By Daniel Taylor
On Pride Day this year, members of Bridgepointe Church went down to Churchill Square to hand out bottles of water. (I realize the silliness of bottled water and I myself am a fan of tap water, but bottled water is way more convenient to hand out to revelers on a hot summer day. Earth Water, an Edmonton company, gives 100% of their profits to the UN for water projects so if you have to drink bottled water go to them).
Anyway, we went down to the Pride celebration to hand out bottles of water. We attached to the bottles a card that had our website and a video with information about our church. There were a lot of reasons why we choose to do this, but mostly the driving impulse was to be obedient.
There is a huge gulf between the homosexual community and the church for reasons that have been talked about ad nauseam by people more intelligent than me, but despite all this talking, that gulf isnt getting smaller. We felt God telling us to do something about this, and the best thing we could come up with was to give water to hot and thirsty people. I dont know if thats the best way to bridge the gap, but at least its a start.
We can paralyze ourselves by making sure that we get a message perfectly right, trying not to offend, but at some point we just have to take a step toward the other. We say, Here is a bottle of water. This is either the love of Jesus coming from the Body of Christ, or its just a bottle of water. Maybe its something in between that. Whatever it is to you, here you go.
Everyone we met was very positive and thirsty so it seemed like it would turn out to be a good experience for us. The only hiccup was one young lady who looked at the card and asked if we were a Pro- Gay or Anti-Gay Church. I tried and failed to clever my way out of it by answering, Were a Pro-Jesus Church.
She politely pushed a little bit, and I stumbled and mumbled something about not fitting into categories. She was unsatisfied and reminded me that this was a Pro-Gay event. We both moved on. I dont know if she drank the water.
This is what I wish I had the time and courage to say:
“Im sorry that you assume that as a person with a church that I have to be in one of those two categories. People like me, Christians, have earned your distrust, and you have every right to think and say whatever you want about me. For what its worth, Im sorry. Weve sinned against God and against you. Weve failed to be who we have been called to be.
“With that said, I cant fit what we think into a thirty-second sound bite. I can honestly say that I dont fit into either of those categories. I dont think I even know what gay fully means, but I do know this: there are infinitely more important things about you than who youre attracted to. I reject the idea in our culture that who we are is intrinsically tied to how we feel about members of the same sex. That is not the defining characteristic of a human being because long before you or I were gay or straight we were a unique creation of the Living God.
“We are incredibly broken people in an incredibly broken world, and the fact that we have to have this conversation is testament to the fact that we have no clue how to live with each other, let alone with God. I believe that Jesus was God, who came here to save us in every way that we need to be saved, and what you do with Jesus is way more important than what you do with anyone else. I believe Jesus knew you were worth dying for, and in the light of that, what I think is sort of irrelevant.
“But in the midst of our inability to live together well, we want to bring water, and I dont know if youre gay or straight, but I know youre thirsty. Its a hot day. Pro-gay church, anti-gay church: I dont know. Today were an Anti-thirst church.”
Just for right now, in this moment, can that be enough?
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Daniel is originally from Charlottetown, P.E.I and has been in Edmonton since 2006. He was lucky enough to marry out of his league to Teddi and they have two loud and wonderful children.