Can we really live with that…
Watching the Methodist Church go through recent plans to divide over welcoming queer people in the full work and worship of the church reminds a lot of us of our own struggle in the PCUSA. That is bad enough to remember but to remember the root cause of it all is worse. Much worse. According to enough people to split a church, queer people are an aberration and do not belong in their places of worship, unless willing to change to be, well, like them. In other words, “We reject you, because God rejects you.”
It doesn’t matter that a split is proposed to address “the issue” – it matters that we haven’t figured out how to accept others in ways that keep us together, modeling for one another and the world the inclusive love of God. Trust me, I know every argument used to rationalize actions of division; every way that scriptures are twisted to give credibility to those who reject others because they are LGBTQ+. And they are wrong. Whether they agree with that or not, I know it is true. And what they are doing is terribly harmful and dangerous: rejecting others in God’s name has a profound impact on people in enormous ways. The impact of such actions, themselves, should be enough to change hearts and minds.
This is about more than one denomination’s polity or structure, this is about our failure in bringing God’s love to all.
We try, but something stops us from going “too far” in welcoming. The PCUSA offered a minimal apology for those in the gay community “who might have been harmed by the church; that it was never the church’s intention to do so.” That’s hard to write and hard to read.
As institutions do, we and others prove again that without a dislocation of comfort – there is no courage. The PCUSA missed our chance for courage as a denomination to acknowledge the harms we have done to the LGBTQ+ Community; clearly state that we were wrong; and that we are determined to change, even in the face of opposition. We failed to lead.
It this was just a game of institutional chess, who care? However, the impact of religious institutions’ failures in the way our queer community is welcomed; how we accept our prophetic role in bringing that message to the world — that failure means queer kids die, believing they are rejected and worse, unloved by God.
Can we really live with that.?
It seems so… again.
Ray Bagnuolo, 01.07.20