Friday, February 23, 2007

Why We Do What We Do

Last evening was another reminder of why we, at CWM, do what we do.

Three of us travelled to Western Massachusetts for a panel discussion at Williams College hosted by the local Intervaristy Fellowship group. For those of you familiar with this national campus ministry, you might be surprised that CWM members were invited to talk about being queer and Christian. I certainly was.

Yet, it was clear that the Spirit of God was moving in and through this group of young people. Not satisfied with the presentation on reparative therapy at their national conference, some on the leadership team sought to expand the fellowship's understanding of sexuality through a panel discussion with queer Christians. For the past month they have worked hard with other campus groups including the Queer Student Union to get a good turn out. Far from the negative response I received when I broached this topic almost 15 years ago at this very same Williams Christian Fellowship, the students were both open and appreciative to our testimonies of faith.

Some were amazed that we even existed:

"Your community seems so different. Are there other churches that welcome queer people?"

Others were concerned for their friends:

"I have a friend who has given up on everything because he thinks God has already condemned him to hell for being gay. How can I help him?"

Still others were excited that there were Christians who were open and loving:

"A huge part of me has come to view Christians as judgmental...[but] I was completely blown away by a lot of the things you all said about Christian love, and the work you do is certainly a testament of that."

As a community of faith dedicated to proclaiming God's love with all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and straight persons, it is easy for us at times to forget that there are people out there who have never heard anyone say that it is okay to be both queer and Christian. There are Christians who have never heard anyone within the Church say that homosexuality is not a sin. There are queer youth who have never heard anyone tell them they are a Beloved child of God. There are queer Christians who never knew they had a place in the Church.

The stories we heard after the panel of struggle and pain and surprise are evidence that the work we do is important...not just in our gatherings inside the church walls each Sunday, but perhaps more importantly, in our living out and testifying to the gospel of love we have come to know.

As Kirk always says, "We have to be who we are in here, out there."

4 comments:

kirk said...

Dang. That sounds like an awesome day.

Tiffany said...

It was...more than a brief blog post can convey!

jimmorrow said...

Tiffany,

Is it okay that I still don't know how to take you? There is absolutely no offense intended here.

I am concerned about your deep focus on homosexuality, etc; however, without you and others with your heart, we may forever be a church that discriminates (before-race, now-homosexuality, later-what?).

How do you envision your ministry affecting other UMC's?

jimmorrow said...

I just re-read my comment. Please understand that I mean absolutely no disrespect. Absolutely none. I hope that you will see the spirit in which I ask my questions.