A Liturgists Statement

 

God is love

August 29, 2017

As floodwaters still rise in Houston, many prominent Christian leaders released the Nashville Statement. This document released a flood of its own, only this time instead of homes flooded with water, it was hearts flooded with grief. Yet again, powerful people of means use the platform of the Church to demean the basic dignity of gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, intersex, and queer people.

This isn’t new. “Biblical” morality has been used to justify slavery, resistance to interracial marriage, genocide, and war. The scope of the Bible’s narrative allows a broad interpretation of what is right and moral, and both the church and society at large have moved toward universal justice and acceptance on issues once thought to be “crystal clear.”

In regards to Christians across the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities, it’s past time to accept and affirm them as they are. In the same way that we no longer accept the morality of slavery based on its inclusion in our scriptures, we can no longer project first century notions of sex and sexuality on people today. The very notion of “orientation,” or even “heterosexual” would be completely foreign to the authors of both the old and new testaments in the Bible.

We understand that many of the people on the other side of this debate are loving Christians who really are trying to do and believe what's right–people who are also God's children, beloved and holy. However, this is a time that truth must be spoken to oppressive power systems. For far too long, the Christian Church has oppressed and marginalized people because of their gender and/or sexual orientation.

Personal beliefs about human sexuality have life-or-death consequences in our world. The social and systemic persecution of LGBTQ people creates real harm: limited and lost employment, physical assault, discrimination, depression, and suicide. This is not of God.

So, while we expect a flood of statements in response to the Nashville Statement, we the undersigned wanted to add our voice to the chorus of Christians affirming LGBTQ folks–including the Christians among them.

We believe that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are fearfully and wonderfully made, holy before God, beloved and beautiful as they are.

We believe all people have full autonomy over their bodies, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and the diversity of identities reflects the creative power of a loving God.

We believe that God is love, and that ‘anyone who loves is born of God and knows God’. (I John 4:7) God is honored in any consenting and loving relationship between adults, and therefore, all such relationships deserve honor and recognition.

We believe that same-sex relationships and marriages are as holy before God as heterosexual marriages.

We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ folks, and commit to standing alongside them in the work of resisting those who persecute them.

We don't believe LGBTQ folks need our approval or affirmation–they are affirmed first and foremost by God. This statement acts as a concreted record of solidarity.

For those of us who haven’t always been affirming, we repent of how our beliefs and actions caused harm in the lives of LGBTQ people. We also stand ready to welcome other people into repentance as their eyes are opened to the injustice caused by non-affirming theologies.

We don’t claim righteousness or moral superiority over non-affirming people. Our hearts have been broken by our own actions most of all.

May Christ’s love and mercy redeem us all,

PS- We encourage you to consider a donation to these LGBTQ Christian Organizations:

FaithfullyLGBT
The Reformation Project
Nomad Partnerships
The Gay Christian Network