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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What are S.A.F.E. meetings?

Many of you may already know this, but LOVEboldly hosts S.A.F.E. (Sexuality & Faith Engagements) the first Monday of every month. Often, I have been asked about the purpose of these gatherings and why they matter. So, here is the answer:

First of all, we can’t take the credit for the idea of hosting these meetings. The Marin Foundation began them (called Living in Tension Gatherings) several years ago in Chicago. The idea comes from a line in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

As you can see for yourself, our world is polarized when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. Both sides of the issue are guilty of talking past each other rather than dialoging with one another. As a result, each side demonizes ‘the other’ and the divide deepens, resulting in abusive language and behavior towards those with whom we disagree.

At LOVEboldly, we are persuaded that agreement with one another’s political, theological, moral, or philosophical perspectives is not essential for restoring dignity and communicating with kindness and respect. We want to bring all types of people (non-Christian LGBTs, LGBT Christians, celibates, ex-gays, liberal and conservative straight Christians, straight non-Christians, etc.) together to willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, and seek to intentionally form a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics of faith and sexuality.

The goal of our gatherings is not for people to convince others that they are right and ‘the other’ is wrong, but rather work off of a worldview enhancement model. We want to provide a place where people can feel safe to not only share their experiences and beliefs with ‘the other’ but also learn to excel in constructive tension with those they disagree. We seek to make it an active engagement in learning what relationship with ‘the other’ tangibly looks like.

If you live or are visiting the Lexington area, we would love to see you at one of our gatherings. Remember, they are held on the first Monday of each month, beginning at 7:00 pm. Please feel free to email us at loveboldlynow@gmail.com for more information.