“Feed my sheep”

Last night I was watching 20/20, and one of the stories really impacted me. You can read the story here, but you really need to watch it to get the full impact. To see little children just learning to talk sing songs about how “God hates the world” and to hear the horrible statements about how GLBT (and others who disagree with this “faith”) are going to go to hell…and the ease with which a family has disowned one of their children who questioned their teachings…

It was awful enough to watch on its own, but to pair it with a show we watched tonight really challenged me.

 A friend of ours loaned us a video titled Anyone and Everyone and we finally had a chance to sit down and watch it. It’s similar in some ways to the one we watched a couple of years ago (For the Bible Tells Me So) that provided the impetus for my husband to come out to me as bisexual.

They are both powerful movies–stories of people who have come out and the struggles both they and their families have had in learning how to live with each other with this new understanding.

But in the movie tonight, there was a statement by one mother that struck me in a profound way. She belongs to a faith tradition that is very patriarchal and demanding–one that has for years called homosexuality a worse sin than murder or rape. She was attending the funeral of a friend of her daughter’s (in a different church), and she looked up to see a stained glass window of Christ holding a lamb with the words “Feed my sheep” underneath…and she realized that all the grieving people who were there (herself included) had contributed to this young person’s suicide because this was a sheep they had not fed. In face, she said that he was a lamb who had starved to death…and she vowed to never be silent again.

“Feed my sheep.”

Not just the sheep who look like me…the ones I’m comfortable with…the ones with the same beliefs that I have. All sheep.

As this same mother pointed out, when some were trying to entrap Christ by asking him what the greatest commandment was, his response basically was that the greatest commandment is the law of love.

And that’s a challenge!

I recently had a work evaluation, and one area I want to focus on this next year is “ministerial courage.” When I put that down, I wasn’t sure exactly where it was going to lead me, but I think I’m understanding…

Part of my calling as a minister is to feed God’s sheep. I don’t want any sheep to starve to death (either spiritually or literally) because I have been silent. God’s children deserve better than that–all of God’s children.

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