gives me hope
Tonight I went to my second meeting of the Open Door Ministry at the Missouri United Methodist Church, on which I'm doing my Cross Cultural final project. This group of roughly 20 people makes me proud to be a Methodist and gives me reason to have faith that some day, the Christian community will be the champion of gay rights and acceptance. I have such great respect for the leaders and the members of this ministry. For an hour once a month, these adults, all older than 40, meet to discuss current events concerning homosexuality within the church and the country. Some are gay, some are lesbian, some are parents of a gay child and some just believe that it is time for the church to embrace this hot topic. Their faith, God's love and just basic logic provide the base for every statement they make and I wish that I could simply round up all the fundamentalist Christians I know and make them sit in on one of the meetings.

In so many ways, the issue of homosexuality has become the new race debate. Today there is not a single main-line church that would say that God's acceptance is limited base on race and it is my hope that in my lifetime, that churches across the country will acknowledge that God's grace and love is available to all people, no matter who they are attracted to. Homosexuality is not a sin because it is not a choice. I do not have the scientific studies to back up that statement. But I do have the testimonies of friends, acquaintances and my own gut feeling, as well as an interpretation of the Bible that acknowledges the fact that the writings were intended for specific audiences at specific moments in time by specific writers (who have their own faults and biases, not to mention political agendas).

My first interactions with people who were gay were mostly in religious settings. I grew up with a gay minister. I had a gay friend from youth group who was on church camp staff with me. Hell, our elected class speaker at our graduation in high school was gay and very active in one of the local fundamentalist churches.

With George Bush's war cry against gay unions, the Christian community has been stigmatized as homophobic. It's about time for a community that bases its teachings on Jesus to stand up for God's great love.

For the record, Jesus never once speaks out against homosexuality. If we are to strive to be like Jesus, then shouldn't we show the same love he showed people outside the general acceptance of society?

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