Amy, thank you for sharing this all with me. If it isn’t clear already, I’m still very new to much of the LGBT history, especially within the Church. I think, like many social issues in the past, the Church as a whole has committed many sins towards those who identify as “other,” in this case as LGBT or as allies. It is a sad truth that often the Church as a whole has been written off because of the views of a majority or a judgmental minority, including pastors who would consider AIDS as a punishment — We are loved by a God who has redeemed us, and it is not in His character to send brimstone and fire, even if that belief is screamed the loudest from the podiums of our churches.
God is Love. Often, perhaps too often, people are reminded of tough love, of the punishments of a father when his children misbehave, and surely our God has a record of fatherly tough love — just look at His chosen people in their very long walk with Him. But that God is the same as our God, and those actions have reasonings and stories and so much more beyond what we can come to terms with; yet today, and every day since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has not sent a plague, a crevasse to swallow us, or an Angel of Death to take our firstborn. He has not struck down those who might desecrate His temple, nor has He required burnt offerings and sacrifices as He did of the Levites.
Our God is Love, and His son is Love Incarnate. Jesus created spaces, often through subtle social revolution. He spoke to women with love. He spoke to lepers with grace. He broke bread with Zaccheus and with Matthew and with Mary and Martha and He held a conversation with the Samaritan woman, and all of these people were “other.”
To be like Christ is to create space for the “other.” These spaces are becoming more and more common, and I truly hope I didn’t undersell their availability, even here in Arkansas. I have no words to offer except my own — we must build bridges wherever we are, even in a desert, even when we are “other.”
Thanks so much for reading what I had to write, and for receiving a part of my heart in the process. May God bless and keep you.