First of all, to all my beautiful, magnificent, courageous Queer friends made in the image of the Divine… HAPPY PRIDE!!! I’m so honoured and grateful to celebrate alongside you today, and every day!
Now onto the rest of you…
Pride probably isn’t a happy time for you. Chances are most of you are still wrestling with the thought of choosing between faithfulness to Jesus and being kind and affirming to Queer people.
That may sound snarky, but it isn’t really meant that way. Truth is, I’ve been there, and not that long ago really.
If you are like me, you probably lived a lifetime of being sheltered from LGBTQ2S matters and people.
If you are like me, you’ve probably been taught with full certainty and no nuance or grace that “homosexuality is a sin”.
If you are like me, you probably were told that being gay is a choice.
If you are like me, you’ve most likely heard that sodom was destroyed because of all the homosexuals present there.
If you are like me, you’ve probably heard a time or two that you can “love the sinner, hate the sin”.
If you are like me, you probably are super fucking tired of trying to make the Jesus of the gospels fit into a narrative that sees queer people as non compatible if they “live that lifestyle”.
Take a deep breathe.
If you follow Jesus, then I’ve got good news for you… (which in fact is actually good news for everyone whether man, woman, other, straight, queer, atheist, Muslim, Republican or Democrat).
Jesus has set a place at HIS table for you. This isn’t my table, or evangelical Christianity’s table, or Donald Trump’s table, or literally anyone else’s table.
Jesus decides the invite list, and you are on it.
You aren’t invited to confess, or change, or hide, or lie… you are invited to just show up. Literally whoever and however you are. After you’ve encountered Jesus, radical things will happen, but most likely not connected to your gender or sexuality!
Let me make it abundantly clear that I believe that Queer people are FULLY INVITED TO JESUS’ TABLE AS THEY ARE, no exceptions.
Let me also make it clear, that Jesus also invites those who don’t know how to reconcile those two worlds, and as a result you’ve found it easier to just stay with the status quo of being not “homophobic”, but just distanced and blissfully unaware of the pain experienced by some of your fellow human’s at the table.
The issue I see, is that until you let go of that apathy and exhaustion in the area of queerness, you won’t ever be able to accept that invitation to Jesus’ table…
… I mean, you are sitting at a table, and it looks almost identical to the table Jesus has built, but it’s just not the same.
There are no queer people at that table.
None. (Well maybe a few, but they are probably hiding, and filled with shame)
Nor should they be.
What’s one of the most common things people say to others in abusive relationships? RUN!
That’s healthy advice.
So when a large subset of Christianity tries to build a table that looks like Jesus’ table, and focuses on the table rather than the presence of Jesus, and all the diversity that is evident in the community of Jesus… it’s just a table.
So, as I celebrate with my Queer friends today and every day, it’s at a table that is now unrecognizable, because it’s in the wilderness, not in the walls of a church. It includes all sorts of diversity, and a wide rainbow looking sort of conglomeration of people from all walks of life.
Oh, and Jesus is here. Not white conservative Jesus, but the radical middle eastern Jewish carpenter who built a humble table in the wilderness with no limits to the spots reserved for those who want to find love and acceptance.
It’s going to hurt like hell to leave the table you currently sit at, but let me tell you, it is so worth it, not only to be with Jesus, but to learn about the image of the Divine that we can see in all of our neighbours.
Jesus is waiting patiently. He is calling you to leave your preconceived notions of church, and faith, and humanity behind, and come experience what transformational love looks like on the margins.
Let me close by telling you a story about my first experience at Regina’s Pride Parade last year…
I carried a sign that says “God is your PROUD Father”. It is super colourful and glittery and something I believe so strongly in.
At first someone saw the word “God” from afar, and came up to confront me because they automatically assumed it said something hateful towards LGBTQ2S people… it didn’t, but I get it. When every message they hear from the church is “God loves you*” (*but you are only welcome if you hide your gayness) of course they’d assume the worst.
I had a few people look at the sign and tear up. One individual asked for a hug and while crying said “thank you! No one has ever told me that before.”
This is why I’m celebrating and advocating for this group of people. They believe, due to the words and actions of “Jesus’ closest friends” that God hates them or finds something wrong with them.
This is unacceptable.
This is actually evil.
The Bible doesn’t teach us this.
Jesus doesn’t teach us this.
So let’s do better. Let’s celebrate the diversity we can see in the image of God in creation.
Let’s leave our ignorance, hatred and apathy behind and start actually loving people. Not just with words, but in real and practical ways.
This literally saves lives, and when you choose to switch tables, you’ll find a freedom and incredibly loving God you never could see existed before you came to Jesus’ table.