Please take a moment to first read my introduction for this series to learn the purpose of this sermon.
Good morning and welcome. Today, I am interrupting our sermon series on the Book of Ecclesiastes to offer a confession. This confession will challenge our church for years to come. It will comprehensively address one of the most controversial issues in the church today; one that breaks apart families and divides whole denominations. This confession is really an apology: my apology to one community in our society which we have struggled to effectively engage. I am speaking of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBT+) community.
They are more than a community: they are people. Actually, they are more than people; they are our loved ones. It has been easy to judge and exclude those who sin in ways we do not. We, the majority sinners, have too often stepped into the place of God drawing lines and determining who is in – and who is out – of the Kingdom. While it is reasonable and necessary to have boundaries in church life, the goal should never be to target one kind of person. We have done just that.
Too many times, we have excused our divorces and porn addiction – our lust and greed – our gossip and judgment – our anger and selfishness – our drunkenness and materialism. Yet rarely do we ever extend latitude to the LGBT+ person in our midst. To that point, are there any LGBT+ people here in our midst anymore – other than the occasional accidental visitor or holiday guest?
Please forgive me: I need to be specific about our sins. Where do I start? Allow me to begin by asking this question: how many elderly parents here today watched sons die of AIDS back in the nineteen eighties and nineties? For many of you, we were never safe enough for you to share about your son’s homosexuality back then. All we could handle was the general news that your son had died of “cancer.” None of us dared to ask more. Few of us attended his funeral. Some of us even convinced you to abandon your son in his final dying moments. Your son is gone but he remains a symbol of countless gay sons of evangelical families who lived – and died – with little notice. To you mothers and fathers, I just need to say one thing: from my heart, I am truly sorry. Know this: you will never shed tears without our fellowship again. We stand with you.
This has been Part 1 of 4. Go to Part 2.
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