“HARLINGEN — Kaya Candia–Almanda says no one can truly understand what it’s like to be a gay or lesbian person living in a conservative community unless they are one.
Sometimes, in passing, negative whispers, jokes and ridicule about identity and sexual orientation are murmured by acquaintances, family members and friends, Almanda said.
The 18-year-old, who says she is a lesbian, doesn’t let that bother her.
The Harlingen High School senior says what really bothers her is being told by fellow Christians that she is going to hell for what they say is the unforgivable sin of homosexuality.
She says she is more concerned about the comments she gets from congregations across the Rio Grande Valley than comments in the classroom or out on the streets.
But, Almanda says, she has found a place of belonging. That place is a church in Harlingen tucked away in the city with a small congregation.”
“This happens in a lot of religious traditions, where the people lead their religious leaders,” Gramick said. “The real people who matter are the people in these religious institutions who may not be the leaders, the people in the pews.” The Catholic Church would better fulfil its mission, Gramick said, by listening to those people and meeting them without judgment.“When we say ‘church,’ most of us most of the time really mean ‘church leaders.’ I’d like to get back to the people. It’s really the people in the church,” Gramick said. “The church needs to have a little conversion, and we have to realize that we are the church.”
One of the tragedies of the modern Catholic Church is how fully many Catholics have fallen for the Vatican line that it is they qho control the Church, and that change is impossible unless it is authorized from above, This idea of absolute Vatican power is completely contradicted by the Gospels, and by the practice of the earliest Christians (as described in Acts, and in other early Christian writing). It is the result, rather of a continuous, gradual power grab over many centuries.
It is only since the 15th century or so that the Church itself has defined marriage as a sacrament. Such redefinitions come from the people in the first case, and are only later ratified by church and state. Today the Church has to face the growing reality of gay unions that resemble marriage, and when it buries its head in the stand, refuses to come up with an intelligent response, refuses dialogue and consultation, it is only making itself ridiculous.-Joseph O’Leary: Catholic Theology Faces Gay Marriage
Gramick was talking here with the Columbia students after a screening of In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick’s Journey of Faith, the award-winning 2004 documentary film by filmmaker Barbara Rick. Related Postsat QTC:
Fr Owen O’Sullivan Series on Gay Inclusion:
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 1) : Is Homosexuality Unnatural?
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 2): Why Can’t They Just Keep Quiet About It?
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 3): Is It Wrong to Act Gay?
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 4): Homosexuality is fundamentally disordered
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 5): The Trouble With “Do Your Best”
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 6): Liberating our theology of sexual relationships from the Church
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 7): We Will be Judged on How We Have been Loved
- Fr Owen O’Sullivan on Gay Inclusion (Pt 8): “Are homosexuals showing the church and society a way forward?”
Conservatives insist that making adjustments to church teaching on sexuality is simply bowing to secular pressure in a sex-obsessed society. Richmond shows an entirely different picture: that prayer and study were leading him to revise his views many years before he admitted the truth publicly, but that he was reluctant to speak up for truth, out of fear of losing financial contributions for the church.
Looking back, I see how much my own opinions had been formed by the fact that I was representing a split congregation. Our church, like so many, was divided. And while the people who believed it should be accepted were not going to leave if we maintained a position of non-acceptance, those who felt it was a sin would bolt in a heartbeat if we ever allowed gay clergy or gay marriage. If they bolted, half our budget would go out the door.
Meeting with, and attentive listening to, Christian gay men and their families.
The experience of his own marital breakdown, leading to separation from his wife.
Study of the Bible.
Distance from the institutional church, after leaving active parish ministry.
