Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are we distracted?

I wasn't at Annual Conference this year, but I understand there was a lot of talk going on about human sexuality, and that many people raised concerns that we're spending too much time on the issue. After thirty years of debate on this, could it be time to just put it to rest? Shouldn't we be turning to more important things?

I've heard this argument before from many people, including some of my favorite Brethren. And while I've never made the argument myself, I do find it enticing at times. Shouldn't we be dedicating our resources to feeding the world's hungry instead of fighting incessantly over such a controversial issue?


I can't help but think of the Civil Rights Movement. It was controversial, to be sure, and it stirred up a lot of stuff that people didn't particularly want to be stirred up. They told Martin Luther King, Jr., "Just be patient," and he replied, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability." Fifty years later, with the gift of hindsight, few of us would support the idea that there were more important things for all those people to be doing--that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference should have been directing its energy to other, more widely supported issues. They were humans, being treated as less than humans, and they could not be expected to accept that and join their oppressors in other work.

When we find ourselves confronting injustice, there is nothing more important than working against it. Right now, thousands of beautiful men and women in the Church of the Brethren are being told that there is something wrong with them; that their lifestyle is sinful; even that they cannot minister to their brothers and sisters. We cannot ask them to silently bow their heads and pretend it doesn't hurt--and if we continue to ask it, we will find our numbers ever thinning as these individuals find it too painful to remain in the Church they love.

To ignore this oppression and go about our business in the world is a disservice to them, and it is damaging to our own spirits: we cannot heal the world while we ourselves are so wounded. We must remove the plank from our eye before we can see the speck of sawdust in our brother's.

It is the nature of those who are oppressed to fight the oppression, and the duty of their allies to join them. This is not a waste of time.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

It seems that just not going away has been the most effective thing. However, I am not sure it has accomplished as much as I'd like. Rather, in the larger culture younger generations just don't get (overt)homophobia or racism. So as time passes, things can change.

I was there this year and many people wore colorful scarves. I made mine into a neck tie.

I agree with how important this issue is. Until we can accept everyone, we really can't fully be the church.