Shhhhh. We have a secret weapon. Powerful. Effective. Ready to change the world. And it is hidden right in the middle of the nonaffirming conservative, evangelical church.
There is a wall, erected by Christian leaders who are nonaffirming, between the church and people who just so happen to be LGBTQI. Their teachings have encouraged or at least justified kicking LGBTQI children of their homes, removing their LGBTQI brothers and sisters out of churches, conveying an unBiblical, unChristlike message of condemnation and judgment.
Why? It has nothing to do with the truth of Scripture, or the teachings of Jesus, or the heart of God. It is because they are afraid. Keeping the LGBTQI community oppressed, marginalized and outside the wall makes these Christians feel safe.
“Every time we use religion to draw a line to keep people out, Jesus is with the people on the other side of that line.” – Hugh L. Hollowell
What they do not know is that those of us who are affirming, those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus and the heart of God, have a secret weapon. And it is right smack dab in the middle of those churches. On their side of the wall.
What is that weapon?
Parents of children who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex. Along with other family members and allies, these parents are an unlimited force for change within the anti-gay church that has fought so hard to feel safe by labeling others as somehow unworthy, inferior.
These parents and others are a force committed to radical love and inclusion. The same way Jesus was.
The church has gotten away with this unBiblical, unChristlike condemnation of those who are LGBTQI, and with kicking them out of churches and homes, kicking them to the other side of the wall.
But things are changing.
Pews and pulpits are filled with parents who are pastors, elders, deacons, leaders, and givers. Parents who have LGBTQI children and who know in the deepest places of their hearts and souls, that the only thing their faith requires of them, the only thing in line with the heart of God and the teachings of Jesus, is to unconditionally love their precious children. Period.
I am one of those parents, and we are affirming BECAUSE of our faith, not in spite of it.
We agree with St. Augustine, who taught that no matter what interpretation of scripture you arrive at, no matter how clear you think the Bible is being or how faithful you think you are being to the words on the page, if your interpretation (and therefore way of life) doesn’t adhere to the greatest commandment – love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself – then your interpretation of scripture is wrong.
Some of these parents will stay in the closet about their LGBTQI child, but they will work in the background to bring about a change to help the church love and include – as each of us has been loved and included.
Some of these parents will come out as Moms and Dads of an LGBTQI child. Then, others will come out in support of these families. They will stand up on their firm and solid foundation, speak up with loud clear voices of love and truth, and say, “No more! We will not allow you to speak about our children the way you do. We will not allow you to treat our children the way you do. It stops now.”
Radical love and inclusion was what Jesus modeled and taught. That IS our faith. That IS our message.
Every single day, more and more parents in the nonaffirming church are standing up, speaking up, sharing their stories, defending their children.
They are our secret weapon, and the message of radical love and inclusion will change the world.
– Robert Cottrell
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