I had planned to post a litany today about Trump and Hillary (and about Jesus), which I feel pretty excited about sharing. But I just can’t do it; it will have to wait. I can’t turn off all the feelings I feel about the Orlando shooting. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about how a specific community of people was targeted and systematically put to death in cold blood by a maniac. I have had to monitor my intake of news about it, lest it overwhelm me completely. I feel guilty saying that sentence because some people don’t have a choice about whether or not this thing will overwhelm them, because it has definitely, without a doubt, overwhelmed them with sorrow, grief, loss, lament, pain, despair, hopelessness.
And then I read some folks criticizing church folks for waiting until now, until something completely tragic and unthinkable has happened, to extend any kindness toward the LGBT community. Which is kind-of valid, church. Although it’s also kind-of valid that a lot of us have been loving and welcoming LGBT folks all along we just haven’t made any headlines about it. So that feels kind-of dismissive, but then again maybe we should have been a little louder about our love. But then again we’ve all just been doing our damndest to live well in the context we are in, to see as far as our horizon will let us, and try to be some kind of bridge people between the ideologies that keep us in tension all the stinking time. Which is exhausting but I shouldn’t be complaining because I’m not the one getting persecuted and gunned down and I probably don’t even know the meaning of exhausted in comparison.
Do you see the complexity here? Do you see how many feelings it might be possible for anyone on any side of this to feel? Do you see the rabbit holes it is possible for a person’s mind to go down, how many guilts it is possible to internalize, how many sorrows it is possible to become engulfed by, how frustrated it is possible to get? Or is that just me?
Let me dial this down for us:
God loves human beings; that’s God’s thing. If we are not about the business of loving human beings, then we are not doing God’s thing; we are doing something else, and woe to us.
To the LGBTQ community, in which I have friends and family and beloved folks:
I’m sorry I didn’t live my love louder before now.
I’m sorry the society we live in left the door wide open for this to happen, and for all the ways I’m complicit in that society.
I’m sorry the church-section I’m a part of has done such a shitty job of loving you, and for all the ways I’ve been complicit in that.
I’m sorry for every time I’ve ever missed an opportunity to love you, to listen to you, or to walk beside you in companionable silence.
I’m sorry we haven’t gotten far enough along in our relationship to trust one another with deep things.
I believe that Jesus is for you.
I believe that the Kingdom of God, inaugurated by Jesus, is for you.
I believe that when Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest,” He means you, too.
I believe that God made you, God loves you, and God is pouring out love upon love indiscriminately on you all your life.
I want to do better at getting in line with God’s agenda on that.
I want to do better at trading stories with you and hearing your heart.
We, the church, Your body on earth, turn to You in humility and contrition, confessing our failure at loving our LBGTQ brothers and sisters well.
We’ve insulated ourselves.
We’ve turned a blind eye to injustice.
We’ve perpetuated misunderstanding.
We’ve capitulated to fear.
We’ve withheld help and concern.
We’ve cheapened the grace of Jesus.
We’ve forgotten that, of faith, hope, and love; love is greatest.
We know that where we are inadequate, You are more than enough.
We know that there is always redemption when Jesus is around.
We know that Jesus is always where the pain is.
Our hearts mourn for the pain we have caused.
We are sorry.
Help us to be better at following the Way of Love.