I recently heard the following quote from someone very involved in LGBT issues in the church, and it just didn’t sit right with me. Here is the quote:
“The gay issue, the issue which is the issue du jour, is distracting us from what we really need to be about. And the only reason I’m focused on it is that I want to help the mainline churches get beyond their impasse, so that we really can get on to the things that matter.”
I guess the part of the quote that bothers me is the implication that “the gay issue” is not one of “things that matter.” That, this group of people who are struggling for belonging and recognition of the church, present merely a stumbling block, or an impasse that the church needs to be able to “get beyond” or deal with, and then…then the church will be able to get to the things that “really” matter.
I would argue that the question about belonging, membership and ordination are exactly part of the “things that matter” for the church – for these are issues about humanity and the dehumanizing of one’s humanity. These are issues of calling, and about one group trying to limit and/or negate the calling of LGBT Christians to the ministry to which God has called them. These are issues about our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters desiring to life full lives, whole lives – and being denied by Christians.
I too hope that one day these will not be questions that are still being asked. Just as the church [certain parts of it] realized it was wrong about slavery, that it was wrong about the question of women in ministry, I hope the church will be able to get past these questions, and start allowing the church to be a place where all may freely serve. So, yes – I too do hope that the church will get beyond these questions – but, when the church is creating possibilities for dehumanization – that, I would argue, is most certainly one of the “things that matter.”