Friday, October 18, 2013

"Welcoming Churches" and the BS Meter of Millennials: Valuable Statements from Spirit Day

Among the best statements I read yesterday in support of GLAAD's Spirit Day was an essay, "I've Got Spirit, and So Do You," by Glennon Melton at her Momastery blog. A significant excerpt:

G: Why do you write about gay people so often? Let it go. Move on. 
At the first Christian church service I ever attended– the preacher told us that the job of the Christian is to  find the oppressed and stand with them. He insisted that we wouldn’t have to look far, since oppressed people are all around us. He said that the oppressed are any group of people who society considers less than children of God. He said that we were all equal in God’s sight. I loved this message so much that I went back to church the following week. At the second service, the preacher discussed the church’s stance on gay people. I heard him suggest that this group of people simply living and loving as God made them to live and love were well -  just wrong. And so we should try to help fix them. 
And I thought, "Ah-hah. There’s some oppressed folks. The gays. Okay. I’m on it."  I never expected that then the church would say, "Oh, wait. Don’t stand with those oppressed people. Those aren’t the ones we were talking about. How ‘bout these instead?"

Which makes me think of what Steve McSwain wrote this week at Huffington Post about why nobody wants to go to church anymore:

You cannot say, "Everybody is welcome here if, by that, you really mean, so long as you're like the rest of us, straight and in a traditional family." 
In the words of Rachel Evans, a millennial herself and a blogger for CNN, "Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters."

Which makes me think of what Bob Shine posted about Spirit Day at New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog yesterday. He says,

Fear, hurt, and isolation persist for many LGBT Catholics who experienced decades of damaging language and actions. Pope Francis, though, has prompted a spirit of renewal that blows through our communities which demands that we act against anti-gay discrimination, especially when it targets youth.

And that statement, in turn, makes me think about a story I've just read from my own community, regarding the firing of a teacher at a local Catholic school after she married her same-sex partner--about which I'll blog in a separate posting. As long as these kinds of stories from Catholic institutions continue to hit the news on a regular basis, LGBT Catholics with any self respect will continue to feel "fear, hurt, and isolation," no matter what the new pope says about not judging those who are gay.

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