Friday, September 6, 2013

Justice Rolling Like A River: Hello From Vivian

One of my father's favorite Bible verses comes from the prophet Amos. “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” He had it hung over his desk at his law office. I grew up seeing that verse over and over, and have always loved it. Our work as followers of Christ is to love each other and to love the world, and in loving, to bring that justice and righteousness to the benefit of the whole world. I've thought of that verse often as I have prepared to meet the incredible blessing of becoming the executive director of Integrity USA.

Last night I took a walk through my neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I happened to pass by a broken sprinkler head that was pouring out a strong, steady flow of water onto the sidewal
k. The sidewalk was made up of old, uneven bricks and ran down a slight incline to the street. It seems simple, there's water, there's an incline, there should be a straight course from the broken sprinkler to the street.
What happened instead was more complex. The water pooled in some areas and branched out in others. The water was affected by the unevenness of the bricks, the texture of each brick, and the variations of sand and twigs and pebbles between the bricks.

Instead of flowing straight to the street the water meandered back and forth. Some areas in the middle of the flow of water were left dry, others out at the edges were inundated.

I see the work of Integrity and the situation of those of us who care about the rights and well being of LGBTQ people as a lot like that water flowing from that broken sprinkler. We have had great success in working towards justice for LGBTQ folks, and we have won incredible victories. Still, there is so much work left to do. While LGBTQ people are safe in some dioceses, welcomed and celebrated, there are still many areas of the Church and the nation where people are not confident in their security. There are people unsure if they will be able to follow their call to vocation because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, there are people still afraid of what their children might learn in their parishes, there are LGBTQ folks who do not feel welcome in the LGBTQ community. So long as trans women of color are still being murdered for being trans, so long as our community continues to disproportionally face poverty, so long as hatred and ignorance remain, we have work to do.

There is no one size fits all solution for the diversity of challenges that we face. Like that water had to pass through each crack and over each brick in a unique way, so we must face each challenge across the nation and Church in it's particular existence. That means that I intend to have a focus on the local level of our organization across the Church. What is effective in one place may not be effective in another, but we can always learn from one another.

As we go forward, I do want to maintain three focuses in all of our work. We need to be mindful to work for inclusion of LGBTQ people of color in our communities and our work, to support LGBTQ parent families, and to work toward education about and inclusion of transgender and non-binary people. In doing that work together, we follow Jesus' example of crossing all boundaries to show the perfect love of God. We do this work so that God's justice and righteousness will flow throughout the entire world.

I leave you with the video I made for the Not All Like That Project. This project is focused on giving pro-LGBTQ Christian the opportunity to speak out and speak up for our brother, sisters, and siblings. If you would like to speak out, I invited you submit a video as well.

Thank you,

Vivian Taylor



Unknown said...

Congratulations on your new ministry!

Eric said...

Congratulations on your appointment; I hope that it brings a new era of growith to Integrity. However, I am curious - what is a non-binary person?