This Is No Time for Division
By Kimberly Dent
I am frustrated by the stark, stiff-necked posture that my brothers and sisters in Christ who penned the Nashville Statement are advising. Even as I share the writers' interpretation of God's original design for marriage and sexuality, I cannot, in clear conscience, go further than that. I cannot be numbered with them. As one who desperately longs for unity, this hurts my heart.
The Nashville Statement, though not news by any stretch, is destructive and divisive on a grander scheme, because the ugly finger of condemnation swings wider to include faithful Christians, gay and straight, who are honestly seeking the Lord to discern his voice on a way forward that doesn't leave wounded and bleeding victims in our wake.
The statement attempts to shame those of us who take the greatest commandment—to love God and love others—seriously and at face value—often at great relational risk as we brave the judgment of those who can't hear the music of the Spirit above the noise of this world.
It's time to scoot our chairs even closer to the table—keep praying, giving grace, dialoguing!
I am saddened that this rigid stance leaves no room for Jesus' beloved LGBTQ+ people to feel welcome to come to him "just as they are." I am frustrated that churches that were beginning to find some balance may be knocked off of that hard-won peace. I am gravely concerned that the bridge-builders who actively listen for God's still, small voice might somehow be bullied away from fruitful dialogue right at the moment that the Lord is working out a breakthrough!
May all who seek peace and unity in Christ now turn back to the work set before us, scoot our chairs even closer to the table, and keep praying! Keep giving more grace! Keep the dialogue going! Keep sharing our stories and continue to worship and trust the "God of hopeless causes" as we move forward in a love that won't let go.
What a shame to leave the table too soon … I have a hunch dessert is gonna be amazing!
Kimberly Dent is a bridge-builder between conflicted Christian parents and their LGBTQ kids. She has facilitated sessions for parents at the annual Gay Christian Network conferences and is an Oriented to Love dialogue alum. "For years I prayed that God would change my daughter's sexual orientation—instead He changed me!" Moving from a place of stoic religious certainty to a place of wonder, trust and humility in Christ has given her a deeper experience of God's grace and unconditional love for every person.