Shortly before I finished college, I started doing consulting work for churches, helping them to see how their structure, polity, and communication style created an atmosphere that either welcomed or repelled people. One of the recurrent questions I was asked was, “What about the homosexuals?” For me, the question was meaningful, but the way it is framed can give a lot of insight to where people are personally and spiritually. Not everyone shared my “open-mined” opinion. That was fine with me, since I continue to believe that the Church needs a balance of conservative and progressive voices to help it stay accountable. But what I found was that the question came with backstories. Things always got messy or “complicated” because people had personal investments and spiritual opinions, very much like I did. Even where and when we disagreed, I reminded myself that we are all God’s children. Sometimes, reminding myself of this was the only way I could continue to work with them!
The question always came back to my friends, my family, and a 2006 interview with Bishop Gene Robinson in GQ magazine. After my dad remarried, we found out my stepsister was gay. Funnily enough, after my mom remarried, we found out my stepfather was gay too. But I could not continue to see the people in my life as a “concern” that needed to be discussed over and again, nor could I continue shamefully telling my friends that they “might not like” going to the churches I was working for. In 2006, whatever lingering question I had was dispelled entirely when I read about Bishop Gene Robinson, a man who so clearly loved God and the Church that it made me ashamed my heart was not as full as his. I have never questioned or doubted where I stood since then, though one thing remains the same – I maintain that the Church needs the kind of balance that comes with differing opinions.
Today, I still don’t have a solution. I have my opinions. I have my story. I can tell you how I see and understand scripture. And I know I still have a long way to go until I feel my heart is as full as it should be. I’m a part of OneTable to continue hearing all sides of this conversation, allowing my heart to grow as much as possible each time, believing (perhaps too idealistically) that we will one day come to unity of the faith.