If we compare the incredible faith of LGBT people who desperately want into the church – people who ache to worship God, to contribute to Christian community, to invite others in – versus those who use their power and status to make sure faithful LBGTQ people remain outside of Christian fellowship, which group is doing the will of our Lord?
At the age of twenty, I had all the answers. I remember judging a family member’s addiction, a classmate’s smoking problem, and being shocked that an unmarried girl in our program got pregnant. She was quickly expelled. It was the only right thing to do.
In those days, grace was cut and dried.
I long for the Church to echo the words of Christ, who said, “Come to me, tired ones. Come to me in your dysfunction. Come to me with your disappointment. Come to me and bring your exhaustion with you. Come to me without production or pretense and rest.”
I just knew the Henchmen of Heaven would come and steal me away in the middle of the night as a thirteen-year-old and damn me to eternal punishment early because I’d said “shit” or been caught lingering too long on the adult movie channels late at night at my grandparents’ house. Any 90’s boy knows exactly what I’m talking about: the high numbers on satellite, blurred out, with the fuzzy green and pink lines. Every once in awhile you could catch the shadow of a boob if you just stared hard enough.
I’m not called to have it all figured out. I’m not called to have wise words or answers or certainty. I’m called to use what I have, my weaknesses, for the benefit of people around me.
For me, I often find myself writing more when I’m more keenly aware of my depression.
The moments where it’s harder to pick myself up, when I’m fighting the hardest against the lies of my head, these moments are usually followed by moments when I feel like what I’m writing is worthwhile. In my hardest times, I know what I need to hear. And if I truly believe that you’re not alone in your struggles, then I must believe it for myself as well. This means that the things I need to hear are probably things that someone else needs to hear too.
Maybe in my weakest moments, I’m the most useful for God because I know I can’t do it.
I was privileged to be a part of a very helpful (and hilarious chat with Robert Vore and Sarah Simmons from the #churchmh team, plus Kate Pieper, LMFT. If you struggle with the church’s role and response to those with mental health issues, this chat is definitely for you!
If your God is love but your church won’t accept the disenfranchised, those on the fringe, the forgotten, something doesn’t line up.
And as we continue to speak from a place of ignorance, our neighbors are drowning in confusion and judgment.
Maybe it’s time to loose the death grip on our precious moral stances and open our hands to those around us who are hurting and longing for love and acceptance. Now, more than ever, we should love the person in front of us. Lives are changed through relationship rather than rule-keeping. This is the essence of the message of Jesus.