Thursday, June 2, 2011

Believe Out Proud

Max Niedzwiecki
June 2, 2011

June is LGBT Pride Month!

But what is “pride”?

I heard this on a New Orleans streetcar this morning:
Woman: “Hey, you know what a Gay Pride is?”
Man: “No, what.”
Woman: “A Gay Pride is a bunch of gay lions.”

You often hear that kind of thing on streetcars.

But seriously…

For me, “pride” means embracing the truth in a loving way. One of the things I love about our Church is that many of us understand there is no conflict between empirical truth and spiritual truth. I have yet to meet an Episcopalian who claims that people and dinosaurs wandered around together before the Great Flood. In fact, many of us see that looking for the truth about God’s creation can be one way of looking for God. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

If feel proud when I get closer to seeing myself as I think God sees me and all people – closer to the truth about who and what I really am. That can be a hard thing to do, especially for those of us who were raised to believe we should be ashamed of ourselves. As children, our cultures and religions taught many of us that we were flawed in some deep-down way. If that’s not child abuse, I don’t know what is. And although there’s a big difference between San Francisco and Kampala, in some measure all queer folks have to deal with hateful lies and bigotry.

I also feel proud when I see God’s truth and love gaining ground in the world, and when I feel that I have acted as an instrument of grace to help make that happen.

Members of Integrity – whether we’re queer or straight – have a lot to be proud of. Through our commitment to Integrity, we proclaim the truth that all people are loved by God. By working to make “all the sacraments for all the baptized” a reality, and by pushing for equality in the wider world, we become instruments of God’s grace.

The Advocate says in this month’s cover story that one reason for pride in 2011 is “Because some Christians know love is greater than hate… Groups like the United Methodists’ Affirmation, Catholicism’s DignityUSA, the Episcopal Church’s Integrity, and ecumenical efforts such as Soulforce, Believe Out Loud, and Faith in America are fighting for full acceptance of LGBT people in church doctrine and public policy. These Christian soldiers are waging some uphill battles, but they’ve also had some victories, and we’re glad to have fellowship with them.”

I bet a few more people will be in the pews this Sunday because they read that. Now, that’s something to celebrate.

C’mon people. Let’s show our pride by making some donations of money or time to Integrity. The honest truth is that Integrity can only continue to bring God’s truth and love to the world if you show your commitment to being a part of this community.

Then let’s get to some parades!


Max Niedzwiecki is the Executive Director of Integrity USA

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