What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Born This Way!!

Note: The following blog post reflects the opinions of me and does not represent the Presbyterian Church, the YAV program, or any other organization affiliated with those groups. Just wanted to make that clear before we get started.

A few weeks ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) ratified an amendment to their constitution officially allowing openly gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgendered persons to be ordained as Elders, Deacons & Ministers of the Word & Sacrament. This is a huge shift for the Church and one that has been full of controversy. Many churches have already threatened to leave the denomination in light of the ratification and there could be a huge split over the issue.
With this move, the Presbyterian Church has become only the fourth mainline Protestant denomination to allow the ordination of GLBT folk (the other three, for the record, are the Episcopalians, the Lutherans and the United Church of Christ). By opening up ordination to all, the Presbyterian Church has taken a step in the right direction toward fully embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the openness and acceptance that he preached.
Here's the thing (and a rather controversial point, I might add), God made people the way they are. Nobody chooses to be gay or lesbian or bisexual. Indeed, I think if you were to ask some of them, they would say that they would rather be straight. It's a much easier and more accepted lifestyle. However, just as nobody chooses to be straight, so also does nobody choose to be gay. That's just not how it works. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and He alone decides who we are and who we are attracted to. I know many people argue that God hates gay people and would therefore never make somebody that way but that just begs the question: when did they choose to be straight or white or Asian? Here's what I have come to learn and believe over the years. The simple truth is is that God is love. God is not capable of hating anybody and indeed loves us for who we are even when we don't love ourselves. God meant for diversity to be a good thing and we should embrace that diversity rather than trying to suppress it or change it in some way. Only when we begin to accept people for who they are and who God made them to be can we ever truly begin to fully enter God's kingdom.
As to the subject of ordination, here's my two cents on the matter. "God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called" therefore who are we to deny ordination to those who God has chosen to lead His church? We aren't God and therefore shouldn't act like we know who God would call. Only God is allowed to make that decision and if he has determined that a person is worthy of accepting the call, then the church should embrace that decision instead of denying them because of some arbitrary standards that we have determined make a person fit enough to do God's work. When God decides that someone is good enough, that should be enough. To do anything less than embrace that decision is unjust and unacceptable in God's kingdom.
Jesus Christ preached love and acceptance of all people, regardless of their personal deficiencies. He routinely ate with lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors and other unsavory characters. He was roundly despised by those in power because he chose to associate himself with the "dregs" of society. I think the church could learn a lot from Jesus and his ministry. Are we choosing to open our doors to everyone or are we instead saying that only certain people are worthy of our love and attention? Are we denying people the love of God and the fellowship of our company because of some arbitrary standards that are made by man, not God? Are we choosing to deny certain people the ordination process because of how God made them instead saying that they chose that lifestyle and can therefore choose to turn it off? If people are choosing to leave the Church because the Church is doing the right thing and following Jesus's teachings, then in my personal opinion that's fine. I would rather people leave the church because it is doing the right thing than leave because it continues to do the wrong thing and lets injustice prevail.
You may disagree with me on some of these points that I've made here and that's fine. However, nothing is going to stop me from proclaiming what I have come to believe. Embrace who God made you to be and don't try and suppress it. Claim it as your own and make your life better because of it. If God is calling you to the ministry, do it. Churches, please open up your ministry to everyone that God has called to it. Don't let others tell you that God doesn't love you or that God hates you. That's not the truth. God loves all His children, no exceptions. You were born this way and don't ever let anyone try and convince you otherwise. Remember, straight people didn't choose to be straight. Finally, keep your head up and remember that no matter what, God loves you and wants nothing but happiness for you whatever that might entail whether it be marriage, kids, ordination or whatever else. Embrace that life and live it to its fullest!! Remember, "I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way!!"

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