunts me. I keep thinking of words written about Jesus that applies to those families: “He came to his own and his own did not receive him.”
I am not new to the question of welcoming lesbian and gays into the fellowship of the Church. I am a retired Covenant Pastor. My father was a Covenant Pastor. His father was a Covenant layperson; his father came from Sweden and was a founding member of a Covenant Church. Because I am a “work in progress” I thought it might be helpful to the Covenant family if I shared my own journey through the maze of human sexuality. I’m sure it is not the same for everyone. Each of our journeys is different, yet I suspect there are threads in the journey that bind us together. Continue reading Ralph Sturdy: “My Journey Through the Maze of Human Sexuality”→
My name is Rick Sindt and I am a sophomore at North Park University, where I am currently pursuing an Art and Psychology double major. I grew up in a small town south east of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota, along the Mississippi River. I grew up with two loving parents and one brother. We lived in the country and always had an assortment of animals around ranging from barn cats to sled dog teams. I have a large extended family and I grew up much like any other boy. This past fall I started the process of coming out.
What has surprised me the most about coming out is that when I come out to people I am not given space to be me. People who I come out to still hold me to the image they had of me as a heterosexual, or they expect me to become their preconceived notion of who a gay man is. I first started telling people in September of 2010. The first person I told was one of my closest friends. I decided to tell her because she continued to ask me about girl interests in my life. I grew tired of putting on a charade, I felt like I was living a lie, and I knew the only way to liberate myself from that feeling was to name my sexuality to someone. She handled it well and graciously. At the time she was alone with me in this journey and it was difficult for her to be the only one who knew. I was finally willing to talk about my sexuality with someone and I talked about it persistently. Continue reading Rick Sindt: “A Little Space”→
Members and friends of the Evangelical Covenant Church in favor of a more inclusive church!