On the Outside: Thoughts on the Nashville Statement

I was born into privilege.

I’m a white, middle-class, heterosexual male in America who used to be a pastor.

I’ve never been on the outside.

I’ve never been the minority.

Until recently.

A little over a week ago, I posted a blog saying I didn’t believe a certain set of teachings.

All of a sudden I’m on the outside.

There have been several different reactions.

The people who said, “Run your own race,” were very gracious and kind.

The people who were sympathetic and genuinely understood were the same.

Another group keeps reminding me that I’m lost and wandering and wrong.

This isn’t gracious and it isn’t kind.

I can’t help but see a glimpse of what an LGBTQ person must be feeling and experiencing right now.

I will say loudly, I DO NOT understand.

I don’t get it.

It’s the privilege that clouds my vision.

But this experience has helped me to see what it could feel like.

A popular topic in the news cycle has been the Nashville Statement.

It is a statement proposed by Evangelical Christians calling out the “sinfulness” of homosexuality and transgenderism.

It is exclusive in nature.

It is harmful.

It is desperate.

One of the most hurtful statements in my opinion comes in the Preamble.

It is talking about the church and it reads, “Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?” (emphasis mine).

This resonates with me because it implies that anyone who believes differently than some set of stated beliefs is “bent on ruin”.

I am not seeking ruin.

Gay men and women are not seeking ruin.

We aren’t bad people.

We’re trying to navigate life the best way we know how.

My beliefs changing are not a product of sin or evil, but a product of seeking truth with everything that I am.

To be honest, you wouldn’t have known anything was different unless I said something publicly.

My life hasn’t changed.

Gay men and women and transgender individuals are seeking truth.

They are seeking loving relationships.

They want what we all want.

Companionship.

Mutual love.

Commitment.

To cast stones and to put up fences and barriers says that those on the outside are “less than”.

It says, “You, who don’t believe what I believe, are less than.”

That is not love.

That is not gracious.

That is not kind.

I would also say it is not informed.

You don’t know what it feels like.

You don’t know the journey we’ve been on.

You don’t know.

Reach out.

Ask questions.

Engage in conversation and seek to understand.

The idea that we are somehow bad people because we believe differently is hurtful.

I have been hurt.

For me, it’s only a couple people and it’s only been a week.

For the LGBTQ community it is so many more and has been going on so much longer.

Let’s stop putting up fences and defining who’s in and out of the tribe.

Let’s be one tribe.

A human tribe.

We’re all in this together.

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