The gay and lesbian lifestyle seems to be all over news these days. But I don't bring up the topic because of the recent court decision on homosexual marriage in California. I am going to refrain from commenting on gay marriage and leave my opinions up to your imagination. Verbalized speculation not encouraged. (And frankly, I don't want to debate the morality of homosexuality because really? Again? Aren't you exhausted yet? Wouldn't you rather conduct lab experiments on fruit flies? I think I would.)
I bring up homosexuality because something happened this week that reminded me of the power of my work in the church. We wrapped up a year of 7th and 8th grade bible studies a few days ago. Boys and girls huddled around cans of pringles chips (it made for a fun time-to-try-dill-pickle-chips smorgasbord snack) as we shared what God has worked in our lives through the last year. We talked about the low times and the high times (not the chemically induced kind). We shared things that we've learned about God and through our faith walk.
(I should back up to tell you that every year, I teach the seventh grade girls at our day school about sexuality and faith. We talk about everything from the obligatory piping and plumbing conversations to the sexuality in our culture. Homosexuality always comes up. It makes for a good conversation about God's deep love.)
One seventh grade girl shared very boldly that the biggest thing she learned this year was from our sex education classes. She learned that God doesn't hate gays.
What a powerful thing for a young teenager to learn.
She left it at that. And I smiled and commented to the whole group that God loves all people regardless of sexual orientation, skin color, the length of the criminal record, the number of times they've stabbed a friend in the back. The room was a little quiet and we moved onto the next person.
I'm not sure why that was the topic that resonated with her, but it did. And I am so glad it is a message of mercy and not one of hate or despise because the God I know in scripture is a God who forgives and loves and cares beyond our earthly inability to make sense of God's law and God's grace. I'm glad I could be part of her journey.