We’ve explored as to why LGBTQ inclusion has become the new orthodoxy test, even though it hasn’t been part of any credal confession for the past 2000 years.
As a way forward, I’d like to offer two suggestions for everyone (There are a lot more important ones, especially ones addressing how we best keep teenagers alive, but I’m doing my best here to simply address the WHY of this conversation. So please don’t treat these as final steps, but rather, as first steps).
1) Wherever you find yourself, please get to know someone who doesn’t think like you. And try to love them.
To quote Richard Rohr, “To get a real grasp of the truth of the gospel, I believe we have to enter into solidarity with at least one person who’s different than us. This means crossing to the other side. For example, if you’re afraid of a certain race or religion, then the best thing is to head directly there. If a certain set of people scare you, then you have to enter into solidarity with them. We have to endure being with those people for a while and learn to view reality from their standpoint. That’s why Jesus says we have to love our enemies. It’s the only way to grasp the whole picture. It’s the only way to learn to love the other side of our soul.” – Found in his book Simplicity
When you do, you should find that even though you may disagree on some things, that person probably isn’t the poo-poo head you thought they were (and they’ll probably discover that you’re not the poo-poo head they thought you were). Surely this is an important, first step for all of us, as hard as it may be.
Worth noting here is that if you are thinking, “Yeah! Those people over there should be more loving because they’re jerks who think they’re right all the time!”, I’d encourage you to stop, take a breath, and simply ask God to help you be more loving. This applies equally to everyone, no matter where one falls on the spectrum.
For example, my neighbours go to a church that definitely teaches a different posture towards LGBTQ inclusion than I hold. And I snow blow their driveway and they cut my grass and we share cucumbers from the garden and my kids pet their dog and their grandchildren use our swing set. As mundane as that sounds, I believe that it’s actually quite important.
Rather than seeing people who disagree with me as enemies, I learn to see them as sisters and brothers and worthy of love. St. Francis said, “This is why I call my enemies my friends. Because they have taught me that I don’t yet know how to love.”
And if you can’t find people who think differently than you to love, I know of a certain church where people who disagree on a whole lot of things can still sit in the same pew and try to love God and the world together.
**A note about loving – Most of us find that actions speak louder than words. So if you feel you have to declare that you’re being loving, but the people you’re declaring love to don’t feel very loved, you most likely need to find a better (and probably quieter) way of loving. Like cutting their grass. Or bringing them wine. It would kind of be like me declaring how I’m not racist, but my black neighbours actually think I am a racist. Seems a bit funny, eh?**
2) Remember this poem:
It grieves me to hear
men in the afternoon
of life wrangling like
it’s the morning.
There are sixty year
old men still booming
over the inerrancy of
scripture instead of
growing quieter and
quieter, learning the
verses of bird song.
(author unknown to me)
Why this poem? Because as soon as we’ve learned to grow quiet and quieter, learning the verses of bird song, “we no longer need to change or adjust other people to be happy ourselves. Ironically, we are more than ever before in a position to change people – but we do not need to – and that makes all the difference. We have moved from doing to being to an utterly new kind of doing that flows almost organically, quietly, and by osmosis. Our actions are less compulsive. We do what we are called to do, and then try to let go of the consequences. We usually cannot do this very well when we are young.” – Richard Rohr in Falling Upward (At this point, definitely feel free to call me a hypocrite, as I am not very good at getting quieter and quieter and learning the verses of bird song.)
So, in conclusion, it is quite understandable why one’s posture towards sexual minorities is the new orthodoxy test. Everyone involved feels that the stakes are quite high. And I would agree.
But maybe, of all the responses that we’re capable of, we should start by always remember to be loving (especially to those who are different than us), and grow quieter so we can learn the verses of bird song.
Thanks for following along!
And happy Pride Week everyone!
PS – I heard the first Pride Parade was a riot!