With distance, I could see the mean-spirited nature of the anti-gay movement, and the naked way large Christian organizations used the “gay threat” to raise money. Free from the constraints of a congregation, I could spend more time actually looking at the biblical texts that deal with homosexuality, and I was surprised to find they were not as clear as I had supposed they were. At this point, I have done a 180 on the topic. And I believe it’s a change for the good.So why had we singled out homosexuality as a litmus test for True Christianity in the first place? Why had it become such a lightning rod for self-righteousness?One reason, I think, is that it’s easy to condemn homosexuality if you are not gay. It is much harder than condemning pride, or lust or greed, things that most practicing Christians have struggled with. It is all too easy to make homosexuality about “those people,” and not me. If I were to judge someone for their inflated sense of pride, or their tendency to worship various cultural idols, I would feel some personal stake, some cringe of self-judgment. Not so with homosexuality.Now I am wondering why, if two gay people want to commit their lives to one another, they should ever be denied that chance.
- A Presbyterian Minister’s Change of Heart on Homosexuality (towleroad.com)
- Presbyterian Inclusion: Ratification Reflects the Bigger Transformation of Christian Response to Homoerotic Love (queeringthechurch.wordpress.com)
- Presbyterian appeals court reaffirms minister violated church policy by marrying same-sex couples – latimes (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
Church debate on full inclusion for lesbian, gay and trans Christians has become commonplace in the US mainline Protestant denominations, and in some European churches. A few denominations already ordain openly gay or lesbian pastors in commited, monogamous relationships, or are engaged in regular debates on moving towards that goal. Others already provide for either full church weddings for same-sex couples (where local laws allow it), or accept church blessings. Among these denominations, it is becoming ever clearer that full inclusion, for both marriage and ordination regulations, will soon become widely accepted, if not (yet) universal.
It is less well-known, but is slowly becoming evident, that a similar process has also begun in other more surprising denominations.
Toby Huckaby’s address on gay inclusion to a Catholic college is just one sign of the increasing debate in the Catholic Church, as is the number of bishops who have followed Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna in quietly asking for a rethink, or at least a more compassionate approach – and are not being repudiated. A recent panel discussion in Utah is another indicator that churchmen and women are questioning the old assumption across a wide front. A report on this broadly based rethink at CNN has drawn my attention to yet more evidence that this new open-mindedness is also having an impact elsewhere, in some evangelical circles:
In Denver, an evangelical Christian pastor has split with his former church and started his own evangelical church that fully welcomes gays as worshipers and leaders.
The Rev. Mark Tidd says he does not see a discrepancy between the Bible and accepting members of the homosexual community.
“There’s times when we change how we approach scripture because we observe how God is making God’s self known in creation,” he said. “We don’t consider it a sin to be gay and we don’t consider it a sin if you are gay and seek a relationship which is the only natural one you can have which would be someone of the same gender.”
Lisa Crane and her husband Ryan left their more traditional evangelical church for Tidd’s church, and have no plans to go back.
“Do we ever worry like, ‘Oh God am I wrong about this?’ and ‘Am I going to get to heaven and God is going to be like – No, you weren’t supposed to let the gays serve communion!'” Lisa said.
“You know, I don’t think so. That doesn’t jibe with the Jesus that we learned about from the Bible”
-Read the full report
My answer to the “WWJD” question is simple: there is no need to consider what Jesus “would” have done. Just look at what in fact he did do. His ministry was deeply characterised by His conspicuous outreach to the oppressed and marginalized of all kinds, whom he accepted on fully equal terms with all other disciples. He also quite deliberately agreed to cure the Centurion’s “servant”, and even to enter the Centurion’s home, even though there would have been at the very least a popular assumption that in keeping with common Roman military custom, the Centurion would have had a sexual relationship with this servant.
- LGBT Inclusion in Church: A Study in Contrasts (queertheology.blogspot.com)
- Those Evangelical Allies, Again (my-queer-spirituality.blogspot.com)
- Nov 1st: All (Gay) Saints (queeringthechurch.wordpress.com)
- Gay Marriage: Coming (Soon?) to a Church Near You. (queering-the-church.com)
- Come Out to Save Lives – Megachurch Pastor Jim Swilley (queertheology.blogspot.com)