Greater NW Pride: Building a Better World, for God's Sake
Building a Better World, for God’s Sake
I write this blog post in the middle of the third day of the Annual Conference of the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Church Conference (OR-ID UMC AC) in Eugene, Oregon. It has been exciting to listen and watch to the changes afoot in this Conference as more out-LGBTQ+ people and people of color and allies are voicing their concerns while celebrating life. People are wearing their self-identity with rainbow buttons and t-shirts, “He/Him/His,” “She/Her/Hers,” and “They/Them/Their” stickers and buttons, while also announcing their preferred gender pronoun from the podiums and microphones. Many candidates for delegates to General Conference 2020 are out-LGBTQ+ people and straight allies. Building a better United Methodist Church, that welcomes, affirms, and integrates the gifts, talents, and services of out-LGBTQ+ people seems to be an over-arching theme for this Annual Conference.
Hopefully—once the issue of integration has begun in earnest in the United Methodist Church—the focus for the following years of Annual Conferences can focus on the world full of injustice around us, especially concerning LGBTQ+ people. For example, this week is the third anniversary of the Pulse Club massacre, an LGBTQ+ night club in Orland, Florida, in which 49 people were killed. Meanwhile, I can continue to read in the mainstream news of transgender people of color being murdered in this country simply because they are transgender. People who bake wedding cakes and those who are florists will simply bake cakes and create beautiful floral arrangements. And no one will harass those of us who are LGBTQ+ for holding hands on city streets and kissing in public. The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), recently wrote this observation in honor of Pride (June) month: (addressing LGBTQ+ people) “through it all and above it all, you faithfully follow Jesus and his way of love. And in so doing you help the church, not to build a bigger church for church’s sake, but to build a better world for God’s sake” (my emphasis). https://www.episcopalchurch.org/posts/publicaffairs/presiding-bishops-pride-month-statement-honors-lgbtq-episcopalians?fbclid=IwAR3_eJC1p8sHGchblR-mVhmE27TQLIU7fnp-8GQ4HGSsi2MdUhvJwwlMMNQ
My hope, and prayer, is that, in the coming months and years in the United Methodist Church, we will finally get to a place and time of focusing not only upon our own struggle and liberation in the context of the body of Christ as part of the UMC, but also focus on being able to focus more on “building a better world for God’s sake.” Amen.