Opinion: It’s time to make amends | Opinion

By Jim Perra

Whenever we get it in our head that it is our job to pass judgment, it is bad theology. Bad theology kills. Our assumptions and beliefs have consequences that extend far beyond our places of worship, as Cain’s murder of Abel shows. the crusades; the inquisition; and the death of Matthew Shepard, tortured to death for being gay.

The Church has much to atone for for how we have treated so many, especially our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ + community. During Lent we are called to make amends by returning to Jesus, who interprets the ancient scriptures through a lens of radical love and inclusion. Jesus consistently makes those who are considered “outsiders” into heroes of his parables. In Philip’s baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:38) we see that nothing, including the atypical gender, can separate us from the love of God. To quote our own presiding Bishop Michael Curry, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.”

As clergymen serving in the episcopal tradition of the holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, we want to say with crystal clear clarity that there is no sin to be gay, queer, non-binary, transgender, asexual or anywhere else on the spectrum of to his human gender and sexuality. Our Christian faith teaches us that a person’s relationship with God is shown through the fruits he bears in this world. We have seen bigotry and intolerance destroy families and communities. We’ve also seen people truthfully live in LGBTQ + identities, showing us how we can be incredible parents, building up spouses, and leaders we want to follow. We are better Christians because of them.

Many Christians continue to struggle to make room for the LGBTQ + community, but we can all affirm that love is the foundation on which we are called to serve God’s children. Pope Francis himself supports legal protection for “non-traditional” families and says: “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be kicked out or made unhappy about it. “We believe the Church is called to embrace God’s people unconditionally, and we affirm that the only real authority God gives us is to love and care for one another.

The results when our faith becomes a club instead of an olive branch are clear. Twenty to forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ +, and many report having been evicted from their homes on religious grounds. A 2003 report found that “the [youth] Those who were able to be open in their faith communities were also less likely to consider suicide than other non-heterosexual youth. Those who find themselves in religious institutions where there are negative views on homosexuality and bisexuality are seldom open to their orientation. These teenagers live with a very painful silence. “Bad theology kills, but good theology, a belief that primarily reminds us that we are made to love and be loved, heals, builds and resurrects.

About the authors: Jim Perra is the rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City and has written this statement in collaboration with other episcopal leaders from across northern Michigan. Christian Baron is Co-Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Beulah and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manistee.

Jodi Baron is Co-Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Beulah and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manistee.

J. Barrington Bates, of Readmond Township, retired from serving episcopal and Lutheran congregations in California, New York, and New Jersey.

Pete Clapp served the Episcopal Church in several dioceses before retiring to Traverse City.

Anne Hallmark of Traverse City is a canon missionary for the northern region, the Episcopal Diocese of western Michigan.

Kay Houck is the rector of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Petoskey.

Radhajyoti Kaminski is Rector of the Central Michigan Episopal Covenant, which consists of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cadillac and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Big Rapids.

Thomas O’Dell is the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlevoix.

Diane Stier is the principal of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant.

Chrysanne Timm is Rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Northport.

About the Authors: Jim Perra is the rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City and has written this statement in collaboration with other episcopal leaders from across northern Michigan.

Christian Baron is Co-Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Beulah and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manistee.

Jodi Baron is Co-Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Beulah and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manistee.

J. Barrington Bates, of Readmond Township, retired from serving episcopal and Lutheran congregations in California, New York, and New Jersey.

Pete Clapp served the Episcopal Church in several dioceses before retiring to Traverse City.

Anne Hallmark of Traverse City is a canon missionary for the northern region, the Episcopal Diocese of western Michigan.

Kay Houck is the rector of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Petoskey.

Radhajyoti Kaminski is Rector of the Central Michigan Episopal Covenant, which consists of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cadillac and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Big Rapids.

Thomas O’Dell is the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlevoix.

Diane Stier is the principal of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant.

Chrysanne Timm is Rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Northport.

Comments are closed.