Thursday, June 27, 2013

Space at the Table

Rainbow-Crance Brook Road-13

On June 19, I read this apology to the gay community from Alan Chambers, the founder of Exodus International. He acknowledged that the reparative therapy Exodus has championed is potentially harmful, and doesn’t work. He admitted that even his own same-sex attractions have not disappeared. Shortly after, the “ex-gay” ministry announced they were closing their doors.

And then yesterday, along with most Americans, I heard the news that the Supreme Court had struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. They also dismissed the Proposition 8 case, which means gay couples can begin marrying again in the state of California.

I know this is a divisive issue. For some people, Christians especially, it is confusing and bewildering, emotions run high and many of us are just trying to figure out what in the world Jesus would do. I can’t answer that with any definitive certainty, and I won’t claim that I can.  I do know that we have said some terrible things in the name of God. I know that people have been hurt and ostracized and too many teenagers have put guns in their mouths, jumped off of bridges and swallowed handfuls of pills because they were rejected and pushed out, because they tried to change and found that they could not, because shame hounded them and we piled it on. I know that there is an entire group of people that have been made to feel as if they are second-class citizens, like they do not deserve the same protections under our laws because of their sexuality and who they choose to love.

I don’t know the answers. But I do know that I celebrate today. I celebrate with my gay brothers and sisters. You are a person. You matter. And your sexuality does not define you, should not determine whether or not you can visit your spouse in the hospital, parent or adopt a child, file joint tax returns, or receive federal benefits. I celebrate with you. I know that you are not gay because of your childhood, because of absent fathers or overbearing mothers, because it was too perfect or because it was terrible and scarring. I won’t tell you to close your eyes and pray to Jesus to make you straight. I know it doesn’t work that way. So many people have been hurt, deeply wounded. I’m sorry.

There is space at the table for you. Please, come, sit down, let’s raise our glasses. The Kingdom of heaven is near.

I know that I will get many things wrong in my life. I already have. I try to temper my strong opinions with good sense, to work them out in some kind of community, but even still, I will be wrong. I will make mistakes, errors of judgment, and I pray that I have the grace to apologize when it happens. But this, reaching out my hands, acknowledging that we are equals, that we love out of hearts formed by the same magnificent God, I can see no wrong in it.

So yes, there is space at the table for you. God does not “hate the gays”, he certainly does not hate you. Please, come, sit down, let’s raise our glasses. The Kingdom of heaven is near.

I’ve thought about this so much. It’s kept me up at night, poring over my Bible, reading and reading. I’ve written about it at length, so many pages, ruminating, turning it over. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know why I have felt so invested.  I don’t know why I cried when I heard the news yesterday morning, or why this feels like a downright personal struggle. I’m not gay. I don’t have a lot of gay friends. Maybe it’s because you’re on the fringe, because my heart is on the margins, and you have been marginalized. Maybe it’s because I feel like I need to apologize for my own misconceptions and judgments and the ways I’ve been misinformed and afraid and thoughtless.

Whatever it may be, I’m glad you’re here, I’m glad you can get married now, that this important civil liberty has been extended in your direction. I don’t think the fact that you’re gay is destroying the moral fabric of America, or any fabric really. We don’t begin and end with our sexuality. We are more than who we are attracted to. You are a whole person, a beautiful person, God-breathed and sustained by grace. He loves you. He wants to know you.

I know that some of you are faithful Christians who love Jesus with your whole heart, who along with the rest of us, are working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Yet you feel excluded, judged. I know some of you don’t believe at all, don’t want to believe, and maybe that’s our fault. Whatever the case, I will say it again, because it’s true—there is space at this table for you. We will make room. I will make room. He has made room. Please, sit down, breathe deep, you are loved.


  1. I seriously love this post. I was just browsing the Antioch page and came across this and I think that this is amazing and something that every Christian should hear. It's so easy to get wrapped up in defining people by what we see and forget that God is only after the heart. I love this, its beautiful.

    God Bless!

  2. It is beautiful but very humanly and emotional, devoid of truth. Yes, there is a place reserved at the table and yes sexuality does not define a person. But if we do not call people to truth, what are we doing as Christians? If you have ridiculed some one because they're gay, yes do apologized for ridiculing and mistreating someone. Would Jesus apologized to us because of our choices and sin? No, He would not, because it is not His position. We can be happy, for personal reasons, not necessarily for Godly truth, but the bible makes it very clear the root of homosexuality in Romans 1. Yes, you are a great writer, very beautifully written and your writing was very sentimental, but it devoid of biblical truth and power. I do see the point you are making, but what is important,God's standard or sentimentalism. Yes, we are to honor all people, and not mistreat them no matter their sexuality. But let's not mix up honor and respect for denial of truth, and call evil good.


I would love to hear your thoughts.