Takeaways from “Believe Out Loud”
I’ve written before about what I believe it means to “Believe Out Loud.” Well, two weeks ago I was blessed to attend the Believe Out Loud Power Summit, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. This news clip from the conference gives you some sense of what was so transforming about these days in Orlando during which over three hundred LGBT Christians and Taskforce activists came to cherish one another:
While the memories and friendships from the summit will sustain me for a long, long time, there are a few crucial takeaways from the event that I want to share with you for your prayerful consideration.
First, from this moment onward, any line drawn between LGBT people working for equality in the world and LGBT believers working in faith communities will be history. Those dedicated to civil rights can be clear about their work being rooted deeply in the values received from their religious traditions — they can literally “believe out loud” if they choose to — and those who call for equality in the church can find friends, comfort, help and encouragement from our colleagues so hard at work in civil society.
And this harmony among us is so very important because there is so much work to be done. The ending of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the passage of the Employment Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the effort needed at both the state and federal levels on civil marriage need all of us going at maximum strength every day. Blending our church voice into the LGBT witness for justice is crucial to success in our country and in the world.
Second, we, LGBT Christians, will not stop until the church embraces us all. Our Believing Out Loud means serving in ordained office when God blesses us with the gifts to serve and calls us there. And in those denominations that do not recognize us, this means knocking at the door to open the rules to us for as long as it takes to get that done. It also means expecting the church to support and celebrate our marriages and our families as central aspects of our faithful discipleship.
Third, and finally, LGBT Christians will engage in ministry graciously. Because we believe with all our hearts that Jesus drew all people to Himself (John 12:32), we know that this includes Christians who disagree with us. Our hands are open and inviting to everyone to join in the Gospel message of God’s love in Christ. The Gospel is what we lifted up as we worshiped so joyously in Orlando. The Gospel is what we are called to proclaim to the world and we embrace all who will join in that proclamation with us.
This is what I took away from the Believe Out Loud Power Summit. I am so grateful to those who worked so hard bring us together.