St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Friday, February 18
Why do we care about LGBTQ “issues? (because we care about people
Why is this an issue for me?
Because I have known gay and lesbian Christians all my life. At the Nazarene Seminary in the late 1970’s a wonderfully bright, thoughtful student and friend married a woman, knowing he was gay but not daring to acknowledge it. The marriage didn’t last. She couldn’t handle it, of course. He eventually walked away from all forms of Christian ministry and service – being labeled, “unacceptable” because of his sexuality and then, his divorce.
I continue to see gay young people encouraged to marry heterosexually in order to control or “cure” their gayness. It happened to a young couple who graduated with Minda. The young person’s sexuality was known, including by the marriage partner and professors. That marriage didn’t last either. And the spouse is devastated. Children are hurt. And friends are hurt, too.
We have got to do better. It matters to me – but it needs to matter to us all.
Let’s help people quit erasing LGBTQ reality within the church.
And let’s prevent those divorces by helping our young people know themselves as beloved by God and by us as they are before they enter into a heterosexual marriage – which isn’t designed to “fix” anybody, anyway. Cathy+
If any of you want to come this afternoon after 3:00 through early evening to help make POSITIVE posters, we will be at church with poster paper and markers. There will be cookies. And music.
Tomorrow morning at 8:30am people will gather on the sidewalks only in front of Southern Hills or on the sidewalk across the street. Do not walk, stand or park on Church property or parking lot.
There will be no hostile, angry, or negative posters or behavior – nothing that is in any way directed at the Christians who will be gathering there. We are determined to simply support LGBTQ persons who are marginalized and whose faith is deemed no-faith by those who understand scripture, tradition, reason, science and experience differently than Episcopalians do. We will probably not stay long; it isn’t necessary. We don’t want to make a scene – but we do want to make a space.
There are plenty of people in this town who agree with us -but who have expressed fear of saying so out loud. We’d like to be empathetic to them as well as to those who are hurt by the church’s silence. No blame.
We sometimes say the Episcopal Church is a “best kept secret.”
Let’s bag the “secret” part.
“There will be cookies…”
If you follow the Christian music scene, you may know Grace Semler Baldrige. Her album, Preacher’s Kid, was at the top of the charts a year ago. She performs as Semler – and she’s an Episcopalian. Her dad is an Episcopal priest; she found acceptance at home, but not so much at Christian camps, and definitely not when she encountered Evangelical Christians at school or in Young Life gatherings.
It is telling that young Christians across the spectrum of sexual identity and Christian denomination have embraced her and her music. She is honest about both her Christian faith commitment and her lesbian identity. If you don’t know her – look her up.
“Well, there’s no division in me. It’s not that I’m queer and then I’m Christian. I’m a whole person in Christ and I’m also queer. And I think that, writing Preacher’s Kid, this is a Christian record. Just because there are certain people, certain gatekeepers in this industry, who would never acknowledge who I am, and that my story is valid, doesn’t make that true. I’m here. I have a lived Christian experience. My faith is deeply important to me. There’s a pluralism of beliefs within Christianity, within that umbrella and we know that to be true. But yet, within the genre of music, of Christian music, it’s just so homogenous. “While many unaffirming gay evangelical celebrities tend to talk about their sexuality as a burden, a thorn in their flesh, or as something to be overcome, Semler approaches her sexuality with gratitude.
In the song “Thank God for That,” she sings, “But have no fear and have some hope, for the one who made you loves you the most. Every bone in you is a heavenly host. Praise the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.”