Yes. You read that right.
I have yet to have anyone ask me “what good could come from my church allowing someone who is openly gay to attend?” BUT- I like to be prepared. I imagine I may one day be asked that question. And the last thing I would want to do is fumble for an answer. So, since I am a list maker, I am making a list.
Here it is:
- Tolerance: Tolerance isn’t agreeing with an action. If you agreed, tolerance would be unnecessary. Tolerance is simply bearing with someone despite disagreement. And since human beings come in every shape, color, and sexual orientation, we as Christians have a lot to learn about being good to people who don’t look or act like those we are used to.
- Diversity: Christianity isn’t just for white heterosexual middle class American citizens. If your congregation is diverse it will better reflect the true Kingdom of God, as well as allowing for-
- A greater breadth of ministry: because, let’s be honest- gay people have largely been either overlooked or rejected by the church for a long time now. There is a very large contingent of people who need to hear that God loves them and misses them- and we’re not going to reach them until we accept them into our communities and congregations.
- Getting past the discomfort: Ever get into a situation that made you feel like ants were crawling up and down your lower back, and all you could think about was getting out? Some Christians have that discomfort when they learn someone is gay. If you expose them on a weekly or twice weekly basis to a good person who also happens to be gay, they will (hopefully) eventually learn to work past the itchiness and have a good friendship.
- Learning to love the way God does: Because at our worst, lowest, weakest moment God loved us, and he sent his Son to die for us. Not because we were good or holy, but because we are his family. And God loves the gays, okay? He loves them, and misses them, and wants them to be a part of the family. We need to learn to love the way God does, to love people even when they are broken and thinking about what they do in private gives us the willies.
- Learning not to think about what people do in private: Because if we knew what good sister Mary in her covering and floral dress did in private, it may make us puke. Why even go there?
- Learning to show a more full face of God: because God isn’t a white middle class heterosexual and slightly hirsute guy in the clouds with a big smiting stick just WAITING for the gays to come into his house so he can show them what-for. That isn’t God, and that isn’t who we should be making people think that God is.
- Someone to make awesome appetizers and decorate the sanctuary in a tastefully modern way. (JOKING! I kid, I kid.) 😀
To say it all very simply, we need people who aren’t like us to teach us how to love people who aren’t like us. Wow, okay, that wasn’t simply. But that is the truth: the Church needs to learn to love and accept homosexuals. No matter how gay they are. Even if they come in on Sunday morning in pink t-shirts with rainbow striped pants. (But they probably won’t.) Even if they refuse to apologize for who they are- no- ESPECIALLY if they refuse to apologize for who they are.
Because God loves them.
And so should we.