10 July 2009

An article you must read if you care about the future of this church

I had originally included this the previous post, but I feel it is so important we need to give it its own attention.

Otis Gaddis' article at the Daily Episcopalian is something you must read if you care about this church and the Christian church in general. Here is a quote:
There is a very serious link between our capacity to do effective work with young adults and where we are on affirming lesbian and gay people as equal members of the Church. I think it is necessary to place the work of this General Convention in the context of how young adults view the relationship between an institution’s understanding and treatment of lesbian and gay people and its moral legitimacy.

People are becoming much more supportive of gay rights generally and marriage equality specifically. Among young adults (those who are 18-34), 58 percent believe in full marriage equality. The trend in favor of marriage equality for college age adults is even stronger. As of 2008, 66% of college frosh supported marriage equality. In other words, the younger you go the higher the chance that a person views gay people as equal to everyone else.

And this shift is starting to change attitudes and perceptions of what is morally legitimate. An entire generation of people is coming of age where they are much more confident in the equality of their lesbian and gay friends than they are about the moral legitimacy of institutions and people who are against gay people. In other words, many of these same young adults see one’s views concerning marriage equality as a litmus test of the morality of social institutions including churches.

At the present time, TEC is morally illegitimate. But, thank God for the youth of this church; we are in good hands.

And here is the zinger, folks, and it speaks directly to what the our bishops needs to hear:
In other words, non-Christians may not know much about what we believe about Jesus, the path to salvation, or what we believe God desires of us in our relationships with others. But what they do know is that we are anti-gay.

As people begin to really study young adult views of Christianity and how gay and lesbian people fit into that story, I think we will find that young adults are not rejecting Christianity simply because it is perceived as anti-gay but that they are viewing gay people as the canary in the mine. Culturally, the gay experience has become a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery and a willingness to be true to one’s self in spite of persecution. And this is what young adults are, in part, looking for spiritually, places where they can connect to their true selves. If we listen they might tell us, “If a place is not only safe for gay people but is affirming of them, then perhaps it will be safe for me. Perhaps, I will be affirmed by this spiritual community when I find myself. Maybe this community is capable of helping me get there.
Do we as Episcopalians want to be known as the anti-homosexual church and therefore dismissed forthwith. Or do we want to be known as the church where God's love reaches everyone and a safe place for all God's children.

The future is here, folks, we need to step up and embrace it and proclaim it to the world.