For Gay and For Straight, a Place at the Table

A few months ago, World Vision (an international, Christian, non-profit child sponsorship program) decided to employ Christians in legal same-sex marriages to the charity. Upon enactment, thousands of people withdrew their sponsorship from the charity, leaving many children around the world without financial support (including food, water, shelter, etc.).

The people who withdrew their support believed gay marriage was sinful, or un-Christian, and they did not want to support an un-Christian institution.

Forty-eight hours later, World Vision reversed their decision and returned to hiring only heterosexual Christians. This brought back some support, but it turned away other Christians who were pro-gay marriage. Many of these Christians withdrew their support of the agency because they believed the revised decision to be un-Christian.

The situation is one of many recent incidents where gay marriage has come up as a controversial topic, and theology aside, it shows the ugliness of the divide between Christians on the issue of gay marriage. Not only that, this particular event proves that this issue isn’t just within the US or the Western World…it’s a global issue.  Whether in South Carolina or South Africa,  “Confessing” Christians (anti-gay marriage) and “Reconciling” Christians (pro-gay marriage) are both lashing out at one another. In a world full of comment boxes and internet anonymity, it’s super easy to get heated over this topic. But as Christians, even when we do disagree with one another, we are called to respond to people not from a place of fear, but a place of love. Nursing our disagreements with fear only poisons us against one another even more. Nursing them with love, as author Tara Brach puts it, allows us to “tend and befriend” one another.

In times like this, maybe we should turn to our old hymns for guidance and direction. One of my most favorite hymns these days is “Everyone Born.” For me, it conjures the experience of what the church should be striving for every day, especially people we perceive to be “on the other side” of us:

Verse 1

For everyone born, a place at the table
For everyone born, clean water and bread
A shelter, a space, a safe place for growing
For everyone born, a star overhead

Chorus

And God will delight
When we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace,
Yes, God will delight
When we are creators of justice,
Justice and joy.

Verse 2

For woman and man, a place at the table
Revising the roles, deciding the share
With wisdom and grace, dividing the power
For woman and man, a system that’s fair

Chorus

Verse 3

For young and for old, a place at the table
A voice to be heard, a part in the song
The hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled
For young and for old, the right to belong

Chorus

Verse 4

For just and unjust, a place at the table
Abuser, abused, with need to forgive
In anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy
For just and unjust, a new way to live

Chorus

Final Verse

For everyone born, a place at the table
To live without fear, and simply to be
To work, to speak out, to witness and worship
For everyone born, the right to be free

In this song, God is inclusive. Though we are different, all people have value and are worthy of love and care. And God rejoices when we choose to love instead of begrudge one another. God is able to bring everyone together, regardless of demographic. Which is why I think that with all of the controversies regarding same-sex relationships, there should be an additional verse:

Hillary’s Verse

For gay and for straight, a place at the table
Inclusion in love, a faith made anew
Acceptance in full, embracing the color
For gay and for straight, a new point of view

Our world is full of dichotomies. But God is greater than our differences. Perhaps if we focus on this truth, we can begin to reconcile the sum of all our differences…especially when it means helping those in need.


Hillary Taylor1617763_10151882969176956_1409765461_o
Branches Inc, Miami, FL
MI, Class 2012
Advance #3041492

 

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One comment

  1. Reblogged this on There Be Method To Madness and commented:
    The post below is a blog I wrote a few months ago. Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people about inclusion and exclusion of non-heterosexual persons in the church. A huge thank-you to my many friends and professors at Furman University who gently pushed me into these conversations. I am thankful for your patience with my questions. Most of all, thank you for your friendship. You are all blessings in my life 🙂

    Like

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