-You are a building built upon a foundation. You are a building which was developed on a solid foundation that someone else has put time, energy, and love into creating. If you're a Christian, that foundation was built by God (in addition to your parents) as an ultimate act of love. Your role as a building is to build others so that they may build.
-To be of Christ is to be of love, hope, and the power of life.
-People come to church for Salvation and Resurrection.
-It's not easy to make God angry... give up trying.
-We are all of Christ.
Overall, not too bad a list. It's fairly Christian centric, but it speaks to overarching values of love, grace, and hope.
Truth time, I debated whether or not I would attend Boston University School of Theology because I am openly lesbian and was concerned about the United Methodist's current doctrine in the Book of Discipline which claims that homosexuality is incompatible with God's teaching. I thought for a long time about whether I would be fully welcomed into a community which held doctrine in opposition to a part of my personhood. Delightfully, I chose to come to BUSTh because I truly felt God calling me here to build the foundation of my ministry, and I feel that I made the right decision. Not once have I been made to feel like my sexuality places me as a second class citizen. Not once have I felt like I had to hide who I was. Every day I have felt welcomed, loved, and held up as a child of God and someone with sacred worth. Until today.
I listened to the preacher as (in my perception) his strong sermon crumbled. This person told of how he believes that LGBTQ persons are people of sacred worth. This person then told of how he upholds the Book of Discipline and the doctrine against full welcoming of LGBTQ people in the church; he cited his belief in the scripture as his reason for doing so. This person said that he didn't care what the result of the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church was pertaining to this critical issue. His final premise essentially is that we are all people of Christ, no matter what the outcome of the conference will be.
You can't preach love while standing in discrimination. The two concepts stand in direct opposition to each other. To love someone is to welcome them fully in their entire personhood in everything that encompasses. To suggest that someone is welcome as long as they do not disclose a part of who they are is to hold them in a state of limbo. It says, "you're almost human, but not quite." It suggests, "you're worthy of my respect if you don't tell the truth about who you are." It upholds the status quo of people being treated as second class citizens. It says, "you're not good enough." Enough is enough.
Unsurprisingly, I am not the only person who feels angered, hurt, and offended by what happened in chapel today. It was an invasion and a gross abuse of our safe space. I have never felt so out of place and hit from left field here at STH as I did today. I felt personally attacked, as did many of my brothers and sisters. Some of us left. Some of us stayed. Some of us took Communion. Some of us didn't. MANY of us cried. Many of us held hands in comfort and solidarity.
The question now is, where do we go from here? How do we move forward from this pain in productive ways? How do we heal the wounds and scars?
I am so damn sick and tired of people holding onto prejudices and sanctioning discrimination in the name of God. I am exhausted by the continual flow of shit that is poured on other human beings. I am disgusted by the culture of status quo that continually withholds God's love for all people. Bottom line, it's bullshit. It's garbage. It needs to end. What the hell needs to happen for people to come to the recognition that God is love in full and human equality? It's particularly disheartening when someone taking his/her own life is not enough of a catalyst to see where people have done wrong and committed such egregious acts of hurt and pain. I say it again, what the hell needs to happen? People are dying (literally and metaphorically) and the status quo continues.
Indifference because "we're all of Christ" solves nothing. Indifference because you might see all people as sacred and children of God regardless of what society at large tells you does nothing for ensuring the full equality and personhood of all people in the ministry and love of God. ALL PEOPLE ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE! ALL PEOPLE! To say otherwise is to be a church of exclusion. To be a church of exclusion is to not truly be a church of Christ. Christ worked with the people on the margins; the people who were undesirable, the people who were looked down upon, the people who were kicked to the curb. Your indifference because we're all equal in the eyes of God does nothing to help bring people comfort and equality. Your indifference asks people to sacrifice who they truly are, people of faith and whatever else they might be.
I am so glad I am a member of the United Church of Christ where I can be truly, honestly, and unapologetically who I am. "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here." But the UCC takes it a step beyond simply welcoming all people. The UCC says, "we value you, we do not simply tolerate you." Toleration is the low hanging fruit. Reach higher. Climb that tree and find what grows higher up in the branches.
Let me close with this: The BUSTh community is phenomenal. Through discussion, hugs, and shared laughter, we can make it through. When you're feeling down, there are people who care who help pull you through.
I may come back and edit this later. I may not. I may put more information in. I may write a secondary follow-up blog post. I haven't decided.