Christianity and homosexuality
This is the world in which the New Testament was written.
No one knows how many people find themselves in these situations because churches don't talk about it. The media doesn't cover it. Like having an alcoholic family member, it becomes the elephant in the room we'd prefer not to discuss. It's uncomfortable and doesn't align with our "family values."
In the end, what it takes are leaders willing to listen to the Holy Spirit calling us into all truth and not the Institute for Religion and Democracy calling us into the House of Fear. Fear of the other. Fear of loss of power. Fear of schism.
America has become a culture of extremes. We see it in our politics, in our pop culture, and in our religions. In our society, the loudest, most extreme voices are the ones given the platform; they are the ones heard. But that doesn't have to be the case.
I was put on this Earth to live the often fabulous -- though frequently maligned -- life of a homosexual. Sling your accusatory rhetoric at me all you want. But to use Bible verses to taint someone's existence, his very life, as a sin because he is attracted to someone of the same-sex is deplorable.
It's time I made a statement that is extremely difficult for me to make: I can't care what the Bible says about homosexuality. I can't live with that fear anymore. It's debilitating. I wanted to say I don't care, but I couldn't...not yet.
If you missed the memo, there's a very sad situation down in the Diocese of Central Florida wherein Baby Jack was denied the sacrament of baptism because Baby Jack happened to have two dads.
Maybe Governor Pence missed it in Sunday School, but Jesus -- who said absolutely nothing about LGBT people anywhere ever -- actually had an opinion on answering yes or no questions. It's in Matthew 5:37 and it's really very simple. Jesus said, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no."
As an American and as an Episcopalian, I was raised to pledge to and pray for two audacious goals: "liberty and justice for all" and "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven," respectively. Yesterday's historic step by the Presbyterian Church USA brought us a little closer to both.
The glaring hypocritical pitfall of Anti-LGBT Christians is not only being noticed by more and more people, it's further exacerbated when people unveil the embarrassing, historical pattern of Christians selectively wielding the scriptures purely to oppress those towards whom they already had a prejudice.
In terms of God's justice, we may have moved too slow and too late but we kept moving. And it's taken us nearly 40 years. Forty years of steps forward and steps back. But we've kept on moving ... and after nearly 40 years in the wilderness I do believe we can see the Promised Land of full inclusion on the horizon.
God depended on Tom Shaw for that and Tom Shaw never disappointed. Now it's our job to take the baton -- to carry the torch -- to keep up the work ... taking risks, speaking out in big ways and small ways. Because eventually the tide will turn. And God is depending on us to turn it.