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Increasingly I am convinced that this General Convention could unleash the great potential the Episcopal Church has to effectively reach the unchurched and dechurched in the United States. I was drawn to come here because I wanted to be part of the story of that transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy. My passion is for evangelism, and particularly evangelism to young adults. It is a passion that inspired me to start a young adult group at my parish of Saint Mark’s Capital Hill, to do organizing work in my diocese in support of young adult ministry and recently to seek ordination as an Episcopal priest. And it is that passion that inspired me to come to General Convention with Integrity, the national fellowship for LGBT Episcopalians.
There is a very serious link between our capacity to do effective work with young adults and where we are on affirming lesbian and gay people as equal members of the Church. I think it is necessary to place the work of this General Convention in the context of how young adults view the relationship between an institution’s understanding and treatment of lesbian and gay people and its moral legitimacy.
In other words, non-Christians may not know much about what we believe about Jesus, the path to salvation, or what we believe God desires of us in our relationships with others. But what they do know is that we are anti-gay.
As people begin to really study young adult views of Christianity and how gay and lesbian people fit into that story, I think we will find that young adults are not rejecting Christianity simply because it is perceived as anti-gay but that they are viewing gay people as the canary in the mine. Culturally, the gay experience has become a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery and a willingness to be true to one’s self in spite of persecution. And this is what young adults are, in part, looking for spiritually, places where they can connect to their true selves. If we listen they might tell us, “If a place is not only safe for gay people but is affirming of them, then perhaps it will be safe for me. Perhaps, I will be affirmed by this spiritual community when I find myself. Maybe this community is capable of helping me get there.”
I hope we have given you enough of a taste for the article that you are compelled to go over and read it. I hear he has another story, almost ready. Can't wait to share it with you.