from last year's march at the courthouse

One of the things I have learned from the welcoming and affirming movement is that liberation is for everybody.  The movement was started as a way of fully celebrating and including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the church.  After generations of exclusion, derision, and violence at the hands of religion, many religious communities have evolved into a deeper understanding and inclusion of members of every sexual orientation and identity.  It is often difficult to put this into words, but, as a straight man, I have found myself more free, more liberated, and more honest by living and working in a community that welcomes all.

It reminds me a bit of Dr. King mentioning that the Civil Rights Movement was for white people, too.  When one person is treated with dignity, all of us can raise our heads a little higher.  For ten years I have been proud to be in a church that not only welcomes all on Sunday morning, but actively works for equal civil rights in every other area of society.

This Sunday we’ll revisit one of the sermons that evokes the ongoing struggle for justice in the church and the larger community.  If you’re like me, then your heart may jump to consider all of the progress we’ve made; it may also be brought a bit low by how much work we still have to do.  For in my time at Covenant we have celebrated same gender weddings and also mourned the victims of hate crimes at community vigils.  We have been served communion by gay deacons and also been turned away from the courthouse with those applying for county marriage licenses.  We have proclaimed a gospel of love for every person and also listened to our politicians continually pander to fear and prejudice.

It makes me wonder this week about what’s next.  I won’t be with Covenant in the years to come.  I will be doing equally inclusive work in Charleston.  But the relevant questions for the Covenant community are:  What are the next steps for us to take in public witness?  How will the circle of beloved community be widened?  Who may not feel fully included and how might we make room for him or her?  Where can we push our thinking beyond the easy confines of cultural liberalism to the radical free space of liberation theology?  Where does Covenant go from here on the welcoming and affirming path?

I invite you to join in the conversation.  Let’s consider the questions together as we move toward Sunday.

With aloha,

J

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