To participate in God’s Kingdom of peace, justice and reconciliation I must come to recognize and care for those marginalized and oppressed in our society. It is critical that this understanding includes awareness of unjust systems that have historically been ingrained into that society. Part of my journey has also been to recognize the ways groups and institutions that I identify with have used their authority to oppress people for centuries. By claiming the Christian church and its story, I must acknowledge and take responsibility for the suffering and pain they have caused the LGBTQ community. The Church has instilled in its people feelings of disgust, disapproval, and wrongness toward LGBTQ individuals. As a result, gay adolescents live in fear of accepting their identity and the hate of the church ingrains itself in these children. They are left feeling confused; assuming they were hardwired wrong and that they must live single and celibate lives in order to possibly be loved by God or community. It is no wonder that these adolescents are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicide. The expectations and pressures of society, the church, peers, and families – in addition to one’s own self-hate and confusion – becomes too much to bare.
Human beings should not be made to feel that they are “unacceptable” at their core. I am confident that there is a place for all people regardless of sexual orientation to participate fully in God’s Kingdom. I also do not believe this participation requires reparation therapy or celibacy, and that it is equally glorifying when two men or two women commit their lives together to God and the purposes of His Kingdom.
I choose to participate in OneTable in order to help offer a corrective to the hurt my institution has created, and to promote reconciliation between the gay and Christian communities. The best place to begin is through honest conversation; where with time, people of different walks regain their humanness. My hope is to do what I can to show that all people have been created in goodness and that to be LGBTQ is good.