Finding Jesus at Gay Pride

DSC_0001I’m remembering our time at Gay Pride in Cincinnati this afternoon, and all our amazing volunteers who made the day such a success.  Was it really three whole weeks ago?  It was.

Gay Pride is one of our regular events at LOVEboldly.  We go in hopes of emulating the Jesus we love.  We go to hang out with the folks who are the least likely for church-folks to hang out with, to offer our friendships and love, to show kindness to those who have, perhaps, only been met with God’s anger or condemnation.

I’ve been to more gay pride events than I can count now, but this year was different.  Just two weeks prior to Cincinnati Pride, a man had entered a gay club on Pride night in Orlando and killed 49 precious folks like those we knew we’d be hanging out with.  He wasn’t a Christian, but many have conjectured that his killing rampage was religiously-motivated and, whether right or wrong, many have wondered how conservative Christian theology is much different than that which inspired his actions that horrible night.

Would LGBTQ+ folks even want Christians around at Pride, this year? Or would we just be a reminder of past pain and hurt experienced in religious communities? Would LGBTQ+ folks even want Christians around at Pride, this year? Or would we just be a reminder of past pain and hurt experienced in religious communities? Could we blame them if they were angry, if they lashed out?  Would our presence be healing, or would it just pick at an old scab that was not yet healed, causing deeper scars, more bad blood between us?  Would our hopes of helping bring healing to our divides or just inflict more hurt?

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Meet LOVEboldly’s Pastoral Care Director

Hello! My name is Christy Wade, and I am the Pastoral Care Director at LOVEboldly. I just want to take some time to introduce myself and tell you what I do.christy

My official job description is:

The Pastoral Care Director is responsible for providing emotional support and spiritual care to those seeking help and/or services from LOVEboldly, as well as for the LOVEboldly leaders, through healing, reconciling, guiding, and sustaining.  This includes, but is not limited to, prayer support, spiritual formation, discipleship, mediation services, outreach, preaching, teaching, and creating resources.

Essentially, I am here for you!

I’m here to help you:

  • as you journey through the process of reconciling faith and sexual orientation
  • process thoughts and feelings when a friend/family member comes out as LGBTQ
  • find resources (counseling, support groups, etc.) in your specific geographic location
  • grow in your faith journey by providing discipleship and spiritual formation opportunities
  • by praying for you and your needs

If you ever need to connect with me or would like me to pray for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: christy.loveboldly@gmail.com

 

At LOVEboldly we embrace controversy, dissenting opinions and even a good debate now and then. However, we also value civility, kindness, and respect. Therefore, please feel free to share your opinion, but keep it constructive, considerate, and civilized. If you choose to be rude we will delete your comment. Do so consistently and we will ban you. And yes, we do get to define the terms.

A Response To Our Supporters

Last night a friend sent me a guest-blog to publish on our site which began with a statement declaring “I am gay, Side A affirming, and fully support equal protection under the law,” and followed with his explanation of why he wholeheartedly supports the work of LOVEboldly.  I refused to publish it.  I won’t allow him to out himself in a way which will ostracize him from one of his current faith communities and damage his future permanently.  Not for me.  Certainly not for LOVEboldly.

Yesterday, after we released a “A Response To Our Critics”, we received some negative feedback.  We had expected this.  What I hadn’t expected was the overwhelming barrage of texts, Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and face to face conversations with people, like this friend, who were outraged by those who have made false accusations or assumptions about our work, intentions, and beliefs.  I hadn’t expected to hear so much from those who were hurting by responses they read which made them feel, yet again, that even Christians won’t afford them the grace they need to exist outside of either the Gay Rights or Religious Right boxes.  And I certainly didn’t expect to hear so many thanking us for holding the middle ground we stand in, encouraging us, and pleading with us to continue being that voice.

Many agree that framing the conversation differently than the traditional rights-based approach is precisely what is needed to make progress towards healing the divide between the church and the LGBT community.  A few of these folks wrote these things publicly yesterday.  But most of them stayed the silent majority because they were too angry in the moment to form responses they could feel proud of, or because they are still closeted, or because they just didn’t want to get brutalized by those who would misdirect anger towards LOVEboldly onto them.  I don’t blame them.

We will continue to honor those who are very angry at us, and those who strongly oppose us, no matter how ugly things get, and we will constantly work to come to the table with them, resolve our differences, and find a way forward.  But I refuse to divert our focus onto those conversations with the negative minority who don’t understand our mission and don’t want to.

This post is for our supporters.  You matter.  I write tonight to say “thank you” to all who have stood by us through trying times, who have sent encouraging messages, who have been enraged on our behalf just because you love us as much as we love you.  For all the bold and brave folks who have supported us, and for those who have hung with us when they were skeptical of our work, thanks!  You are the reason we won’t be discouraged.  You have changed our lives.  You inspire us every day.  I am more excited and determined to move forward than ever, and it’s because of you!

Many have asked, “What Can I Do To Help?”  The answer is simple.  Get out a pen and a paper and write a sentence or two telling us why LOVEboldly matters to you, or why you believe in the work we are doing.  Email that statement to us (loveboldlynow@gmail.com) along with your first name (if you want it mentioned) and the city and state you live in.  Or, leave it in the comments below.  We will be publishing these on our site.

I want all of the positivity I received to be heard by the rest of the LOVEboldly family, and by all of our followers – critics and supporters alike.   Some folks, discouraged by the conversations of the past few days, desperately need to hear that they are not alone in their middle ground, and that this is a safe place for them.  So please share!  Two minutes of your time – it’s all I ask for.  I can’t wait to hear your responses.

Keep on LOVING BOLDLY!