I imagine Jesus is doing a lot of sighing this morning. The Nashville Statement. Several evangelical leaders–President of the seminary I attended among them–so narrowly defining marriage, that not even my husband and I would be considered married in the eyes of their God. (Procreation is given as one of the purposes of marriage. That’s never been an option for us.) They have drafted a statement–14 articles long, plus a lengthy preamble–excluding from the church large numbers of people because their sexual orientation or gender identity does not conform to a rigid, binary understanding of sexuality or gender. Excluding people from the kindom of God because they don’t understand them.
A trans woman in our congregation grew up in church in the South, but now practices as a pagan. One Sunday during prayer time, she said, “If I had had a church like this one when I was growing up, I would still be Christian.” Because of the way the church treated her when they learned of her true self, because of statements like the one issued yesterday by evangelical leaders, that person has given up on Christianity. Is it any wonder?
The Jesus I know, the Christianity I practice, is inclusive. The meme where Jesus says, “What part of ‘love your neighbor’ aren’t you getting?” sums it up. “Love your neighbor.” At Pilgrimage, we talk about love in terms of “acting each other into wellbeing.” Acting someone into wellbeing begins with accepting that person for who God has created them to be. As the t-shirt worn by a person to whom I served lunch yesterday at MUST declared: “God made me.” The statement was underlined by a rainbow. Exactly.
If you are looking for a community of Jesus’ followers that truly seeks to follow Jesus, the one who rejected no one, the one who welcomed anyone–anyone–to the table, the one most concerned with how we treat the least of these, I invite you to join us any Sunday morning at Pilgrimage UCC. You will be welcomed. You will be challenged to live the faith of Jesus with integrity and inclusion. You will experience the expansive, radical love of God.
Come Sunday. We’ve got a seat reserved just for you.