My grandmother lived as a widow for many years in a small Arkansas town. She significantly outlived her husband and many of her friends, and consequently life got lonelier as she aged which often happens to the elderly. Every day my grandmother would call a few other widows in the town to talk, see how everyone was doing, and pass the time.
In that same town lived a florist, and one day he decided to take the widows of the town for an outing, and the widow-wagon was born. The florist, who was gay, took the elderly ladies out several weekends a year. It led to many stories. After an evening concert my grandmother said I cannot see, and my friend who went with me can’t hear, but between the two of us we saw quite a show! We were grateful for the witness.
As a pastor, several families in my churches have been gay and living in committed relationships. One couple in particular stands out. They adopted special needs children and gave them a loving home that I do not know could have come to these kids any other way. They never said anything about being gay. They just lived a life that was easy to see God use. Every time their kids hugged me I smiled.
Sometimes before speaking I will try and check myself. Verses are easy to quote and conclusions easy to make until calling to mind people and stories I have known. The stories are humbling because they remind me that convictions should be shaped by real people, and the honesty of what I have seen is that God uses the love and lives of people who are gay to accomplish God’s good and perfect plan. It is difficult for me to listen to conservative pastors deriding the Supreme Court decision while not acknowledging the witness lived in their midst.
For now, my prayer is that Jesus’ church might continue to get along in spite of disagreement. Schism only weakens our witness. In our history;
The church has split over types of baptism.
The church has divided over who can participate in Holy Communion.
The church in America tore itself in two over slavery.
The church hemorrhaged over race.
The church is divided over the role of women in church.
I hear the voices that quote Matthew 19:4, where Jesus says “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? I also hear the voices quoting Acts 10:15 “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
For now, I pray we let local churches and pastors make their own decision regarding marriage but not let this split our church. Personally, I believe there are many people who were gay in heaven. If God can bring us together beyond, can we not imitate His Kingdom here?
(thanks for reading, please feel free to comment and share)