My faith tradition is struggling with a number of issues currently. One of them–that is (and has the potential of being even more) one of the most divisive has to do with issues of sexuality.
I’d like to think that it deals with all issues of sexuality, but in reality, it deals with those who are members of the GLBT community. And the question really boils down to whether they are–or can be–full members of the community…whether our words about “the worth of all people” really mean anything.
For many years, we’ve said that we value all people–that all are called, according to the gifts of God to them. And in the past, there were individuals who were members of the GLBT community who did function–and functioned very effectively!–as ministers. We really didn’t worry about what went on in people’s bedrooms.
But unfortunately we are not just part of a faith community. We are also part of the broader community and have in many ways been informed and impacted by what has been taking place there–where homosexuality (in particular) has become a bogey-man and those who are GLBT have somehow been determined to somehow be threats to those of us who are straight and to our marriages.
I have yet to figure out how! If my marriage is solid, why should it be threatened by someone else who happens to be in love with someone of the same gender? A far bigger threat to heterosexual marriage, from my perspective, lies in the “serial monogamy” that is practiced by so many heterosexuals!
But back to the issue of their acceptance in my faith community… We believe our ministers are called by God. Yes, humanity is a part of that calling, but ff we really believe that those who call individuals to ministry are responding to what they sense as God’s call, then who are we to tell God, “Oops, you made a mistake! You should never have called that person because they’re gay. Didn’t you know that?!?”
And who am I to tell someone else that they cannot have a sacramental blessing of the monogamous relationship they have developed with someone else in the same way I have with my spouse–just because it happens to be someone of the same gender? Granted, I don’t understand that attraction, but I have heard far too many people I care for talk about their knowledge from early childhood that somehow they were different because they were never attracted to someone of the opposite gender to come to the conclusion that somehow homosexuality is a choice. And if it’s not a choice, then how can I–or my faith community–refuse them sacramental blessings? or the opportunity to bring ministry in response to God’s calling?
The body of Christ is blessed with people of many backgrounds, gifts, skills–and we need all of them. All of them. To parrot words of acceptance and worth of all–and yet push some of God’s beloved children to the margins–just doesn’t work for me…
I don’t know what the answer is. I just know that somehow we need to make our words and actions match.