The last couple of weeks have been filled with news around questions of sexuality. Exodus International made an announcement with Alan Chambers issuing an apology. The Supreme Court overturned DOMA and with that act opened doors to extend rights to same sex partners. For those advocating for gay rights, these have been welcome pieces of news. And I am one of those who has been paying attention to what is going on out there.
But there is also something going on right here.
This past Sunday in my little congregation worshipping at the buckle of the Bible belt, I had the joy of sharing our congregation's new welcome statement. And this is what it says:
We are a church that believes in welcoming all people
into a journey of faith where we share questions, discoveries and conversation.
This means you are welcome regardless of…
your economic status
your political association
your sexual orientation
your skin color
your faith background
your cultural heritage
your relationship status.
Whether you think you have all of the answers
or none of the answers…
whether you are certain that God calls us
into a diverse and
inclusive faith community or are still wondering…
if you are willing to come to the table and welcome others as they welcome you,
if you are willing to continue to seek and grow in faith and understanding,
if you are willing to celebrate the common bond we have in Christ
regardless of our differences…
then you are welcome.
The news items are real and they are important. But what is also important is that there are real people facing and talking about their real questions and discoveries. What is important is that there are communities that are embracing people, sometimes (as is true for some of our members) even in the midst of their questions and uncertainties...but embracing people and engaging the conversation. What is important is that in a small congregation, in a primarily conservative Christian town, two women and their daughter walked forward at the invitation on Sunday and joined the church as a family.
This wasn't in your news, but it's a headline in my life.