No, not to discuss the moral or legal sides, but to listen to someone who is struggling with a decision they made years ago, and to love them.
When’s the last time your church talked about what it means to be gay?
No, not to denounce the lifestyle, but to pause a moment and listen to someone hurt by the marginalization of a sibling who has come out as gay, and the impact it’s had on their family. Or to listen to someone in the LGBT community, to let them tell their story without judgment.
When’s the last time your church talked about doubt?
No, not as the opposite of faith. Not as a weakness, but as an experience all of us encounter at one time or another. Or live with.
Last Sunday at The Red, some of the folks who came out to the meeting shared their stories. And instead of judgment, or shocked stares, they were greeted with acceptance and encouragement. Some of them, for the first time, were able to talk about the circumstances in their life that bring the most pain. Henri Nouwen writes that:
Joy is hidden in compassion. The word compassion literally means “to suffer with.” It seems quite unlikely that suffering with another person would bring joy. Yet being with a person in pain, offering simple presence to someone in despair, sharing with a friend times of confusion and uncertainty … such experiences can bring us deep joy. Not happiness, not excitement, not great satisfaction, but the quiet joy of being there for someone else and living in deep solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this human family. Often this is a solidarity in weakness, in brokenness, in woundedness, but it leads us to the center of joy, which is sharing our humanity with others.
Pain that goes unshared leads to death. Pain let out into the open can lead to healing.
When’s the last time your church or community of friends let pain or confusion out into the open?