Embracing Awkward

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  • An Apology to LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters from a Theological Conservative

    In the wake of the Orlando shooting (which doesn’t feel like a strong enough word), amidst the shock and grief of how broken the world can be, one thought particularly convicted me. Honestly it was a tweet from author and lesbian Támara Lunardo: “Straight friends, especially you Christians, please know: We hear your silence so loud.”

    I’ve been part of that silence. I’ve (often) cared more about my theology appearing “correct” and orthodox than I have about loving millions of LGBTQ brothers and sisters. 

    This is my attempt at an apology. I’m speaking mainly for myself, although I hope I’m not alone. 

    Please forgive us that it took Orlando to open our eyes to the pain we’ve caused by our silence and indifference. Our eyes should have been opened so much sooner. 

    Please forgive us for not standing with you against the evil of hate. As if somehow you deserved that hate. 

    Please forgive us for not supporting you in the face of injustice and inequality, not just as fellow Americans, but as fellow image bearers of God. We’ve worshipped our own comfort and rightness more than we’ve loved you.

    Please forgive us for all the jokes and opinions so arrogantly spoken, making you undoubtedly feel less human and more alone. We’ve been so careless with our words. 

    Please forgive us for talking at you more than listening to you. For hiding our tragic lack of humility behind the Bible. For being more like Job's counselors than anything resembling Jesus. 

    Please forgive us for defending chicken sandwiches more than we’ve defended you. For speaking out more about cakes than we’ve spoken out for you. For caring more about bathrooms than we've cared for you. 

    Please forgive us for not being like Jesus, who when he was with the woman at the well cared far more about sharing a drink with her than he did about her sexual choices. We’re all the woman at the well. 

    Please forgive us for condemning your sexual choices loudly, while we quietly looked at porn, masturbated with lust in our eyes and hearts, cheated, got divorced, and just generally fell short of anything like sexual integrity. 

    Please forgive us for loving our theology more than we’ve loved you. For writing and reading books *about* you far more than we’ve had you over, shared meals, seen movies, gone to parties with you. 

    I know these words fall short. But my hope is they could be something like the starting place of repentance, at least for me. Come Lord Jesus. 

    Sammy Rhodes is the RUF campus minister at The University of South Carolina. He also recently authored his first book, This Is Awkward, available for purchase here, as well as in most major bookstores.