WHEN: Sunday, April 6 at 12:30pm (pizza will be provided)
WHERE: Fountain Street Church (Chapel)
Are you an LGBT couple affected by the marriage ban? Are you an ally who knows friends who have been affected by the marriage ban?
Join us in this Equality/Justice event. A letter writing campaign with a twist.
We’ll be meeting together to write scenes from “stalled” marriages. Help show them how the marriage ban is affecting you, your families, and your friends right now. We believe your scenes will show lawmakers, justices, lawyers and everyone how a ban on marriage hurts a relationship, a family, friendships. These are your stories. We hope that you tell them to make them known, and to make a difference.
We intend to get as many people together as we can on SUNDAY, APRIL 6th, 12:30-2:30pm to craft small written scenes. Pizza will be provided. You don’t have to have a writing background at all. Just a willingness to tell a story, your story.
Author, and Lambda Literary Fellow (2013), Dr. Jerome Stueart, will be facilitating a writing workshop focused on writing scenes from your family, if you are an LGBT person/couple affected by the marriage ban, or, if you are an ally, from the family of someone you know.
Why scenes? Scenes are a powerful writing tool in creating change. We know the best tools, and those that have gone viral, have been “stories” –real stories of LGBT families and individuals who desire marriage. We want to use those same powerful tools to talk about this period of stalling, the reinstated ban on LGBT marriage. Show HOW the actions of lawmakers and the Court of Appeals are affecting your family today by showing them actual scenes, like small memoirs, of your family.
At this guided writing workshop, you will write down scenes from these stalled marriages–of yours or your friends. We’ll be using some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as a guide, as well as other writings. Our hope is to send those scenes to those who can make a difference, but also, maybe, a broader audience. At this time, we have no idea what that would be—but we’re open to suggestions. Getting the word out, getting your scenes out, will move people and show them how waiting and stalling marriages are harming families.
If you’re an ally, or one of the 300 couples married before the ban took effect again, or if you were planning on being married, come join us for a couple of hours, write some scenes with us, help us send your stories to those who can end this ban, and to the world.
Everything is FREE. Lend us some time, and send your “scenes from stalled marriages” to those who are making decisions about your marriages.
FOUNTAIN STREET CHURCH, 24 Fountain Street GRAND RAPIDS MI
SUNDAY, APRIL 6th 12:30-2:30pm Food provided. Paper, pens provided. Facilitation and workshopping provided.
The Supreme Court of the United States issued two huge rulings on gay rights Wednesday morning, June 26. They overturned a key component of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), Section #3 which tried to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. This spells the end of DOMA; which will probably be repealed quickly since it’s been declared, in essence, unconstitutional, as it stands now. Also, in a separate case, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the fight over Proposition 8, the law passed in California banning gay marriage (which Judge Walker of the Ninth Circuit Court declared unconstitutional, but which Prop 8 proponents brought to the Supreme Court on appeal), those wishing to appeal Walker’s decision did not have standing. So Walker’s decision stands and marriages can happen again in California. Yay! All seems right in the world.
And then Sunday comes.
Sunday, the Court of Religion meets. And those Judges (for they aren’t Justices) have the power to perpetuate the source of hate and discrimination against the LGBT community–or they have the power to cut off that source of hate and discrimination. It’s a make or break Sunday.
No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the public has to enact those changes. The Court cannot legislate morality—and in some cases, those who are opposed to gay rights have found new fervor to rail against gay people. Now we can marry! In 13 states. Now the Court said that gay couples can receive benefits! On our tax forms. But if we’ve made some progress through the Supreme Court–a hard fought case–we could regress in the Court of Religion—a court that has more power over Americans than any Judicial body created by the Constitution.
Without question, most congregants will listen to their pastors. Without question they will believe what those pastors tell them. If those pastors tell them that America is sliding downhill into the Apocalypse because loving gay couples can marry–then they will believe that. And they will go out and hate gay people for moving them one step closer to oblivion. (Actually, they should be thrilled–one step closer to the Apocalypse is one step closer to Heaven for them! I know my Revelation!) Still, this Sunday has the potential to stir the hearts of good Christians even deeper against the LGBT community–or stir them deeper to love LGBT people.
Christians do not realize how potent a sermon can be—but Pastors do. One sermon can re-enforce ages of bad dogma–or change it; it can change a weak mind, for or against; it can reassure a doubting congregant. If you don’t know what you think about the Supreme Court helping to end discrimination against gay people (we’re a long ways from that end), you might by the end of Sunday’s sermon.
Churches have a moment to RETHINK
Imagine if Pastors took this moment to re-enforce the humanity of LGBT people, their interest in pairing up in Marriage, their love for each other–and to see the movement across the US to help LGBT people find equality under the law, and in churches everywhere. That sermon could propel folks to think about Jesus’ work with the oppressed—and that they too, as Christians, can help the oppressed. It could do more to help the healing: THIS Sunday.
THIS Sunday, Churches have a chance to do the most good for their congregations. Because inside every congregation are a few gay people trying to hide, fearful of coming out. Inside every congregation is a parent of a gay son or lesbian daughter or folks whose lives are touched by LGBT people every day. They are not isolated from gay people. And promoting healing through the news that LGBT people deserve better treatment under the law might promote the same kind of healing in the church between members who have been hurt. Certainly it will make things more welcoming to those people who have LGBT family members, or friends. Our churches must be welcoming above everything. This is the second commandment–to love your neighbor as yourself. And if churches aren’t welcoming–people won’t stay and hear the Good News.
Read Jim Wallis from the Huffington Post on how churches can help find “Equal Justice Under the Law”
This Sunday more healing, or more damage, can be made in Churches across North America.
It is not the Justices who change the Churches, but the Churches who can change the Justice.
When I was living in Canada under a Student Visa, I was constantly being asked to stop doing this or that for fear of deportation. You couldn’t make money at that time off campus. Unfortunately, it seemed the interpretation of those laws was arbitrarily decided–and I didn’t know, nor had I seen, the laws used against me. The breakthrough that happened for me was being able to SEE the book that Immigration was working from. Once I had their book, I could know where they were coming from–and find loopholes to use to survive.
Echoing this article, let me emphasize how important for the GLBT community to know their Bible well. It is the language of this gay struggle. It is even the language of the gay struggle in Canada–the one that everyone thinks we’ve won. If we don’t convince SOME mainstream churches to re-examine the biblical evidence, changing the laws makes little difference on suicide rates, hate crimes and discrimination. Yes, Canada allows Same-Sex Marriage, but bible-believing people can still wield a lot of power and authority, and can hurt a lot of gay people unintentionally with their intolerance and skewed ideas of the bible. Let me recommend a book for GLBT Christians.
The Newsweek article: Our Mutual Joy, one of the best articles in a mainstream magazine that looks closely at the biblical and evangelical arguments around Same Sex Marriage–and they ARE different.
Bulletproof Faith: a Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians by Candace Chellew-Hodge; an awesome book on how to cope with evangelical attacks. Both how to answer them, but also how to protect yourself inside from the demoralizing effects of that kind of attacking. It’s not only for believers, but for everyone who is hurt by “christian” attacks–it damages your character, your soul, your well-being. This is a good book for building the armor.
Reconciling Journey: a devotional workbook for gay and lesbian christians. Specifically for recovering your spirituality–something that may have been ripped from you.
Start there. Read up. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, give these books a chance–what’s at stake is your personhood right now. And God is a greater advocate than Christians right now. And knowing the book used against you is always helpful.