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Finding Unity Around Inclusion of Gay Christians

What process did your meeting use to find unity concerning a minute of inclusion?

Editor’s Note: These two essays are intended to be considered – and discussed! – together. Once you have had the opportunity to read both, we encourage you to share your comments here, on this page.

Linda DanielLinda Daniel, clerk of Muncie Monthly Meeting of Friends Memorial Meeting in Muncie, Indiana reflects:

“. . . One member expressed concern that we would definitely lose at least one college-age member by taking a formal position against homosexuality. Others suggested that with an anti-homosexual stance we would not be able to attract young seekers. It was noted that the issue of homosexuality is a non-issue in contemporary youth culture. A couple of high school-age sisters quoted Lady Gaga, ‘I was born this way.’ Others noted that Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality. He condemned divorce but not gay/lesbian relationships. Queries were asked. ‘What would Jesus do?’ Suddenly, that wristband question had new meaning when asked by an octogenarian who lost her homosexual son to AIDS several years ago. Further queries were asked. ‘Would Jesus use a homosexual male rather than a Samaritan in his parable of the good neighbor?’ Some were silent. Throughout our discernment meetings it became very clear that we have a diversity of thought in our monthly meeting. Also, because of the respect we demonstrated toward each other, it was also clear that we love each other. We are Christians and we are Quakers.”

“This is not to say that we do not have hurt feelings at times in our meeting. There are heated moments in committee meetings, and occasionally tense moments in our monthly business meetings. We don’t always resolve the hurt in spiritual or healthy ways. There are times when our meeting functions like a dysfunctional family. But the key word is family . . .”
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Michael LeviMichael Levi of Aldelphi Friends Meeting in Maryland shares:

“. . . In retrospect it seems obvious that the core of our witness must be two decades lived together in everyday community. I suppose that once a way opens, the clarity of revelation often appears self-evident. But the committee struggled for a long time. The adrenaline of hurt, anger, frustration and impatience often overwhelmed us. Personality conflicts and other tensions burst out at unexpected times and in unanticipated forms. It was patient prayer and expectant silence that carried us through. Our faith in the Spirit and our conviction that humbly waiting upon the Lord would be rewarded allowed us to gradually lay down the passions that were standing in our way and instead follow the still, small voice that was our guide.”

“This was the most profoundly Spirit-led committee work I have ever experienced. God’s unconditional love was tangibly present among us as our witness to an inclusive community gradually crystallized . . .”
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  • Jim

    I really appreciate the honesty and openness of these two authors. i will read the other 2 articles later. Our semiprogrammed meeting sounds a bit more like the Muncie meeting….very strong sentiment towards being open/affirming, but also feeling tender towards those very few who don’t agree with the vast majority of us on this set of issues– because they see it as against God’s will. And those of us in favor of inclusion, see inclusion as part of God’s will for us to love as we have been loved….to make the first move, in other words, as God loves us.. We haven’t discussed this recently in our monthly meeting. Thanks for the nudge. Thanks also to Phil Gulley who brought it up, and to Colin Saxton and QLife for being brave about sharing it with the broader body of Friends. I notice that the comments are closed. This issue of QLife came out fairly recently…, what happened to the comments?

    • micah

      Thanks for these reflections, Jim! About the comments: We did not provide space for comments on the individual posts, because we wanted to invite Friends to comment on both of the posts, together, on this page.

      We’re glad you did! :)

  • deborah suess

    Thank you for opening up the discussion. I pray we can have these kind of dialogues with grace and care. Our Meeting (First Friends in NC) took about six years in discernment before getting clear regarding supporting same gender unions. Interestingly, the discussion really began when we had to replace our outdoor sign. We wanted to keep the words on the sign that read “All Welcome” – and that led to several discussions in Monthly Meeting (and beyond) as to what we really mean by those words. Will we really welcome all – including lgbt friends? And what does “welcoming” involve? I continue to be thankful for the process – although long and difficult at times – it has seemed organic, Spirit led. We know that others in our beloved YM feel differently – but we are grateful to continue to journey as one body even with our differing views.