All Means All
I’m not entirely sure how it’s 2020 and this is still a thing, but over and over again I have a conversation where someone comes to me because they’re trying to own their queer identity but finding it difficult to reconcile that with their identity as a person of faith. In fact, I find that many people who have grown up in the church have been given the message that who they are is not ok. And those who have not grown up in the church have heard that the church isn’t ok with them.
I suppose this is still a thing because the church is still getting it wrong. Not all congregations or all church people, mind you, but far too many of them. In fact, in my own denomination of the United Methodist Church, we’ve spent decades arguing about this. “The Bible says it’s not ok,” argue some. Let’s get a few things straight:
1. The Bible doesn’t “say” anything. We read the Bible and interpret it. We do this in community. The Bible can only “say” what we interpret. And right now, there are a ton of people who are saying that the way it has been interpreted for many years is wrong. We say that the way we’ve interpreted it is inconsistent with the character of the God we know.
2. What the church has done is not ok. If you’ve been harmed by the words of the church or the ways we’ve chosen to carry ourselves, if the church has made life hard for you, I am deeply sorry. I offer no excuses, only my sincerest apology.
3.I’m with you. As a queer person myself, I know just how hurtful the church’s historical stance can be. I know the ways that I carry internalized homophobia and don’t even realize it. And I know the power of a supportive community. I know the power of having people who are committed to walking with you.
At Front Porch, we say that all are welcome. But we don’t mean all are welcome with a few caveats about who you are and how you identify. We don’t mean that you might be able to come as long as you are passing. At Front Porch, all means all. We come as people who are straight and queer and have busy, messy lives where sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. And wherever you are on your journey, whoever you are on your journey, you are welcome. All are welcome. All means all.