- Posted September 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Hope is rising in Mississippi – a response to the harmful anti-GLBT church conference in Hattiesburg, MS.
“Have you considered what this means for your family? No retirement plan? No guaranteed income? What about your kids’ safety?”
“Seriously, you’re not even gay.”
Once loved ones found out we were moving our family to a state ranked lowest in just about anything good and highest in all things awful to plant a welcoming church, we spent months responding to all sorts of concern and confusion. At first, we were excited to share our vision of hope. As months passed, we watched friends and family members distance themselves and eventually walk away. We were officially uninvited to pastoral groups, Christmas parties, family functions and of course, salvation. It seems nobody wants to share heaven with the GLBTQ+ community or their preachers. The six verses used to demonize the people we serve were the same six verses that our family, our friends, the foundations of our social construction used to condemn us.
These six verses, used in sermons across the globe, are misinterpreted and taken out of context. They are brandished, in the complete absence of God, and used as swords of hate. Swords that are continually sharpened by the manipulation of God’s word spewed forth from misguided pastors. Swords used to cut down our brothers and sisters in the name of ignorance and fear. Swords willfully given as gifts to our GLBTQ+ loved ones to fall upon. This hateful message of exclusion is not God’s word but a manipulation from no longer anointed pulpits. And it is killing people.
If you had the opportunity to trade in your retirement plan for someone’s life, would you? If given the choice of steady income versus bringing hope to the hurting, wouldn’t you want to try? Does a heterosexual family have the right to ignore injustice simply because they were born heterosexual? On what side of history do you want your children to remember you?
It’s been a little over two years since our family moved to Mississippi to plant an affirming church. We have received threats, messages of hate and have been attacked via social media. We have responded to innumerable crisis calls from GLBTQ youth who fear that God hates them. And through answering their call, we answer God’s call on our family. Lives have been saved. Hope has grown like lilies amongst the weeds. Our children celebrate with the children of our church. We have performed weddings, seen babies born, shared journeys home with the dying and shared countless moments of laughter and joy. We look around at our expanding family here and are ever so thankful that we do not have to imagine a heaven without them.
**Walk Fellowship is a non-denominational church in south Mississippi. “We are fighting for justice. We are fighting for truth. We are fighting for you. Love wins. Every time. Love wins.” www.walkfellowship.org **