Monday, December 27, 2010

Open and Affirming

I sat in church the other day and noted the diversity within our community. I am very proud to attend an "Open and Affirming" church, which means it is open to all people, of all races, genders and sexualities.

I got to thinking of all the gifts that are wasted in what I'd call closed churches, where you have to be "just so" in order to participate. So many churches condemn homosexuals, or think if you are a single woman, like I am, that you need a husband in order to be a family, or to be whole as a woman.

It took me a long time to want to attend church "alone" with just me and the kids. Even when I was still married, it was always hard for my ex to get ready on time. I finally just started going, although it often gnawed on me to sit alone after the kids went to Sunday School.

As I sent out my Christmas cards this year, with a picture of just the three of us, I doubted our existence as an actual family. I was pleased to hear back from several people - mostly from within our church - "You are a beautiful family."

Yesterday, I thought of one woman in particular who is a lesbian. She is so full of life and she shares her gifts with the church generously. She read from the Scriptures yesterday with her strong voice, which is something that I do not have. (I hate to speak in front of people.) She also sings in the choir and reads music amazingly well, which is something that I cannot do. She also teaches Sunday School and is amazing with the children. (Which is something I will do, but would rather not Sunday after Sunday!)

She is only one example in our small church, but there are so many. We have a church that is active in so many different outreach programs and ministries - in short, a doing church. We have many people who are different or kids who have ADD, Asbergers or other "disabilities" and yet it is a church so rich with personality and love.

I have always felt like I had to do everything perfectly, or not at all. So this church has shown me that doing is better than not doing - and we truly need all of us to make the world a better place.

And, I have to say, that I am much happier now participating than I was sitting back on the sidelines and fretting about my life with an addict.

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