Church is weird. It’s up there with the goat I saw someone walking the other day on the streets of Portland.
It might be up there on your list of “things I’ll never do again” or “things I’ll never do.” I get that.
I’m a person who survived the pain of church and lived to tell the tale. At some point, on my journey to understand myself as a queer person, I had to reconcile church. And in reconciling church I realized three things.
First, God’s love is much bigger than church. It’s deep, it’s wide, it’s like a blanket someone brings you when you when you are cold and you didn’t know that someone was there. Grace is a knife, and balm and a blanket all at once. It can change your life.
Second, God does not equal church. Church is a bunch of flawed humans, just like me, just like you. But they are flawed humans who commit to being on a journey together. Church is about showing up imperfect, and being loved anyway. All churches would do well in reminding themselves of that every time they gather.
Third, the stories of Christianity, the stories of Jesus, need to keep being told. If we all leave church because it’s messed up (and it is) then who will be around to speak the truth of the gospel? The truth of the gospel is not what they told you (it might be why you left, or why you never came). It’s the fire in your belly, it’s skin in the game, it’s solidarity with the most marginalized, it’s the deep joy of friendship, it’s silence that makes you weep.
In keeping Portland weird, I invite you to bring all that to church. Church is something we make together. We’re an imperfect group of folks trying to discover the truth of the gospel. We welcome you to join us.