Let Your Greatest Gladness Meet the World’s Deepest Need
My professional vocation is based in part on Fredrick Beuchner’s description of our life purpose. He states, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deepest gladness and the world’s deepest hunger meet.”
My greatest gladness is to use my clinical training to try and help people of all kinds in whatever way I am able. And frankly, one of the world’s deepest hungers continues to be marginalized groups asking for opportunity, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance. I worry that we as a Church have continued to struggle with engaging the LGBT community. I see so many LGBT clients who have been targeted negatively by churches, excluded from worship communities, vilified as being “shameful and perverted abominations,” and denied the opportunity for support, love, or prayer. Frankly, it breaks my heart because I see so much needless trauma occurring to individuals who simply want to understand their own relationships with God and other believers. I know many members of the LGBT community who cannot find a safe place for worship, cannot find anyone to discuss faith with, or even struggle to understand a seemingly loving God who others have said “disapproves” of them because they’re different in ways they can’t change.
How can we adequately bridge the many gaps in our culture when real people with real faith and real spiritual hunger are excluded from faith communities and conversations?
Would inclusiveness really disrupt the “natural order” of things as the argument has been at other points in history?
Come Just As You Are
I believe the time for a choice is now. We can each hold to whatever religious beliefs and values we like. We can even disagree on the right way to interpret Scripture, what sin really looks like, or how to live out our faiths. However, the choice is really about how will you handle people, issues, and discussions that scare you?
Will we as a Church fall into the same traps of exclusion, rigidity, and ignorance that we have before? Or are we ready to redefine our understanding of love and how to manifest this for all people across culture?
Bottom line, I don’t care who you love, how you dress, or what gender you identify with. You are among the people God asked all of us to love. And my best expression of this love is to use all of the skills, training, and knowledge I have to help you achieve your personal, emotional, professional, and spiritual goals. I am a person of faith who desires to help others no matter what their own faith or personal background is.
I have hope that we can all move closer to God through open dialogue, inclusive efforts, and with the Christ-inspired commission of spreading God’s love to all who desire it.
To this end, I invite all who are weary, broken, rejected, and lost to come as you are. Just as you are. Here you will find acceptance. Here you will find belongingness. Here you will find my best effort to reflect Christ’s central message of love and compassion. That is my vocation and my greatest gladness.