A Long, Long Way Back to Nashville

(Content Warning for mentions of homophobia, transphobia, sexism, etc.)

(This post is gonna come with some song recommendations because this’ll be an intense post: https://open.spotify.com/user/1226783215/playlist/4GfdkGzK4U5xI0bhDclAL0 )

Alright, settle in my friends. First come the facts and then come the feelings. I’m going to attempt to write about the Nashville Statement. In case you’re wondering what that is or want some context for what I’ll be discussing, here’s the link to the statement: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/

Here also are some links for statements that oppose the Nashville Statement that are amazing and affirming:

http://www.theliturgists.com/statement

http://www.christiansunitedstatement.org/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2017/08/the-denver-statement/

Anyway, now I’ve given you some reading. If you grew up in fundamentalism, you’re perhaps familiar with the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. If you are, I am so sorry. The Nashville Statement was released just yesterday and yet already the impact of it has been felt amongst those of us who are LGBTQ+ Christians. We saw a lot of groups affirming us in our faith and humanity.

But we also saw the worst of evangelicalism as many leaders of the faith such as John Piper and Francis Chan signed a statement saying we did not belong in the Church. That we did not belong. I’m still mad as hell but trying to channel that in a positive direction towards affirming my queer siblings in the faith. Yes, you belong. Yes, you are children of God. Yes, you are loved and beloved and Jesus sees you and loves you as you are.

Not only did this statement tell me that I do not belong because I am gay they told me that my faith wasn’t real. That my gender identity wasn’t biblical. Or whatever the fuck that means.

You know what statements and creeds dictate who’s a part of the Christian faith? Not this one. This one was written by predominantly straight white cisgender men who see this as their assertion of doctrine and they couldn’t give a fuck about how destructive their position is. However, if you read the Nicene Creed or the Apostle’s Creed, you’ll see that there’s no mention of sexuality or gender identity as a stipulation for being a follower of Christ.

Being a follower and believer of Christ is what makes us a part of the Christian faith. That may look differently lived out for some, but ultimately, we’re Christians because ya know, that Jesus guy came to earth as God in the flesh–God with us–and walked among us. And loved the least of these, the outcasts, the outsiders. And told us we were loved and belong.

I’d be lying if I said this whole Nashville thing didn’t rattle me a bit. Even though I know this is bigotry on display publicly. Even though I know it shouldn’t matter because I know my faith is real, it still hurts.

I don’t really know what else to say. I But I have a lot of feelings. I want to protect and defend my LGBT siblings. I want to fight for y’all. And I will fight for y’all. You know how Jesus said to pray for your enemies? That’s where I’m at. Several men who signed this statement were my professors. One is the president of the seminary I attended.

Except…the enemies are also a part of the body of Christ. They were supposed to be family. But they’ve decided we don’t all belong in the family and are trying to kick us out. Again. We’re family. Except it feels more like they built a wall to keep us out. It’s not that they haven’t done this before. But it seems like they drew a line in the sand and closed the door to any hope of change (I know…too many metaphors; sorry). It feels like they’re declared war and have set themselves up as the good guys. And to them, we’re the bad guys.

Let me tell you what I know, in closing. God is for us. God. Is. For. You. Yes, you.

“So what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us–who was raised to life for us!–is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us…

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” ~ Romans 8:31-39cropped-christmas-jeremiah-ethiopia-032.jpg

Go in peace knowing Jesus has embraced you and that nothing can separate you from God’s love.

 

 

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