Going into last night I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know who was going to show up, how many people or where they were coming from socially and/or theologically. But that is the exciting (and ridiculously scary) part! About 15 people showed up—and they were gay, straight, male, female, progressive and conservative. I couldn’t have asked for any better of a mix.
As I suspected, at the beginning they were all quite shy; trying to get the lay of the land and what was going to be happening. In the Intro I went through the post I did yesterday and then started in on what it means to willfully enter into a place of uncomfortable tension—free to be you and express where you’re coming from as each person knows that the others are all totally committed to staying, reconciling and growing—no matter what.
I began talking about my understanding of what it means to have, be, and live out a Bridge Building Theology in culture (a little intro to Chapters 7 and 8) , and the next thing you know people started to open up and share about their experiences and stories with their family, friends and the different churches they attend, and have attended. Faith, culture and sexuality became alive that hour and fifteen minutes as we connected from different points to all understand that the only way we’ll actually understand, is if we admit we don’t understand. Doing life together in a context of ‘things that make our skin stand on its own’ is the only way to go...
At the end of the night there was a lot of really good feedback, as many of the people in attendance said,
“A little uncomfortable. But I’ve never even heard of anything like this, let alone it actually happening. Thank you and see you next time.”
I did think there was one really poignant message by a gay man while we were talking about what it’s like for the GLBT people to show up and put themselves out there:
“I’ve spent too much of my life being the ‘token gay person’ trying to figure out who I am and what the church thinks about me. I’ll never put myself in that place again. I just won’t do it. But here I am tonight and this gives me hope for a new way of being able to figure stuff out.”
As scary as it was for all of us in that room last night (and yes, even I was scared out of my mind with the unknown), it was such a blessed initial time together and I just feel that this thing is going to have a great impact—not only individually for those who attend, but in turn structurally, as those who attend go out and influence their circles of influence in a new way.
Don’t quench the fire!