by Herb Montgomery | January 14, 2020
This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of speaking for a group of LGBTQ Christians in Philadelphia at their weekly gathering. They call themselves F.U.E.L. I’ve had the privilege of being able to be at the anniversary of their beginning each year, and I just can’t say enough good things about this group.
What I experienced with this group reminded me of a statement made by Miguel A. De La Torre in his book Reading the Bible from the Margins:
“In reality, the gospel is thriving in the margins of society. The real question facing the center, accustomed to confusing its interpretations with the biblical text itself, is whether those at the center will also participate in the body of Christ that already exists in the margins of society.” (Kindle Location 1072)
The question isn’t whether those on the margins will be included in spaces taken up by those at the center of our communities, but whether those at the center, in positions of power and privilege, will choose to participate in the beauty of what’s happening already on the margins.
This group, today, deems that to continue arguing over the destructive interpretations of their previous faith communities is a waste of their time and resources. They exist whether those who have excluded them want them to or not. Their existence needs no explanation. It needs no defense. It simply is. They simply are. They exist and they want to get on with the business of living, creating, worshipping, encouraging one another, and making our world a safer, compassionate, just home for everyone alike.
This reminded me of another statement by the late Toni Morrison in speaking about the enormous amount of energy that is stolen from a person’s life by having to continually deal with racism.
“The very serious function of racism … is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary.” (A Humanist View, a 1975 speech Morrison gave at Portland State University)
The universal truth in Morrison’s words above doesn’t just apply to matters solely of race. They can just as easily be applied to the bigotry toward those who also identify as LGBTQ, as well.
I shared a presentation on what the Jesus story says as it speaks into the lives of those who daily face marginalization in both our various faith communities and our larger society. I was overwhelmed with how positively what I shared was received, responded to, and applied in our discussion afterward.
I see beautiful things happening on the margins of our various communities.
I’m grateful today to simply be able to be a part of them.
To those of you who support our work, I’m grateful for you, too! Your generosity enables us to keep working toward a world of love and justice. Your support enables us to undo some of the damage done by Christians toward those on the margins. And you are helping to chart a course whereby Christians can be better humans in the future. I’m grateful for you, too, and I’m glad we are on this journey together.
Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.
Another world is possible. And weekends like this previous one keep me believing it.
January’s Recommended Reading
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides)
by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
For more info go to https://renewedheartministries.com/news/Januarys-Recommended-Reading