“God and Gays just don’t mix” is a common phrase heard in religious circles, but it is quickly becoming a phrase that is as outdated as leisure suits. And in a southern gay mecca like Atlanta, gays and God couldn’t be happier together.
There are several faiths in the metro Atlanta area that not only welcome LGBTQQ members into their fold, but they affirm, love and support them. Faith groups have developed class offerings specific to what their faith teaches about God’s views on homosexuality and God’s views on heterosexuality, and the bottom line is that God is love… period. They also have made it their mission to show their love and support of the community, not just during gay pride by handing out water on the parade route, but all year long by ministering to homosexual families and welcoming and affirming transgendered in their journey to make their bodies match who they are inside.
While there remain some who still feel it is God’s calling to stand in judgment by posting signs, protesting during pride events, funerals and other public displays, there are literally thousands in Atlanta’s community that stand for love, acceptance and affirmation. Many of the gay media print lists of houses of worship that welcome and love their homosexual members.
Rev. Julie Brown, a Disciples of Christ minister in Louisville, KY had this to say about why she stands with LGBTQQ folks:
“I stand with them because there is a whole lot in this world I will never understand, but I do understand that it is never okay to judge someone outside the love of God. Ever.
I stand with them because I know the hearts of some of them and they are hearts full of goodness and truth, and I cannot believe that any one of them would choose the misery, judgment and exclusion that has been present in their lives–I believe they are simply trying to be who they are, even if who they are isn’t appreciated, understood, liked or affirmed.
I stand with them because the Bible says very little–IF anything at all–about what we know in this day and time as homosexuality. It’s really rather nebulous. But the Bible is VERY clear about loving your neighbor. About taking care of those who are left out. About caring for one another as we have been cared for by the One who created us. (And yes, I’d be happy to provide some materials for study and consideration on this.) We Christians used to use the Bible to justify slavery, the subjugation of women, too–for these atrocities we have begged pardon. Maybe one day….
I stand with them because I believe it is the right thing to do. I might be wrong. But I’m willing to take my chances.
I stand with them because there is a great deal God and I will have to reckon with at the pearly gates. I’d rather the judgment and ostracization of another human being not be added to the list.”
In the metro area, many ministers, Rabbis and others are assuring that homosexuals are welcomed to sit and eat at the table in their faith groups. No doubt you may have been burdened and hurt in times past, but there are so many places to find your spiritual awareness and the support you need in your faith journey. Julie and so many others like her have an unwavering faith in a God who loves–so much bigger and broader and wider and deeper than we ever know. A God who calls us into life together and pronounces that life is very, very good.
Growing up in the church of Christ non-instrumental, I sat through sermons about how God cannot stand “queers” and that women are less than men. Although there was a certain degree of love, it was carefully parceled out for those who followed the “straight and narrow”. (No pun intended, but duly noted!) After moving to Atlanta, I found St. Mark United Methodist Church. I sat there among 400+ other congregants and heard the most beautiful singing supported by a powerful and magnificent organ and heard words of welcome and love. We were introduced that particular day to a woman who had been abused by her husband and who was in the care of the Wiggins House, a place of safety for battered women supported by faith groups like St. Mark. I was introduced to several homosexual couples who had children, many serving on mission teams, some feeding the homeless and others instrumental in starting a movement to show the Methodist Church how to include homosexuals and transgendered into fellowship. It was the first time in my life that I felt safe and at home surrounded by so many in a place of worship. It has been there that I have truly learned that God cares who I have relationship with only to the extent that that relationship supports our spiritual journey, whatever it may be, and not at all about the sex of the other. God is love. No matter who you worship, no matter what your spiritual path.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~~Micah 6:8