Why I’m Still a Gay Christian – from Rev. Welch

 

Dear Friends and Members of the United Church of Norman-UCC

Adam Lee, a columnists asks this question: ” Why on earth do you still consider yourselves Christian? What attachment do you have to a faith that’s treated you and your loved ones with suspicion, hostility and contempt at every turn?”

He asks those of us who are gay and Christian as well as those who are supportive and still remain in the church. An easy answer would be that I never experienced church like that, this was not the Christianity presented to me as a kid.

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church USA. I won’t say that they were as inclusive in the early 90’s when I first came out. But as a kid, the Gospel, as they presented, was about God’s love and inclusion. They were not places to hear about hell and judgement, but rather God’s acceptance. As such I did not grow up with self loathing. Nor where there barriers, in myself, or in the church, when I sought to reconcile my sexual orientation and my faith.

Of course that doesn’t answer the question for other conservative denominations that have not moved on this issue. As Adam Lee as asks “Wouldn’t it be easier just to be an atheist? You’re enormously less likely to face institutional resistance or discrimination.” I can’t speak for them, but I’m going to guess beyond the fight or flight reaction, there are other reasons for staying.

For one, we could believe in the reality of God. We could have had personal experiences or could be persuaded by philosophic arguments. But even as we wish the church was more LGBT inclusive, being an atheist is not on the horizon for many. It could be that most of our experiences outside of this issue have been positive. The liturgy, worship, the relations in the life of the community. The intellectual and practical resources of the Christian tradition that connects with us.

It takes a lack of imagination to find it hard to believe that there are LGBT folks who remain in the church even as they fight for acceptance. Folks are multidimensional and no area of life captures the whole of us. Anyone who joins or leaves the church, becomes an atheist or a theist, or changes religions has had a preponderance of events, reasons, that added up over time, well before the decision was made.

That kind of imagination or what Henry Nelson Wieman calls “appreciative awareness” of the other is needed more than ever as we ask folks to consider these issues from another perspective, to change policies, to move to greater levels of acceptance. It’s the basic ingredient in interfaith dialog, in getting theists and atheists to understand each other, in crossing any kind of divides that mark our society.

Nurturing this in whatever context we find ourselves in, whatever our beliefs and background, will be key to the many issues we face in the 21st century.

Blessings,

Rev. Dwight Welch

 

 

Adult Education

Rev. Peter Sawtell

The Rev. Peter Sawtell, a UCC minister and speaker at the Oklahoma Council of Church’s Day at the Legislature will be leading our Conversation Sunday March 5th at 9:45 a.m over a shared potluck. His topic will be on the church and eco justice. Join us for the presentation and discussion.

As the executive director of Eco-Justice Ministries since 2000, Rev. Peter Sawtell has stressed the need for Christian churches to dig deeply into their faith and ethics in this time of deepening ecological crisis. Eco-Justice Ministries has brought this message to hundreds of congregations and thousands of church leaders in the Rocky Mountain region, nationally and internationally. Peter has been a keynote speaker and workshop leader at ecumenical and denominational conferences across the United States, and was invited to southern Germany in 2014 for a 10-day speaking tour on environmental ministries. He is widely known for his weekly email commentary, Eco-Justice Notes, which addresses current issues of environmental justice from the perspective of Christian theology and pastoral ministry. Peter is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and has been one of the denominations most prominent and persistent environmental leaders

 

Chris Carter

February 19, and 26th Chris Carter is leading adult ed at 9:30 as we watch and discuss the PBS series from Jesus to Christ. A history of early Christian origins.

Book Club Febuary 27th

We’re discussing chapters 6 and 7 of Listen Liberal at Nancy Logan’s home 3200 Summit Bend at 7pm.

 

 

Food and Shelter Needs

Resident and Shelter Needs include soap, cleaning supplies, furniture, diapers. Kitchen Needs are dry sealed foods. Care Packets for the homeless include deodorant, self care products, snack foods

 

 

A New Recycling Box

Given the number of paper products we use for our morning gatherings and conversation box the Social Justice committee has set up a recycling box to discard those items. Look for it on Sundays!