Let me tell you about the kind of church I want to belong to.
I'm a cisgender male. Come, be welcome. Sit next to me, and let's talk about "Captain America: Civil War," and argue the respective merits of the sides Tony Stark and Steve Rogers took. Let's argue whether the Star Wars prequels should count as canon, and see if we can outdo one another in hating Jar Jar Binks. Tell me about your favorite books and the last time you saw live theater.
I want to belong to a church that welcomes people without regard for whom they're attracted to. Gay? That's great! Heterosexual? No problem. Asexual? That's fantastic! Bisexual? Pansexual? None of that matters. Got a fetish? I won't bat an eye. Let's discuss theology, let's talk philosophy. I never studied Søren Kirkegaard or Socrates, although I used to fake it when I was younger. Maybe you can explain them to me so that I'll go read them for myself and understand them for real. I'm all ears. Come sit down and break bread with me. We'll share a bottle of wine as we talk.
I don't care about your past, if you've been a sex worker and you're ashamed about it or you've been a sex worker and you're proud of it. I don't even care if you're still an active sex worker. None of that matters to me. Maybe you've got an idea for how I can get my kids to clean up after themselves, or how I can get more tomatoes from my garden. I'd love to hear it. Let's hang out, swap gardening tips and tell each other our stories.
Are you a refugee fleeing war or famine? I so want my church to welcome you, without asking irrelevant questions like what religion you belong to. Come find sanctuary. All that matters is that you are hungry and weary, and we have the means to give you rest. It's yours for the asking, without condition or reservation.
Actually, I do belong to a church like this. It welcomes all these people and many more, regardless of their racial and cultural backgrounds, their age or their abilities. It's an amazing thing to witness. I see glimpses of it from time to time, as from a far-off country.
And I'll fight with all the strength heaven gives me to see that church touch the earth and be found here, even if it's just once and only for a moment.
Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.