Well, I could tell I needed to write again… Here goes nothing…
I try to be as patient as possible with allies who don’t feel ready to speak up. But I can’t help but wonder: if not today, then when?
— Matthew Vines (@VinesMatthew) June 12, 2016
Today is the day. Today I speak up. I am an ally. Today, when the LGBTQ community suffered an unspeakable tragedy, I find my voice.
Each week at my Anglican church we have corporate confession. In fact, my pastor preached about the confession today. I’m fairly certain he didn’t expect his sermon to have this effect on me, as our church is part of the more conservative ACNA, but it is what it is.
The one phrase that has always hit me right between the eyes during the confession during my time as an Anglican is “we have sinned against thee… by what we have left undone.”
Sure, being a Christian since I was a child, I completely understand about asking for forgiveness for all the wrong things I’ve done, but until stepping foot in an Anglican church, I never once thought about asking forgiveness for all those things I knew I should have done, but instead left undone.
And that’s where I find myself today: asking forgiveness of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Christ for not speaking out as an ally sooner. Sure, I retweet many of the #faithfullyLGBT tweets. And yes, I was outraged two years ago during the World Vision fiasco. I joke with everyone on Twitter. I’ve tacitly danced around the issue enough that I had convinced myself I was out as an ally.
But I haven’t been. I’ve been scared that my friends and family might get angry at me if I fully expressed my inclusive beliefs toward the LGBTQ community. To say I agreed with the SCOTUS Obergefell decision might mean friends would pull away. It might mean yet another awkward family dinner conversation. To share too many posts on Facebook about the horrific way the Church has treated LGBTQ Christians (yes, you can be a Christian and be Gay) might find me in an uncomfortable position. What if I lose the opportunity to serve at my church? What if I lose standing in my social circles?
How cowardly and selfish of me. So many LGBTQ individuals face exclusion, vilification, loss of friends and family, loss of housing, loss of jobs, and now… they lose their lives in an unspeakable act of terror and hate. And that’s unacceptable.
I might not use the right words and I’ve still studying all the theological implications of my stand. I just know that in the past few years, I’ve asked God to break my heart for what breaks his, and time and again, God leads me to opening my heart to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
The greatest commandments are these: Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and then, to love others as yourself. I know, I hear my theologically and politically conservative friends saying to me, “Yes, but… scripture says this is wrong!” I’m sorry, there’s a lot of scripture I can’t always understand with the reality of the world as it is today. And I’m okay with that.
I just know that I rather err on the side of Love than cling to the letter of the Law. My faith teaches me that God is Love. And if I’m to love God and love others, than I’m just going to do that… I’m just going to love. None of us are perfect, we all have issues, yet God loves us all anyway. We’re all made in his image – straight, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, and queer – all those colors in the rainbow. And instead of inflammatory rhetoric and trying to decide how people are born, I’m just going to love. If I’m loving others, then I’m doing what’s required of me.
If I’m loving others, then I’m doing what’s required of me.
So, to Matthew (who doesn’t even know who I am) and to my many LGBTQ friends, I’m your ally because it’s where my walk has led me. I’m your ally because it’s the right thing to do. I’m your ally because so many of you have suffered so much. I’m your ally because love trumps hate. I’m your ally because so many in the LGBTQ community are hurting right now and need to know they are not alone.
I’m your ally because I have a friend whose son came out and she was afraid of how I might take it when she finally told me. She and her son need to know that they have support in the Christian community and not just judgment.
And I’m your ally because I think back to 15 years ago when a friend from the fundamentalist church of our youth took his life because of the fallout from his coming out as gay… This is for him, who’s favorite Bible verse was Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
I do this for all of you. And I do it because it’s the right thing to do.
And like Matthew Vines asks, “if not today, then when?”