A friend of mine recently directed me to a transcript of a talk that Tony and Peggy Campolo gave at North Point Chapel about ten years ago. Though an old speech/conversation, I found it remarkably poignant. Entitled "Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?" this transcript sees both Tony and Peggy make different cases on the issue of same-gendered relationships but offer a similar - and compelling - articulation of how the church is called to serve our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
As our church faces such similar questions and issuez - particularly at General Assembly this June - I think it is most critical that no matter what we believe on particular issues we do not let people become just an "issue." I become deeply troubled when I hear the various camps dehumanize those with whom they disagree. I'm currently working on a sermon for this Sunday based on a text that say, among other things, that if we say we love God but do not love our brothers and sisters, we are liars. Our call is to minister in love to all and when we do not - when we let our differences, however deeply seeded, divide us and keep us from our ministry of love - we are not loving God.
This transcript offers a wonderful call to ministry of love that can affect those with varying opinions about homosexuality. I invite you to read it and let it reside with you for awhile, to wonder if any of Tony or Peggy's statements ring especially true for you, if any cut you to the quick. Think about what ways our church - both Covenant and the greater church - can be a place of love where those who have felt that the church (or church people) despised them - and this goes beyond gays and lesbians. Think about these things - and then act, in small moments, in larger ways, act. The church will only become a truly loving community - Christ's community - when its people move past fears, prejudices, or whatever holds us back and strive to love.