When it Feels as if Love Hasn't Won: A response to The United Methodist Church Recent Vote
To Our Queer Methodist Siblings:
Watching the news of the General Conference this weekend was difficult. So many ups and downs, ultimately working it’s way to the final decision: the Traditional Plan, which upholds and reinforces a theology that systematically excludes queer people from fully participating in the life of the church. For anyone that grew up in the Methodist tradition, this is nothing short of family rejection. And that, my friends, is painful and potentially traumatizing. This is an experience that no one should ever have to have. In light of this news there is something I want to remind you:
Beloved, your inclusion in the family of God never depended on a policy.
Your participation in God’s work was never up for a vote.
Your love for an other was never on the line because of the fear of someone sitting in St Louis this weekend.
Your inclusion in the family, your participation in the work of God, and your ability to love remain. I know that the pain is real. I know that anger, depression, and anxiety are real. Don’t ignore that. Take your time to grieve. Take your time to heal. Find a safe space to recover and be you, whatever that means in this moment. Have the hard conversation with somebody about boundaries. Just know that in your grief, you are included. In your anger, you are included. In your depression and anxiety, you are included. Period. No exceptions.
There are some hard questions that you’ll have to answer moving forward. Do you remain in your church? Do you take part in building a new coalition of inclusive Methodist churches? Do you leave the Methodist church? What does this mean for your faith? Heads and hearts are racing right now and full of questions like these, and my encouragement is for you to take one day at a time as much as you are able. Focus on your own work of healing and coming to terms with this new reality, and as you heal, you can begin to answer these larger questions. But until then, your permission is to do what you need to take care of yourself.
Just know that I will continue praying and working for the healing of every single LGBTQ+ person. You deserve a place for all parts of you to belong. You deserve a faith that is big enough to include you and your experiences. You deserve healing and flourishing. This is my vision for a better future, and I pray that this vision can somehow offer a glimmer of hope. The world is changing and has already changed, and I pray this weekend doesn’t overshadow that fact.
So, go find that safe friend or mentor. Talk to your therapist. Take some time to meditate or pray or participate in whatever spiritual practice that has offered something good to your life. A new future is ahead of us, and we’re going to build it together. I’m so grateful that you are alive and that you’re a part of this big and beautiful queer family of God!